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2000 AD => General => : Magnetica 08 September, 2018, 08:47:48 AM

: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Magnetica 08 September, 2018, 08:47:48 AM
So we all know Dredd is meant to age in real time, but how old do we think Johnny Alpha is meant to be?

Strontium Dog, whilst being a strip that had appeared frequently, has not appeared anything like weekly, there were big gaps between the publication of books of the “Life and Death of Johnny Alpha” where the action followed on from the same point in the story, and he actually spent a big chunk of time being “dead”*.

So how much is he meant to have aged since his first appearance 40 or so years ago? I guess it is actually much less than 40 years.

*(Bizarrely supporting characters like Middenface don’t seem to have aged any more, despite having lived through the whole period).
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 08 September, 2018, 09:19:00 AM
(Bizarrely supporting characters like Middenface don’t seem to have aged any more, despite having lived through the whole period).

Kid Knee's sprightly for a guy who died (https://i.imgur.com/ErR4tup.png) at the end of his first adventure.

The strip ran for a little less than 12 years (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=thrill&page=profiles&Comic=2000AD&choice=STRONT) in its original run and Alpha came back from the dead a little more than 8 years ago, so he could be anything between 40 and 60, even without the narrative ellipses you mention above.

Alpha's ageing has never been a plot point in the same way it was for Dredd and I can't think of a story that made much of the passing of time, so I'm not sure it really matters. The silly resurrection* makes the question of age moot.


* with magic!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 08 September, 2018, 10:03:20 AM
I remember a back cover that showed his birth and death years. He was thirty, apparently, when he died.

I didn't like his resurrection much either.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Greg M. 08 September, 2018, 10:38:26 AM
I, on the other hand, returned to reading 2000AD after a 5-6 year hiatus because of the resurrection story. Strontium Dog is one of the few reasons I still read the prog.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 08 September, 2018, 11:05:40 AM
I, on the other hand, returned to reading 2000AD after a 5-6 year hiatus because of the resurrection story. Strontium Dog is one of the few reasons I still read the prog.

I love Strontium Dog, enjoyed the Life And Death storyline, and will be delighted to see the strip reappear for exactly as long as Carlos Ezquerra wants to draw it. Magicking Alpha back to life was still silly. *


* Yes, it's perfectly consistent with the presence and use of magic established in the strip over many years. It's still silly from a storytelling point of view. The creators should never have listened to fans who said the flashback excuse for the new stories meant they weren't enjoying the reboot as much as the strips they read before their balls dropped and they had to make their own tea when they got home from work. Never listen to what people think; that's what got the world into the mess we're in now. People are stupid and almost always wrong about everything.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Greg M. 08 September, 2018, 11:13:32 AM
I'm firmly in the camp that wants to see continuity moving forward, not stuck in a flashback bubble. The S/D flashback stories are frequently excellent, but they didn't lure me back to 2000AD.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 08 September, 2018, 11:37:10 AM
While trying to conjure up content for the SD fan film page, I tried a guess at a timeline for the stories.

I think currently Johnny is 51.

It mostly seemed to reflect the year of publication + 200 years in the original run, and he spent 10 years in a coffin post 'death'

Here's the boring stuff.



793 AD
Johnny Alpha travels to the Scandinavian Pensinsula back from the 22nd Century to apprehend Max Bubba and his gang. He meets Wulf Sternhammer for the first time.
After defeating Bubba and his gang, they return to 2170, where Wulf partners with Johnny.
(Ragnarok)


1945
Johnny Alpha, Wulf Sternhammer and the Gronk are assigned by the Committee for Ultimate Retribution, to apprehend Adolf Hitler in his bunker and return to the 22nd Century to face justice. (The Schicklegruber Grab)

1987
Kaiakok-l Freedom Fighters kidnap US President Ronald Reagan and transport him to 2187
(Bitch)

2108
Johnny and Wulf arrive in Mega-City One running into Judge Dredd (Top Dogs)
After evading Dredd they return to 2176
(Top Dogs)

2114
Johnny Alpha arrives in Hondo-cit to terminate Sabbat
(Judgement Day)

2120
Nelson Bunker Kreelman born

2130
Diana, mother of Johnny Alpha and future wife of Nelson Bunker Kreelman born

2139
Nelson Bunker Kreelman (AKA Bunky) travels to Mega-City One
2149 Ruth Kreelman born.
2150
The Great War

2150
in later stage of her pregnancy Diana Kreelman is exposed to radiation while travelling from the Scilly Isles to Salisbury

Portrait of a Mutant
2150
Nelson Bunker Kreelman enacts strict anti-mutant laws

2150
John Kreelman born to Diana and Nelson Bunker Kreelman, John is a mutant

2162
John Kreelman runs away to join the Mutant Army led by General Armz, adopts the name Johnny Alpha

2167
First Mutant Uprising

2167
Alpha is seconded to William Blood Moon – 'Bloody Billy'

2170
Blood Moon

2170
The Mork Whisperer

2170
Max Bubba and his gang escape and time travel to 1st century Scandinavia

2173
Alpha's partner Sniffer Martinez is killed (A cure for Kansyr flashback)

2174
The Triton Wars

2176
Alpha captures Sadan the Demon Maker

2176
The Complaint

2176
Top Dog - Johnny and Wulf track a bounty back to MC-1 in the past

2179
Don Dork is trapped into the Hell dimension

2180
First Strontium Dog Story Max Quirxx Story (Starlord)

2180
Papa Por-ka
No Cure For Kansyr
Planet of the Dead
Two-faced Terror
Demon Maker
The Ultimate Weapon

2180
The Galaxy Killers

2181
Journey into Hell
Death's Head
The Schickelgruber Grab
Muties Luck
The Doc Quince Case
Bad Boys Bust
The Gronk Affair
A Sorry Case
Headly Foot Job
The Kid Knee Caper

2182
Roadhouse

2183
The Moses Incident

2184
The Killing

2184
Outlaw!

2184
Traitor to his kind
Shaggy Dog Story
The Glum Affair

2184
Big Bust of '49

2185
The Slavers of Drule

2185
Johnny and Wulf retire to Moondog Mountain, Smiley's World

2185
Wulf is killed by the Max Bubba Gang

2187
'Bitch' Freedom Fighters abduct Ronald Reagan from 1987

2187
A Royal Affair

2187
The Rammy

2187
Stone Killers

2187
The No-Go Job

2187
The Final Solution. Johnny Alpha is killed by Lyran Sorcery and the Doghouse is destroyed by a bomb

2188
Island of the Damned
Durham Red hunts down the Goth Lord

2193
New Doghouse is built

2194
Precious Matson enlists Middenface McNulty in the search for
Johnny Alpha's body

2195
Dave Heckle becomes Agency Controller of the new Doghouse

2196
Feral is executed

2196
Johnny Alpha is revived by the Stone Wizards at the request of
Middenface McNulty and Precious Matson

2197
Second Mutant Uprising (Dogs of War)

2199
The Stix Fix - Alpha and his crew are recruited from prison.

2199
Repo Men

2199 By Private Contract - Alpha and McNulty travel to MC-1 (circa 2139) to take Dredd to 2220 to be tried by clones of Chief Judge Cal.

2201   Kenton Sternhammer joins the Search Destroy Agency
   'The Son'
37th Century
Johnny, Wulf, and the Gronk time jump to the 37th century along with their prisoner Adolf Hitler.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Lobo Baggins 08 September, 2018, 11:41:21 AM
Kid Knee's sprightly for a guy who died (https://i.imgur.com/ErR4tup.png) at the end of his first adventure.

That's a different Kid Knee - current Kid Knee (with the eyepatch) is the original Kid's son.

Alpha is born in 2050 according to 'Portrait of a Mutant'.  It's 2080 in the initial Starlord stories, the next time we see a date in 'Journey to Hell', 2079 was 'two years ago', Johnny travels back in time to meet Wulf in 2070 according to 'The Ragnorak Job' and are partners for fifteen years, then Wulf has been dead for 'two years' by the beginning of 'The Final Solution'.  That makes him 37 when he died.

Any variation in given dates is the result of differing local dating systems and/or time distortion corruption.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Colin YNWA 08 September, 2018, 12:28:15 PM
Wow Steve Green that is mighty impressive!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Richard 08 September, 2018, 01:26:45 PM
I thought that By Private Contract was set in 2220. Although 2200 or 2202 would have made more sense, otherwise Middenface is about 90 or 100.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 08 September, 2018, 02:21:45 PM
Wow Steve Green that is mighty impressive!

Too right.  I'm stealing that and printing it out to go in the front of my Agency Files/Mega-Collections. Fantastic work!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 08 September, 2018, 02:24:32 PM
I thought that By Private Contract was set in 2220. Although 2200 or 2202 would have made more sense, otherwise Middenface is about 90 or 100.

2199 By Private Contract - Alpha and McNulty travel to MC-1 (circa 2139) to take Dredd to 2220 to be tried by clones of Chief Judge Cal.

I covered both. It talks about the job being advertised on 'The Flux' (I think).

So I took that to be a some kind of time job 20 years in Alpha's then future. But his own time being 2199.

Since no-one looked significantly older, the date was either a mistake or what I came up with.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 08 September, 2018, 02:27:11 PM
Wow Steve Green that is mighty impressive!

Too right.  I'm stealing that and printing it out to go in the front of my Agency Files/Mega-Collections. Fantastic work!

Help yourself! Not sure it's entirely without errors, and there are a couple of missing bits - annual/specials.

Would be quite nice to get it properly laid out...
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Zenith 666 08 September, 2018, 02:58:48 PM
Wow Steve Green that is mighty impressive!

Too right.  I'm stealing that and printing it out to go in the front of my Agency Files/Mega-Collections. Fantastic work!

Help yourself! Not sure it's entirely without errors, and there are a couple of missing bits - annual/specials.

Would be quite nice to get it properly laid out...

Your hired 😂
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 08 September, 2018, 04:04:23 PM
Any variation in given dates is the result of differing local dating systems and/or time distortion corruption.

Space magic!  See also the apparent youth preserving qualities of faster than light travel. *


* In the alternate universe where Alan Moore wrote Strontium Dog, Portrait Of A Mutant was a sprawling 365-week epic with a digressive anti-structure that included chapters written in the style of Joyce and Wilde which made knowing allusions to the works of said literary and dramaturgical titans with similar names and explained what humans experience as 'time' was, in fact, a solid object, so when Johnny Alpha set off a time bomb he was really only popping into the scullery to put the kettle on.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 08 September, 2018, 04:10:18 PM
Wow Steve Green that is mighty impressive!

Too right.  I'm stealing that and printing it out to go in the front of my Agency Files/Mega-Collections. Fantastic work!

Thirded. Nice one, Steve.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 08 September, 2018, 04:22:14 PM
I think currently Johnny is 51

Maybe he uses Just For Mutants.


: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 08 September, 2018, 04:34:17 PM
Or maybe that tattoo ink that his body absorbed leaked into his follicles.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Funt Solo 09 September, 2018, 12:05:27 AM
I remember a back cover that showed his birth and death years. He was thirty, apparently, when he died.

Back cover of prog 692 (& stunning work from MacNeil):

(https://i.imgur.com/q2QMmLx.jpg)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 09 September, 2018, 05:07:02 PM
That's the one. 28 years ago.  Jesus Loueesus
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 09 September, 2018, 06:21:16 PM
Yeah I ignored a few dates.

The Final Solution gives a date of 2180, but Journey into Hell talks about Don Dork being trapped for 2 years since 2179... so Journey into Hell is 2181.

Plus it seems an awful lot to pack into Johnny's life bearing in mind Rage on its own is several months at least.

Like I said it was really just some content to fill up the fan film facebook page.

: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Leigh S 09 September, 2018, 07:30:16 PM
plus, Ragnorak Job/Rage establish 2170 as the year Alpha meets Wulf and that 15 years pass (I believe there is yet another typo in that story that states 2158 rather than 2185!) - plus 2 years anniversary of Wulfs death shown in Final Solution and 2180 is clearly wrong.

The only important date I think Steves list needs is 15 Billion years in the past where Alpha (travelling from 2176) kickstarts the entire universe by throwing a Timebomb back to before the universe technically existed!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 09 September, 2018, 07:37:09 PM
Yeah that one and the 'incident at the end of the world' book-end the timelines nicely.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Link Prime 10 September, 2018, 01:48:49 PM
Magicking Alpha back to life was still silly. *

Reflecting on the strip since Johnny's resurrection, I've softened to it somewhat.
Somewhat.

Getting over the fact that Johnny was brought back from the dead at all, I still think the execution of "The Life and Death..." was sorely lacking.

Didn't need to be as ridiculous as it was.
Didn't need to disregard The Final Solution / Strontium Dogs / Durham Red.
Didn't need to 'punish' Feral, who was a pretty decent character.

A simple time travel story could have re-set the stage.
Lets say;
Feral (now Firefall- stop sniggering in the back) goes on a suicide mission to the past to somehow save Johnny from his Lyran fate.
After some violent and entertaining shenanigans his younger self takes Johnny's place, simultaneously;

- Johnny never dies.
- No previously published stories need to be retconned.
- Feral / Firefall gets that desired punishment- he simply wipes himself from existence.

Something along those lines would have been a slightly less biter pill to swallow for me.

: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 10 September, 2018, 02:28:28 PM

Like the attempts to solve Dredd's ageing and explain how Fr1day related to Rogue, all the possible options are a bit silly and not particularly interesting from a storytelling point of view.

Wagner & Ezquerra should just have announced they were doing more stories featuring all the old favourites and told us not to worry too much about it. But that's not what comic readers expect:

(https://i.imgur.com/VdArp9R.png?1)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: sheridan 10 September, 2018, 02:32:39 PM
Magicking Alpha back to life was still silly. *

Reflecting on the strip since Johnny's resurrection, I've softened to it somewhat.
Somewhat.

Getting over the fact that Johnny was brought back from the dead at all, I still think the execution of "The Life and Death..." was sorely lacking.

Didn't need to be as ridiculous as it was.
Didn't need to disregard The Final Solution / Strontium Dogs / Durham Red.
Didn't need to 'punish' Feral, who was a pretty decent character.

A simple time travel story could have re-set the stage.
snip
Something along those lines would have been a slightly less biter pill to swallow for me.

Same here - I like some of the stories since The Retconning of Johnny Alpha, but the tortured process to get here (and the childish punishment of Feral along the way) did nobody any favours. :(
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 10 September, 2018, 02:40:00 PM
Wagner & Ezquerra should just have announced they were doing more stories featuring all the old favourites and told us not to worry too much about it. But that's not what comic readers expect:

They did do exactly that, for an entire decade (1999-2009, ten stories, about 400 pages), but as you say, we never stopped carping about it.

I think it's time to stop griping about Life & Death too - the last few SD stories have been good fun, I'd just keep my fingers crossed that John and Carlos have got a few more in them yet.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Link Prime 10 September, 2018, 02:42:50 PM
all the possible options are a bit silly and not particularly interesting from a storytelling point of view.

I agree with you there Frank, but it didn't have to be (and as it turns out it wasn't) that particularly interesting.
It just had to be functional, i.e. bring Johnny Alpha back to life. And on we go from there.

The multi-book 'Life and Death of Johnny Alpha' epic or
the tortured process to get here
is what failed in my view.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Link Prime 10 September, 2018, 02:44:39 PM
the last few SD stories have been good fun, I'd just keep my fingers crossed that John and Carlos have got a few more in them yet.

Agreed.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 10 September, 2018, 02:47:45 PM
I think it's time to stop griping about Life & Death too - the last few SD stories have been good fun, I'd just keep my fingers crossed that John and Carlos have got a few more in them yet.

Long as Carlos keeps drawing them, I'll keep enjoying them.


: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: sheridan 10 September, 2018, 02:53:10 PM
I think it's time to stop griping about Life & Death too - the last few SD stories have been good fun, I'd just keep my fingers crossed that John and Carlos have got a few more in them yet.

Long as Carlos keeps drawing them, I'll keep enjoying them.

I think we can all agree to that!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 10 September, 2018, 03:30:12 PM
I really liked the build up to Johnny's resurrection - McNulty's alcoholism, the Stone Wizards the Ikans and the Project.

The second mutant war dragged a bit for me, I get there had to be some repercussions and it was a post-resurrection combination of Rage and Portrait of a Mutant, but without as much of a personal stake as the previous tales.

I'd still say the flashback tales were on a par with early mid-80s stories - the 'lack of jeopardy' thing didn't bother me, or at least I don't recall it doing so because it was great to have Wulf back for a bit.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: broodblik 10 September, 2018, 04:07:35 PM
For me it is quite simple, I just want some cool Strontium stories. As long as Carlos is on art duty with John writing I do not care.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Robin Low 10 September, 2018, 06:48:07 PM
Reflecting on the strip since Johnny's resurrection, I've softened to it somewhat.
Somewhat.

Getting over the fact that Johnny was brought back from the dead at all, I still think the execution of "The Life and Death..." was sorely lacking.

Didn't need to be as ridiculous as it was.
Didn't need to disregard The Final Solution / Strontium Dogs / Durham Red.
Didn't need to 'punish' Feral, who was a pretty decent character.

A simple time travel story could have re-set the stage....

It didn't even need a time travel story. It could easily have picked up where Peter Hogan left off, done some stuff with Precious Matson's investigations, found Alpha's remains, and then it's off to see the Stone Wizards. Wagner could have written largely the same story without junking the post-Final Solution stories, many of which were pretty enjoyable (they just suffered from the erratic way they appeared in the comic).

With regard to Steve's timeline... I've always been a bit of a stickler for the 2180 date for Alpha's death, but shunting it a few years ahead based on Journey into Hell makes a lot of sense to me given Alpha's rather busy schedule.

Regards,

Robin
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Funt Solo 10 September, 2018, 07:16:11 PM
The stone wizards adopting a Glaswegian accent was comedy gold.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Bolt-01 11 September, 2018, 11:55:18 AM
Robin- one of the things that required the post FS stories to be rendered invalid was the Gronk tale with Johnny's soul turning up (Darkest Star?)- that story kind of needed to be refuted.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 11 September, 2018, 02:35:23 PM
Robin- one of the things that required the post FS stories to be rendered invalid was the Gronk tale with Johnny's soul turning up (Darkest Star?)- that story kind of needed to be refuted.

Agreed. That was a dreadful story - Feral getting the old bad-guy-father origin story, the Lyrans being utterly demystified, and of course Johnny dying again.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 11 September, 2018, 04:03:38 PM
Some great imagery from Dobbyn, though - that wall of flesh where Johnny's soul is entombed is right up there with the most horrific things the comic has given us. Was that Ennis' last story before Hogan took over, or amI getting mixed up?
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Leigh S 11 September, 2018, 05:36:56 PM
Having Feral connected in such a seemingly random (but not!) way could have potentially worked for that stories inclusion rather than against it, as could the idea of Johnny being able to be reincarnated (give him back a proper body!) but only if Wagner had wanted to run with the other players ball, and that isnt really his style...

I loved the flashbacks, love the "new status quo", so happy to squint at the middle bit in the same way I squint at Final Solution!

: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Robin Low 11 September, 2018, 07:00:27 PM
Robin- one of the things that required the post FS stories to be rendered invalid was the Gronk tale with Johnny's soul turning up (Darkest Star?)- that story kind of needed to be refuted.

Yeah, I was waiting for this one to come up. And you're right, it would need addressing. I've just dug out the floppy (oooerr, missus), had a read and don't see much of a problem. Alpha's soul was trapped by the Lyrans, and the Gronk released it. That doesn't prevent the Stone Wizards dragging it back from wherever souls go to and creating a brand new body for Alpha from the old bones that Feral squirrelled away.

It is magic, after all.

Regards,

Robin
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Colin YNWA 11 September, 2018, 09:09:20 PM
As I wittered about elsewhere I've re-read a bunch of those Ennis Strontium Dogs as part of my re-read recently and really enjoyed them. I'm not getting hung up on the fact they are largely being ignored but glad they existed. They took the stories to places they otherwise wouldn't have gone... even if the use of The Gronk was a little... curious...

...art throughout (up to late 800s) was uniformly great.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 11 September, 2018, 09:13:09 PM
I kind of enjoyed Garth's first Strontium Dogs story, I must admit, even though he kind of turned all of Britain into one big Pre-Good-Friday-Agreement Belfast. (I don't know if anyone ever picked it up from his scripts, but he's from Northern Ireland).

It had a nice mix of politics and action, though, and some interesting characters (The cock-shaped mutie with '4-skins' or something tattooed on him was a bit risque for the time too.)

Things only went downhill in his later SD stuff really, with the new, macho Gronk and the usual Garth staple of tough guys getting violent revenge.



: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Richard 11 September, 2018, 09:34:10 PM
I thought the same thing about Ennis's first Strontium Dogs Story. It was good, and I liked the character Slider, whose face wasn't aligned with his skull and looked gruesome. Actually I think that story probably hasn't been retconned by Wagner, although I'm too lazy to go and check.

I thought Life & Death was too long when it ran in the prog, but when I re-read it I changed my mind about it: it's a pretty good, action-packed story. And although I never agreed with the utterly preposterous notion that the flashback stories were no good because we knew Johnny wouldn't die (really?!! I still can't get over that), at least resurrecting him means that Wagner is free to take the strip in new directions if he wants to, without having to keep within the parameters set by The Final Solution.

As for the date of Alpha's death, it can't have been in 2080 because his first stories in Starlord were set in that year, and subsequent stories were explicitly set in later years, until the year that was presumably meant to be 2087 was rendered as 2078 in a caption, which I take to be a typo. I don't think the date was mentioned again until Judgement Day, when Ennis went by the latter date.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steven Denton 12 September, 2018, 09:24:56 AM
There is absolutely no need for Wagner to acknowledge any of the stories post the final solution.

The flashbacks worked fine, but the moment they chose to undo Alphas death the cleanest way address any continuity issues was to simply wipe every post Final Solution story from current continuity. 

if it makes you happy just think of them as happening in a parallel universe.

(I would be happy to see Colin McNeil draw alpha if Carlos ever decided to pass the torch.)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Bolt-01 12 September, 2018, 09:54:41 AM
Getting a Colin Macneil cover for Dogbreath is the second highest 'grail' choice of artist for me.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steven Denton 12 September, 2018, 11:29:06 AM
Getting a Colin Macneil cover for Dogbreath is the second highest 'grail' choice of artist for me.

Simon Harrison being the number 1 choice, obviously.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Bolt-01 12 September, 2018, 11:35:37 AM
It's like you were reading my mind...
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Dark Jimbo 12 September, 2018, 01:13:08 PM
It could easily have picked up where Peter Hogan left off, done some stuff with Precious Matson's investigations, found Alpha's remains, and then it's off to see the Stone Wizards. Wagner could have written largely the same story without junking the post-Final Solution stories, many of which were pretty enjoyable (they just suffered from the erratic way they appeared in the comic).

As a newer reader, though, who missed out on all the 90s stories, I've encountered Stront through the trade collections. And I want to be able to go from Final Solution straight to ...Life and Death  without having to track down some fairly spottily reprinted stories to fully understand what's going on, meaning a trawl through Ebay for tatty back progs or Megazine supplements (which never even finished reprinting the series anyway!)

As things stand, I don't feel like I'm missing out on a thing. Feral's a character in Final Solution - okay. Ah, here he is again in Life and Death, and the story's filling me in on what he's been up to since Final Solution. Great. I'm on board. Don't feel I'm missing out on a thing. But I can see that the junking of a character/story you liked must annoy.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Robin Low 12 September, 2018, 02:03:54 PM
It could easily have picked up where Peter Hogan left off, done some stuff with Precious Matson's investigations, found Alpha's remains, and then it's off to see the Stone Wizards. Wagner could have written largely the same story without junking the post-Final Solution stories, many of which were pretty enjoyable (they just suffered from the erratic way they appeared in the comic).

As a newer reader, though, who missed out on all the 90s stories, I've encountered Stront through the trade collections. And I want to be able to go from Final Solution straight to ...Life and Death  without having to track down some fairly spottily reprinted stories to fully understand what's going on, meaning a trawl through Ebay for tatty back progs or Megazine supplements (which never even finished reprinting the series anyway!)

As things stand, I don't feel like I'm missing out on a thing. Feral's a character in Final Solution - okay. Ah, here he is again in Life and Death, and the story's filling me in on what he's been up to since Final Solution. Great. I'm on board. Don't feel I'm missing out on a thing. But I can see that the junking of a character/story you liked must annoy.

Yeah, I can see that not having read the Ennis/Hogan stuff makes it easy to go from Final Solution to Life and Death. Even many of us who have read the stories are happy to dismiss them. But for me personally, removing them from the story is a great loss. I wish the Ennis and Hogan stuff had been properly collected in sequence - some folk might take a different view of them if they could reread it in a complete and coherent manner.

I'm enjoying the Strontium Dog stories, but they do feel, I dunno, kind of dislocated to me. But then, I'm feeling kind of dislocated from the entire comic at the moment.

Regards,

Robin
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: broodblik 12 September, 2018, 03:24:48 PM
Both Final Solution and Life and Death are stories that never should have been conceived. It was without me releasing at the time the start of the decline. The Final Solution was almost like a door that closed for me on the prog.

I am currently in the process of rereading all the SD stories up until the Final Solution. As a story Final Solution is much better than I can remember. When I initially read it I just hated the fact that this was an end of era. The art of Simon Harrison did not help the overall experience. I just could not get into his art. The latter parts where done by Colin MacNeil. I can see him taking over when Carlos calls it quits.  I am still asking: why did Grant decide on ending Johnny ?
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 12 September, 2018, 03:42:03 PM
Heard a couple of possibles.

Richard Burton said something about SD popularity dropping off and it needed a change.

Creators were looking elsewhere and maybe wanted to kill the characters so no-one took over.

I think it struggled a bit after Rage.

That seemed like a natural end for the strip, with incident on Mayger Minor as a coda.

The Rammy was fun, Bitch seemed to go on way too long, and Stone Killers was fine, but killing Wulf ripped the heart out of the strip for me and it never really recovered.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: broodblik 12 September, 2018, 03:59:01 PM
......but killing Wulf ripped the heart out of the strip for me and it never really recovered.

Yes that is so true
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 12 September, 2018, 06:49:03 PM
Agreed.  I didn't even like 'The Ragnarok Job' much (really didn't need Wulf to be an ACTUAL Viking),  bar the last episode which was one of the greatest comics-reading moments of my life,  and while I admire 'Rage' greatly,  it also felt (appropriately) hollow.  After the excellent 'Incident of Major Shane Ripoff', it was pretty much diminishing returns for me, a bit like Ace Trucking post-'The Nitelite Flight'. I was actually delighted with the shake-up that 'The No-Go Job' seemed to represent,  for all that I missed Carlos.

It turned out that Wulf was just as important to the strip as Johnny, despite generally appearing to be either the readers' everyman mouthpiece or the comic relief.

I wonder can you draw a parallel with Dredd and MC-1, post-DoC?
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Funt Solo 12 September, 2018, 07:13:57 PM
I've always found Strontium Dog to be a bit hit and miss.  My reading started with Death's Head - and there was a collection of super-strong stories from there through to Portrait of a Mutant.

But some of the stories just felt like they either didn't have anything new to say (The Kid Knee Caper) or that they dragged too much (Bitch).

Killing Wulf off was a great story but a terrible legacy. By the time we got to The Rammy and Stone Killers I was just utterly bored of it.  So The No-Go Job (and, latterly, The Final Solution) was just a beautiful injection of new creativity that enlivened a once-great thrill that had started to tread water.

Strontium Dogs was a lull.  Gronk as The Terminator?  Like the re-imagined Robo-Hunter, it was just wrong.  I liked Tales from the Doghouse, though (as sort of superior Future Shocks).

I then enjoyed The Kreeler Conspiracy, but ultimately found myself back in the doldrums with things like A Shaggy Dog Story and "Blood Moon".  Design-wise, I could never buy that a bunch of hardened freedom fighters were following orders from a Kiss-reject.

I've just completed reading Mutant Spring (Life and Death chapter 3) and am finding it a bit derivative of Portrait of a Mutant.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Dandontdare 12 September, 2018, 07:14:29 PM
Getting a Colin Macneil cover for Dogbreath is the second highest 'grail' choice of artist for me.

Simon Harrison being the number 1 choice, obviously.

It's like you were reading my mind...

So if a certain Spanish gentleman offered, you wouldn't be that interested?  ;)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 12 September, 2018, 10:13:16 PM
Think I might be the only person who liked Simon Harrison on Strontium Dog.  Very different from Carlos, of course, but it suited the weirdness of the Lyrans, the other dimension, Sagan and Stonehenge well, and the dynamism of Feral's sudden acts of violence.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Greg M. 13 September, 2018, 06:46:31 AM
I thought Harrison's art was great - on the basis of a recent re-read, it was one of the few good things about The Final Solution. (Particularly fond of his Middenface.) At the time, I found the story quite exciting on a weekly basis, but read as a whole it doesn't hold up particularly well.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Robin Low 13 September, 2018, 07:17:03 AM
Think I might be the only person who liked Simon Harrison on Strontium Dog.  Very different from Carlos, of course, but it suited the weirdness of the Lyrans, the other dimension, Sagan and Stonehenge well, and the dynamism of Feral's sudden acts of violence.

It's so long ago that I can't remember if I immediately liked it or told myself to be open-minded about it. There's no denying that after years of Ezquerra it was one hell of a shock to the system. The same was true about John Hicklenton's Nemesis after Bryan Talbot, but I loved that.

Harrison's art has (as you note) some real dynamism about it, although I'm not so sure it stands up so well on the smaller pages of the trade collection; I'd have to dig out old progs to compare. However, given that this was going to be (in theory) the final story it was probably a mistake to use something so radically different. Because Harrison's style felt so wrong to so many people, I think it biased a lot of people against Harrison, and that's a shame.

Perhaps a bigger mistake was to use full colour to finish the story, although I know that's how the Prog was as the time. As it stands, Colin MacNeil's painted conclusion is still beautiful (it's my preferred MacNeil style). However, MacNeil had already demonstrated that he could do a very good black and white Strontium Dog, and it might have been nice to finish it off that way.

Regards,

Robin
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Robin Low 13 September, 2018, 07:30:35 AM
I wonder can you draw a parallel with Dredd and MC-1, post-DoC?

You might have a point there, although it's not as blatant as missing a main character. There have been some good stories post-DoC and we have a group of writers who can write Dredd's voice, but it all feels kind of rudderless. But what's really missing is Wagner's voice.

Regards,

Robin
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Bolt-01 13 September, 2018, 08:30:20 AM
Getting a Colin Macneil cover for Dogbreath is the second highest 'grail' choice of artist for me.

Simon Harrison being the number 1 choice, obviously.

It's like you were reading my mind...

So if a certain Spanish gentleman offered, you wouldn't be that interested?  ;)

Ah, DDD- the true San-grail has already turned me down unfortunately. Maybe one day, Grud willing.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: IndigoPrime 13 September, 2018, 09:10:08 AM
it all feels kind of rudderless. But what's really missing is Wagner's voice.
Or a rudder.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Robin Low 13 September, 2018, 11:19:56 AM
it all feels kind of rudderless. But what's really missing is Wagner's voice.
Or a rudder.

Yeah, but who's that gonna be if not Wagner?

I suppose at this point it's only fair to say that a great deal of classic stuff came from Alan Grant as well as Wagner.

Regards,

Robin
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: sheridan 13 September, 2018, 01:14:47 PM
It's so long ago that I can't remember if I immediately liked it or told myself to be open-minded about it. There's no denying that after years of Ezquerra it was one hell of a shock to the system. The same was true about John Hicklenton's Nemesis after Bryan Talbot, but I loved that.

Some of us didn't initially like Talbot's work - but then we had been waiting half a year for more O'Neill Nem Book III-style artwork, only to have two episodes of pre-Nem-style O'Neill followed by a completely different artist and art style.  Didn't take long for Bryan's work to grow on me though, thankfully!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Magnetica 13 September, 2018, 01:40:02 PM
Yes Talbot’s Nemesis was awesome and I’m glad we got. So very different to O’Neill’s but brilliant in its own way.

As for Strontium Dog, I never got on with any art work on it that wasn’t Carlos. I remember when Ian Gibson did a couple of episodes in Starlord and I really didn’t like it. As for Simon Harrison’s Final Solution, sorry I never liked it. And the MacNeil early black and white stuff looked to me that it was trying to copy Carlos’ style, but wasn’t as good.

The only non Ezquerra SD artwork I come close to liking was Brendan McCarthy’s in a Starlord annual.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 13 September, 2018, 02:42:53 PM
I really liked Colin's fully-painted ending to the Final Solution.  He was good at killing major characters back then, even if they didn't stay dead.

I'll also never forget my double-take after seeing a very thinly hidden 'FUCK OFF NORMS' taking pride of place on a Milton Keynes wall. 
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: broodblik 13 September, 2018, 02:51:03 PM
I really liked Colin's fully-painted ending to the Final Solution.  He was good at killing major characters back then, even if they didn't stay dead.

I just completed re-reading the Final Solution and Colin's painted work is really great. Strange that I could remember Harrison's art and not Colin's on the Final Solution. Maybe it is due to the fact that I could not like his art (it left a bad impression and it sticked).
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Funt Solo 13 September, 2018, 06:53:45 PM
I was trying to find that "Welcome to Milton Keynes" black and white Simon Harrison poster from the prog (601) by doing a Google, and failed.

But I did find this (which I hadn't known about):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5EZaO1HPF4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5EZaO1HPF4)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Colin YNWA 13 September, 2018, 09:05:00 PM
Think I might be the only person who liked Simon Harrison on Strontium Dog.  Very different from Carlos, of course, but it suited the weirdness of the Lyrans, the other dimension, Sagan and Stonehenge well, and the dynamism of Feral's sudden acts of violence.

No, not at all like Greg on my recent re-read the art has really held up to my teenage love affair with it. Its dark, grusome and such great fun. Love it.

 
Agreed.  I didn't even like 'The Ragnarok Job' much (really didn't need Wulf to be an ACTUAL Viking), 

Now you see another thing I learnt on my re-read is that story is apparently called 'Max Bubba'. I know, I know in my head its always been called 'Ragnarok Job' - which is a better story.
 
On all other notes you are spot on. To be honest after 'Rage' (well Incident at Mayger Manor which is also truly great) I think Strontium Dog was treading water a bit and 'No-Go Job' was the sort of kick up the butt it needed...

Final Solution, art aside as mentioned above, doesn't hold up to my memory of it at the time and could very much be said to taking the 'kick-up the arse' the series needed, but heck its interesting that its there if nothing else.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: credo 14 September, 2018, 11:42:14 AM
The mid-eighties was a great time to be a prog newbie, with the prog itself undergoing some rapid changes and the Monthly allowing you to dig into some great content from the recent past. I think that gave me a different perspective on things. While I found Harrison's SD art jarring, it made sense next to Bisley's ABC Warriors and Slaine, or Hicklenton's Nemesis. Reading both the prog and the monthly meant that these artists defined the strip for me just as much as Carlos, O'Neil, Talbot or McMahon (I think McMahon's Slaine was actually the most jarringly different art for me at the time).

Without the gut rejection of Harrison's art, and helpfully minus the knowledge that Johnny was to be offed, I loved Final Solution, and thought that it stood up really well on reread when the trade came out. In particular, I never got the hatred for Feral. Again, I think this is because I took him as another new SD character, rather than an Alpha replacement.

For me, the problems came post-Final Solution, when the nature of the strip was totally turned on its head, and Feral was this new central character, without anything interesting actually happening. It always seemed to me that Grant was setting things up for a post-Final Solution situation where SD could work as an ensemble piece, with Feral as one of many central characters (maybe integrating characters from the Tales of the Doghouse strips). Shame we never got that.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Link Prime 14 September, 2018, 11:58:58 AM
It always seemed to me that Grant was setting things up for a post-Final Solution situation where SD could work as an ensemble piece, with Feral as one of many central characters (maybe integrating characters from the Tales of the Doghouse strips). Shame we never got that.

It could've gone that way if the course laid out by Peter Hogan was continued.
'Monsters' and 'Dead Mans Hand' (wonderfully illustrated by Simon Harrison) were the only Feral-centric stories (the others being shared with The Gronk, Durham Red and Bullmoose).

I really liked Joe 'Bullmoose' Saxon in those latter Strontium Dogs tales.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Colin YNWA 14 September, 2018, 01:08:19 PM
Yeah I think the ensemble cast of the post Final Solution stories is one of its great strenghts.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Magnetica 14 September, 2018, 02:34:14 PM
I don’t know. It should ever worked, in theory (and there are lots of ensemble TV shows these days) but I never warmed to Strontium Dogs. It’s not as if you couldn’t do the standard caper type story with an SD agent who wasn’t Alpha.

So I guess it was the writing (i.e. not Wagner or Grant) and the art (i.e. not Carlos) that put me off. The only ones I have reread were the ones in a floppy a good few years ago and frankly I still didn’t like them.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: broodblik 14 September, 2018, 02:52:44 PM
I struggled to get into any SD after The Final Solution. If they had any characters that I could relate to or at least find a little bit interesting then I am sure I would be more incline to care but I lost interest.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 14 September, 2018, 05:55:58 PM
It always seemed to me that Grant was setting things up for a post-Final Solution situation where SD could work as an ensemble piece, with Feral as one of many central characters (maybe integrating characters from the Tales of the Doghouse strips). Shame we never got that.

It could've gone that way if the course laid out by Peter Hogan was continued.

Firefall, mate. Those stories would have featured a character called Firefall (https://i.imgur.com/dn3AWLq.jpg).*

The first thing Hogan did was get rid of Feral by zipping him into a cocoon for a couple of years. That act of hubris was an early indication things wouldn't work out** - like Al Ewing (http://) says, remaking a long-running serial in your image is a mug's game.

And as Link observes above, the cast functioned fine as an ensemble; if Hogan didn't think Feral worked, all he had to do was write him as one of the IMF-team members who isn't Tom Cruise. I'm not Stanning for Feral, but we didn't need another change of direction:

(https://i.imgur.com/SVkJv7R.png?3)


* Even the name's awful. Sounds like someone saying the character's original name with a mouth full of crisps. And all the mystic old lady bollocks was a pointless diversion; from the (scant) evidence above, Firefall's just Feral without the instability and internal conflict that were the only (semi)interesting things about him.

** Last time we went round this mulberry bush, the opinion was expressed that Hogan had been playing a careful chess game, and the typewriter was cruelly snatched from him just as he was about to reveal why nothing had happened at all. Maybe, but 2 years and 100 pages of strip just to spin-off Red into a solo strip and leave everyone else exactly where they were at the beginning doesn't suggest Hogan's instincts were suited to Action-adventure.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 14 September, 2018, 09:15:00 PM
I liked Feral.  He was young, cool and anarchic - I was one of those three when he was introduced, and i wanted to be the other two. 

Things did go downhill when he became the main character, but as a supporting character (who looked up to Johnny and loved Middenface's company in the same way we did) he was, in my honest opinion, a very nice addition to the cast.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Dandontdare 14 September, 2018, 10:48:40 PM
For me, when Wulf died it was the end of an era, but the story went on. Then Johnny died - I was swept up, thrilled, dismayed and bereft, but I loved every minute of it - and as much as I love Carlos, I thought Harrison and MacNeil did an amazing job. I had zero complaints, it was one of the best strips running at that time.

There was loads of potential for great stories with the other dogs, but they just felt like generic sc-ifi stories cobbled onto a continuity, they never captured that sergio leone/clint eastwood western feel that classic SD had.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 14 September, 2018, 11:34:17 PM
I've been fully on board with the revisiting and retconning of the conclusion to the Final Solution. Johnny has always been a favourite 2000ad character of mine and I started to drift away from 2000ad when he died......I really didn't like Feral. It was great to ge the flashback stories and even better when the new Strontium Dog stories began to appear.
 
With the introduction of Wulf's son I guess I've lost hope on a "Johnny saving Wulf from his demise at the hands of Bubba" time travel storyline. Any Johnny in the prog is always a plus for me and instantly becomes my go-to first story to read.

Hope Carlos is back up to 100% and drawing more Strontium Dog soon. I always miss both the character and his artist creator when they are absent from the prog.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Richard 15 September, 2018, 04:15:05 PM
Retconning the Final Solution is one thing; saving Wulf from Max Bubba would totally ruin two of the best stories of the classic series: Max Bubba and Rage. Even if such a story was written by Wagner himself, and even if it was a good tale when judged solely on its own merits, I would still ignore it and prefer to think of the original stories as "canon." I probably wouldn't even read it.

Wulf was a popular character, I get that, but there's not much emotional impact in killing off an unpopular character is there? It's precisely because Wulf is missed that the story of his death was so tragic, and is still so memorable when some (not many) other stories in the same series are not. It would be a terrible idea to pretend that didn't happen.

He came back in the flashback story Roadhouse. Leave him there.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 15 September, 2018, 04:33:13 PM
Spot on there,  Richard.  Wulf was also back on board for The Sad Case, The Glum Affair,  Traitor to His Kind (what cheery titles!), Headly Foot Job and Shaggy Dog Story (and possibly more! ), so we haven't exactly been starved of the big guy. In fact,  many of those flashback-era tales were better than the post-Wulf pre-Final Solution stories, rather proving the point.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 05:27:33 PM
So, just to clarify.....it's absolutely fine to completely retcon the emotional and shocking end of the strips lead main character, a stand out moment in 2000ad's history for many, but to do that for his sidekick would simply be unacceptable?  Where is the line is drawn?

If you do it right, it's all fine by me.

This is a strip that has made extensive use of time travel.....seems odd to me that Alpha hasn't done it by now, dubious or not.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 15 September, 2018, 05:49:09 PM
So, just to clarify.....it's absolutely fine to completely retcon the emotional and shocking end of the strips lead main character(?)

A quick skim of the thread shows only The Divine Miss Greg M is arguing the resurrection was a good thing.


: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Greg M. 15 September, 2018, 06:17:39 PM
I support the resurrection because it allowed the series to move forward. I'm lukewarm on the actual mechanics of it - wouldn't have bothered me if the series had just continued with a different lead or ensemble cast - but it's proved worthwhile overall.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Richard 15 September, 2018, 06:45:48 PM
For me the difference is that Max Bubba and Rage are remembered fondly, whereas The Final Solution isn't really. I have no problem with the latter story turning out to be Feral's version of what happened, because it's a pretty weak story. But if you do the same thing to the death of Wulf, then you miss out on "Because I hate you" and all sorts of other good bits.

Who is the lead character and who is the sidekick is not important to me.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Greg M. 15 September, 2018, 06:53:01 PM
I find Wulf more interesting dead, if I'm honest. As Richard says, his demise gave us Rage, which is probably the best S/D story. I prefer the idea of Johnny rotating his partners, as it were - Middenface is my preferred option anyway.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JOE SOAP 15 September, 2018, 07:18:53 PM
I was perfectly happy with the apocryphal angle taken with the flashback stories, but if a stricter continuity and character evolution is considered to be what matters, then it's not wise to negate every significant dramatic development that happened in Johnny's life – especially now that Wulf's son is part of Johnny's future story plus it's a far more interesting catalyst for new stories with Johnny as a father figure.

It's a matter of character priority: without Johnny there's simply no story to speak of. That's not the case with Wulf, so resurrecting him can't be considered an equivalent with Johnny's Lazarus moment.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 15 September, 2018, 07:47:42 PM
Middenface is my preferred option

Interesting that you take what Alan Partridge describes as the Scottish position (https://youtu.be/y0Nx7jNqHqI?t=21s). I loved the jouissance (http://changingminds.org/disciplines/psychoanalysis/concepts/jouissance.htm) of eighties McNulty, but he's a shadow of his former self - and I don't mean the missing arm.

I enjoyed The Final Solution in every regard other than scheduling, but that doesn't mean I think Wagner & Ezquerra should never have been able to create another story featuring Alpha.*


* I'd just rather they'd brass-necked it and embraced the artificiality of the medium and their actions, rather than any dopey in-story explanation. A literal wizard did it! Why not just rub whisky on his beak, for fuck's sake ... although, that's still a less embarrassing idea than time travel or DNA.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Greg M. 15 September, 2018, 07:59:25 PM
Interested to know if you enjoyed the last couple of Bad Company stories, Frank, since Milligan pretty much takes your preferred approach to the idea of resurrecting characters.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 15 September, 2018, 08:05:42 PM
Interested to know if you enjoyed the last couple of Bad Company stories, Frank, since Milligan pretty much takes your preferred approach to the idea of resurrecting characters.

No, but that's definitely not why I don't enjoy those stories. Like you (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45444.msg991758#msg991758), I can separate the mechanics from the story they facilitate.


: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 08:07:04 PM
Max Bubba and Rage were 30 years ago now. The stories stand irrespective of what happens now.

I have previously been comprehensively schooled by members of the board that new star wars films, for example, have not impacted on my continued enjoyment the originals, so surely a new development in Strontium Dog in the 21st century does not retrospectively ruin or detract from a story from several decades past?

Anyway, I have enjoyed the new storylines and Johnny's return. Just occurs to me that in a story where time travel has featured prominently, that our main character may at least contemplate abusing the power to save the life of the most significant person in his life.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 08:20:22 PM
The real problem is that once you put the ability to time travel into a story, it causes huge problems with the "finality" of anything. Most likely why it's played down in Strontium Dog post the 1980's.

Apologies for the double post, I couldn't modify the previous one!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 15 September, 2018, 08:26:45 PM
... once you put the ability to time travel into a story, it causes huge problems with the "finality" of anything ... Apologies for the double post, I couldn't modify the previous one!

There's irony for you.


: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 08:32:07 PM
... once you put the ability to time travel into a story, it causes huge problems with the "finality" of anything ... Apologies for the double post, I couldn't modify the previous one!

There's irony for you.
:lol:  indeed!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JOE SOAP 15 September, 2018, 08:37:02 PM
Max Bubba and Rage were 30 years ago now. The stories stand irrespective of what happens now.

I have previously been comprehensively schooled by members of the board that new star wars films, for example, have not impacted on my continued enjoyment the originals, so surely a new development in Strontium Dog in the 21st century does not retrospectively ruin or detract from a story from several decades past?

Anyway, I have enjoyed the new storylines and Johnny's return. Just occurs to me that in a story where time travel has featured prominently, that our main character may at least contemplate abusing the power to save the life of the most significant person in his life.


That's conflating personal enjoyment with the development of what happens in-story. It's not only about the importance of stories past but of stories future. Presuming the decision to resurrect Johnny in such a literal fashion means the writer wants the consequences of those past stories to still be extant at the present time then it's all about the character and not just rebooting for the sake of. Otherwise they could've just gone back in time and saved both Johnny and Wulf – but that's kind of a boring story and only re-enforces the idea that death really doesn't matter in that universe.

Resurrecting Johnny was a narrative fudge borne from the desire to undo a consequence. In hindsight, it was said that killing Johnny was a mistake. Apparently the same degree of regret for offing Wulf is not there, so they replaced him with his son instead, which is better for Johnny and the series.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 08:45:34 PM
....unless you want to read some NEW Johnny and Wulf stories that is.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JOE SOAP 15 September, 2018, 08:49:00 PM

Indeed, and the flashback stories could've filled that hole easily, but I assume the creators wanted something different to keep them interested.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 08:51:25 PM
Absolutely.

Though we did have a change of writer between rage, the final solution and Johnny's return (if I'm remembering right). I wonder if Wagner would have done the same.

I am glad we moved forward from the flashback stories though.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 15 September, 2018, 09:14:05 PM
Though we did have a change of writer between rage, the final solution and Johnny's return (if I'm remembering right). I wonder if Wagner would have done the same.

Wagner & Grant wrote all the classic-era strips together, so it wasn't so much a change in writer as the loss of one.

Grant says he returned from Christmas holiday (1987) to find Wagner had dissolved their writing partnership and divvied up their writing assignments, so The No-Go Job (June 1988 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=thrill&page=profiles&Comic=2000AD&choice=STRONT)) is the first story he could have scripted without some Wagner involvement.

Grant says (http://web.archive.org/web/20130515033021/http://www.2000adreview.co.uk/features/interviews/2005/grant/grant1.shtml) Wagner had become bored of the strip and wanted to kill Alpha around the same time they offed Wulf, and so he (Grant) was only fulfilling Wagner's wishes when the Pteranodon/skellington hybrid did its thing. Wagner says (http://web.archive.org/web/20130615191107/http://www.2000ad.nu/classof79/jw_interview.htm) he can't remember but must at least have signed-off on the plan.*


* Grant also claims both writers wanted to put their characters off-limits for other writers before leaving IPC, too - and (as Steve Green says) Richard Burton (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/ecbt2000ad-ep285/) also claims it was his idea to murder Alpha (because approval ratings were down and he thought it would shake up the strip?!)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 09:18:24 PM
Very interesting! Thanks for the info Frank.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 15 September, 2018, 09:19:36 PM
I can't really see how the time-travel thing was played down after the 90s - there was Johnny meeting his younger self in Blood Moon, and Dredd meeting Johnny yet again in a time job a couple of years ago.

It also opens up the whole 'Is Johnny's world Dredd's world in the future' can of beans, but that's been examined to death in other threads.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 15 September, 2018, 09:22:40 PM
...in a story where time travel has featured prominently, that our main character may at least contemplate abusing the power to save the life of the most significant person in his life.

The only problem with that (reasonable) idea is that significantly changing the past has been shown to have universe-threatening effects in SD (although trivial changes like those in The Mork Whisperer dont seem to matter).  Wulf's well-decayed zombie attacked Johnny in Final Solution, so somehow rescuing him from before/around the time of his death would have consequences. Plus Johnny has played with the whole resurrection thing before in the Moses Incident,  and that didn't end well.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Dark Jimbo 15 September, 2018, 09:36:58 PM
Reversing a death with time travel has already been shown not to work (in Rage) - death finds a way of claiming its own.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: SIP 15 September, 2018, 09:40:47 PM
Very good points. And death eventually claiming someone is a really interesting one. Perhaps that premise is exactly what influenced the nature of Johnny's eventual resurrection.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 15 September, 2018, 09:57:33 PM
There have to be consequences - Johnny's resurrection wasn't easy - and the excuse given is that being shot by blasters is different to an unnatural death, which is fine with me.

It's been stated multiple times that time can't be changed significantly - Blood Moon for example, and obviously with Ragnarok or the Schicklgruber job.

I guess you could have Kenton go off the rails and try to save his Dad, with Johnny forced to travel back, stop him but also have to watch the events without interfering, but seems best to move on.

I can't see of any way to bring Wulf back without breaking the rules of that universe - otherwise why stop with Wulf? Johnny could stop the Project too.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 15 September, 2018, 10:31:17 PM
Well yeah,  but the point is that L&DoJA showed that Johnny wasn't ever actually dead - his body was still warm, and didn't decay: it was some kind of Lyran sorcery that kept him like this, maybe a consequence of his energy bring used to open the portal to Earth, or maybe even an effect of the wee beastie that was hitchhiking in his noggin.  The only bit of Final Solution that was actually retconned was what happened when the Flying Thing attacked him the second time, the disintegration being shown to be an invention of Feral's and merely what he told Middenface.  Everything else played out the same,  except Feral kept the existence of a "body' secret. The only thing the Stone Wizards did was restore his eyes and wake him from his eldritch slumber.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 15 September, 2018, 10:50:35 PM
OK, well there should be quotes around death and resurrection.

: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JOE SOAP 15 September, 2018, 11:20:19 PM
He was just resting.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steven Denton 16 September, 2018, 10:15:30 AM
The real problem is that once you put the ability to time travel into a story, it causes huge problems with the "finality" of anything. Most likely why it's played down in Strontium Dog post the 1980's.


No it doesn't. Time travel can be used as a lazy fix all but that just introduces more problems then it fixes until, inevitably if you go down that rout, every story is just a complete mess of fragmented continuity and alternate realities.

Bringing charters back from the dead does cause huge problems however as if you do it once fans and future writers will keep asking 'why not this character too'. It's something that Wagner tried to head off in strip in the resurrection story with an in strip explanation, but once the Genie is out of the bottle you can't put it back in.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 16 September, 2018, 12:23:45 PM
It's not really time-travel specifically - it's Johnny has a lot of tech and powers which is the same problem Dredd has (or had) with Psi-Division, Birdie, PSU etc.

Seems like it's more a case of stripping away the devices that could be used as get out of jail free cards.

E.g. time bombs become dangerous to use on yourself/very expensive/illegal, but also Johnny's mind reading powers post mortem, his jedi mind tricks, limited telepathy.

You just end up with a long list of 'why didn't he use that skill/gadget?'

Even with the scope of time bomb usage it's been pushed to breaking point - that Johnny can get from one planet to another to a specific time (and back again) in Blood Moon.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Richard 17 September, 2018, 12:38:31 AM
I've just re-read John Wagner's interview in Megazine 3.65 (May 2000), and he says quite a lot about all of this.

WR Logan did the interview, and asked about the return of Johnny Alpha in The Kreeler Conspiracy. Wagner said:

Had I gone the way I originally intended the changes would have been more drastic, including the writing out of Wulf. Andy Diggle appealed to me to reconsider, as I would be in danger of upsetting a lot of staunch Stront fans (including him). He was quite right -- I'd miss old Wulf if I knew he was never going to appear again. I'd probably have to stage another miracle resurrection to bring him back. So really all that's changed is the chronology and some of the background of Johnny's world. The Kreeler Conspiracy takes place before Wulf came on the scene and we'll probably have Wulf back for the second series...

As far as making Stront my own again, I've never felt it was anything else. I've not read a Strontium Dog or related story since Johnny's death and don't feel bound by anything that's happened since that point. However as the stories I'll be doing will be taking place during Johnny's lifetime -- never-before-told adventures -- I won't be going out of my way to contradict anything anyone else has done.

I can't remember if I co-wrote Johnny's last story; I think Alan may have done that one on his own... No matter, I must have agreed to it happening. Do I regret it? I don't know, maybe a little, but nobody lives forever. Johnny had to die sometime. It doesn't stop me telling new Strontium Dog stories. Is it only the possibility that the hero might die that makes a story worth reading? Does knowing when and how Johnny will die take away the pleasure of stories that happened earlier in his life? Surely not. You know for a fact when you read a Dredd that he is not going to die, but that doesn't spoil it for you.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: sheridan 17 September, 2018, 01:31:24 PM
Reversing a death with time travel has already been shown not to work (in Rage) - death finds a way of claiming its own.


Is that a Time Drogue?  They've never been presented as anything other than a short-term fix (like, 30 seconds).
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: TordelBack 17 September, 2018, 01:48:35 PM
I'd argue that if there's ANY way of reversing a death in the SD Universe,  Johnny would have used it on Moses Quest, at a point in his career where he was throwing time-tech around like confetti.

As it turned out,  the only way was sorcery/necromancy (as it was with Johnny himself, and indeed Wulf), and that turned to shite too. 
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 17 September, 2018, 02:51:14 PM
Reversing a death with time travel has already been shown not to work (in Rage) - death finds a way of claiming its own.


Is that a Time Drogue?  They've never been presented as anything other than a short-term fix (like, 30 seconds).

Yep, it's a time drogue.

Time Bombs displace the victims in time but not space (supposedly)

Time Traps loop a sequence (Kreelman was caught in one)

Time Drogues rewind time - in the first SD story, Johnny actively turns off the time drogue and the victim dies a second time. There's never been an explicit explanation in story how it works, as there's no need.

In the fan film we had it on a timer, but stuck with it being a temporary effect.

There's also a Time Stretcher type thing which accelerates time locally (used against Willy Blanko)

: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: ZenArcade 17 September, 2018, 03:14:47 PM
If he was born in 2150, he is minus 132.  Z
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Dark Jimbo 17 September, 2018, 03:25:25 PM
Reversing a death with time travel has already been shown not to work (in Rage) - death finds a way of claiming its own.


Is that a Time Drogue?  They've never been presented as anything other than a short-term fix (like, 30 seconds).

 Johnny tracks a bloke who can help him get on the trail of Max Bubba, but he arrives at the bar just in time to see his lead killed as a result of cheating at cards. He uses a time drogue to undo the murder and questions his lead. Then Johnny simply walks off - the man thanks him for saving his life, but Johnny tells him not to bother. Sure enough, the cheating comes to light again (though in a different way) and the lead's murdered a second time as Johnny leaves. The third-person narration explicitly talks about Death never letting itself be cheated out of what it's owed.

It does explain why, in a universe chock full of time weapons, nobody ever so much as attempts to use them to undo death - it must be (fairly) common knowledge that it simply won't stick.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Pyroxian 17 September, 2018, 03:26:41 PM
If he was born in 2150, he is minus 132.  Z

Also, only 14 years before another Nuclear war in the Dredd-verse :)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 17 September, 2018, 04:19:12 PM
If he was born in 2150, he is minus 132.  Z

Also, only 14 years before another Nuclear war in the Dredd-verse :)

When Britain gets nuked so hard that Brit Cit disappears and all pre-Megacity towns grow back again.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 17 September, 2018, 04:33:50 PM
Reversing a death with time travel has already been shown not to work (in Rage) - death finds a way of claiming its own.


Is that a Time Drogue?  They've never been presented as anything other than a short-term fix (like, 30 seconds).

 Johnny tracks a bloke who can help him get on the trail of Max Bubba, but he arrives at the bar just in time to see his lead killed as a result of cheating at cards. He uses a time drogue to undo the murder and questions his lead. Then Johnny simply walks off - the man thanks him for saving his life, but Johnny tells him not to bother. Sure enough, the cheating comes to light again (though in a different way) and the lead's murdered a second time as Johnny leaves. The third-person narration explicitly talks about Death never letting itself be cheated out of what it's owed.

It does explain why, in a universe chock full of time weapons, nobody ever so much as attempts to use them to undo death - it must be (fairly) common knowledge that it simply won't stick.

More surprisingly why no-one seems to use it to Biff Tannen their way to billions.
The universe seems to tolerate observation (Mork Whisperer) after all.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: sheridan 17 September, 2018, 04:37:52 PM
More surprisingly why no-one seems to use it to Biff Tannen their way to billions.

You've been listening to Space Spinner 2000!
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 17 September, 2018, 04:38:57 PM
Always.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: sheridan 17 September, 2018, 05:06:10 PM
Always.

I guess the clue was in you starting the Forum thread on the podcast *ho hum*
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Pyroxian 17 September, 2018, 05:16:16 PM
If he was born in 2150, he is minus 132.  Z

Also, only 14 years before another Nuclear war in the Dredd-verse :)

When Britain gets nuked so hard that Brit Cit disappears and all pre-Megacity towns grow back again.

Obviously a deliberate design decision by the reconstruction committee...
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Mardroid 17 September, 2018, 05:23:08 PM
If he was born in 2150, he is minus 132.  Z

Also, only 14 years before another Nuclear war in the Dredd-verse :)

When Britain gets nuked so hard that Brit Cit disappears and all pre-Megacity towns grow back again.

Actually, Brit-cit does appear in at least one SD story, but not more than 3 I think*. But, yes, the other UK cities (Milton-Keynes, anyway) seem to have returned.

*I forget precisely which one(s), but I believe it was either a reboot or back-flash stories though. If the former, then the canon is perhaps subjective. A bit of retcontinuity, either way. I kind of like the idea of Brit-cit being a constant in different strips. A lynchpin for geek/nerd types like us to to speculate about. That’s not to say I think Dredd, Robo-Hunter and SD actually share a continuity, although the first and last sometimes do.**

**I like Jim’s idea that Dredd is part of SD’s history, but SD is not necessarily in Dredd’s future.
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Robin Low 17 September, 2018, 06:31:42 PM
If he was born in 2150, he is minus 132.  Z

Also, only 14 years before another Nuclear war in the Dredd-verse :)

When Britain gets nuked so hard that Brit Cit disappears and all pre-Megacity towns grow back again.

Brit-Cit's layout and size is really rather vague. That John Smith story in the meg with the horse-head guy suggests there's still proper countryside out there.

In the same way some people today seem to think that only London and the south-east matter, I can imagine Brit-Cit only refers to an expanded London. However, googling some maps (that one from Shamballa) shows Brit-Cit only covering the lower part of England. Milton Keynes could be just a northern suburb

Regards,

Robin
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Frank 17 September, 2018, 07:25:07 PM
Brit-Cit's layout and size is really rather vague ... there's still proper countryside out there

... and leafy suburbs with brick semis and concrete pavements:

(https://i.imgur.com/Qd8TjBH.png?2) (https://i.imgur.com/O8LjVPN.png?2)

Judge Dredd: The Lion's Den, Carroll & Holden, 1979 - 1980


: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: Steve Green 17 September, 2018, 08:10:33 PM
Brick semi.

(https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.illustrationartgallery.com%2Facatalog%2FEzquerraSD569-14.jpg&f=1)
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: sheridan 17 September, 2018, 09:32:57 PM
Brick semi.

(https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.illustrationartgallery.com%2Facatalog%2FEzquerraSD569-14.jpg&f=1)

That's not brick, it's stone!  Who had the semi?
: Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
: JayzusB.Christ 17 September, 2018, 10:37:16 PM
Me, for starters.