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Messages - Funt Solo

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 419
Books & Comics / Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« on: 08 September, 2019, 10:23:28 pm »
Thanks, Frank: all fascinating and of course it doesn't measure too well against the realities (for example, of moving premises or of dealing with a huge backlog of commissioned material) to just plug in a prog number and say who was in control.  (But it's nice to plug in the prog numbers anyway and then sit back and get a sort of 50,000 feet view of things.)

It's staggering, given all the stumbling blocks, that we still have 2000 AD.

Books & Comics / Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« on: 08 September, 2019, 06:54:10 pm »
I can say with certainty that prog 1 is IPC   :D

Oh FFS!   :lol:

Books & Comics / Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« on: 08 September, 2019, 04:53:26 pm »
Frank - I think I've got that 2000 AD changed publisher like this:

1977 IPC Magazines
1987 Fleetway (Robert Maxwell)
1991 Egmont UK
2000 Rebellion

But do you know the specific progs that the changeovers took place?


Second question: is this list of Thargs correct?

General / Re: Welcome
« on: 07 September, 2019, 10:44:09 pm »
What about Thread Zero, though?

Prog / Re: 2000 AD in Stages
« on: 07 September, 2019, 10:20:55 pm »
Stage #12: Rage (progs 468-499)

Covering a large chunk of 1986, this stage is most renowned for its relentless response to Wulf's death at the end of The Ragnarok Job.  For Strontium Dog, which had spent much of its time hopping from one bounty job to another, this powerful sequence altered the make up of the strip and ran for over a year with just a single gap.

Whilst established thrills hold court or pop up briefly (Dredd, Ace, Anderson, Nemesis, Rogue and Slaine), there are also experimental new properties such as Sooner or Later, Metalzoic and Bad City Blue.

Sooner or Later
This acid-laced, Ken Loach-ish Time Machine ran for 32 progs, often as single-page back covers (except for the 6-page opener). Micky Swift gets whisked off into the future and in a surreal, post-modern commentary on eighties Britain, must somehow find his way home. "You know it mock's sense."
We get Swifty's Return in progs 416-617, but that's three years away in 1989.

Anderson, Psi-Division, The Possessed
Anderson's second solo series sees her team up with the Exorcists (a new Psi-Div sub-div) to tackle a case of demonic possession [see title]. A fairly pedestrian adventure that re-uses Brett Ewins' amazing designs for twisty-ghost-people from The Haunting of Sector House 9 (progs 359-358).

Supernatural sexual harassment trivia: the cover of prog 475 has ghostly corridor-hands groping Anderson, with her responding "I said 'Hands UP'!" Twenty-four years later, in 2010's Megazine 303 (The House of Vyle), another corridor of hands gets fresh, with Anderson asking "Don't you know it's an offence to grope a Judge, creep?"

The next series for Anderson starts in prog 520...

Judge Dredd
A mixed period of shorter thrills, with a spate of considerably weaker stories.  Standing out above the rest in terms of quality are 468's It Pays to be Mental, the artistically vibrant Riders on the Storm (472-473), the meta critique of US comics presented as The Art of Kenny Who? (477-479) and the representation of Brit-Cit Judges in Atlantis (485-488).
Dredd continues quite a long-running period of highs and lows in the next stage...

Ace Trucking Co.
The interminable Doppelgarp draws to its 21-prog close but is quickly followed by the 23-prog Garpetbaggers, which stretches terribly thinly the idea that they're adventuring in Movieland. When a strip entirely abandons the central premise (space-trucking), it's a sign that barrel bottoms are being scraped.
Garp crops up briefly next in the 1989 2000 AD Annual, but ultimately it's done.

Bad City Blue
Whilst this shares thematic elements with A Clockwork Orange (brain-washing violent criminals), Logan's Run (the idea of Button Men / Sandmen), Silent Running (domes in space) and Escape From New York (Blue is a tough guy against all the odds in the mould of Snake Plissken) it's also very much its own beast. Blue, programmed to enforce the law, discovers that not is all it seems in the asteroid-set Bader City, and sets out to uncover its fate.
Very much a one and done.

Strontium Dog
In the 21-prog Rage, Johnny Alpha seeks revenge against Max Bubba and his gang for the torture and murder of his long-time partner Wulf. With the murder of Wulf, and the positioning of Alpha as entirely driven by vengeance, there is the question of where the story goes now.

Rage is immediately followed by Incident on Mayger Minor (Alpha, acting solo but otherwise emulating the storyline of The Magnificent Seven) and War Zone (where Johnny teams up with Middenface McNulty). Certainly, Rage is a hard act to follow, but both of these tails manage to hold their own in terms of continuing the strip.

Alpha returns next stage in Bitch (starting in prog 505).

Tharg's Future Shocks
Grant Morrison continues to provide the main portion, writing five of the thirteen new Shocks, but there are some new kids on the block in the shape of John Smith (writing three, starting with prog 473's Time Enough to Tell) and Neil Gaiman (writing two, starting with prog 488's You're Never Alone With a Phone).
More in the next stage...

Tharg the Mighty...
Tharg sends 2000 AD into the past in "2000 BC".
More in the next stage...

We get Danger: Genius at Work, Blood Sport and the memorably spooky Candy and the Catchman (which would be a Terror Tale if those existed yet).
More one-offs in the next stage...

Nemesis the Warlock, Book VI.I: Torquemurder
Nemesis, the ABC Warriors, Purity Brown and Torquemada travel to Earth's end-times, where the Termites have been mining humanity's ultimate evolutionary form for fuel and shipping it back to their own time. Unfortunately the by-product of the mining is the Monad (a murderous collective spirit), and this first half of the Book leaves everyone under threat from its harmful psychic projections.  (If all that sounds weird, its because it is.)
Returns for the second part in prog 500...

Actually a reprint of a DC Comics graphic novel (and here limited somewhat by lacking the original's full colour presentation), this is an original piece set on a future Earth where machines have evolved into sentience and are reminsicent of extinct mammalian life. The story is complex but revolves around a conflict between two tribes: the wheeldebeasts led by Amok and the Mekaka led by Armageddon.
It's one and done.

Slaine, The Spoils of Annwn
This seven-parter serves as the opener to what might be considered the third epoch of the Slaine saga. The first few stories introduced us to Slaine and told his back story: effectively he was a warrior in search of a tribe, and we followed his wanderings from The Time-Monster to Dragonheist.

The second epoch introduced the Cythrons, and Slaine's battles against the dark gods took us through Time Killer and the Tomb of Terror (with a marked difference in the design aesthetic as the axe was replaced with a leyser sword and gun).

The Spoils of Annwn take us back to the fantasy aspects of a mythical Albion as Slaine searches for mythical knowledge in the Temple of the Stars, armed with an axe again.
Foreshadowed is the idea of Slaine becoming king, which occurs in the next stage...

Rogue Trooper, [The Hit Man]
Forty-five progs after Rogue teamed up with a gang of Norts and Southers to combat some mysterious aliens who want to propogate the war, we get this follow-up. Rogue abandons his gang, gets teleported to the alien base where they reveal that they're actually trying to enact galactic peace: but they need an assassin to do it (and had to murder a bunch of people first rather than just ask nicely). Rogue is thus employed.
Returns in prog 520...


 - Barney
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (part 2)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (part 2) & (part 3)
 - The 2000 AD ABC

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 04 September, 2019, 01:32:06 am »
I know politicians are supposed to lie, but has Boris no sense of shame?  (Rhetorical, of course: otherwise I'd be guilty of asking a stupid question.) 

This in reference to his continuing protestations that he's attempting to make a deal with the EU, when he can't provide any substance to indicate that there is any attempt being made to make a deal.

It's pure politics (100% proof), a complete absence of any reality save the underlying quest for power.  "If I say A, and people believe me, I might gain B."

Off Topic / Re: Friday chat - what's happening with you?
« on: 03 September, 2019, 09:42:02 pm »
Conversely, I've discovered a genuine love of arson.

There's no need for me to read the rest of that post as the opening line has made me happy enough.

General / Re: Space Spinner 2000AD
« on: 03 September, 2019, 08:40:05 pm »
Guys, I love you ... but ... you can't talk about Masterman killing Siadwell Rhys and then lay out that the pay off line was "Who's next?"  Are ye bananas?  It's only the most disturbing pay-off line in 2000 AD history: "What a shame. I think I've broken him."

Website and Forum / Re: How to make a healthy vibrant forum?
« on: 02 September, 2019, 05:27:00 pm »



incomprehensible spelling and/or grammar

RTFM (j/k)

General / Re: Sorry to hear About Nigel Dobbyn RIP
« on: 02 September, 2019, 05:19:32 pm »
Always really loved Nigel Dobbyn's art in the prog.  It brought Medivac 318 (one of my favorite thrills) to glorious life.

Prog / Re: 2000 AD in Stages
« on: 01 September, 2019, 06:04:31 am »
Stage #11: Going Out (progs 435-467)

Generally the comic seems strong and confident in this stage, but when people think of a golden age they're probably remembering Nemesis, Strontium Dog, Slaine and Halo Jones.  Conversely, they're probably not thinking of Mean Team, Rogue's return from Horst or The Doppelgarp.

Nemesis the Warlock, Book V: The Vengeance of Thoth
Skipping ahead ten years from Book IV but carrying on the Thoth plot from Book III, this sees Nemesis get married to Magna but then almost immediately do a Total Recall, but not before she's eaten Grobbendonk.  Varty slar!

Original Torquemada died for good in the previous book, but Thoth goes and grabs a copy from earlier in time.  Oddly, the new Torque teams up with Nemesis and the ABC Warriors (who have replaced Mad Ronn with Mek-Quake) and by the end of the book they're all on the tail of Thoth and his pet: a fireball breathing Satanus (because Millsverse).

More unpredictable mash-up madness in Book VI, next stage...

Robo-Hunter: Farewell, My Billions
101 progs after Sam Slade's Last Case it's a surprise to see him return to the prog for his "first case since his last case".  It's a comedy of errors in which Hoagy and Stogie attempt to get Sam back into the Robo-Hunting game despite his being quite content as a rich retiree.
Robo-Hunter, Samantha Slade (about Sam's niece) plays out from 2004-2007 (written by Alan Grant), and there's a one-off flashback style story (The Bodj Job) in 2014's Sci-Fi Special (authentically written by Alec Worley).  More controversially, Mark Millar started writing knock-off stories under the banner of Robo-Hunter in 1991 but most kindly these should be considered a temporary reboot.

Judge Dredd
1985 finishes out with a sequence of short tales that riff on existing themes.  Most memorable would be The Man Who Knew Too Much, Magnificent Obsession, Death of a Politician, Love Story and The Squadron That Time Forgot.  Prog 450 stands out with the 14-page A Merry Tale of the Christmas Angel.

1986 starts strong with The Warlord and has significant Dreddverse beats in A Chief Judge Resigns (McGruder takes The Long Walk, Hershey joins The Council of Five) and the absolutely vital Letter From a Democrat.

Tharg's Future Shocks
Peter Milligan, Oleh Stepaniuk and Grant Morrison share script duties on these one-off shocks. Of note seems to be Morrison's first work for the prog in 466's Hotel Harry Felix.
More in the next stage...

Tharg the Mighty...
Exit the Wally, Enter the Beast; Psmith's Farewell & Supersub tell veiled tales of Nerve Centre shenanigans.
More in the next stage...

Mean Team
Blackhawk meets The Mean Arena, in that it's got aliens but also an urban future sport.  Oddly, it's more reminiscent now of computer games: so like a cross between League of Legends and Call of Duty.  This may mean it was ahead of its time, but it's an odd fish.  The lead character, Bad Jack Keller, is a murderous asshole and the best thing that can be said about the melodrama of one of the player's having his brain transplanted into a panther is that his reaction when he wakes up and looks in the mirror is pure comedy gold.

It feels like it loses its way, having the team transplanted to what seems like an entirely new story (itself a sort of Meltdown Man meets Death Planet) at the end of this opening salvo, but the first page lays this out as the intention all along. Can perhaps be summed up well with this quote: "Just one man - and a cat with a man's brain, but they were too much for the Black Swamp Dragons."

Prog 447 says "they'll be back in the spring [of '86]", but they don't return until the summer of 1987, 78 progs later.

Rogue Trooper, [Return to Milli-Com]
Rogue found a cure for his bio-chipped buddies on Horst and returns to base. A firing squad pretend to shoot him (for a joke) and then the highest ranking Souther general punches him in the face. 

Peace between the Norts and Southers beckons but is sabotaged by mysterious aliens who teleport troops in on targeted assassination missions.  Of course, this means the bio-chips don't get re-gened, the peace process is spoiled and ends with Rogue going ... rogue ... again.  (This time, though, he seems to be leading a rag-tag mixed group of Norts and Southers: like he has a rogue gang.)

More in the next stage after a 45-prog break...

Strontium Dog
Key here is The Ragnarok Job, a 21-prog epic that contains Wulf's origin story whilst also setting up Max Bubba as a plastic-wrapped nemesis. By the end of the tale, both Wulf and Johnny have died...

...except [SPOILER ALERT] Alpha wasn't really dead, just playing possum. The two-part coda (sometimes known as Smiley's World) see's Alpha regain his health.
Johnny returns seeking vengeance in the next stage...

Slaine, Tomb of Terror
The mid-80s were the heyday of choose-your-own-adventure game books, with The Warlock of Firetop Mountain having really kicked things off in 1982. Whilst the Fighting Fantasy series was probably the most well known, there were also great serial publications such as Lone Wolf (starting in '84), Way of the Tiger ('85) and Falcon (also '85), where you could maintain your character from book to book.

Here, Slaine joins in with a choose-your-own-adventure comic running alongside the strip for fifteen issues. Slaine (and YOU!) must stop the dark god Grimnismal from awakening from the ... Tomb of Terror!

Returns after a 31-prog break in the next stage...

The Ballad of Halo Jones, Book Three
Halo's always had tragedy in her life, but here it reaches new heights and almost drives her mad. A war foreshadowed in earlier books becomes central and ideas of time and gravity play with perspective as Halo struggles to escape a dark web threatening to engulf her.
Not only the last of Halo Jones, but also the last of Alan Moore in the prog.

Ace Trucking Co.
So Ace, who died by flying into the sun, actually instead traveled to a different dimension, where he meets up with another Ace (& crew) and together they adventure in The Doppelgarp. There's definitely been a shift in this story from being inventive and fresh, to just being punny (e.g. The Dave Cluck Five).
Continues in the next stage...


There's a great celebration of the Dreddverse with the eleven History of Justice posters spread throughout progs 436-452. They don't show up in Barney, but you get seven by Brian Bolland and four by Mike McMahon. Here's an example from prog 441:

We also get The New Masters, a seven-poster series celebrating Ian Gibson (454), Robin Smith (457), Brett Ewins (458), Cam Kennedy (460), Cliff Robinson (465), Massimo Belardinelli (466) and Carlos Ezquerra (467).  Here's Cam's:

Tying in thematically with Slaine's Tomb of Terror foray into choose-your-own-adventure, the first two issues of Diceman were released during this stage and contained two more Slaine adventures (Cauldron of Blood and Dragoncorpse), Dice Man (an occult private eye), Hammerstein (vs. Volgo the Ultimate Death Machine), Judge Dredd (in the House of Death) and Nemesis (in Torture Tube).


 - Barney
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History
 - The 2000 AD ABC

Off Topic / Re: Friday chat - what's happening with you?
« on: 31 August, 2019, 06:01:55 am »
Well, it's still Friday here.  Planning on getting back onto my catch-up with the comic - I've just started prog 1912 for the first time - Sisters of Death are back on the manner!

Last weekend before school starts back up, so trying to come up with a plan for that and then will be weeping copiously into my cornflakes about having to shelve my nerd hobbies a bit more in favor of grading.

Also, had to put my dog down today, so that was fairly awful and so figuring out how to cope with grief stages around that.

Got turned onto Limmy's Show, which can be hit and miss.  I don't know if you need to know Glasgow well to really get it but Dee Dee's trip to Yoker had me enthralled.

Prog / Re: 2000 AD in Stages
« on: 31 August, 2019, 05:52:06 am »
Yeah, the stats are pretty crazy...

From prog 228 to 392 is 165 progs (or 3 years and 2 months) from September 1981 to November 1984.

Here's the percentage select thrills are in the prog (non-reprint) in that span:

98% Judge Dredd
94%   Rogue Trooper
44% Ace Trucking Co.
40% Robo-Hunter
30% Strontium Dog
27% The Mean Arena
27% Nemesis the Warlock

Prog / Re: 2000 AD in Stages
« on: 30 August, 2019, 08:23:30 pm »
Stage #10: Golden Stutters (progs 387-434)

Whilst there are still very powerful thrills, some of the longer-running strips are showing signs of age.

Key for this stage is a lack of new properties, with everything being either a sequel or a spin-off.  Interestingly, this is the first phase where that's true. That's okay if all your existing properties are fantastic, but it perhaps signals a lack of freshness.

Nemesis the Warlock
Originally planned as the first part before some back-filling that became the first three series, this is Book IV: The Gothic Empire. Something of a tour de force, it sets up a fantastic alien empire of shape-shifters that Torquemada (more demonic ghost than man) is hell bent on destroying.

That plot (itself riffing on Victorian horror stories such as The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Frankenstein) is busy and fantastic enough, but Pat Mills also decided to build on the idea that Termight is the future earth of Ro-Busters (as the previous book featured Mek-Quake) by reintroducing first Ro-Jaws and then a war-weary Hammerstein.

There follows a side-quest of getting the gang back together as Nemesis reforms the ABC Warriors and reveals himself to be a shared embodiment of Deadlock.  The Warriors (having lost The Mess to Big George on Mars, and Happy Shrapnel in a verbal aside) now consist of Hammerstein (with what's since become his trademark metal-fatigued head), Ro-Jaws, Blackblood, a re-designed Joe Pineapples, Mongrel, Hitaki (a samurai-bot) and Mad Ronn.

This mash-up of two great properties is celebrated in the prog with a series of five Fact Files and prog 410 has the Six of the Best poster:

Book V is in the next stage...

Rogue Trooper
To the Ends of Nu Earth closes out the main plot of Rogue seeking revenge against the traitor general.  There follows an 8-prog gap (the longest since the story launched back in prog 228) before Rogue loses his rogue-ness by returning to base and Gunnar, Bagman & Helm are re-gened in the sequence running from progs 401-406. The problem here is that all the key elements of the story have been systematically removed or resolved and so it's the end.  But it doesn't end.

Gunnar, Bagman & Helm start to dissolve but the only cure is to be found on another war-torn planet and Rogue is told he's not allowed to go there ... so he goes ... rogue! This launches the Horst sequence, but the problem is twofold: the traitor general throughline was much more compelling than this new "seek a cure" and (much more importantly) Nu Earth was a key character in the story and now it's gone as well. Horst also suffers a bit from a monster-of-the-week syndrome that smacks of a poorly thought-out D&D adventure.  It was always a stretch that almost everyone was appropriately named, but now we have to face up to the idea that you can't have Rogue be Rogue without him going rogue all the time.

Returns briefly in the next stage as the comic struggles to know what to do with one of it's strongest properties.

The Helltrekkers
Inspired by stories of wagon trains making the dangerous trek from east to west across the US, this has Mega-City One citizens attempting the same thing across The Cursed Earth in radwagons.  It plays like a disaster movie, with us being introduced to folk who are then killed off by various terrible events (like dinosaur attacks and acid rain).
Although this never sparked a sequel (and was Marmite for the readership), the concept of Helltreks and radwagons became part of Dreddverse lore.

Judge Dredd
Kicking off this phase is the doubts trilogy (Question of Judgement, Error of Judgement and A Case for Treatment) in which Dredd questions his ability to provide justice. The Wally Squad, The Hunters Club and Nosferatu set up important lore for the Dreddverse.  Sunday Night Fever feels like a sequel to The Graveyard Shift and Midnight Surfer sees the return of Marlon Chopper Shakespeare (who has given up scrawling for the visceral thrills of sky-surfing).  We also get the mini-epic City of the Damned, which explores a possible future in which a mutated Owen Krylser clone seeks vengeance on the city.
To an extent treading comfortable water in the next stage...

Ace Trucking Co.
Captain Evil Blood drags us through the interminable 13-part Strike. A 27-prog hiatus is followed up with The Croakside Trip, in which Ace Garp commits suicide rather than face a terminal illness.  It's worth noting that the writers have tried incarceration and now suicide as methods of avoiding writing any more of this strip.
Despite having died, Ace Garp returns in prog 451.

Tharg's Future Shocks
Peter Milligan produces 12 of the 15 Shocks in this phase, with Alan Hebden providing the remainder.
More in the next stage...

The Stainless Steel Rat for President
Jim diGriz was last seen in prog 177 (in 1980). This is a serialization of the fifth published Rat novel by Harry Harrison. 
Whilst this is the last adaptation in the prog, there are another nine books.  So, there's still time, Tharg.

The Ballad of Halo Jones, Book Two
The second book follows Halo into space as a worker aboard the Clara Pandy. Although she's managed to escape The Hoop, unresolved issues from the past stalk her, and her good-hearted nature foreshadow difficulties to come.
Returns next stage for Book Three...

Bad Vibrations, The Snikker Snack, Breathless and Judge Grexnix (featuring Tharg).
More one-offs in the next stage...

A psychic is blackmailed into helping a criminal.  Wait: isn't that the plot of Wolfie Smith?
A one and done extended Future Shock style story.

Slaine changes quite dramatically in Time Killer. The Drune lords (evil druids) are augmented with dark gods The Cythrons: an alien race who live off negative emotions, but are restricted by rules of cosmic balance. Into that mix Slaine's axe is replaced by a leyser sword and leyser pistol: and the world we're adventuring in now feels quite different. Despite these jarring alterations, the amazing art and the inventiveness of the narrative allow it to work.
Returns next stage with Tomb of Terror...

Anderson, Psi-Division
Anderson's first standalone series sees her go up against the Four Dark Judges, who we thought defeated in 1981's Judge Death Lives.
Anderson returns in prog 468's The Possessed.

Strontium Dog
The Big Bust of '49 and The Slavers of Drule are both rather derivative, and perhaps signal why such significant changes were to come. In particular, the Big Bust feels like a repeat of themes already explored well in The Bad Boys Bust ('81) and The Killing ('84).   
Returns next stage with the seminal The Ragnarok Job.


 - Barney
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History
 - The 2000 AD ABC

Off Topic / Re: RIPs
« on: 29 August, 2019, 10:31:39 pm »
Benny Harvey RIP
Gone but not forgotten.

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