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Author Topic: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?  (Read 8858 times)

Paul Moore

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #105 on: 21 December, 2015, 02:09:37 pm »
Slightly different point, it was mentioned that one of the reasons for the decline was that newer American publishers were offering better creator rights and royalties, im not sure what the policy is at 2000ad even now...  have the rights/royalties changed? if so when and did it have an effect on a revival?

John Wagner forced a change in royalty payments in the early nineties, but Tharg still owns every strip.

In the Future Shock documentary, Ian Edginton remarks that the knowledge he will have to surrender all rights is a factor in whether he offers a strip to 2000ad or another publisher, and David Bishop says established writers won't create new strips (50 min 20s).

Wow i thought that would be for the established characters these days (or stories set in established worlds), no real rights just royalties? i can see why writers might hold back their best ideas
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IndigoPrime

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #106 on: 21 December, 2015, 04:34:31 pm »
90's 2000ad wasn't actually that bad, sure it had duff strips and minority interest strips but 2000ad always had that.
I think, as noted, this is the case but the 1990s saw the generally reliable strips also slip into mediocrity. During the 200s–600s, say, Sláine, Strontium Dog, Dredd and several others were mostly very good. The Prog could take a hit when something didn't really click. But when the major strips end up being duff too, what's left?

Quote
The Megazine suffered more when it had it's lowest new strip page count because it could be entire runs of issues (meaning entire months at a time) between stories you were interested in.
The Meg's a strange one. When Preacher reprints started, that was a very odd decision, as was Necropolis. They're far too long, and as a reader you can just say: I'm out. The shift with vol. 4 was much smarter: still a lot of reprint, but strips that would only hang around for a matter of a few months.

But surely the number of publications (certainly in GB) where any writer can be published and thus reach a wide audience has diminished hugely since the 1990's. Is the power not now massively in the hands of the publisher?
I think it always was. And if you want to be involved in anything in publishing, you have to compromise significantly and, increasingly, work very quickly.

Wow i thought that would be for the established characters these days (or stories set in established worlds), no real rights just royalties? i can see why writers might hold back their best ideas
In context, it should be noted this is entirely ordinary in many creative fields where a publisher becomes involved. I retain few or no rights to the majority of what I've written over the past 15 years or so.

AlexF

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #107 on: 22 December, 2015, 02:24:25 pm »
What a fascinating thread, sad to be late to the party!

I sort of feel that the argument has been pretty much sewn up - Mills's assertion that editorially mandated ideas made 2000AD bad in the 90s is just not true - or at least, not entirely true. They may have been to blame for him not trying his best to write great stories in that decade.

I'd like to add a couple of comments. Much as I struggled with Mills's Slaine work in the 90s as I read it in the weekly Prog, I really enjoyed reading them in one big go in the reprints. I guess this is a LOT to do with the improvement in printing technology, as I recall Slaine being by far the worst offender for brown-mudness (along with poor Nick Percival's 'Goodnight Kiss' epic) - even Bisley's Horned God suffered a lot. It's also a lot to do with Mills himself apparently thinking more along European album lines and less along weekly episode lines. Compare Book 1 of Nemesis the Warlock, which has a lot of stand alone episodes strung together, with, say, Slaine's 'Demon Killer'. Basically, I found most weekly epsiodes of 90s Slaine and later Finn pretty much incomprehensible. Read i a chunk, and they're really rather good - even the Secret Commonwealth has some fun ideas, just poorly executed.

The other big thing is that my memory of reading comics in the 90s, primarily 2000AD, the Meg and various Marvel comics, is that the art in 2000AD was always the best, and that Tharg always seemed able to find exciting new artists who worked in a wide variety of styles. There were a bunch I hated / thought weren't very good, but it was still exciting to get that shock of the new. And a lot of the ones I didn't like at first were, miraculously, given room to develop into some of the best going (e.g., for me, Simon Davis, Carl Critchlow). Good artists can make a bad story way more palatable - I'm thinking of Kev Hopgood on Dry Run, Dillon/Walker on Harlem Heroes and so on.

I imagine it's nervewracking losing your top creators to other comics, but it's energising, too.

Statisticians may be interested to note that John Wagner has provided far fewer stories for 2000AD in the noughties than he did in the 90s.

The longest stretch without a Wagner story in the Prog was the opening of Judgement Day in Prog 786 (which he co-wrote don't forget) to 'The Time Machine' in Prog 889.
In other words, two years worth of Progs - but, if you were reading the Megazine, you'd get a single or double or even triple-hit of Wagner each month/fortnight during the same period.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #108 on: 22 December, 2015, 02:38:19 pm »
The longest stretch without a Wagner story in the Prog was the opening of Judgement Day in Prog 786 (which he co-wrote don't forget)

I think 'co-wrote' is a stretch. ISTR John's contribution to Judgement Day was more or less "why don't you do something with zombies, Garth…?"

Cheers

Jim
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AlexF

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #109 on: 22 December, 2015, 03:27:00 pm »
And in fact, I'd got my Progs muddled up anway, as the definitely-Wagner-Penned final epsiode of Button Man was in Prog 791!

Silent_Bomber

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #110 on: 22 December, 2015, 04:04:59 pm »
Pat Mills is a legendary writer and everything but I generally take his history lessons with a grain of salt.

Does he hate on poor old Valiant and Lion again in the documentary?

glassstanley

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #111 on: 22 December, 2015, 05:26:06 pm »
One thing that I noticed during the pre-publicity is that Mills made a big deal about the 2000AD film company (I may be mis-remembering this as part of a podcast pre-publicity!) The suggestion is that something improper took place that saw money taken away from the comic/creators. Yet the way it pans out in the documentary seems to indicate it's not that big a deal. Am I missing something here, or is Mills' account over-dramatized.

Paul Moore

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #112 on: 22 December, 2015, 05:58:15 pm »
One thing that I noticed during the pre-publicity is that Mills made a big deal about the 2000AD film company (I may be mis-remembering this as part of a podcast pre-publicity!) The suggestion is that something improper took place that saw money taken away from the comic/creators. Yet the way it pans out in the documentary seems to indicate it's not that big a deal. Am I missing something here, or is Mills' account over-dramatized.

i just watched it again today they definitely mentioned the creators were deliberately kept in the dark and that their only deal was to sell the rights to strontium dog for £1, so a complete failure but pretty irrelevant in the end, Pat was pretty triumphant that he had dealt directly with Hollywood(?) and managed to at least get a few grand
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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #113 on: 22 December, 2015, 06:47:42 pm »
The longest stretch without a Wagner story in the Prog was the opening of Judgement Day in Prog 786 (which he co-wrote don't forget)

I think 'co-wrote' is a stretch. ISTR John's contribution to Judgement Day was more or less "why don't you do something with zombies, Garth…?"

Cheers

Jim

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Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #114 on: 23 December, 2015, 06:06:26 am »

The longest stretch without a Wagner story in the Prog was the opening of Judgement Day in Prog 786 (which he co-wrote don't forget)

I think 'co-wrote' is a stretch. ISTR John's contribution to Judgement Day was more or less "why don't you do something with zombies, Garth…?"

Cheers

Jim

Jim that's exactly how John describes his contribution to Judgement Day.

Frank

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #115 on: 23 April, 2016, 10:12:27 am »
2000ad has lost readers regardless of what kind of stories it was printing*.

Most people don't read comics as adults; that was always the case, but in the late eighties the supply of new kid readers dried up.

Not just for 2000ad, but for any comic. What happened to 2000ad happened to every original UK title (and US comics too).


*1987-1994: Burton/McKenzie (100k readers, down to 50k readers)
  1994-2001: Tomlinson/Bishop/Diggle  (50k readers, down to 25k readers)
  2001-2013: Matt Smith (25k readers, down to 15k readers)


Discussion elsewhere reminded me of editor Matt Smith's contribution to another thread regarding sales. This seems like as good a place as any to place a reminder of the challenges every newsstand title has faced in recent times:


Irrespective of swearing/nudity/violence, I think some of you are overestimating the robustness of the newsstand in 2016. In the teen magazine sector alone (2000 AD comes under the teen comics category, in which it's the no 1 seller, thank you very much) the last year has seen the closure of Girl Pop, Bliss, Batman the Brave, Zoom, Sleepy Hollow, and DC Super Friends, amongst others. The circulation on Titan's Adventure Time has dropped by a third since it launched a year ago.

Total magazine sales across the board have dropped, year on year. The market isn't what it was three decades ago.



credo

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #116 on: 25 April, 2016, 01:03:25 pm »
Is this not also indicative that the early 90s editorial didnt have quite the same pressures on them from Management edicts?  Early 90s goes awry through a proliferation of titles at the same time as a major talent leak has left you scrabbling for anyone competent to fill those pages.  On top of that, the rudder goes a bit lax and directionless while "It's only a fucking comic" attitude prevails.  But editorially, Pat isnt going to detect any problems personally.  When the impact of said early 90s actions is panic management, Bishop and Diggle have to try and juggle a hostile management imposing their whims (Loaded ads etc) along with just getting along and editing the thing.  Pat's hostility to things like the Fleetway film and TVdeal for example,wouldnt have led to a very conducive atmosphere....

There's a lot in here, at least looking back at my own gradual detachment from 2000ad at the time.

First, to be even-handed, I think you can describe Pat Mill's '90s output as patchy. I loved Finn at the time, but a reread shows that only the first book holds up. The Warriors were good, but too preachy. Slaine was too preachy and completely lacking in direction. Dinosty was awful.

But, for me, I think that much of that patchiness would have been tolerable (as it is now), if there was other good stuff in the prog. Mills stories always feel like an *important part of the prog*, whether that's because of his personal history or the history of the characters he created. When they let you down, and there's nothing else to bring you back up, you're going to lose faith in the product.

In the '90s one of the biggest problems, the reason there wasn't something to bring you back up, was that there were too many stories spread around too many titles. I think you could conceivably argue that the best of '90s stories on 2000ad-related titles was as good as much of the rest of its output. Maybe not the best of the best, but still damn good. But those good stories were spread between the Meg, 2000ad and Crisis.

In the '80s many progs features 2 Dreddverse stories, but in the '90s the Meg took much of the best stuff there. There were also many Meg titles that were crowbarred into the Dreddverse, which needn't have been (Al's Baby, even Devlin Waugh) Crisis at the very least robbed 2000ad of the wonders of New Statesmen.

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #117 on: 25 April, 2016, 09:10:01 pm »
New Statesmen ran in the late '80s, IIRC.  And Crisis as a whole (and Revolver) was largely done as far as decent original content went by the end of 1990.  So I don't think it can be blamed for too much of 2000ADs troubles in the 90's. The point about the Megazine (and indeed Lawman of the Future) stands.

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #118 on: 27 April, 2016, 11:50:38 am »
New Statesmen ran in the late '80s, IIRC.  And Crisis as a whole (and Revolver) was largely done as far as decent original content went by the end of 1990.  So I don't think it can be blamed for too much of 2000ADs troubles in the 90's. The point about the Megazine (and indeed Lawman of the Future) stands.

Yes, that sounds about right. '80s/'90s boundary is always tough to remember.

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Re: Did nineties editorial really get it so wrong?
« Reply #119 on: 23 May, 2016, 09:14:29 pm »
I started reading 2000 ad in the 90s but was a kid so my memories aren't reliable. I remember being disturbed when reading the regular issues e.g. Canon Fodder and being a massive X Files fan at the time I enjoyed Vector 13. Nikolai Dante was also a welcome addition (re-read the early strips and they still hold up), so my memories are positive but what it would be like to read again I don't know. I enjoyed Classic 2000 AD most of all, I actually re-read a few, Mean Machine is ok, the inclusion of Bradley at the end was laborious to read although the artwork was brilliant. Durham Red was good, and currently Rogue Trooper is the best. Actually Shamballa and Missionary Man are also great reads. I can't say the 90s were all that bad, the artwork was certainly interesting.