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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 14126 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #315 on: 19 September, 2017, 09:19:01 pm »
So I hailed 1985 the nostaligia fueled best year to date of Thrillpower but left a HUGE question dangling, could

1986

top it? ...
Bloomin' heck genuinely wasn't expecting it to be this cut and dry.

BEST YEAR IN THRILLPOWER (to date)


So there we have it to date 1985 was topped by 1986 which leds nicely into...

1987

And you know what the momentum might just about be continuing... might. 1987 was all about a changing of the guard. I speculated it might be at the turn of the year (so to speak) and it is, possible even more pronounced that I'd speculated.

Its the year of Pete Milligan, the year of Zenith, the year of Barry Kitson, the year of Democracy Now!, the year of PJ, the hour of the wolf. The year of Hicklenton on Nemesis and Fabry on Slaine, both returned to their former glories. By George its highs match the highs of any year they really do. BUT with new added second generation zing and edge. Its 2000ad truly hitting its teenage growth spurt a few years year.

Okay so it has one stinking low in Mean Team, but we get that every year and while Mean Team for me is as bad a thrill as I can remember (thus excluding Ange... oh whatever that thing with the plane and the chappie and the shoulder thingie was called) there is sooooo much good stuff.

So its clear then, right... well no not quite. See I can't quite shake the feeling that while these new brash johnny come latelys are shaking things up is quite glorious style, and some old wound soldiers* are stepping up to the plate to match, a couple of the classics slip a little.

I've already said Strontium Dog has a bit of a stinker that takes up about 1/2 the year, the shorter stories that follow are an improvement, particularly The Royal Affair - A Sorry Case being pretty weak and The Rammy a bit middling over all its not a good year for Johnny.

Dredd also if I'm honest is a little past the absolute soaring heights of the last couple of years. I mean there are some absolute stonkers, one of which I've mentioned and Raggedy Man, The Bug, The Return of Death Fist, The Beating Heart and of course Taxidermist are up there with the best of any year its just not as consistantly good as it has been for a couple of years prior. Its possible that I'm coloured by Oz starting... but I'll come back to that next year, its not a fav of mine, but I honestly think we're past a peak (one that will return I should say but that's for the future.).

So yeah 1987 soooo close and when its good and I'm looking at you Bad Company, Zenith and Anderson it is so very very good. I'm just not 100% its as good as 1986... but it just might be...

Damnit all this change has left me befuddled!

* Well Anderson in Hour of the Wolf as much as I love it, and I do, its on a pa with some of the excellence that has gone before in a strip that to date hasn't missed a beat. On re-read its clear that Anderson has been consistantly good in a way that few strips match.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #316 on: 08 October, 2017, 08:44:15 pm »
So befuddled I've taken over 3 weeks off... well of course only off from my 2000ad re-read so I can read other comics (see What's Everyone Reading for my brief befuddlement with Love and Rockets - don't worry it has a happy ending). But I've now finally wrapped up 1987 with a read of the Summer Special (which was interesting but not that special) and the two 1988 annuals.

Both annuals have some pretty top quality stuff, glorious McCarthy (2000ad) and Higgins (Dredd) Dredd, so other nice bits and bobs but so packed with reprint and quizzes and what not that they were slight reads (doing a re-read means I don't need to re-read the repeats so soon and I have Daily Dredds on my reading list so not spoiling those either). As such I've burned through them. The reprinted stuff is pretty high quality. Particularly the Hammerstein War Years stuff in the 2000ad annual but doesn't make for much value these days. Still what little you get is getting better in 2000ad and almost maintaining quality in the Dredd Annual so no real complaints.

And finally we get to 1988 ... if memory serves the ongoing quality bubble might burst sometime in the this year... lets see...

feathers

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #317 on: 10 October, 2017, 03:40:32 pm »
I definitely found 88/89 significantly different from what went before - looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #318 on: 13 October, 2017, 09:26:21 pm »
So 1988 begins and even before I've opened a Prog (well that's not strictly true but I couldn't be bothered to post this when I first thought this) I've a comment to mither you lot with.

While the cover to 555, the first of 1988 is a classic and I've already dismissed my once favoured chrome log as a failure I'm also not too keen on the early version of the 'classic' logo. In it's original lumpy top left hand corner box it feels a bit solid and obstructive. Just look at Torquemada's face on the cover of 557 (I'll even do a linkie to it below), he's really not happy having it there is he!

http://www.2000ad.org/functions/cover.php?choice=557&Comic=2000ad

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #319 on: 14 October, 2017, 07:53:15 am »
So 1988 starts off with a bit of a confident stance, chest thrust forward and the prog showing of its best features. Its so confident, new logo and all that strangely there's barely a new story to be seen to draw folks in to the new year and new design.

That said the ongoing stories deliever quite a punch and I'm sure even if you are dropped in you'd feel pretty compelled to come back...

....SPOILERS!!!!

Thoth gets the chop.
Danny meets Kano
and Oz has one of its best mini stories as Chopper meets Cookie (even though I'm pretty down on Oz I do love this bit)

And there is a sprinkling of something new and back in the day (I'm going to return to this in a seperate post...) it was pretty magnificent and I remember even as a seasoned reader of both UK and US comics it blow me away.

Yep so strong is 1988 opening line-up Tharg had to limit us to four stories to avois thrillpower overload .... and he couldn't keep it around for long.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #320 on: 14 October, 2017, 08:17:18 am »
Prog 555 - Art of its time

Okay a one two punch with the posts this morning as I wanted to pull this out. Back in 1988 the art in the first Prog of 1988 was just so special. I adored it, it felt so fresh, powerful and agressive. Ewins and McCarthy (J) is a given, and I exempt them from what I'm about to say.

Elsewhere we have the magnificent John Hicklenton on Nemesis, Will Simpson on Dredd and the newly crafted Bisley Droid on ABC Warriors. Just an incredible explosion of ink and as a 16 year old it blow me away. I remember slavishly copying art from all three of these artists in a deluded hope that they're genius would rub off on me....

...but...

...and I'm nervous saying this...

.... reading now, it ain't all that good....

Now clearly that's said for effect and to get attention, don't worry I won't pepper my post with tiny hard to read postscripts though. Rather I'll admit its bloody magnificently stylish and powerful stuff and to its target audience (me back in the day) it just works. Its problem for me now is two fold.

Firstly the style can somewhat wash away the storytelling, given Will Simpson's career he at least improved on that I think we can say! I find Hicklenton's art particularly guilty of that, and as I've said I do adore his time on Nemesis and his art is big part of that. Key moments however are cramped into busy cluttered panels. The characters acting is so meladramtic as to be distracting at time (though given what's going on in Nemesis maybe that gets a pass!). But yeah all three artists could be accused... okay I'll take ownership of that... I accuse all three artists of style over substance.

Secondly I think, largely because of the above, its dated really badly. Here I'm particularly looking at Bisley on ABC. Looking at it now it just feels so of its time. It had such impact that it feels frozen in its historical place and outdated and clumsy. In many ways, its a year or two ahead of the same thing happening on American comics. sure McFarlane is throwing little lines all over Spidey at this point (I think) but Leifeld and Lee, who will have a similar impact on US mainstream comics are still awaiting their call to Mutant arms. They will make a similar impression on my teenage eye, though their impact on comics will transcent their images and I find the art here (in Prog 1988) far better now than I find the work of McFarlene, Lee and Leifeld, which I now find pretty unreadable if I'm honest. But yeah I see parallels.

So there we go I've said, Prog 1988 had magnificent, fantastic, bloody awful art!

Magnetica

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #321 on: 14 October, 2017, 11:33:53 am »
The main problem I had with Hicklenton’s art on the Two Torquemada’s was it was so different to what had gone before. I think we had been spoilt with O’ Neill’s magnificent design of the Termight, the Blitzspear and the Terminators* and Talbot’s magnificent gothic feel.

For me Hicklenton’s storytelling became even more of an issue on Deathbringer, where there were too many similar looking characters which spoilt the flow for me as I was constantly flicking back ( on my recent reread) to work out who was who (eg. she’s the one with the horizontal stripes etc).

* you will note I haven’t included Nemesis in the “magnificent design” category. I have always thought his neck was bizarre- something Hicklenton takes to extremes far beyond O’Neill’s original design.

AlexF

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #322 on: Today at 03:58:38 pm »
I agree on finding Hicklenton's work on Nemesis Book IX hard to follow, especially in terms of which character was which, but to be honest this is overwhelemed by the tone of his work. His versions of both Torquemadas in Book VII are just so magnificently grotesque that it shines through any clutter or sloppiness with storytelling. As pointed out his version of Nemesis's neck is a thing to behold in itself. I don't how much it was his choice as editor, but I do applaud Burton for getting the likes of Hicklenton and Harrison in to shake things up.

There's no getting around it - the shift in artists played a major part in making 1988 something of a transition year for the Prog. Really curious to see how Colin assesses the year by the time he gets to the end!