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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 50321 times)

Frank

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #495 on: 01 July, 2018, 04:11:33 pm »
Not a fan of Judgement Day, there are zombies and a supernatural villain (not the best kind) and it drags on and on. While my read was a couple of years back to finally read those old progs, I haven't read the Megazines. Maybe soon. Maybe it would help the story overall(?)

This longterm 2000ad reader isn't a fan:

I don’t think it was a particularly good story or epic. As for the crossover element, I really don’t know. I can remember people complaining about it at the time and I empathised with them completely. Like any crossover, it’s inherently frustrating and probably should have been avoided.

I piled on far too many zombies. I recycled too much material that had appeared in other epics. There’s bits of Apocalypse War all over that story. The art didn’t help. When it was Pete Doherty or it was Carlos, it was spot on. When it was Dean Ormston – well, Dean’s talents lay elsewhere.

There was one fill-in episode that should have been a doozey. It was Dredd kicking the shit out of Johnny Alpha, but it fell as flat as a pancake because the art was by one of these Bisley knock-offs (Chris Halls). Then again, it wasn’t really a very good script to begin with, so who am I to talk?

Writing Johnny Alpha was nice, but I didn’t really take it anywhere interesting. I liked that last page, where Dredd and Alpha walk off together; being able to write that was cool. I would say about 10% of my Dredd stories are good. Some others – bits of stories are good. And a lot of it’s crap, to be quite honest with you.

It was a combination of things. Sometimes getting the wrong artists; frankly, bad editing at the time. The comic was in the hands of Richard Burton and Alan McKenzie, who were not up to the job. I don't think that's going to be a particularly uncommon opinion among people you’ve interviewed – I could be wrong.

The main reason is I was not up to the job. I was too young, just not ready for that level of work. I was writing all sorts of stuff as well as Dredd and still trying to write a weekly strip. The other reason - I can’t do Dredd right because I’m too close to it, too reverential. I like it too much.

The instinct that allows me to go in and piss all over American superheroes and end up writing quite entertaining stories about them - to go in and tear characters apart and come up with entertaining if controversial stories - that just isn’t there for me when it comes to Dredd.

Dredd means too much to me, I am too reverential to it and I can’t take the piss. I can’t tear it apart. And I guess I’ll never really be able to get over that.

Even last year, doing Helter Skelter, which I had a lot of fun doing. I came away from that thinking that isn’t really Dredd. Because at the end of the day, if Dredd is not written by John Wagner or not the classic period where John was co-writing with Alan Grant, then it just isn’t really Dredd.

I can’t get it right. Neither can Robbie nor Gordon. Grant and Mark couldn’t get it right. Alan on his own hasn’t quite got it. He and John in the glory days that lasted up until 1986 – they had it absolutely down pat. John’s pretty much the only guy that can do it; maybe what actually defines Dredd is John’s work on it.

With American superheroes, every character has as many different personalities and takes on it as there have been writers who have worked on it. With most characters, that numbers into the hundreds, but with Dredd, you’ve really only got one correct take, and that’s John's.

There are a few good stories, when the editors kept their mucky paws off it and I was actually getting it right. When they put the right artist on the job and he did a good job. There are several stories I’m very pleased with. There’s a lot of them that are mediocre. There’s a lot of them that I think are downright bloody awful.

http://viciousimagery.blogspot.com/2007/02/28-days-of-2000-ad-171-ennis-talks-pt.html

http://viciousimagery.blogspot.com/2007/02/28-days-of-2000-ad-181-garth-ennis-pt.html

Magnetica

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #496 on: 01 July, 2018, 04:12:21 pm »
In the Mega Collection books they neatly divided the story in two and I read them months apart, so the scenes that appear in both don’t seem like they are retreading ground so much. Indeed the two strands only really come together at the end. At the time, not that I remember it too well now, I am sure it grated a bit. But yes you are right it was done better then than Judgement Day. And to be fair it’s a much better story.


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #497 on: 01 July, 2018, 09:05:03 pm »
Is it really 20 issues since 780? My we must be heading for our next launch Prog already... so how is

Road to Prog 800

Well we're well up from the dip at its lowest as we always have at least one MAGNIFICENT strip as Button Man is replaced by Zenith Book IV, a story that is so hung on its twist that I'm always slighty surprised by how it not only holds up each time I re-read it, but gets even better.

Millar's Robo-Hunter finds new lows in Return to Verdus, Jez in this one not only does it entirely miss the point and tone of Robo-Hunter, as all the stories to date, but this one even manages to be even more of a meandering mess... well okay that might in part be due to the fact I can barely bring myself to even skip read it by this point BUT everytime I just look at it, it comes across as a chaotic mass of stuff being thrown at a wall, hard, as breaking and blowing things up BIG is all Millar has left in his tank. Its just exploding badly coloured crap all over the page... I try to read it I just find it hard as it burns my eyes!

So backing up these extremes the road to 800 is actually dominated by a host of one offs. I real smorgasbord of done and gones. Firstly we have a host of okay if not great Future Shocks the highlight of which is Jim Baike's actually great Hot Iron, but then I have a man crush on Jim Baike's art. On top of this we get the interesting experiment Dragon Tales, which unlike Vector 13 has the good grace to realise its format is actually too limiting to sustain beyond about the 6 we get here. Nothing is good, nothing is great, they all just okay, all be it if they all look pretty good. I do wonder if Tharg just happened to have 3 Future Shocks featuring dragons land on his desk one morning, ponder if it was a thing, commission a few more before quickly realising, no, no, this is never going to be much if a thing.

Finally though we have a series of Bradley one offs based on crunchy and childish retelling of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales... and you know what they really work, or at least I really like them. And I do wander if its these that means I always have a much fonder recollection of Bradley than anything I read to date could have possibly fostered. They seem to form a perfect partnership and give Bradley a more valid reason to exist than slagging of Jason Donavan could never manage. Add to that the stories really bring the best out of Simon Harrison's glorious art work and we really have a winner on our hands... unfortunately just as the series stomps off back to its bedroom if I remember rightly.... which I'm likely not!

Fungus

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #498 on: 01 July, 2018, 10:01:13 pm »
Maybe it's context, but I really enjoyed Bradley on a recent reading. Can't say if that's some revising of taste, since I can't honestly remember how I felt about these at the time.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #499 on: 16 July, 2018, 09:21:09 pm »
Prog 800

A line-up of Dredd, Flesh, Zenith, Journal of Luke Kirby, Robo-Hunter. That's got to be a winner right. I mean each of those is a classic strip in its own right, they each have some genuine stone cold classics in their catelogue... but of course these are different times. You don't need to actually read the stories to realise this though, infact you don't need to go past the inside cover.

In the box 'Some useful, Betegeusian phrases' box we get:

Quote
Borag Thungg: Skin me, Bro!

Splundig vur thrigg: I'm outa here!

Zarjaz: Fab! Gear! Groovy!

etc. I think this last one is meant to be ironic. It's hard to tell.

Okay so two things in that box alone that go a long way to explaining why even a line up like the above has the potential to be a classic, if each of the strips was at its Zen... best...

1. The phrases are like your creepy uncle trying to be cool. Sure he has some cool stories, some of the others are just plain sad.

2. There's an exclamation mark after everything!!! Why!!! There's just no need!!!! Its the embodiment of Ennis Dredd when its bad, Millar Robo-Hunter, or Patisical hangin' with his skinboy on Flesh.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #500 on: 17 July, 2018, 09:52:16 pm »
So I'm streaking through the 800s and its becoming a familar story. There's some good stuff, there's some okay stuff and there's some rubbish. As the good stuff (Zenith Book 4) finishes you hope for better than Wireheads and Finn coming into cover it... but just as you lose hope John Smith comes along and hope is restored.

Remember this line as I think I'll be using it again.

Anyway I come not to discuss this, rather to diss Dredd. As I've said before its been very hit and miss during Ennis' run... since issue 800 its gone for consistancy at least. Alas settling on miss may not be the way to go. So what's my beef. Well frankly the stories have been stunning flat and uninspiring, utterly devoid of anything interesting our fun. Judge Dredd has become The Clown... emphasised by Greg Staples' early art. Worse still Dredd has become that worst of 90s 2000ad tropes, the soulless, blandly aggressive hero, exposed by the lack of redemning features in the stories around him.

Now its fair to say that Dredd can be aggressive and is given to bouts of soullessness from time to time. Written too easily he can run an entire story just to punch out the witty oneliner at the end of the strip. For some reason in both 'The Marshal' and 'Innocents Aboard' the current problems with the strip just seem exemplified... then I turn to 'The Magic Mellow Out' and those problems have the added value of Mark Millar / Alan McKenzie* level humour, I mean its been building for a while. Everytime Dredd bust some perp, one (or more) of them has to pull an oversized firearm to give Ol' Joe an excuse to blow their head off... literally. But man 'The Magic Mellow Out' ... well it could have been a Robo-hunter strip....

This is poor Dredd... I dearly hope to return to apologetically say Ennis has hit form again... come on Ennis...

*I should mention Alan McKenzie provide current (post Zenith) best thrill Summer Magic, which is fine and then some.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #501 on: 21 July, 2018, 09:46:07 pm »
This is poor Dredd... I dearly hope to return to apologetically say Ennis has hit form again... come on Ennis...

Ha! That didn't take long and given the topsy turvey nature of Ennis Dredd I'm not entirely surprised. Currently reading 'Raider' and yep here to make my apologies. I mean John Burns elevates anything he touches, but this is great stuff regardless...

...but not what I'm here to talk about really. I'm here to talk about Prog 812. Its actually not a bad Prog at all (why do I keep capitalising Prog? I mean even knowing its wrong isn't going to stop me doing it, but I should right?) Wireheads ended last week and sorry, try as I might, I just couldn't get into it. It was bloomin' awful and the sad thing for it with Revere back in the Prog just as it concluded in Prog 811, we're reminded all too sharply why real John Smith is so much better than substandard wannabe John Smith like Wireheads*.

In its place is a functional at best Future Shock and a prologue for Dead Meat, a series I'm failing to hate having back and while last time this was present it failed to impress, I'm happy to give it a second go, if memory leaves me not exactly optimistic... the biggest take home from this prologue which gives us a handy breakdown of the coming of our Veggie World (none required capitals again) is that P.U.L.S.E. is surely the worst acronymn in comics ever and boy there have been a few.

So the worst thrill in the prog moves happily to Finn, curiously when it has its best episode for a long time... well to be fair its the first in a while I'm managed to do more than skip read and I quite enjoyed it... but Jez Patrical Mills under the spell of street guru Skinner is labouring things to fuck!

So yeah the real reason I've pulled Prog 812 out to discuss is the ending of The Journal of Luke Kirby - The Nightwalker - its bloody good. The stayed tension in those final pages on the train just perfectly encapulating the fresh pacing and story style this series brings to the Prog. Its really interesting to note this is almost twice the length of the first story (really it took 4 years for it to come back, specials aside, I don't remember that!) and it really benefits from that. Conventional wisdom - well in my head at least - has it that Journals of LK is a prime example of the law of diminishing returns, but you know what I think Nightwalker is better than Summer Magic. The extra space this has to frankly not cover much more story isn't padding its effective pacing to build atmosphere.

I was surprised how rushed Summer Magic read recently, it was kinda fitting, making it feel like the rapid storytelling used in comics at the time this was set. That said I much prefered the more steady pace of this second story. Almost perfectly embodied by that sunbeam standoff in this final part. Just supreme stuff and now dimly remembered diminishing returns aside I'm now really looking forward to Steve Parkhouse getting his mitts on this strip... I think that happens next time right?

* and before anyone stops by to think I'm being snarky that genuinely isn't commentry on any current state of affairs!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #502 on: 22 July, 2018, 11:51:51 am »
I guessed a wee while back that Revere gets better as it goes on and by George it surely does. While still not John Smith at his very best (which is of course the very best 2000ad has to offer) Book 2 is really good. It has a more straightforward and coherant plot and tells a relatively simple story with typical Smith flourishes, pomp and purple prose. It does it really effectively and as he finally makes his leap of faith at the end we too leap into the far more metaphysical final book, as I recall.

A really nice effort.

And so there we have it, join me tonight hopefully as I sum up 1992... it certainly been an interesting year...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #503 on: 22 July, 2018, 09:34:35 pm »
1992

Well much like 1991 this is an easy year to review. Its better, much better than 1991.

On all levels Tharg is... well finding his level. The good stuff is top class and there's much more of it. The bottom stuff is still absolutely rotten, but there's much less of it and most tellingly the middle ground, while still there and dominating, is actually pretty good.

The likes of Brigand Doom and Kola Kommandos aren't having to fight above their weight as they are joined by some very good thrills, SkIIzz, Durham Red and Journal of Luke Kirby really backing up the middle order, if not quite cracking the very top ranks. These are well served though in 1992, Revere and bonefide classics Button Man and Zenith book IV. There's much to love here...

... but of course the Prog still has considerable problems and I'm afraid to say many of them are served to us by one of the greats, I've dissed Unca Pattycake quite enough to leave it alone here, but it us a problem. Millar and what I think are the (must surely be) last vestiges of Michael Fleisher's input are still far to riff and backed up by new thrills like Wireheads, but the balance is turning that's for sure.

Possibly the years variable content is best summed up by Dredd, man this is a rollercoaster and I've covered it quite enough already to make it worth going back into here, but you gotta think that these rough times would have been more managible if we'd had consistently top draw Dredd, alas for the time being those days are gone.

Artistically one thing I don't think I've specifically rallied against is that we really are in the midst of 2000ad's 'painting in mud' period at its very worst. There is of course some exception stuff being served, Burns joining the ranks and Baikie returning being prime examples but there are far too many artists just not ready and trying to mask their inadequacies by slapping the acrylic paint all over.

Anyway 1993 beckons and this one is going to be very interesting. 1992 has brought us the green shots of recovery... 1993  will bring 2000ad's enfant terribles to test how robust they are... mind one of them John Smith will be coming into a bit of a purple (prose) patch, so I'm genuinely excited to see how the balances falls to this re-readers eyes.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #504 on: 23 July, 2018, 09:36:54 pm »
1993 Year books and 1992 Specials

Well I have to be honest I wasn't expecting much from the specials and yearbooks from this year, or indeed at all going forward, but you know what these where much better than expected and in one case very good indeed.

Neither Year Book stands up to the packaging, and in my copy at least the reproduction of Slaine the King in the 2000ad one woeful. I mean if you have these lovely tomes and you are going to reprint someone with art as glorious as 'the King' you'd put the effort in right... though it might just be my copy... and lets be honest I'm not here for the reprint anyway...

That said these two do have some nice stuff in a few stories, Grant and Ewins Dredd, here, a fun Wagner and Simon Hunter Dredd (who he?) there. Decent Brigand Doom on one hand, ...eerrr good art in Red Razors and Judge Joyce on the other. A good Strontium Dogs story with glorious Simon Harrison art (lovingly printed too which makes me worry all the more about Slaine, but I've moved on) in one corner and... well okay I've given up on the Dredd Year Book, I didn't say it was great, just better than I expected!

The Sci-Fi Special is okay, the highlight being the Strontium Dog story introducing the Woman who Walks or whatever she's called. I always seem to forget about that and Ridgway on the art is a nice touch... oh and how random is that John Lydon interview! Anyway its the 1992 Winter Special that shines here isn't it. While I'm not at all sure Chris Weston was ready for Nemesis the story was fun... though that Simon Harrison poster in the Nemesis feature just teases us with what might have been there. What I wouldn't have given to see Simon Harrison have a proper go at our Horny one. Elsewhere we have that rarest of treats a great Mark Millar story in 'Tales from Beyond Science', nice Blackblood and fun Wagner Dredd.

To be far that Winter Special is one of the best specials we're had for a long time, indeed arguably ever.

So yeah while a few odds and sods aside I don't hold out much hope for future specials and yearbooks, its fun to find that I might be surprised.

Link Prime

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #505 on: 24 July, 2018, 11:22:47 am »
Anyway its the 1992 Winter Special that shines here isn't it. While I'm not at all sure Chris Weston was ready for Nemesis the story was fun... though that Simon Harrison poster in the Nemesis feature just teases us with what might have been there. What I wouldn't have given to see Simon Harrison have a proper go at our Horny one. Elsewhere we have that rarest of treats a great Mark Millar story in 'Tales from Beyond Science', nice Blackblood and fun Wagner Dredd.

To be far that Winter Special is one of the best specials we're had for a long time, indeed arguably ever.


If I recall correctly, the 1992 Winter Special arrived on shop shelves without any promotion or fanfare whatsoever.
There was also no Winter Special the previous year, so it genuinely took me by surprise when I walked into Easons on that chilly autumn evening.

I remember being really impressed at the time of the strength of the stories inside- a valid contender for best 2000AD special ever published. Must give it a re-read.

TordelBack

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #506 on: 24 July, 2018, 01:59:06 pm »
1993 Year books ...Judge Joyce...

Wait, there was a Judge Joyce strip? >checks Barney as if the work of Colin wasn't gospel< Begorrah, there was so there was!  I'm sure I have that thing somewhere (big shiny gatefold job, wasn't it?), but I've no memory of that.  Has it ever been reprinted? Is Dredd in it?


Link Prime

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #507 on: 25 July, 2018, 09:37:50 am »
Is Dredd in it?

No Dredd, but you do get to see Joyce (Snr) spit out his lunch and scream "There's a fella in me pie!"

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #508 on: 05 August, 2018, 09:32:07 pm »
Prog 819

There's a risk in letting early 1993 pass by as we know that Summer 1993 will be where the actions at (arh just before I go to University, could it have been any better timed?) but there is much to discuss before we get to summer shenanigans and the third Prog of the year exemplified that.

We start with a decent Dredd. Beautifully rendered by Colin MacNeil, G.Ennis provides a neat, sharp and entertaining Dredd. Lets see how his hit rate is before others take over, I don't remember a great deal about the end of his run I have to be honest.

Next up Dead Meat continues to ram home its idea (see what I did there, well it was that or rambles on), its single idea, but you know what its pretty inoffensive.

Next up we get to a story that I'm very fond of Strontium Dogs - Return of the Gronk. Now clearly to enable our weak heartised friend to carry a story effectively some changes have to be made and one big shock last Prog later, this episode fair hammers home the fact that this isn't your Father's Gronk anymore. Now I can see why the Gronk striding into a bar and blowing some officious schmoo away might put some folks nosies out of joint... but I can't help but find it fantastic. Admittedly helped by Nigel Dobbyn's simply superb art... the episode and indeed as I recall this series, doesn't really look back from there. Introducing some fun villians. An even harder Gronk and a whole heap of fun...

... the shift in the Gronk is kinda endemic in the shift in Tharg's organ overall however. Its all hard and pounds away with vigour... sometimes that works and its done with enough guile and energy that you can get away with it... sometimes its just leaves you completely unsatisified and sore... leading nicely to...

Robo... well I might was well stop there... cos Jez I'd forgotten how long Millar's Robo... 'graced us', its still bloody going and... well.... I stopped reading about half way through to be honest!

Last up we have Flesh - Legends of Shamana. Last time I read this, almost ten years ago now I said:

Quote
This revisiting of Flesh should have been so wrong, everything about it should be terrible. A rehash of Flesh adding nothing to the original aside from some Skinner era Mills political preaching (modern life and science is terrible). Infuriating made up dinosaur facts, what on earth were those intelligent dinosaurs about aside from cranking in some trite ideas and that psycho-chamleon stuff, please! Carl Critchlow before he'd perfected his art during the brown paint times. Some shockingly cliched characters.

All that and yet it was always nothing but readable. I really enjoyed it and for the life of me can't work out why. Go figure...

Alas ten years in the first paragraph holds... the second does not.

Possibly the most telling thing about the shift 2000ad is still thrashing through is the 'Droid Profile' for Robo-Cook. Now from my very limited interactions with this droid he seems smashing and lovely and in most of the answers he comes across as a cocky young soul enjoying life, as well he should. However:
Quote
What does Judge Dredd look like under his helmet?

Get a life, you sad fanboy

Now this is a fun throw away answer and means diddly squat... or does it speak to the prevailing attitude in the Prog at the time. Its a bold, young thing, punching it way into a bold exciting new era... its problem is it still felts a little ill at ease and ashamed of what its come from and that is going to be a problem for some time!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #509 on: 08 August, 2018, 09:01:57 pm »
With an almost relaunch Prog in 828 time for some quick thoughts on early 1993

1. Ennis Dredd has been getting better, though its still inconsistant. I enjoyed PJ and the Mock Choc Factory particularly.

2. Though did he really have to have PJ captured?

3. Kelly's Eye Get shot... oh hold on no need to worry he's invulnerable.

4. Legend of Shamana dunnt half gone on dunnit

5. Return of the Gronk shows how to do dumb fun and make it good at the same time... others could learn!

6. Oh no Kelly's Eye has been thrown out a tall building... oh no don't worry he's invulernable

7. That's a fun Tharg Story in the birthday issues (the rules of submitting to 2000ad)

8. Nemesis - The Shape of Things to Come... alas that's actually years of teasing stories about hammers as I recall

9. Mind hasn't Paul Staples come on since then!

10. Oh no Kelly's Eye been blown up by a grenade... oh no hold on he's invulernable its okay...

11.  The second half of Bradley's Bedtime Stories isn't as good as the first... still love Simon Harrison mind.

12. I'd forgotten Ron Smith did a Millar Robo-Hunter... doesn't save it mind!

13. Oh no Kelly's Eye is in a bar that's been hit by a rocket launcher... oh no hold on.... well you get the idea by now.

14. The (almost) relaunch Prog is going to be very bloomin' welcome as I recall.