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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 75726 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #675 on: 02 January, 2019, 09:26:53 pm »
Well the 20th Annniversy Prog gets a lot right. It really does, and it and the following progs provide much to talk about, much indeed.

Prog 1033
starts many things. Firstly new stories getting 10 or so pages giving those openning more room to breathe, no bad thing but when you have double Dredd it means you only have 3thrills which is a shame, especially when you consider one of them is a sub-par Slaine. Still we're talking about what's right and if you have three thrills double Dredd, a classic like Slaine and the opening to the intially promising Mercy Heights isn't a bad way to go. I'll talk more about Mercy Heights as we get into the series as I believe it starts well, building a nice pseudo-complex world and a series with many angles to play with, medical drama, crime drama, politicals and a bit of warring... but I'm getting ahead of myself ... it uses its 6 pages well.

Its also nice to see Dredd front and centre (well back as it goes) again. Double Wagner and one of them, Hunting Party a beaut as I recall, setting off nicely. This all sits well with Tharg screaming in the Nerve Centre again.

Okay so murky art and a story rehashed from a 48 page special on Slaine don't help but its the thought that counts.

The one problem I'm not getting past is trimming the page size.

Ouch.

I'd forgotten how much I noticed the impact in the art. I'm not sure the reason for this, maybe the post movie flop penny pinching has started? Maybe the its to give the Prog the same dimensions as a US comic for reprint purposes... maybe both... maybe neither. Anyway I do feel it a great deal and its a shame as it really compresses the art and space on the page. As it goes its the same width as the current Prog, but taller - though reduced from recent girth (in re-read terms) - which just goes to show its the proportions not the over all size that give the maximum thrill.

Still one of the better Progs of recent years, which while not saying much is at least saying something and things are about to get better...

... mind before we get to that we get an experiment that shows much about what has lead the Prog to the place from which it needs to recover... but I'll save that for next time...


Leigh S

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #676 on: 02 January, 2019, 10:08:14 pm »
ISTR that the paper resize was a cash saving exercise - from what I recall in TPO(?) a pretty significant saving as well?

Leigh S

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #677 on: 02 January, 2019, 10:17:55 pm »
TPO page 192 (my old version!)  "Bishop admits it was more to do with costcutting and convenience than innovation.  "It saved us a five figure sum each year because we were using less paper to print the comic. Also, the comic's art had been lsightly too large to fit ona  single sheet of A3, so every page had to be copied or scanned in two halves. Going A4 eliminated that"

ISTR that the paper resize was a cash saving exercise - from what I recall in TPO(?) a pretty significant saving as well?

sheridan

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #678 on: 03 January, 2019, 12:09:48 am »
Janus is wholly irriatating.


Like, wholly.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #679 on: 03 January, 2019, 07:57:05 am »
TPO page 192 (my old version!)  "Bishop admits it was more to do with costcutting and convenience than innovation.  "It saved us a five figure sum each year because we were using less paper to print the comic. Also, the comic's art had been lsightly too large to fit ona  single sheet of A3, so every page had to be copied or scanned in two halves. Going A4 eliminated that"

ISTR that the paper resize was a cash saving exercise - from what I recall in TPO(?) a pretty significant saving as well?

Thanks Leigh, wasn't sure it hit this early, seem to recall he had to find savings year on year for some time... I will crack open Thrillpower Overload again some time.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #680 on: 03 January, 2019, 08:03:13 am »
Quote
“Would the scripts be the same or be given a harder, more satirical edge to reflect the rising cynicism of the late 1990s.”

And so the question is asked about Prog 3000 the promotional comic given away with Prog 1034 reinventing… well maybe… the thrills presented in Prog 1. The answer to that question may well tell us a lot about the malaise that’s infected the Prog in the 90s and why the road ahead is quite so bumpy as Tharg drags things back.

Now an important caveat to mention before I dtart, these re-imagined thrills have only 2 or 3 pages to make their point and create their more satirical edge and this is a clear disadvantage BUT its all about the attitude isn’t it, the cool cynicism… lets see…

B.L.A.I.R 1… well Tony B as hyper-powered superhero is pretty on the nose isn’t it. It thinks its being smart but it lacks the shy undercurrent of the best of 2000ad satire… is ‘rising cynicism of the late 1990s’ all about screaming stuff into your face?

Hike Harlem Heroes… hmmm has a decent gag of a penalty shootout, but does it have anything else to say which the original doesn’t is the attitude and cool any more satirical or cynical as the violence is more direct and in your face?

Mind does Dan Dare have anything to say at all… this is so bland… is that the intent? Is that the commentry? Maybe I’m not giving this strip the credit it deserves, maybe the point is a hero from the 50s has nothing to offer the new cool (90s) now? If that is the point it still has nothing to say mind!

Flesh really has nothing new to say with its less interesting slight diversion from the original.

Similarly Invasion! really says nowt by swapping the ‘dirty’ Russians for the EU, well not so much then, maybe now this would led to more interesting ideas!

So what do we learn… we learn about the shortsighted arrogance that has caused the Prog to stumble, at times so badly over the last 6 or more years. The idea that the ‘old’ needs to be refreshed to say anything that is new and cutting edge is clearly poppycock and the old was doing quite well thank you very much. The new ‘cool’ cynical attitude is at best adding a veneer of more violence, which was thought to be mature back then, at worse is actually completely lacking the guile of the past…

… mind something this way comes and next Prog we learn that while we might not yet have realised what the Prog has done to lose its way so badly it's also, even unwittingly, starting to put the very things that will get it back where it belongs...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #681 on: 03 January, 2019, 09:59:15 pm »
So lets talk about early Nikolai Dante (very early) as it makes an interesting comparison to its contempary Sinister Dexter which started about a year earlier.

Dante comes out the blocks feeling almost fully formed and it very easy to understand why that might be. It seems to of had a long gestation. Apparently pitched by Robbie Morrison, if memory serves, to start at or after the Tsar Wars. David Bishop apparently past it back and and asked Morrison to flesh out how Dante and his world got there... what a stroke of genius that was.

It seems the time taken to return to the strip. To develop ideas and stories before this massive event mean it drops feeling pretty much fully formed. It also suggests that both creators and editor had confidence in the strip and as such time and space to put its pieces into place.

Compare that to Sinister Dexter, pitched as an after thought. Kept in the Prog by scheduling issues, returned after being allowed to develop a little more, but still not quite there. Early Sinister Dexter is therefore not surprisingly choppy it, feels rough and suffers from the worst ideas of cool that surround it... but a great strip is struggling to get out.

Its very possible the origins of both these brothers in arms - as I think of them as they united to make 2000ad great again - helps them become the classic strip they both become. Sinister Dexter's difficult gestation, seen messy on the page, with little confidence or love shown it. Rushed and rough, the rebellious unwanted child, it was forced into different corners and sharps helping it become the robust flexible wonder it soon will be and remains to this day. Able to support all sorts of stories, long and short. With a variety of themes and styles, all be it with one mastermind behind it all.

Dante is more considered however, its creation given time and space. It having an identified direction of travel, but landing fully formed due to the love and confidence it was afforded. Don't get me wrong its still a cheeky little minx and does have space and time to develop into something more than it started out as BUT its start is much more structured and it struts into the Prog with the same cocky stride and knowing grin of its lead. I'm four episodes in and already we've had catchphases dropped in with easy already. Reoccuring gags are set up, I get the impression with the full belief that they would be just that. Characters are in place and seem fully formed yet with room to grow and develop.

Its just a glorious start and the scary thing is we know its going to get better yet!

Funt Solo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #682 on: 03 January, 2019, 10:28:43 pm »
I re-read the first few Nikolai Dante progs recently and I noticed the same thing: it's out of the gate with a fully fledged world around it.  The traits that get focus early on stay with it through to the very end. 

And yes, this and Sin Dex were key as new thrills that could stand alongside the best of the rest with ease.

Look at prog 1035, and I'd place Nikolai Dante easily at the top of the pile (which looked like this):

a. Judge Dredd: Lost in Americana
b. Mercy Heights
c. Nikolai Dante
d. Al's Baby: Public Enemy #1
e. Slaine: King of Hearts
fate amenable to change

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #683 on: 05 January, 2019, 07:56:03 am »
Well I said we read in interesting time and there's lots to talk about from the post 20th Anniversary Prog so lets have a quick catch up shall we:

1. I know we don't like Alan Craddock's colouring but by heck he does stamp all over Kevin Walker's art in Mercy Heights.

2. The addition of Al's Baby to the line-up gives the Prog a really nice balance adding his comedic delight to the mix.

3. We get lots of interesting freebies at this time, which is nice but what the heck is 'Havok' all about? It been cropping up all over the place at the moment, no one story distinguishable from the last and then we get this weird supplement... oh its a game... and then its gone - phew!

4. Prog 1037 just shows the amazing predictive power of Tharg and no I'm not talking about chilling prophetic Bob Booth in Dredd's Fog on the Eerie (that's next Prog) - rather Al's Baby proclamation
Quote
'The Big Bad Winter of 2017-18'
okay so it was more the early spring of 2018 but we can forgive Nostradamus Wagner a couple of months can't we.

5. I love Calum Alexander Watt's art but his more photo based (?) art here feels a bit stilted compared to what came before - and what comes after as I recall.

6. Oh its Andew Currie who takes over on art from Kev Walker on Mercy Heights ... he's come on hasn't he!

7. I almost stopped reading 'Slaine: King of Hearts' as its SOOOO bloody murky...

8. Mind it was the bloomin' rubbish, rehashed story that did for me... Slaine has reached its low ebb and its going to be scrapping along the bottom of the barrel for a while to come as I recall.

9. The Grail War certainly suggests its not going to improve in either department.

10. Mercy Heights is a fun soap opera but by George it doesn't half take itself too seriously!

11. How good is Henry Flint on Dredd. Only his second story and already he's marking himself as a great! If not the greatest. Only he and Carlos have not only done the quality, but the quantity as well. We got his work to look forward to over another 1000 and more Progs and 20 years of Dredd. We are blessed!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #684 on: 09 January, 2019, 09:38:53 pm »
Getting a little behind on my whittering so a few quick thoughts before we hit the Summer Relaunch and I take a quik break to re-read Hinterkind, looking forward to that have to say anyway back to my whittering...

1. The start of The Romanov Dynasty reveals what a superbly crafted opening run Nikolai Dante has. Pieces are slowly dropped into place to seamlessly and thrilling build a worth without missing a beat. Dante a glorious lead pulling you through it all. Its just exceptional stuff.

2. Alas at the same time 'Hunting Party' starts to drift and loose its cool. It started as an interesting re-run of the Cursed Earth exploring new corners of craziness with rigour and imagination. For me from Dance of the Spider Queen it starts to lose its vigour.

3. Then we get that of Dredd eatting a spider buttie - huh?!?

4. Dredd's not the only thing unravelling:

a) Mercy Hits starts to get lost in its own multiple plots and what once seemed a great source of variety and potential has become a bit of a mumbled mess in which I'm not sure I want to care about. Its trying to be a soap opera to multiple storylines but it doesn't have the guile and skill to juggle it all.

b) I've enjoyed Al's Baby Public Enemy No 1 but by the end I'm beginning to wonder what its adding to the piece. Its fun but no longer feels as fresh as the earlier stories . Its dawning on me its adding nothing... still fun at least.

c) Slaine - The Grail War is Slaine at a low ebb. The story just feels cold and tired. The art isn't close to much what has gone before. Like Al's Baby it has nothing new to say, unlike Al's Baby its not even fun though!

5) So the push for Witch World starts... feels like a bit of a wasted effort now huh!

6) Nice to have Anderson back. Steve Sampson's art is absolutely fascinating. The story is hard.

7) I really don't enjoy Dredd - Camp Demento.

8) Mind while I'm not a fan of Jason Brashill's art its not as bad as... well I'd forgotten David Bircham had done a Dredd...

9) Hunting Party picks up with 'Trail of the Man Eaters' Up to the last part its really good... alas the last part feels very laboured and expositiony. Still up to then a good ending.

10) The last part of The Romanov Dynasty is exceptional. Such chilling forsight. Such wonderful character work. Just brilliant.

Dandontdare

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #685 on: 10 January, 2019, 12:32:07 am »
1. The start of The Romanov Dynasty reveals what a superbly crafted opening run Nikolai Dante has. Pieces are slowly dropped into place to seamlessly and thrilling build a worth without missing a beat. Dante a glorious lead pulling you through it all. Its just exceptional stuff.

Morrison had the whole Tsar Wars saga mapped out and intended to start with it, but Tharg convinced him that the characters needed more of an introduction. The earlier books were written when the world was already fully formed in his head, which is why they are so confident and as you say, drop seamlessly into place. I've just read through the end of the war in the Hachette collections and it truly is a glorious body of work. Definitely in my top 5 thrills of all time.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #686 on: 10 January, 2019, 06:15:58 am »
Definitely in my top 5 thrills of all time.

Everytime I read it I think its my favourite of all time. This beginning is making me think that might be the case again!

AlexF

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #687 on: 10 January, 2019, 09:44:10 am »
I remember really struggling with Slaine at the time, but having read this era in the collections recently it holds up surprisingly well. Definitely the murky repro in the Progs didn't help, but it also feels as if Mills had given up writing thematically coherent episodes, and was already writing for the trade. The tale of Catholic soldiers besieging a town of Cathars is a weird fit for a story about a pagan barbarian, mind.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #688 on: 18 January, 2019, 09:25:42 pm »
These days commeth the Summer commeth the relaunch Prog and so with Prog 1050... though really we're not up to full steam until Prog 1051  but forgive me Prog 1050 as the better ring to it and the better strip as its not until then we get Sinister Dexter back... but I guess I'll come back to that when Murder 101 ends.

Anyway on first sight the summer line-up looks pretty good. Dredd has a glorious opening to a really fun story amongst the many gloriously Mega City One citzens that this story showcases - with Dredd really nothing more than a blunt tool in this tale we get the first appearance of Oola Blint.

Then we get much more plugged firt appearance as the heralded Witch World finally starts and to be honest it has a great opening episode... it starts to unravel a bit almost straight away and I have to be honest I'm not entirely sure why. Siku's art can be a little clunky storytelling wise but it certainly dynamic and striking but some how even if these early episodes you wonder if its going to have anything interesting to say.

Across the Prog Anderson Psi Divison - Crusade is certainly setting itself up to have something very big to say. If anything its a little over earnst in is sentiment but the scale of the theme match the size of Steve Sampson's boots and it all somehow works rather well as a beginning and then Anderson goes down with a bang...

Then we have a comedy double act... of very variable quality. I was a teenage Tax Consultant should be a hit, after all its got a pedigree creative team but right out the door you begin to realise its going to be a very one note story from Wagner regardless of how lovely the art is from Gibson. Sinister Dexter hits the comedy notes so much better when S&D return as mentioned in 1051. Its fun and thrilling, sharp and fiestly right off the bat and Dabnett and Simon Davis seem to have found their and the Gunsharks true balance and as we see over the next few years its one that they'll play with in almost endless ways and I'm really looking forward to revisiting this strip.

So yeah the Summer of 1997 as well as seeing me leaving a 7 folks crazy hovel and moving into one of the funniest shared houses I'd ever live in, for a year with just the four of us starting to get better at life... oh not there yet... 2000ad is also playing really nicely with its efforts to rediscover itself. Its not there but its trying new things and realising Slaine has run out of things to say (for now at least) and even when its failing at leasy you're starting to understand what its trying to do.

PsychoGoatee

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #689 on: 18 January, 2019, 10:05:04 pm »
Right on, and I really dig the late mid-to-late 90s style in various things. I'm around this place in the Dredd Case files at the moment myself too.