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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 40665 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #390 on: 26 February, 2018, 09:28:30 pm »
Chopper - Song of the Surfer

Its funny with all the showcase pieces knocking around the start of 1990 (the 650 strips) with the next generation of talent really strutting their arrogant (possibly deservedly so) stuff, Bisley on Horned God and Morrison on Zenith its interesting that the two Wagner strips are the ones that have stood the test of time so much better than the others.

Actually that's possibly a bit unfair, particularly on Zenith Phase III which I do adore... but after the umpteenth re-read might have slipped below Phase II. Horned God has some superb moments but I don't know its  not surviving this re-read the way I was expecting and my least favourite Book 3 is on its way.

Song of the Surfer is utterly timeless though. Like Deadman its all about simple craft done well. Story building tension with a deft touch. Colin MacNeill's art developing quite fantastically on the page. Not sure I have much else to say except for all these fantastic new talents bursting through ya can't beat a bit of Wagner, 13 years in some stuff doesn't change huh... heck 41 years in but we'll get to that, in time.

In other matters the train is well and truly coming off the tracks, we're starting to get filler, and strips dropping in and out like nobodies business. Heck I'd even forgotten Beyond Zero had taken a bench. Still Bix Barton, while not Milligan's best ain't bad and YEAH! more Zippy Couriers, thought this one had finished so happy to have it back.

Greg M.

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #391 on: 26 February, 2018, 09:46:00 pm »
Song of the Surfer is utterly timeless though. Like Deadman its all about simple craft done well.

Song of the Surfer is an amazing piece of writing - as the years go on, I start to feel it might be the best story John Wagner ever wrote. He makes it look so effortless, but just like The Dead Man, the story is a masterclass in the slow-burn build up of tension, eventually exploding into a dark and violent climax. The older I get, the more shocking I find the death of Dallas Hall in particular. 2000AD as a whole has no shortage of wacky head-exploding moments in its pages, but there's nothing at all cartoonish about this one: it feels horribly real.

TordelBack

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #392 on: 27 February, 2018, 09:43:09 am »
Song of the Surfer is incredible. Discounting Oz as a fun mish-mash where both stories appear to be sub-plots and including Soul on Fire as a prologue, the 'Chopper Trilogy' of Un-American Grafitti, Midnight Surfer and Song of the Surfer are every bit as good as the more lauded America Trilogy.  The escalation in SotS from the familiar Wagner comedy-foreigner stereotypes ('Furt mit Frank' always raises a smile) and future-sport to an extraordinarily harrowing exploration of exploitation, violence and even (foreshadowing) reality TV.

The progression of universally excellent art from Ron Smith through Cam Kennedy to at least three flavours of the young MacNeil also nicely frames the development of the comic across the period.

And I'd agree with Colin,  SotS has stood the test of time far better than Horned God.

Magnetica

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #393 on: 27 February, 2018, 02:32:13 pm »
So Colin and Tordels, I’m interested - how do you see The Horned God not standing up too well?

I have been doing my own Slaine re-read lately and some of it did strike me as a bit one dimensional post Game of Thrones.

I, Cosh

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #394 on: 27 February, 2018, 04:37:55 pm »
Interesting stuff. If I'm honest, I can't remember when (or if) I last reread Song of the Surfer. I can tell you that I thought it was fairly dreadful at the time it ran, but I can't for the life of me remember why that was.

I wonder if there is some way I can give it a fair try now.
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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #395 on: 27 February, 2018, 09:49:15 pm »
So Colin and Tordels, I’m interested - how do you see The Horned God not standing up too well?

I have been doing my own Slaine re-read lately and some of it did strike me as a bit one dimensional post Game of Thrones.

There's a few things I want to qualify before I launch into this. Firstly I was tired when I made the last comment and didn't really get across the point I was trying to make, which was going to be how I think I've changed as a reader so much over the years... but that will have to wait.

Secondly while I stand by the fact that The Horned God hasn't aged as well as other strips I should also point out I think its great and enjoy it a great deal. Well certainly the first two books, I seem to recall the third has significent problems - but I'll get to that too.

Okay so what makes me think this is the case. Two things in this particular case. First I'm afraid to say its The Biz. I've mentioned here before while his art is good and wonderfully dynamic and meladramatic (in the good way) it is very of its time, very possibly due to the impact it had and the influence that created, but whatever the reason the fact remains.

Secondly the story. Its good, its interesting, but again falls victim of what it will lead to. In this case in the work of Mills (P, Aunty). It revels in stripping away sterotype, in depicting the hero in new way. But it does so in quite simplistic ways. Flipping thing on their head in a way that becomes predictable and is somewhat over stated. Its all there on the surface, nothing is done with subtly. This feels like a worse fault given that Patty (Mills, Uncle) has continued to do this to this day and frankly often doesn't add to the stuff covered here.

To be fair its not as bad as the reverse logic of say his Tony Skinner (K)chaos days, but suffers in the reflected light from such efforts and the bashing over the head with points laboured much over the years.

So there we have it. While Song of the Surfer works its magic far more quietly, gently pulling us in with great character. Quietly tricking us with Sonny Williams into thinking this will be another exciting sports piece, when it reality he's just a slight of hand to make the real themes of the story to hit home all the harder. It has the craft that Mills is more than capable of, but a timeless simple depth left for the reader to find under the ultra violent high octane surface at their own pace. It, like 2000ad allows itself to grow with you. Horned God blurts it all out in a glorious technicolour explosion of teen energy that I loved all the more at the time, but hasn't oftered more more as I've grown.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #396 on: 27 February, 2018, 09:52:36 pm »
Well enough of that pretenious spouting from me, should we talk about how pointless The Sister's Bradley story is...

Nah lets not (I did love it at the time). Instead aren't we all glad that Bix has stopped those bloody Rugby comments, they were getting so grating.

Also what a shame that Zippy Couriers bows out with a wimper, no wonder I'd forgotten it!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #397 on: 28 February, 2018, 09:05:09 pm »
Also what a shame that Zippy Couriers bows out with a wimper, no wonder I'd forgotten it!

Whoops or the one after it which I quite liked.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #398 on: 02 March, 2018, 09:14:06 pm »
Lets talk beginings shall we. There's a lot of them coming up in my re-read now as Tharg finally has all his new strips in good order to cover the gaps in his new strips not in good order. Two I want to quickly look at are Armoured Gideon and Shadows.

Armoured Gideon is a strip I've always had a soft spot for but it so very much in Tharg's middle tier that is so endemic of the Prog at this time going forward, particularly the new strips. It opens with an absolute smash in the face of big ideas and is as bold and brash as its namesake in throwing them straight at you. The art is shocking and dynamic and so in keeping with the story it displays. Its an opening that so embedded in 2000ad as we know it at this point.

Shadows a strip absolutely from Tharg's top draw comes along in the next Prog and it also presents big ideas and draws you straight into its world. It does it so much more guile and subtly. It builds its world and key theme in just six packed pages and doesn't even bother to let you know its doing it. It just opens its door, invites you in and lets you absorb your new emvironment. All this a beautiful language to do it with and art from Richard Elson that ... well is most notable for being recognisable as Richard Elson as we'll come to know him (also see Simon 'Same chiselled face for everyone regardless of gender' Colby whose Universal Soldier is prologues in the same Prog). So yeah a quite brilliant 2000ad opening again in absolute keeping with 2000ad as we know it today.

So there we have fantastically encapsulated in just two perfectly Thargian opening episodes the scope and wonder that is the diversity of the Galaxies Greatest.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #399 on: 06 March, 2018, 09:39:59 pm »
Hey Anderson before you start having a go at Kraken shouldn't you be forgetting when you were manipulated into allowing the Dark Judges back, just saying.

Anyway last time beginnings, this time endings. In asecnding order.

Chronos Carnival = well frankly are we bothered. I mean this should have been good, a carnival, but they made that irrelevant, dragons, but they made them awkward, shape changing villians who are presented as vicious deadly killers and are basically a bit rubbish and you just kills them with stuff. Neil the first of our heroes is a jerk, mind at least he spends one ENTIRE episode being a bit of a jerk but at least admitting he's wrong. The other hero... called... something isn't a jerk.... if only cos its hard to remember anything defining about her, she's so forgettable.

So by the end of all that some stuff happened, the dragon gave some kids a ride and the shape changing deadly alien uses its powers for the first time, but only when caged and impedient, not while actually you know fighting the goodies. Bloody useless and even Ron Smith's art seems totally off.

Armoured Gideon lands its ending really well, its bold, its brash and it in perfect keeping with the tone of the series. The series as a whole has been far from perfect, but its been fun and I have to be honest I can't really put my finger on why I don't think its great. I mean it should be, the concept, the character are all very sharp and exciting. Its pretty original and makes daing choices... its just a bit off... well offish... offesque... I mean its good and I have a real soft spot for it, but for some reason its just not great. The ending is however and leave me hankering for its return.

Shadows as with the beginning so with the ending - absoluely fantastic. This series is Milligan at his best. It creates its world, shakes it up and moves the story alone at a deceptive pace. Its also decpetively clear and well crafted, hiden by some very smart word play and ideas its a familar story told well. Its Trading Places with great world design and less gags. Its just brilliant and so well timed. Done and gone but gone with such a perfect, grim ending. It leaves you actively wanting no more as more would upset its neigh-perfect. Just fantastic.

Anyway Universal Soldier 2 ends next Prog... I think this one will be me CC then Shadows...


TordelBack

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #400 on: 07 March, 2018, 01:24:01 pm »
Shadows as with the beginning so with the ending - absolutely fantastic. This series is Milligan at his best.

I swing back and forth on my favourite Milligan strip (Is it The Dead? Is it Tribal Memories? Is it Bad Company I&II?), but Shadows is the one I come back to over and over again, and would love to have in a glossy hardback edition.  I've bored long-time boarders repeatedly with my tale of using Shadows as the basis for a well-received college exam essay on mental mapping, but have I also confessed that it introduced me to T. S. Eliot where my schooldays had conspicuously failed to engender any interest, never mind affection?  It is, as Colin, says, clear, well-crafted, compact and self-contained - and oh the marvel of multi-coloured larval-form Elson: an under-appreciated gem if ever there was one.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #401 on: 20 March, 2018, 08:50:39 pm »
Wow Dry Run  doesn't get a good start does it.  I mean we have this character Flair who is ANGRY and uncontrolled. So much so that her passions run over when she realises the woman they've handed over to the cliched big bad is skinned or a map tattooed on her back. Apalled she draws her blade but is restrained by her clamer headed colleagues. 6 pages later after some relatively random violence she draws her blade again this time to kill and innocent for no other reason than she'll get in the way...

errr...

...and its this and the other just unconnected stuff that's just thrown at the strip that reminds me why I remember so little of it...

... mind prior I also forgot to comment on the end of Final Solution and to be honest its 'cos in re-reading it pretty thin. It lacks the impact I remember and to be honest aside from glorious Simon Harrison art followed by some lovely Colin MacNeill art the story goes grip in the way I remember and feels a little forced. Big shame this one didn't hold up to my memory of it.

Magnetica

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #402 on: 20 March, 2018, 10:34:08 pm »
I also forgot to comment on the end of Final Solution and to be honest its 'cos in re-reading it pretty thin.

Ok I haven’t re-read it, but surely there has to be an element of knowing what happens tempering one’s view of this. Even if the rest of it is, as you say a”bit thin”, Johnny’s death has to be the most shocking event in any 2000AD story ever. Certainly when read at the time with no spoilers.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #403 on: 21 March, 2018, 06:11:20 am »
I also forgot to comment on the end of Final Solution and to be honest its 'cos in re-reading it pretty thin.

Ok I haven’t re-read it, but surely there has to be an element of knowing what happens tempering one’s view of this. Even if the rest of it is, as you say a”bit thin”, Johnny’s death has to be the most shocking event in any 2000AD story ever. Certainly when read at the time with no spoilers.

That's a very fair point, but doesn't change the fact that on re-read it didn't hold up as well as I remember, even from previous re-read. In part I think its also fair to say as it doesn't hold but to the high esteem I held it in.

Blue Cactus

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #404 on: 21 March, 2018, 11:27:13 am »
I'm enjoying this phase of your slog Colin as it's covering the period I was away from the Prog, though I've read the 'bigger' stories, like the Final Solution, in reprints. I've never read a single episode of Dry Run though, or Shadows. Has Shadows ever been reprinted? Surely it's prime Meg floppy material, being by a relatively 'big name' writer, and neatly self-contained.