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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 72060 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #660 on: 04 December, 2018, 10:16:41 pm »
Prog 1000

Gosh do you remember the days when reaching Prog 1000 seemed like an unimaginable achievement! While a clear and important milestone, it also very much represents the times in which it was produced... for both good and alas mostly ill.

Arguably the biggest sign of that is after the Dredd movie bombed and even after a classic like The Pit it feels as if Tharg is a little embarrased by ol' Joe and he's bumped from the covered and relegated to the back of the Prog. As still shining from Horned God, all be it now a glow that's had to last 6 years Slaine is propelled front and centre. Alas the waning of that once bright light is felt in this 'cute' stand alone story. Which is kinda a shame given what follows is a pretty good story in 'Treasures of Britain' as I recall.

Dredd himself, even with John Wagner settles for last strip and also presenting the final condemnation of Judge Death as pantomine dame - I mean they're not even pretending by the end of this story BUT taking the episode in 1000 in and of itself its a great introduction to so much of Dredd and the full scope of his world. You can push it push it to the back but you don't put Wagner in the corner.

Elsewhere we get to the real problems with this Prog... well the content at least. We get a Durham Red story that we know folks are all but done with and what could be the great new thrill in Outlaw but one which seems rather than summarising the anarchic, thrill-powered energy of the previous 999 Progs it settles for being the zenith of the hackneyed bland uder hard, souless cliched hardman of the last few years. Its just such a weak thrill and sad opener.

The art throughout is meant to be a painted wonder. Most of it is style of substance.

Ultimately Prog 1000 isn't a great product and not worthy of what's gone before. Its a real shame, but worst of all it just feels so ordinary. It doesn't feel like a celebration. The free suppliment is okay but really but worth the effort? Well actually it is as  what it does give us is hope of whats to come. Those previews remind us that while Prog 1000 reminds us of some lows, its is the gateway to the time of recovery and we can see that coming here.

Prog 2000ad may be 3 1/2 years away, but if you think of the distance Tharg has to travel from here to there, you can fully understand why that journey will take so long. But then after all 2000ad has aways been about the future, so its almost fitting that the best thing about Prog 1000 is the hints of what's to come.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #661 on: 08 December, 2018, 09:28:42 pm »
Some quick thoughts on the very early 1000s.

1. Why did we get that free trading card on 1001? It seemed to have no context what so ever and has left a worrying stain on the inside cover!

2. Love Dermot Power's take on Slaine. I think he's often over looked when the great Slaine artists are rolled out.

3. Similarly John Burns art  really elevates Black Light and I think goes a long way to explaining why I enjoy it so much more than this seemingly bland hard boiled sterotype of the 90s deserves.

4. Simon Davis does paint himself as Outlaw - right?

5. I also really like Marc Wigmore's hyper stylised work on that strip... alas all the great work can't elevate this clunker.

6. The Independence Day cover to  Prog 1004 may well be the latest in a long line of 2000ad movies tie in covers but after the Dredd movie for some reason I'd have thought it best left!

7. Forgot to mention how horrible the wordart on the Black Light logo is! Bet I loved it and thought it was super cool back in the day!

8. By Prog 1005 the horribly dis figuring scars on Emma - great name - Paris' face have deminished to the point they just look like some crap hipster oriental face tattoo.

9, Durham Red ends the Strontium Dogs run in the same issue and I think I thought this was cool back in the day. I was wrong. It such a shame this storyline was curtailed.

10. Oh and Mark Harrison has some real problems with the storytelling here, even more than in other work of his.

11. Why are wonderful Shaky's Beyond Belief! packed off in one hit on the back page in a four for one dump? So unfair for a while they were the only bloomin' good thing in the Prog. I'm guessing Mr Bishop didn't like them!

12. Dead Reckoning ends in Prog 1006. Phew its one of my least favourite Wagner Dredd and reads to me like him being sucked into the 90s nonsense that at times has so marred the strip.

13. Next Prog 'Return to the Hottie House' just shows what we all know he is more typically capable of! Isn't this one of his favourites?

14. So did the old mystic fella last Prog pull some sort of magic teleport stunt to get Lawless through his 'impossible journey' in time or am I so bored with the clicjed ridden strip I missed something?

Overall though the start to 1000s is VERY hit and miss I'm actually quite enjoying them, nonsense and all... oh Rogue's back...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #662 on: 09 December, 2018, 09:41:14 pm »
Bloomin' heck the early 1000s make for interesting reading. You get the (failing to be) hyper cool Outlaw just dripping out more bad, bad, bad storytelling as our lead is assasinated in the night. Gun seen blazing at both the cliffhanger and opening if the following episode, only for the assasin to proclaim they can't go through with it... well what the bloomin' heck were they shooting at? Black Light continues to dally with being a good thrill, but never quite gets there. which makes it a fascinatating read in itself. Slaine spins off on a little two part... I don't know what... and certainly hadn't remembered. Though its worth remembering this is the time I finally stopped getting the Prog all together an so have only read the next (almost) 500 Progs as back issues.

Anyway its really Dredd in these issues that really bring me here. My oh my they are an interesting bunch. We get some magnificent examinations of Mega City One as the cruel brutal lead in 'Awayday', and 'My Brilliant Career' . We get the glorious fad in 'The Rise and Fall of Chair Man Dilbert. Very different sport in 'Question of Sport' - a side note to ask what the heck Tom Carney was thinking in his depiction of Dredd? -  and finally the seering hard humanity of 'Death of a Legend' which packs such a magnificent emotional punch. I might not have liked Wagner's 'Dead Reckoning' but in the next 7 issues he shows his genius by giving us an almost perfect summary of the range and wonder of this most magnificent and terrifying of strips.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #663 on: 14 December, 2018, 06:50:27 am »
The first part of Mazeworld is bloomin' great!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #664 on: 15 December, 2018, 05:14:27 pm »
The first part of Mazeworld is bloomin' great!

As of course the rest of it Mazeworld Book 1 (does it go by books, I'm guessing there I can't remember) is great. Now it would be easy to get distracted and discuss the breath-taking art by Arthur Ransom. Or simply waffle on about the ripsnorting pace of the plot that Alan Grant creates, while at the same time giving things a depth and intriguing characters to match the action.

No rather the thing that struck me on this read is Adam Cadman. In many ways the stories murderous, traitorous and cowardly led is what makes this work so much more than a bunch of other strip. See in the past I'm whined here about the senseless, classless, hackenyed leads that have blighted so many strips in the early 90s. The bloke in Trash, that horrorbag in Junker, just about everyone in Harlem Heroes (the rubbish one) and so many more. Heck there's plenty of examples in Cadman's contempories the fella from Outlaw. Just horrible characters with nothing to redemn them or their cliched hard man (or woman)  dialogue. Nothing to engage the reader to make them care what happens to them.

In less skilled hands Adam Cadman would join this band of bothers, this cast of cliches, this hackneyed of hardmen, but in Alan Grant's deft tale he raises above all that. He's pretty unlikable... well very unlikable, has a strong line in hardman dialogue (or at least internal dialogue) is pretty irredemnable to start with. Yeah but he feels real and solid, not forced and awkward. He doesn't come across as the worst examples of action movie tough guy as those others do. In fact his faults rather than push the reader away, pull you in make him a great protagonist. There's no doubt he's a terrible man, but what so many others have failed to do in the past is manage to make that mean he doesn't have to therefore be a terrible character.

The biggest shame is since I'm guessing they didn't know this would get a return when they set off, his redemption feels too quick and easy and would have been better played out over a longer time. I seem to recall this is handles somewhat in the next couple of parts, we'll see huh.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #665 on: 15 December, 2018, 10:07:26 pm »
Couple of bits before we hit the end of 1996.

Rogue Trooper has the really neat idea of having two different arts handle the two strands of the story developing and in Greg Staples and Alex 'BIG knee pads' Ronald its looks great... so great art, great idea goin' to be a great thrill... right... nah it still sucks.

As does Time Flies 2 - its like a Deadline storie's annoying and childish younger brother that won't bugger off when your hangin' with ya friends.

Mambo is fair more interesting than both of them combined... but alas also has a signifcent problem. Its a great early internet thriller, with all the cliches of such things but told effectively and exciting and what not. Its big problem however is it all feels a bit after the Lord Mayors Show. After the world changing events of the second series this feels really low key and grounded. Not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself but doesn't feel significent given the Kirbyesque ideas of last time. This would have been a great opening story building to what actually has already gone.

I think that's it for this series which is a real shame as this feels like it had places to go.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #666 on: 16 December, 2018, 07:20:19 am »
So the last read of 1996 is the Sci-fi Special

From the heady days of two annual annuals at least three specials this is the last comic standing... and frankly it too feels very ready to fall. Its probably the most 90s looking comics I've ever read. Just strip after strip of sub-Bisley hardmen, chests exposed, spent bullet cases ejaculating everywhere. Its a pretty tired read and if we don't have the talent to sustain the Prog right now having this as a forum to expose new talent seems like a good idea, but makes it a very hard read.

I've a question though, Loaf 96 the cover artist, is that Brendan McCarthy? There's something Brendan McCarthy about it but I'm not convinced and I've not seen the name before?

Jim_Campbell

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #667 on: 16 December, 2018, 07:55:03 am »
I've a question though, Loaf 96 the cover artist, is that Brendan McCarthy? There's something Brendan McCarthy about it but I'm not convinced and I've not seen the name before?

ComicVine says it's Brendan.
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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #668 on: 17 December, 2018, 10:03:10 pm »
Thanks Jim - it certainly looks like his work, just don't remember him using that pseudonym before.

Anyway to matters review and here we are in an interesting transition phase for me as a reader from the comics I read and owned as a kid, into my wilderness years and comics I only read for the first time on catch up maybe 10 years ago, as we rock through ...

1996

Well lets say right from the off its not as bad as 1996... I mean its not great, far from it, but its nowhere near as bad... but we'll get to that , this is after all the 'self absorbed' thread so lets talk about me, me, I, I, me... for context you understand.

So the heady days of 1996. I graduated, but decided that after returning home to Wirral for my summer job I'd head back to Sheffield and make my home there. At first me and my mate Mart were going to get a flat... in the end there was a rabble of 7 of us down Nether Edge, leading a hand to mouth existence doing some pretty crappie jobs. It was a crazy year... but during that return home I made some momentous decisions. Amongst them I looked at the 2000ad's, still landing on my parent doormat, the last comic standing from my collecting heyday and decided there was nothing there for me anymore. It wasn't particularly that the comic itself was bad in my young eyes, it was just that I wasn't interested in comics anymore.

I was 25, music was my thing and the drugs and what not that went with it. That was my thing, I'd 'grown out of comics'...

...pretentious fool that I was... I just stopped paying attention was all.

So anyway in the hedanistic haze... or least as hedanistic as possible, times were 'hard' in the spoilt way of graduates, I was trying to grow up. I just wasn't very good at it and didn't know quite how to do it... and there was no money around...

... can you guess what I'm going to do here...

....see 2000ad was doing the same thing in 1996. It looked at itself in 1995 and seemed to get a shock and decided right time to get this sorted, put things straight and get better. David Bishop made some hard, and by his own admission, wrongheaded decisions. He tried to move on, move the comic on. Trouble is that isn't straight forward. The world doesn't owe you and you need to earn it... and heck times were hard, money was tight. Also while I think David Bishop had a destination in mind I'm not convinced he knew how to get there.

In 1996 he gets his first bit of luck, to back Wagner on Dredd with classic stuff like The Pit he stumbles across Sinister Dexter... its not good yet but, it seems by luck rather than judgement it gets its chance, gets to stick around and then gets a second go in 1997...

Around it the middle ground gets fresh blood and by and large gets stronger. There' still some absolute duffers in there, which I've discussed but there's some good stuff backing it up... good if not great. Another advantage is Slaine picks up as Mills begins... just ... to find his groove again... will it last, I recall not, but it helped 2000ad through this very, very rocky patch.

By the end of the year Bishop has found his first classic (given that S&D isn't there yet) in Mazeworld, which is just great and the previews of 1997 give us much renewed hope...

... oh as with my life 2000ad is making some bloody tragic mistakes. Its no longer Tharg's organ being one of them. Like me so enamoured by what Bishop sees in the zeigtguiest he tries to jetison Tharg and impose the Men in Black on us. Their dry, souless musings have already killed one offs - and will do for some time to come - but now they kill the fun and verve of the Nerve Centre and most negatively the letters page too. God its so dry and uninspiring.

Still overall I've enjoyed 1996 and certainly found it a very interesting, if not successful read. Now 1997... 1997 is possibly going to be the most mixed bag of thrill ever if memory serves. We'll see greats that will save the comic start to develop, while we'll see some of the worst, most lambasted of stories too... it ain't going to be smooth going but heck hard though times are, confused as we may be, we still managed to have some bloody interesting and fun adventures along the way.

AlexF

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #669 on: 18 December, 2018, 08:14:36 pm »
I'm a little way behind you in the 'years on this Earth' stakes, Mr YNWA, and I recall this period rather fondly as my last gasp of extreme fandom before heading off to Gap Year/University business. I didn't stop getting the Prog, but read it only during the holidays in big chunks, which diminishes the fandom aspect*. But the build up to Prog 1000, and the first months after, were a haze of continued 2000ADish excitement, with me, even at 17, still not old enough to realise the comic hadn't been terribly good.

Outlaw truly isn't very good, but I did like seeing kewl artist after kewl artist attempt to make a gunfight look good in comics form. It rarely did. I guess they were trying to ape recent movie 'the Quick and the Dead' - or did that come out at the same time? In the end, Sinister Dexter pulled off the same 'guns are cool' trick but with more verve and, crucially, plenty of humour in the scripts.

*I got back into fannish fun when I took our my first subscription to my own address away from my parents, just in time for the Shakara-era Prog.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #670 on: 18 December, 2018, 09:25:56 pm »
I guess they were trying to ape recent movie 'the Quick and the Dead' - or did that come out at the same time?

You know your right - I thought that was after Outlaw but Quick and the Dead was 1995! Still to be fair Outlaw pilfrers badly from many films and not just one!

So anyway first thing to note in 1997 is Judge Dredd - Darkside. I love John Smith. I love Judge Dredd... so how does this feel like a waste of both? Its a story that doesn't fill its 12 parts for all the things thrown at it nothing really gells into place and we end up with a lukewarm Dredd vs big bad monster piece and little more.

Such a shame.

AlexF

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #671 on: Today at 10:14:53 am »
For my money Darkside suffers from being a mystery story that isn't nearly mysterious enough. In theory, we readers are meant to believe that Judge Dredd has become a murderer. But because we see the actual murderer (who DOES look like Dredd, for spoiler reasons) is a weird green colour, there's never any doubt that it's not Dredd. The story is also not nearly weird enough.

TordelBack

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #672 on: Today at 10:26:06 am »
I like Darkside, but it's telling that my brief post-1000 spell return to buying the prog semi-regularly came to an end before it did. Although it may have been the return of Janus and SinDex that drove me away - I saw out pretty-but-dull Mazeworld and abandoned ship again, this time for several years.

Darkside just didn't really deliver on a great premise, despite sharp art and a decent pace.