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Author Topic: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age  (Read 7957 times)

The Enigmatic Dr X

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Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« on: 13 February, 2018, 09:58:53 am »
We've relived the 80s. Now we are reliving the 90s.

After the "New Golden Age" a couple of years ago, I think the Prog has been in the doldrums for some time.

Just like the 80s faded into the 90s, losing Zenith and Bad Company for Dead Meat and Time Flies, so too is the current Prog flailing a bit.

I am not sure if it's the fact that Invasion and the ABC Warriors are very similar. I assume they share a Prog due to scheduling let downs for other stories. I've not liked very much in it for weeks now.

I find ABC Warriors, Bad Company and Brass Sun to be incoherent. I think they may be written with both eyes fixed on trades, but I also think that they are very rambly.

The current stories, Invasion aside, seem to have no plot.

Bad Company feels like a brain dump of half-thought out ideas that dismisses character death with a contemprous hand-wave that we would go mental over in US TV. I feel like my childhood memories of the story have been dumped on from a great height.

ABC Warriors is a wafer thin idea of a story stretched to transparency. How long have they been fighting each other under the machinations of Blackblood and Quartz? It feels like this new Mars story has been running forever. It's the opposite of Bad Company's one panel plot dump.

And the current Dredd? How much of a throw back to the 90s is it? Let's take him out of the Big Meg (exposing the ludicrousness of the character at it) and make him a survivalist action hero. Um, no? I thought we'd got past that?

That's just the current strips. I feel jaded. Is it me, or does anyone else have a sad sense of ennui about most of the last few months?

In short: I am reading the Prog out of duty, not love or engagement.

It feels like the 90s all over again. Office clothes are a bit 1995, too, nowadays. And music has gone to shit.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #1 on: 13 February, 2018, 10:23:20 am »
For me, the Prog always ebbs and flows. It has since I firsts started regularly reading far too many years ago. Sometimes, it's great. Sometimes, less so. Notably, when I think it's great, others may disagree, and vice versa.

Right now, I'd say the Prog's kind of breezing over me. I don't care all that much for modern Mills fare, and so 40 per cent of the Prog being his already knocks things a bit. That said, Savage is readable (even if it feels like it will never end); ABC Warriors to my mind needs to rediscover its sense of pulp, imagination and fun. Right now, it's like a glossy take on the backgrounds to cartoons that loop over and over.

Dredd: I was fine with this story. Yes, there's the hint of the indestructible superhero, but that's always been the case with Dredd. And we need to get to a point where other writers are regularly doing their thing without Wagner, if Wagner's decided he's going to fade into the background.

Of the other two strips, I'm in two minds. I love the look of Bad Company, but not the script. I'm not sure what it's trying to do. And these days, the whole "we were lied to the entire time" aspect of war is so commonplace in 2000 AD as to be a cliche. (We're basically exploring the same thing, at the exact same time, in Savage, and perhaps even ABC Warriors.) I hope there's a pay-off at some point (and the current Prog's cliffhanger at least hints at this).

Brass Sun: well, that's for me one of the best things 2000 AD has run in a long time, but its pacing suffers from episodic instalments. I'm not against such fare being in the Prog, though; I'm happy to read it all through in one block (and hopefully there will be another hardback).

It's a long way from the 1990s though. Back then, I was basically reading the Prog for whatever John Smith submitted. Often, everything else was borderline intolerable. As an example, I randomly tapped in a Prog number that hit 1994: 878. Within, there's:

Dinosty: divisive and to my mind dreadful Mills/Langley satire.
Judge Dredd: the strip's nadir as written by 'Sonny Steelgrave'.
Rogue Trooper, Scavenger of Souls: not the worst of Fr1day, but a combination of pointless and the beginnings of continuity hell. (Nice art, though.)
The Grudge Father: one of the worst things 2000 AD has ever run
Tyranny Rex: a divisive strip, but I always liked this one, and wish it would get collected.

So that's, for me, one good strip, one just about OK strip, and three slices of garbage. With the recent Prog, I suppose the main problem for me is there was nothing I loved, but I like three strips, don't care about one, and am confused by the last.

I, Cosh

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #2 on: 13 February, 2018, 10:28:24 am »
I'd agree that the current line-up is extremely poor. However, I thought the same about the first run of stories in 2017 and that eventually picked up.

I can handle a run that I don't fully enjoy because it's always been transient but it definitely feels worse when your own personal ratio goes below 50% and I'm really only enjoying Brass Sun at the moment.
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TordelBack

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #3 on: 13 February, 2018, 10:41:33 am »
Lawks no, it's not a Dark Age!  However, I agree with the general sentiment.  Other than Brass Sun, I'm generally finding the other strips readable (and pretty), rather than immediately exciting: there's nothing bad, just nothing I'm grabbing the prog off the shelf and reading as I walk to the till.  So a blip where my tastes don't necessarily align: whenever we get more Deadworld, The Order, Kingdom, Kingmaker, Absalom, Jaegir, Scarlet Traces, Survival Geeks etc, or something new, I'll be back happy as a pig in the proverbial.

Another Dark Age for me would involve me utterly hating >66% of the comic, and no hope of that changing.

Andy Lambert

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #4 on: 13 February, 2018, 10:42:30 am »
I personally think the progs are suffering from the inclusion of stories that are designed with graphic novel reprints in mind which don't actually lend themselves well to an episodic format. How many times have I seen people on these boards say they struggle with recent stories and feel the need to wait til the story is complete in order to read it in one go? That shouldn't be how the prog is run - it's where the stories appear first, and so that's where the initial impact matters.
There are other issues of course, as noted in the spoilers thread - I was disappointed by the choice of strips to kick-start the year when I first heard what they were, and I thought it was just my own personal taste but it does seem to be failing to strike a chord with others at the moment. I'm currently only reading 3 of the 5 strips right now, and I can't wait for the current run to reach an end - the next line up looks more promising.

I had 3 decades away from 2000ad, having just returned a few years ago I don't want to give up on it again so soon.
« Last Edit: 13 February, 2018, 10:44:21 am by Andy Lambert »

Link Prime

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #5 on: 13 February, 2018, 11:24:47 am »
For me, personally, 2000AD has never had a 'Dark Age'.
It's an anthology comic that I have enjoyed to some degree every single week for the past 3.5 decades.

Current line-up isn't doing it for some (partially for me too), but it'll be all change in about 3 weeks.



Steve Green

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #6 on: 13 February, 2018, 11:29:22 am »
Called it a day at Christmas.

It's all subjective, but I don't think it's as bad as the 90s - more that having stuck with the prog through that era, I'm a lot less tolerant of a period where I'm not enjoying it.

For the past couple of years I feel I've just been buying it out of habit in the same way I did in the 90s.

I couldn't see much changing any time soon, so didn't really see much point in continuing with it.

If it stops being fun, Stop etc.

Tjm86

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #7 on: 13 February, 2018, 11:31:01 am »
I don't care all that much for modern Mills fare, and so 40 per cent of the Prog being his already knocks things a bit. That said, Savage is readable (even if it feels like it will never end); ABC Warriors to my mind needs to rediscover its sense of pulp, imagination and fun. Right now, it's like a glossy take on the backgrounds to cartoons that loop over and over.

When Savage returned, largely to me as a satire on the Iraq invasion, it worked well.  In the last few years it has merged too much with Rob-Busters / ABC Warriors in a way that just seems a bit contrived to me. Granted, Mills did do the same thing years ago with Ro-Busters / Volgan War. This is part of the weakness with ABC, exacerbated by Langley's dense artwork that makes the story difficult to follow for me.  In fact, the artwork on Savage is probably what keeps me still interested.  I would agree that we are nowhere near the 'dark age' of the Millar / Ennis years but it is a bit of a disappointment at the moment considering the heights we've had of late.  That said, this might be the problem.

Smith

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #8 on: 13 February, 2018, 11:46:30 am »
We have a lot of similar threads in recent times,didnt we?

norton canes

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #9 on: 13 February, 2018, 11:56:33 am »
Don't know about a 'dark age' - I'm not hugely enjoying the current line-up either but at most it consitiutes a dingy blip. If we ever get a year or so of largely uninspiring stories then I'll start calling it a dark age.

The next jumping-on prog is looking like a real light at the end of the tunnel. 

IndigoPrime

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #10 on: 13 February, 2018, 12:03:58 pm »
We have a lot of similar threads in recent times,didnt we?
We do, but from different people with different expectations, who like different strips at different times in their lives. Everyone has their own golden age, which the Prog will never return to. For some, new runs of strips either echo or beat this, but the nature of anthologies is change. For me, I don't like 2000 AD that much right now, but I'm confident I will again sooner or later. It's a habit I'm happy to keep in my routine. And, hell, I stuck it out during arguably the comic's worst ever moments, and so I can see through the current dip (as I perceive it).

Professor Bear

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #11 on: 13 February, 2018, 12:17:57 pm »
My dad read the prog since the 1970s, justifying its purchase as "for the kids" - though my older siblings couldn't give a toss about space lasers and whatnot and it wasn't until I came along that his story started to hold water - and he stopped reading it altogether about 4 months back and doesn't seem bothered with returning to it.  I just assumed there were too many hard left disabled black lesbian pro-union SJWs fighting to impose Shakira Law and renationalise the trains in it and that he felt excluded as a straight white male, but now I'm wondering if he was responding to a more general malaise in the story line up.
I do know that the prog has felt a bit lethargic to me for a while now, and while I flirted with the notion that maybe I'd become a big boy adult like what I heard some people do sometimes, I've actually been enjoying the energy, flirtations with surrealism and general iconoclasm of kids' comic The Phoenix at the same time I find the prog wanting.

Tjm86

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #12 on: 13 February, 2018, 01:15:32 pm »
I just assumed there were too many hard left disabled black lesbian pro-union SJWs fighting to impose Shakira Law and renationalise the trains in it and that he felt excluded as a straight white male,  ....

Freudian slip aside (Shakira's law?), haven't we learned anything from recent threads elsewhere?????

I mean seriously, stand back and light blue touch paper, why don't you?

Sheesh. ::)

Richard

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #13 on: 13 February, 2018, 01:45:34 pm »
It's the internet, it's supposed to be confrontational. And I'm pretty sure that Shakira's Law was a pun, not a slip.

Turning back to the subject: I think this post is a huge overreaction, and it fails to keep in mind how truly awful the comic was for part of the '90s. It's just totally wrong to compare them; the '90s were truly dreadful, whereas this is just a brief period (eight weeks into the current stories) where some people aren't enjoying the current line-up very much. This has always happened from time to time, and always will: the nature of the prog is that stories end and new ones start, and it's just impossible for the quality to always be consistent and unrealistic to expect it to be. It'll pick up again in a few weeks, something that seemed very far away and very uncertain 25 years ago.

I agree with you about Bad Company, and about Brass Sun. I am enjoying Pat's stories, although your point of view about them is valid and I get it. I have no problems with the Dredd episodes so far this year, and I can't see anything wrong with Dredd leaving the city now and then. If that's not your cup of tea then don't worry, he'll be home again soon. It's hardly evidence of the prog's decline.

And you don't have to cast your mind back very far to think of some outstanding recent stories, like Hope for the Future for instance. It's not as if we've been fed rubbish for the last five years.

I think the prog is in safe hands. But if you disagree, then remember that there's no "duty" to buy it. If you don't like it you can always stop, and check back later now and then to see how it's doing.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
« Reply #14 on: 13 February, 2018, 02:08:59 pm »
I can't see anything wrong with Dredd leaving the city now and then.

Quite… Cursed Earth? Luna-1? Judge Child? Oz? It's hardly without precedent, and of more recent(ish) examples, I thought the Cursed Earth segment of Tour of Duty was fantastic.
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