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Author Topic: Subversive?  (Read 2094 times)

Funt Solo

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Subversive?
« on: 19 December, 2021, 01:49:49 AM »
one of the customers brought a couple of progs over to me recently, including a regened one, and muttered “see this”? - pointing to Prog 346 - “this was subversive when we were kids. It was OURS. This is just nothing”… (pointing to the last regened and 2257).

It's great that DrRocka runs a 2000 AD corner in his pub. I was thinking about what his customer (and fellow Squaxx) said about the comic having been more subversive in the past. DrRocka later expressed this same idea as "it’s lost it’s punk rock feel".

And I thought - well, so has punk rock. Prog 346 was published in 1983 (where, you could argue, punk was past the crest). Not perhaps surprisingly, Johnny Rotten smells a bit off now when you realize he's just an out-of-touch, quasi-racist narcissist.

But this only led me to: "well, what is subversion now?" Is it tearing down statues and throwing them in the harbor? Striking from school in an attempt to move the dial on climate change policy? England players taking the knee? A youth culture that in many ways has normalized gay and trans identity in a way that older generations struggle to comprehend? Furries?

But if that argument's too esoteric, you can also just make it a competition: does prog 346 differ in subversion in comparison to progs 2256 (Regened) or 2257?

---

Prog 346:
 Judge Dredd - Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo (1)
 Rogue Trooper - The Gasbah (4)
 Nemesis the Warlock - Book III (12)
 Tharg's Time Twisters - Que Sera, Sera
 Slaine - Heroes' Blood (2)

Prog 2256 (Regened)
 Cadet Dredd - Full Throttle
 Scooter & Jinx
 Enemy Earth - The Bunker
 Tharg's Time Twisters - Temporal Tantrum
 Strontium Dug

Prog 2257
 Judge Dredd - Tread Softly (2)
 The Diaboliks - London Calling (1)
 Scarlet Traces - Storm Front (7)
 Future Shocks - Keyboard Warriors
 The Out - Book Two (7)
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

pauljholden

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #1 on: 19 December, 2021, 10:18:38 AM »
Given how the government of the day is, and the prevailing populist moods it feels like proper subversion is actual kindness and thoughtfulness to other people. I'll grant you, it's not as exciting as spitting in someone's eye, but there it is.
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sintec

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #2 on: 19 December, 2021, 10:21:02 AM »
There's are few things less punk rock that a bunch of old gits telling the kids what punk is.  "It was better in my day" bah.

Culture was very different in 1983. I mean I was 2 so I don't really have strong memories of 83 specifically but I do recall later parts of the decade. If the same things that were subversive in 83 were still considered subversive now then that would imply the status quo is unchanged and the subversives failed. Thankfully they are not. Gay rights are now a broadly accepted thing, vegetarinism has moved from a weird hippy lifestyle choice to mainstream culture. Culture has moved on. I found myself nodding along to your list of modern subversion Funt so yeah I think I'd tend to include all those things.

However I think there's something more important that has changed. The way we consume culture now is completely different to how it was 40 years ago. Kids especially don't consume culture the way we did. The sheer breadth of options on the table these days makes the kind of subversiveness that titles like 2000ad used to have much harder. There's just less of a monoculture to subvert in the first place. The internet contributes hugely to this. Finding out about non-mainstream culture was a slow process back then, now you just google it and it's all there right in front of you. The kids looking for subversion these days are spoilt with choices comparatively. They're certainly not going to be satisfied with the little hints and nods that could be so explosive back then. I mean I'd argue that things like 2000ad were acting as a gateway drug to the more deeply subversive cultural changes that were happening. The truly subversive stuff was never going to be found on the shelf of your local newsagent but a flavour of it might be. For some of us that led to hunting down more - for others maybe that was as deep as they ever went.

Manga and anime was the subversive choice when I hit my teens, the foreignness certainly contributing to that along side an unhealthy dollop of ultraviolence and sex. Now you can stream the latest anime on Netflix and the distributors are focussing on more mainstream audiences it's very much lost that frisson of subversion. Of course the reality is that the more mainstream content always existed we just didn't see as much of it getting imported back then - mainstream culture was still struggling with the concept on non-English TV at that point (another thing that's become far more accepted in recent years).

To draw this waffle to a conclusion subversion is still out there but these days I suspect it's digital rather than printed on newsprint. It'll be computer games that this current generation recall for introducing them to subversive concepts. Games or forums, or dischord servers, or social media. Culture is far more contributory now than it used to be. It's trivial for anyone to make content and share it. I suspect the most subversive stuff is being made by teens, for teens and gets shared out of the way somewhere we're not looking (much like 2000ad back in the day). The only bit that bothers me is the rise of anti-feminism as a subversive position. Particularly the way it's clearly being used to groom people (mostly boys) into far right beliefs. It worries me that I would have been a target for that shite when I was teen and while I'd like to think I'd have seen through it's bullshit it's also easy to see how you lads get sucked in by it. It's worth remembering that subversion isn't always a good thing.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #3 on: 19 December, 2021, 11:27:46 AM »
Mm. A lot of this comes down to context. since above explores the cultural side of things and so I thought I’d look more into the three Progs mentioned. 346’s subversion largely centres on the lone hero revenge trope, with Mills adding an anti-establishment element on top. Of that Regened, Enemy Earth seemed closer in nature to something that would have been in Action (adults have messed everything up; little brother gratuitously eaten) and that in itself has power. 2257 attacks religion (Diaboliks) and conformity (The Out) amongst other things, but is aimed at a completely different reader.

I still think a lot of this comes down to violence. Regened doesn’t have much (black and white) blood spilling across the page. It also doesn’t have grown white men on a quest to take down the class ‘above’ them or an enemy that when defeated would make them a working-class hero. But there is still plenty of messaging in those strips about questioning authority and doing your own thing. And, as I’ve said elsewhere on the forum, The Phoenix does this as well (although arguably has a much tougher job, in having to appeal to a wider audience range).

GordonR

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #4 on: 19 December, 2021, 04:46:37 PM »
Quote
There's are few things less punk rock that a bunch of old gits telling the kids what punk is.  "It was better in my day" bah.

Thank goodness there aren't any 2000AD creators who - two decades into the 21st century - keep on telling you how punk rock their work is...

IndigoPrime

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #5 on: 19 December, 2021, 05:31:03 PM »
Thank goodness there aren't any 2000AD creators who - two decades into the 21st century - keep on telling you how punk rock their work is...
And that comics were better in their day, until the woke brigade ruined them? That would a pretty silly thing to hear from any 2000 AD creator, for sure.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #6 on: 19 December, 2021, 05:55:36 PM »
And that comics were better in their day, until the woke brigade ruined them? That would a pretty silly thing to hear from any 2000 AD creator, for sure.

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Timothy

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #7 on: 19 December, 2021, 06:02:02 PM »
And how old is Uncle Pat?

Funt Solo

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #8 on: 19 December, 2021, 06:07:51 PM »
On Cleese, McCarthy and any other cool creatives that have gone a bit "grumpy old man" - someone has to fulfill the stereotype, so we can argue that they're only doing their public service.

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sintec - I really enjoyed your essay. The idea that subversion now may consist of a horrible swing to the right in gender politics (and just politics), and things like mass-belief in conspiratorial thinking is spooky. I hope it's balanced by things like Harry Potter (actor, Radcliffe) being more in touch with gender politics than his (breakout character's) creator and benefactor. I should probably have used Emma Watson as the example, there (because the core argument circles around feminism).

---

Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo would fit so well into a Regened issue.
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sintec

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #9 on: 19 December, 2021, 06:37:01 PM »
On Cleese, McCarthy and any other cool creatives that have gone a bit "grumpy old man" - someone has to fulfill the stereotype, so we can argue that they're only doing their public service.

---

sintec - I really enjoyed your essay. The idea that subversion now may consist of a horrible swing to the right in gender politics (and just politics), and things like mass-belief in conspiratorial thinking is spooky. I hope it's balanced by things like Harry Potter (actor, Radcliffe) being more in touch with gender politics than his (breakout character's) creator and benefactor. I should probably have used Emma Watson as the example, there (because the core argument circles around feminism).

---

Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo would fit so well into a Regened issue.

From my limited experience of "the youth" I think it is. But then that might be that I know a bunch of lefty weirdos who have become parents.

Lots of early Dredd would be perfect in a Regened issue as would Robo-hunter, or Ace Trucking. Pandora Perfect seemed very much in that style. Meh I'm bored of the regened argument.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #10 on: 19 December, 2021, 06:59:48 PM »
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Proudhuff

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #11 on: 20 December, 2021, 11:30:38 AM »
I think it all depends on what you're trying to subvert.
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CalHab

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #12 on: 20 December, 2021, 12:00:07 PM »
This reminds of the Daily Telegraph writing an article about The Beano changing renaming the Bash Street Kids character from Spotty to Scotty. It picked up the usual comments about how "woke" snowflakes are ruining everything and taking the edge off characters.

Do you know who liked it? My 7-year-old, who thought that it wasn't nice to call someone that, and liked the character saying something about it.

Things have moved on, and middle-aged (and older) folk should just accept it and shut up sometimes. And yes, it is by definition subversive to question the assumptions and norms of previous generations.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #13 on: 20 December, 2021, 02:04:36 PM »
Same here. My kid had a little think about Fatty vs Freddy and surmised that “even if Freddy didn’t mind, it’s still mean to call him fat”. On Scotty/Spotty, she thinks the same. She also wants “more girls in the glass”, which is fair enough. (I hope the Beano renames Plug and Toots also, although I suspect those will be a bigger ask. Frankly, I still wonder whether Bash St. Kids is salvageable. It’s always come across as a relic and has so many problems. Or perhaps they just need a writer to do a smart soft reboot, such as with Dennis, which is a much, much better strip now.)

milstar

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Re: Subversive?
« Reply #14 on: 20 December, 2021, 02:15:12 PM »
Anti-establishment, against already set-up social norms, against conformism, against mainstream (self-insert whatever mainstream would be)... I wonder what anti-comic books would look like...? Is Ron Desantis ban on wokery subversive?
The narrative "it was better before" is so old in existence I don't think it'll ever vanish. Culture is ever-shifting thing. Maybe tomorrow another rock-rap-folk band would stir the next gen crowd crazy much to our dismay. Maybe 2000ad would turn into 2100ad...? Ofcourse, these are just question and I reserve my right to be wrong about this.

Either way, I just realized that Johnny Rotten is the singer of Public Image Ltd. I could never get enough of Order of the Death tune.

Reyt, you lot. Shut up, belt up, 'n if ye can't see t' bloody exit, ye must be bloody blind.