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Author Topic: Writers Block  (Read 873 times)

Link Prime

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Writers Block
« on: 05 November, 2021, 01:12:07 PM »
Supply chain, Brexit, ageing readership, cover price, distribution - as with all publications, there are a few threats on the horizon.
2000AD may have a unique one though.
I'll prefix this post with the usual rambling; There is a lot of top tier entertainment to consume out there with movies, streaming services, video games, novels etc, and as I get older I've noticed that my tolerance for the "passably good" has reduced considerably.
You have to keep hitting the home runs to stay off the bench as it were, and I've become quite a ruthless coach.
Without hesitation I'll stop a movie 10 minutes in, stop playing a game after an hour, stop buying a comic series after one poor issue.
The only break, say, a Netflix show might get may be because I'm watching it with my partner and she's enjoying it.
           
I've voiced dissatisfaction with 2000AD in the past couple of years, and all other considerations aside, my main problem comes down to the quality of a significant portion of the writing.
As it stands in November 2021, many of the reliable greats are semi-retired, retired or 'gone':
- Wagner, despite pleasantly surprising us with quite a few weeks of Dredd this year (and The Citadel on the horizon for 2022), has a vastly reduced input.
- Mills has left, and possibly (probably) won't be back.
- Grant seems to have retired, although I can't recall if that was officially announced or not.
- Smith is MIA, could potentially return, but even if he did, how prolific would his input be?

Who do we have left with regular contributions?
Top tier are probably Abnett and Rennie. Both very prolific and consistent.
I would also highly rate Carroll, Edginton, Williams and Kek-W although they would be more prone to missteps.
I'm sure there a few others that could be considered solid, but that's who comes to mind for me anyway.

After that? I dunno. I can't say that anything from the newer Droids, from the past 5 years or so, has Thrilled me in any memorable way.
And if that's where we stand right now, how will things look by 2025, 2030?
We're only an unfortunate coronary thrombosis or two away from a potential significant further drop in writing quality.
Will another break-through talent like Ewing or Spurrier add a bit of spice to the mix? I would sincerely hope so.

I've mentioned a couple of times in the past two years that I was considering pulling the plug on 2000AD, but always returned from the precipice.
It can offer at least one or two decent reads a week (I'm currently enjoying Scarlet Traces and The Out) and the artwork, covers, colouring, lettering and production values are consistently excellent.

There is also a very long connection there that I find difficult to break.
39 years right now, by next autumn I will have read / partially read every consecutive Prog in 40 years.

Look, it's all subjective I know, and I read Prog reviews on this Forum every week by very sound fellow boarders who are lapping up pretty much everything they get.
FFS, maybe it is just me.
« Last Edit: 05 November, 2021, 01:14:24 PM by Link Prime »

CalHab

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #1 on: 05 November, 2021, 01:53:23 PM »
Personally, I think the prog is doing pretty well and has been for some time now. Certainly when you look back at where it has been in the past then we have no cause for complaint.

However, I do worry that the prog isn't trying enough new writers or giving the new guys enough time to learn. Do they need more coaching than the current bare-bones editorial staff can provide?

Richard

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #2 on: 05 November, 2021, 02:04:20 PM »
2000AD has been consistently good for years. It's an anthology, so you shouldn't necessarily expect to like everything in it, but I think it's fine if three out of five strips work for me (it's usually more). There are new writers of good quality such as Ken Niemand. Maybe you're just old and jaded?

IndigoPrime

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #3 on: 05 November, 2021, 02:07:32 PM »
I dunno. The Prog has for years now been on a relative high for me. And when I go back and read the old classics, some of them are a chore. Of the writers Link listed, Wagner is, to my mind, the one the Prog most misses. His terse, simple Dredds are always a joy, and his Strontium Dog is much missed. Mills? Well, I loved re-reading Nemesis I–IV recently, but the rest of that series was an increasing chore, through to the painful conclusion, and his output has been more miss than hit for a long time, for me.

Grant? I dunno. I don’t mind his stuff, but—like with Mills—little of it has really clicked with me in recent years. Smith? His mad genius is missed, but it was only sporadically in the Prog anyway, and Devlin’s in good hands now. In fact, I’m happy with the current writers, on the whole. I might gripe about certain things in the Prog, but I’m happy to keep paying for it, and it’s very rare I don’t read it within the week it rocks up.

That said, Abnett better not have a coronary.

 

broodblik

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #4 on: 05 November, 2021, 02:23:00 PM »
The prog personally has been in a good space for me the last couple of years with little dips in form now-and-then.

Generally I am quit happy with the quality of writing and yes maybe more new talent would be nice. The names you mentioned Link wrote for along period almost 100% of the content and that is 3 or 4 writers we talking about. So in that sense the prog is much better off.

The main criticism I have is also a very positive point: Too many ongoing series which I would like to see in the prog which in many cases have years between series.  I rather wait and have a more to chose from than  getting  tired of the same series  repeating itself.

I will miss Wagner and Smith as well but Mills unfortunately has been writing the same story over-and-over again. His latest stuff is quite weak. Abnett, Rennie, Niemand, Edginton, Williams, Kek-W,  Carroll and Kot the prog/meg is in good hands. 

Even if you look at guys like TC Eglington and Guy Adams that do not write that much for the prog has brought us two great series - Thistlebone and Hope.
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wedgeski

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #5 on: 05 November, 2021, 02:40:42 PM »
I don't tend to miss the OG droids as much as some here (although you can certainly feel their presence when they return, both in the prog and around this place), but I share your concern that the prog is hugely dependent on a couple of talents. Or rather, that when the prog hits a boundary, you can reasonably depend that one or two of them were behind the bat. I also worry about Mr. Abnett and burn out, but I trust he'll put on the brakes if he needs to.

It's a funny old world when we complain that 2000AD has only *just enough* triple-A contributors. They're here, they're healthy, and they're making the prog amazing. For now I'm very happy with that.

Funt Solo

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #6 on: 05 November, 2021, 02:56:21 PM »
I'm not really buying the golden years argument these days. Mills (in case anyone hasn't noticed) has become obsessed with conspiracy to the point that his narration is way too obvious for the story to be engaging, and his noted tactic of re-frying his old characters and their stories has led to a staleness. Grant was never as good solo as he was in the team-up. Wagner is always solid - but we can't rely on a single script droid to keep the boat afloat - he's earned his lube.

I've way more to say about modern writers and how good they are, but work is a-calling...
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Colin YNWA

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #7 on: 05 November, 2021, 03:40:26 PM »
There's a simple statistical point made from your opping post Link Prime - though far to say you are setting examples - in the old school you put Wagner, Mills, Smith and Grant in the top tier. I'm sure you might a couple more if you were being exhaustive.

In the current crop you have Abnett and Rennie with another four just below and offer the fact that there might well be a couple you missed (I can think of some but lists will vary). I think we have better writing in the comics overall than we have at just about any point.

Its fair to say then that exposes the fact that you want more these days. Overall in most media quality as improved (music of course being the excpetion! Well i'm an old indie kid!) so sustaining isn't enough. The comics has to improve - constantly to keep pace.

As stated above I think it is. I enjoy the branching out to all ages, but get that isn't for all. So yeah its you. That's absolutely fine, its not a bad thing. If 2000ad fandom is anything its a broad church, one of my fav things about it. As we get older time for many becomes more precious and you have to become more selective. I have wittled down so much in my past-times, by and large I have comics left, and bits of TV, bits of film, bits of music and sport BUT I still mainline comics. Its just the way I prefer my entertainment.

In that I still think 2000ad is the best thing out there - almost because I don't like some stuff - cos it allows me to try new stuff, while typically have a stabble base. So I can not like say Slaine - haven't for years - but that's fine as I have Sinister Dexter (yes I'm being demonstative of the variation in fandom!) but at least I'm trying Slaine.

So I genuinely don't think its a drop in quality - just the opposite from my cheap seat - but the point about competition is entirely right and if it loses out for you - well we'll have the memories and you can still play here hopefully!

oh and

The main criticism I have is also a very positive point: Too many ongoing series which I would like to see in the prog which in many cases have years between series.  I rather wait and have a more to chose from than  getting  tired of the same series  repeating itself.


Defo this.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #8 on: 05 November, 2021, 04:36:54 PM »
Ongoing series are an issue, like broodblik says. Edginton is particularly bad for that. I’d love to know what’s going on with Brass Sun in particular. Is it just gone? Is it coming back?

As for the old days, I wonder whether people forget that for lots of periods in 2000 AD’s history, it wasn’t 100% end-to-end goodness. Quite often, you’d have a few great strips and a couple of clunkers. Sometimes those clunkers would be written by the top-tier, under pseudonyms. Other times, they were fun enough then but wouldn’t past muster now.

Of course, everyone’s truth is their own. But for me the Prog is in rude health right now.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #9 on: 05 November, 2021, 09:31:48 PM »
Ongoing series are an issue, like broodblik says. Edginton is particularly bad for that. I’d love to know what’s going on with Brass Sun in particular. Is it just gone? Is it coming back?

I don't think those lonnnng runs of Brink are doing INJ Clubcard's schedule many favours where Brass Sun is concerned…
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The Mind of Wolfie Smith

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #10 on: 05 November, 2021, 09:49:39 PM »
well, personally, from a purely writing perspective, i think that this era of the prog is the weakest that it has ever been. revisiting the hachette collections has just reinforced this.
for example, reading moore, wagner, morrison, milligan, in the prog, back in the day, at or near the start of their careers, was to have absolute certainty that these would go on to be definitive, genre-defining and globally renowned. when did the prog last present a young writer we felt like that about? i'm finding the writing in shift, where character is clearly a more important concern, much more rewarding at present.
so, while art is a particular high right now, the scripting is comparatively poor.
comparatively.
because it's all still very, very, very good.
but comparing with golden ages is never a good idea.

(all only imho, obviously).

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #11 on: 05 November, 2021, 10:01:12 PM »
well, personally, from a purely writing perspective, i think that this era of the prog is the weakest that it has ever been. revisiting the hachette collections has just reinforced this.

I'm not sure this is true. I appreciate that your opinion is exactly that, but just off the top of my head Abnett/Culbard's Brink, Edgington/D'israeli's Scarlet Traces and Rennie/Coleby's Jaegir are thrills that could stand with pretty much anything the prog had to offer from the glory days of (insert your run of progs past here).
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Richard

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #12 on: 05 November, 2021, 10:30:56 PM »
I would add Hope... and Kingdom to Jim's list.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #13 on: 05 November, 2021, 10:34:17 PM »
of course there are brilliant exceptions in the present. and i still love and admire 2000ad!
but there is never a straight-up straight-through all-quality prog like 466, for example, with wagner/grant on dredd and ace trucking, grant in imperious form on strontium dog, a grant morrison short story, and alan moore on halo jones book 3. this kind of stratospheric writing roster was the norm back then. and even the old school pith of gfd and alan hebden had a compellingly punchy craft.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Writers Block
« Reply #14 on: 06 November, 2021, 12:04:21 AM »
Horses for courses but I thought The Doppelgarp was bloody awful. I don’t remember the shorts in that Prog, mind.