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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 183146 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1095 on: 08 March, 2021, 09:03:50 PM »




So this run (and indeed the year) end with three thrills, just as it started. When the run started in issue 1900 at least those three thrills packed a real punch. Here at the end not so much... well yes there is moments and I for one like Greysuits - for me its Uncle Pat that still works but over all its not as strong as this excellent run has been.

Ichabod had ended in 1910 and its a fine conclusion with Rob Williams just full going for the nature of narrative full on, in your face. Its strong, strong stuff with wonderful art my Michael Dowling. Of course the all powerful marrator means that when the blood is spilled we are still able to get a happy ending... even if it the 'truth' or not.

1911 though wraps up the year and Stickleback in many ways should dominate the ending - London burns at the hands of three maidens and their monsterus army. Stickleback makes his grand reveal it all should be top billing. But I've found its meandered through all the drama, the momentum hasn't sustained and I've drifted and my interest ebbed and really while I know I should on re-read I just can't bring myself to care that much. Certainly not as much as all the drama seems to demand.

And then we wait 6 years to learn more!

I know many weren't fans of Greysuits but I enjoy it so much more than the rest of Uncle Pats fare around this period - except Savage - the reason is he's not trying to layer his disgust at the establishment in the way he thinly adds a veneer of robots and axes is his other strips. That veneer hides knowing and just serves to slighty obsure what we should be enjoying.

With Greysuits its just more honest and no less straightforward and all the more balls to the wall because of that. There are still Millsian daft moments, but its fun and caricature rather than weak metaphor. I look forward to the next book that wraps this up. Oh and John Higgins does so revel in his jaw smashing fetish.

These two are backed up with a pedestrian Dredd.

So while 1900 had three strips that really worked, 1911 just isn't as powerful and that exposes the weakness of a three thrill Prog. There's not as much to cover if you don't enjoy some of the main features.

Still this is hardly a terrible Prog and the year hasn't been smooth but when its shone, its shone... but that's for next time...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1096 on: 10 March, 2021, 08:45:26 AM »


Specials and FCBD day 2014

Well the Free Comic Book Day issue is quite something. How there is anyone who picked this up and isn't not a Squaxx dek Thargo is beyond me. Unlike so much that comes out on FCBD this feels like a wonderful thing. It feels hefty, it has quality paper. It feels like something that's been taken great care over. And oh man that cover by Henry Flint is a stunner.

 Of course there's a lot of reprint, but its well selected reprint that introduces characters and give good routes in. Let's face it most of the readers of this, certainly in the US won't of had the chance to have been exposed to 2000ad. The original content - which if I'm honest is better than anything in the specials this year which we pay for are a tense and thrilling Dredd that really pulls on the emotions while being brutal and action packed. A solid Durham Red with a name, all be it mini name US artist and a visually stunning Future Shock by no lesser light than Henry Flint (this one is new content right?).

Its all quite a spectacular thing and all for the princely sum of nowt!

The Specials make a return this year - which in itself is something to celebrate... even if the issues are very forgetable if I'm honest. Sci-Fi has a lacklustre Dredd, a middling Robo-Hunter, an okay Future Shock, a decent Durham Red, Orlok gets an outing before Jake Lynch became JAKE BLOOMIN' LYNCH and the Rogue Trooper looks shiny...ish...

I mean that's a good line up of characters and stories in theory, yet it ends up so forgettable.

Winter Special ain't much better if I'm honest. Same same Dredd, the Rogue Trooper looks shiny  from the wonderful Lee Carter but doesn't read as well as an interest concept might do. Alienist gets its first outing... which doesn't inspire. There is defo a Terror Tale and an episode of Defoe and a middling Anderson.

I mean that's a good line up of characters and stories in theory, yet it ends up so forgettable... why do I feel like I've said that before...???

What is great is there's new Specials and while they might not launch with a bang and something that Tharg gives away really rules the roost better things are to come as I recall so chin up and let's just celebrate having these back.

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1097 on: 10 March, 2021, 09:16:25 AM »
One thing that I find quite unfortunately is that FCBD does exists where I stay (for that matter we do not even have comic book shops) . Every year I look at sad eyes of pictures of people grabbing the 2000AD FCBD comic.
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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1098 on: 12 March, 2021, 09:27:13 PM »


2014

Quote
I think 2014 will be much the same. It will be variable. There will be some great highs. The lows will be there but I suspect they will be sparce. We dipped - a little - and I think 2014 will see us plateau. One sign might be how many brand new thrills we have. The absolute peak of the NuGoldenAge has been in part driven by innovation and this phase seems to be more about stablisation as some things wrap up. Let's see.

We're still gold, but maybe even gold is now feeling a bit tired and old?

Yep... I mean I could say more, but yep.

...

...okay a bit more. This year does have some stunning line-ups and a few poor one's. Where its arguably weakest is the new thrills, with the year marked by things either approaching or finally wrapping up. New thrills do start but they aren't really bih hitters with the exception of Jaegir - which if I'm honest I didn't enjoy immediately first time but settled straight into here. I personally really enjoyed Outlier as well, but I think its fair to say its not a big hit. Black Shuck, Ulysses Sweet are okay but both have issues. The reinvention of Slaine starts well but quickly drops off (much quicker than I remember), art aside. So not the best year, compared to recent ones.

On the way out, Grey Suits is close to the end, Stickleback dips out for 6 or more years, Ichabod ends, so gains to looses are shaky.

So yeah some great points but its not as high as the height of the NuGolden Age but we've hardly crashed out.

Still we stay at this level, or dip maybe we call it?

Next year 2015, though looks to be able this level, some great stuff but steady rather than golden. The Order kicks off, but not sure what new stuff we get aside from that. There will certainly be nothing wrong but the dulling of the gold might well continue.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1099 on: 13 March, 2021, 09:22:25 PM »


The long and the short of it

2015 opens with a bang. Well not Prog 2015 which has much to like, a giant quiz for one, but once again is the embodiment of these annual Progs being what they are, big start of year Progs, rather than an brilliant Annual, something Special.

No the big bang is the interesting mix in the first line up. Its built of a lot of new stuff. The Order starts, and is excellent, but I'll come back to that. Savage has another great story, but I'll come back to that. The whole line up is built on Dark Justice and I'm sure I'll come back to that. Each of these has a good long run.

There are also two shorter thill, new(or new ish) thrills that have short runs. Ulysses Sweet get a second (and I'm pretty sure) final run. It remains a curious beast. High energy, forcing the fun, not really having any real purpose, or this time even a porpoise*. Yet it remains entertaining, a junk food comic. Sometimes, when in a balanced diet with other things, junk food if nice to have.

Alongside it is Orlok, getting a run out 'cos... 'cos... well why. Its certianly not bad. In fact its quite well constructed and at seven parts it certainly doesn't overstay its welcome. Its also welcomes the Red Queen, or La Reine Rouge (least I think this is where she first shows up) and she'll go onto things. It does some fun things. Its dark and bitter and lots of folks Die Hard... but just like Ulysses Sweet I'm not quite sure why its here and what it offers. Like a small sharp, rich desert it feels like it should offer more but once its gone, you might of enjoyed it, but its the main course you remember. Yet like junk food, along as you have those other things to balance its pleasent enough treat.

So yeah two fairly insubstance thrills BUT in the balanced diet that is this opening line-up they go down well enough, even if they won't really have a lasting impact.

*Yes I know porpoise are different to dolphins really

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1100 on: 14 March, 2021, 06:02:51 PM »


The long then...

Well I guess that was the long AND the short of it was it, that was just the short of it, but a quiet afternoon has let me make real headway into the long. So let's start with the long established long. Savage Book 9 (!!!) - Grinders which wonderfully tackles the question what will Bill done when the Volgs have gone. Well he's a bitter, angry ball of rage, so he was never going to settle for the quiet life and this story fully exposes the villians who out villain the Volgs. Thee are much more Millsian villains and beautfiully juicy for that. As Howard Quartz, who we've known is a rotter, is wonderfully caught by Bill, apparently No Mute (its just like these days) in a video call, all gloriously played with suble art moments really selling it. Bill, of course, addresses the problems of our robotic overlords and those that create them and fascinatingly, at the same time those that oppose them. Bill is just bringing them all down. Its hard, villain, sad and thrilling.

Oh and throw in this long lost brother Jack, who Bill was pretending to be a one point. Alas as you might expect its not the  happy family reunion. His arrival though does retain this much more personal, up close conflicit we had last time, when the Volgs hit the peak of their humanification (its probably a word... right). Its a masterstroke so the more cliche, but deliciously so, villainy of Howie has a real balance and the whole things get a nice coating of pathos. To add to the pathos of Bill never being at peace if he naively continues a noble fight, trying to find the right side to fight with... or the pathos of the fact that we realise now Bill just needs the fight to keep going.

Its all wonderfully done and rendered immaculately by Partrick Goddard. Its shows that when the 'main' story is done, there can be so much more to explore if set up smartly and Unca Pat has been setting this all up for some time. Its shows that long form storytelling need not run out of steam. This is how Rogue Trooper could have continued, this how U Pat's other long over running tales Slaine and ABC Warriors might have sustained more successfully. This makes a mockery of the idea nMillsibobs having run out of juice... when he's got it, he's still up there with the very best and this 9th book of Savage, a long way into the game, shows just that... alas he's not always, if indeed ever, this good outside of Savage anymore.

Long form stories need a start too though and that is what we get with The Order making its first appearance in the opening line-up of 2015. Its funny reading The Order in these simpler times, when the plot wasn't so densely packed, the world so richly developed with layer building on layers and burying some (see Tordelback wonderful summary a while back if that's you, you nails the ins and out so well) - yep its funny reading this early story how straightforward it all feels. Its just cool characters and majestic (if smelly at times) mechanical men bashing the heck out of ghoulish monsters. Its brilliant stuff so wonderfully using John M Burns exquiste art to maximum impact.

What really makes this strip work though in re-read is how it too is laying foundations, right from there at the start of what we now know is a long run. Just as Pat and Patrick have been doing over on Savage, here Kek and John M B are laying little building blocks of what could come. If a future story hadn't materialised, no harm, they just added a depth to the world in this 'simple' first story. As it is though much of the throw away (seemingly) world building done in lines dotted here and there will come back to haunt some and for the rest of us raise this above and beyond many long running tales.

Read in and of itself however this is just a good ol' fashioned romp. Its action packed, its characters are fresh and exciting to the reader, if by a large a little old and tired in themselves. The villains vile monsters who don't need the development they will get. I see why I feel in love with this series right from the off, as it started with a very strong single story. I also see why I've loved this series in what has become a long haul. Its built in its longevity from the off and the fact that Kek W and John M Burns have managed to take this small building blocks and weave them into a very complex and rewarding world is one of the things I'm most looking forward to reading over this last stretch of my long slog.

See the long and the short of it is 2000ad is served by both long form and short form storytelling, this run is supported beautifully by a magnificent 3riller by Eddie Robson and Darren Douglas - Station to Station about the things that bind us and the things that try to drive us apart... oh and its a Patrick Toughtenesque batte in the subway. And a short Survival Geeks - which I'm enjoying so much more on re-read. 2000ad is the Galaxy Greatest as it doesn't have a form or a model, it just serves you good stories and has been doing so for a very long time.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1101 on: 15 March, 2021, 07:04:41 AM »
https://i.imgur.com/SuHrhej.png

The Long and the short of it - Dredd edition

While I've been pondering the differences in length of story across the Prog we've had a very interesting case in point over in Dredd. For the majority of the start of 2015 we've had the much advertised, highly praised 'Dark Justice' with us. John Wagner providing a showcase for Greg Staples lush and precise art and trying to revitalise the Dark Judges as dark, scary villains. And you know what it doesn't do a bad job at all.

I looked back at previous views I've had and I predicted this would work better read in a compacted time frame, and it does. I imagine it makes a lovely looking collected work as well. Greg Staples art is glorious, if not quite having the energy and vitality of my favourite art. The Dark Judges are served well, as ever most effectively when they are off panel. Given a world they can effectively destroy - the story is set on a massive colony ship cast into the stars - they can once again be triumphant and thus effective villains rather than the pantomine characters they'd become.

I've used the world effective or effectively a little too much there, as that's what this story is - its effective. Its good, but its not great (a poll going on elsewhere will determine how others feel about that!). It just feels like it has a job to do, being a stunning artistic achievement and rebirth for the Dark Judges and it does just that. It lacks however that magic element that makes it standout, it lacks a certain creative energy to make it truly special over its eleven parts, but its a good epic.

There's a one parter that immediately follows Dark Justice, 300 Seconds by Ian Edginton and Simon Coleby and I was looking forward to stumbling across it, though didn't realise it would land so perfectly timed. Its a tale of cadets being told about how Dredd becomes a sentinal once a day at one of Mega City Ones busiest intersection. And its simply magnificent. One of my all time favourite Dredds.

Why, well this simple tale, this deceptive masterclass, by two creators who've made their names elsewhere becomes almost a poem to Dredd and his relationship with the City. The details and specifics aren't precise, nor do they need to be. In this short simple tale the way the City views Dredd is perfectly, beautifully captured. Its still feels like a Dredd tale but its tone genuninely offers something fresh, as well as something very familar and it says so much.

Its final image, Dredd's boot prints worn into a viewing point he has stood on for years watching over this intersection the perfect metaphor for the way Dredd has stood over the city and left an indelible mark. Its surprisingly powerful.The fact that its his boots that leave the mark, the things that he wears tight to keep his control, as he keeps control shows the layers woven into this tight little thrill.

And there we have it a long form Dredd, that is good, lets be clear I like Dark Justice, but that doesn't necessarily offer anything new, rather tries to recapture old magic and a 6 page one off that genuinely offers something different and provides new magic. Which is more important, which is better, well we can debate that until the cows come home.What is important is that Dredd is still able to stand watch over the comic and offer different things, leaving his indelible mark on us all and still able to capture old magic and offer something new.


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1102 on: 21 March, 2021, 09:06:13 PM »


Let's get this said and move on.

Its doesn't matter now much we love John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. It doesn't matter how much we want to enjoy something by them. Its doesn't matter how good the rest of the strip is, there was absoluely no excuse for the caricature of North Korean folks as seen in Stix Fix in this day and age. Its not the worst, maybe, be these are smart considered creators and they should have done better. North Korea might have a rubbish leadership and an attack on their politics and oppressive rule is more than welcome. When it starts to play fast a loose with physical sterotypes for cheap humour, well we've moved on and we'd moved on 2015.

I'm also annoyed at myself for not calling it out at the time. Rubbish of me.

sheridan

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1103 on: 21 March, 2021, 11:35:46 PM »
Its doesn't matter now much we love John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. It doesn't matter how much we want to enjoy something by them. Its doesn't matter how good the rest of the strip is, there was absoluely no excuse for the caricature of North Korean folks as seen in Stix Fix in this day and age. Its not the worst, maybe, be these are smart considered creators and they should have done better. North Korea might have a rubbish leadership and an attack on their politics and oppressive rule is more than welcome. When it starts to play fast a loose with physical sterotypes for cheap humour, well we've moved on and we'd moved on 2015.

I'm also annoyed at myself for not calling it out at the time. Rubbish of me.

I was a bit wary of that one from the beginning - wasn't it originally going to be called The Jing Jong Job?  Glad it got renamed before publication.

Dark Jimbo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1104 on: 22 March, 2021, 10:01:40 AM »
There's a one parter that immediately follows Dark Justice, 300 Seconds by Ian Edginton and Simon Coleby and I was looking forward to stumbling across it, though didn't realise it would land so perfectly timed. Its a tale of cadets being told about how Dredd becomes a sentinal once a day at one of Mega City Ones busiest intersection. And its simply magnificent. One of my all time favourite Dredds.

Yeah, that was a good one.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1105 on: 23 March, 2021, 09:00:54 PM »


What moves something from good to great?

Grey Area continues a run between Progs 1924 and 1931 that moves it from being a GOOD strip into a GREAT strip and I've been trying the work out why. What is it that lifts a strip above the norm... even above itself? The answer is of course

Resting Bitch Face...

... well no its not her alone is it. Maybe it the shift in art, Mark Harrison joins the strip in this story and I know many love his work - and he has much to praise him. But I'm not his biggest fan, I find lighting and busy, detailed style can clutter and mask the clarity of his storytelling, so I don't think its that.

Maybe its the shift in story as the God-Stars nuking as it came to Earth throws our heroes to the world of The Harmonious Free reversing roles as ETA agents become the immigrants. Its a really clever device and throws folks into sharp contrast to their normal. This heightens the tensions and allows the characters new situations to breathe in and really fleshes them out...

you know it could be that.

Or is it the way the story wonderfully pulls the various threads and ideas that have been boiled up so far together. It feels like a real culmination in what's gone before. And this also allows the characters to burst out and sing in full voice. Its has all its pieces set up, in place and new elements just serve to  further enhance what has been done before.

Now we add that all together and we might be getting somewhere. Its might be the confidence and innovation this new story brings that allows it to shine brighter than the strip has before...

nah its Resting Bitch Face isn't it...

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1106 on: 24 March, 2021, 03:53:27 AM »
The first chapters focus on establishing the theme and the characters. But for me the strip really came to its own when Mark Harrison started. The new arc certainly gave the story a boost the prior arcs where good but felt still very "we all have been there" in a way.
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Tjm86

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1107 on: 30 March, 2021, 07:43:44 PM »
It's interesting running behind a bit on this.  Having just come to the end of 2012's run I found myself completely entranced by the run of strips. 

Rounding out the year with Trifecta gave us so much in terms of quality art and stories.  The start of Brass Sun (I know, one more that we are waiting on developments ...), Grey Area, ... 

It's a solid reminder that when the prog is on fire it blazes really! 

Funt Solo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1108 on: 30 March, 2021, 08:41:08 PM »
The Homeworld arc was definitely the turning point for me - it went from my "meh" bucket into my "ooh" bucket at that point and has been consistently strong since then.
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1109 on: 31 March, 2021, 09:17:10 PM »


Moons and the meaning of horses

So we get that the titan in Titan is Dredd. His ability to take damage but to carry undaunted and unbending, unlike the convicts on Titan. We get that but its a bloody good adventure story too.

So then New Life a five part story linking Titan and and Enceladus proper. Its interesting by my reading this section is entirely functional. It moves pieces, shapes and shakes relationships and kills folks who need to be dead. Given all the layers and meaning and metaphor this one feels utter utlitarian - my readings are often wrong - but its still a good exciting set up.

So then we get the ghost of Judges past haunting and brutalising the ghosts of justice present. The crimes and guilt of the systems failures given flesh... well ish... and that old life coming back to reap guilty vengance... or just guilt actually. But we have our indefectible hero aside the spiritual symbol of integrity and perserverance to save the day. The horse isn't of course a noble pure white steed. The hero of the dat is also curiously is an architect - whose desire is to rebuilt and create but is forced to survive and destroy.... oh and 'How much grit we got?' - what a loaded, wonderful closing line - but for all that its still an astonishingly exciting read.

That's the great thing about Titan / Enceladus it has a lot to offer on a lot of levels but after all that, first and foremost its a rolocking good read across three rollocking good stories.

Over at the votes that some incessant threadtard keeps kickin' off this story is getting a kickin' by Necropolis - and I get that, that doesn't surprise me. But Necropolis for me, for all its moments looses group on the wonderful, wonderful set up. Titan / Enceladus deserves to take that vote as it beautiful clears that final hurdle,lands perfectly to charge gloriously to the finshing line.