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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 184676 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1080 on: 29 January, 2021, 09:20:26 PM »


2013

Quote
I see 2013 likely to be a bit of a transition year. I don't think it will be the best. I don't think it will be of the standard of the last four, but I'm not convinced it will mark the end of the Golden Age, it will mark a low point in the golden age, but a pretty damned high low point and one that its easy to bounce back from.

And there we have it. That feels about right. While 2013 isn't as strong as some recent years it is still full of highs and the lows aren't that low. Its just compared to recent years it feels like a drop off. Not much of one, but its there. Its hard to be precise as to why. Dredd may not be quite as strong. We miss a very strong Dante. The big event of Slaine's 30th is a bit of a none  - so much so that Book of Scars hasn't even merited mention.

While newer thrills continue to shine a few end. Zombo sadly drifts of and in Red Seas 2000ad loses another staple. That's fine we have the replacements lined up, but they won't be as regular and dependable. There's nothing to hang 2013 on. There is nothing to define it. Its a good year in thrillpower but its not a great year. I won't be debating whether its the best year ever. It won't make that list.

But it is a good year and if this is the Prog in decline that it shows what heights we have climbed to. Very few year prior to 2005 will have been this strong. Even if 2014 continues like this we are absoutely fine. If this is the new normal then so be it. Its nothing to get too excited about, which after recent years may well be the problem.

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?

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1081 on: 30 January, 2021, 03:10:56 AM »
Zombo never really ended ? Not my favourite but the art from Flint with all the strangest was quite something to behold.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1082 on: 06 February, 2021, 09:17:26 PM »


Free Comic Book Day - Catch up

Dear reader I've been remiss, I have let you down. I try to cover all issues, special, annual etc in my collection. Alas however I've missed some and so I catch up here. 2000ad joined Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) in 2011 (I believe) and as such those issues should have been covered here, in their right place. Well let me make that up to you now.

Firstly lets talk about the way 2000ad approaches FCBD generally. Let's be honest all approachs to FCBD are to maximise the marketing opportunity, not just to the comic book shops that the industry depends on, but for the company that sell them their wares in them. So we have that to consider these comics are marketing tools. Now I have no insight into how marketing works but I pick any number of these comics ever year and I can say that 2000ad's issues are by far the most handsome - a hardcopy I got of Mouseguard one year aside. A few Marvel and DC comics I've picked over the years have had a better proportion of new content that the 2000ad ones, but they rarely, if ever seem to quite grasp the opportunity the way the FCDB progs do. Other comics have the feel of obligation rather than opportunity. As if some companys feel they have to be involved - and so throw something in, but not with the clear sense of pride the 2000ad issues do.

Though again I say this from a position of ignorance and with no understanding of the costs and budgets involved. It may well be to a comic like 2000ad this opprotunity to showcase your wares to the US market (for which these seem to be made, understandably) is of far more value than others. 2000ad has a wealth of content to offer in the US, but very little awareness - at least in comparison to many titles and companies. So the opportunity to get a free comic under thousands of folks noses is something that needs to be grasped and grasped well.

These comics do that, even though they are largely reprint they are high quality, well selected reprint and when original material appears its general well crafted stuff. These comics feel like free comics, rather than the promotional pamphlets much of what you see on FCBD does. They feel substansial, others feel flimsy.

I've three to quickly review here, 2011, 2012 and - yep you guessed it 2013.

2011

The first dip of the toe is fronted by a handsome Jock cover - a good choice at this time given the impact of his Batman covers at this time. Its starts with a fantastic Tharg story from Kev O'Neill frm Prog 20summit. Its fun, and has the right irreverance to give folks a real sense of Tharg's wares. The rest is largely well selected reprint, including opening episodes of Kingdom and Shakara - followed by direct adverts for relevent trades. Its Prog sized (dimensions and page count) and is rounded off with a fantastic Obmoz original Twinkie parody which is perfect fodder for the comic book fan.

Its a good start.

2012

Another Jock cover, this time specifically commissioned - this one is the same dimensions as last year but steps things up. This time as well as the well targeted reprint, rolling out bigs names such as A. Moore, C. Weston, S. Dillon amongst many others there is perfectly pitched original Dredd by Wagner and Rufus Dayglo. Together they craft a Dredd that in only 4 pages introduce so much about Dredd, his job and world. Its really very good. Again a handsome well considered package which steps up from the previous year's.

2013

Sees another step up. This time a glorious Henry Flint cover - with some pitch perfect triplet of covers parodying classic America comic covers fronts an even more substancial issue. At 48 Prog sized pages this one jumps off the shelves and just looks wonderful. Inside we get two original stories. Dredd 'Jimps Club' uses the concept of pretend Judges to set up and explain the real thing and Matt Smith and Ben Wilsher do a good job, if not quite as good as the previous years. The reprint is again well selected and aimed right with big names and a heady mix of story types, from Insurrection to Visible Man. It really nicely showcases the range of the comic.

It wraps up with a fantastic 4 page Zombo story that perfectly presents the comics violent, anarkic, smart and witty edge. Iyts great stuff and this issue is an absolute triumph.

So there you have it these comics work well as promotional tools. They also each offer a little something for more experienced readers and are really quite lovely little treats.

Funt Solo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1083 on: 08 February, 2021, 09:35:18 PM »
Because spreadsheets are my friends, I have noted down the number of fresh (i.e. non-reprint) strip pages in each FCBD:

2011: 1 (Obmoz)
2012: 4 (Dredd)
2013: 11 (Dredd & Planetronix)
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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1084 on: 08 February, 2021, 09:36:12 PM »


Starting 2014 with questions

Prog 2014, probably the weakest end of year giant to date does at least pose some questions that we didn't know we needed answers too. What happened to Harris after the end of Ten Seconders - the answer he appeared in a story nowhere near as interesting as the ending the series proper left us with. This was a beautifully rendered mistake, wrapping up things we didn't need wrapped.

Why hasn't PJ Holden done more Sinister Dexter - answer is I dunno?

Can you make Tharg so snarky he becomes utterly unlike about - the answer yes, yes you can... there are others but the ones that interest me most are those that run into the opening line-up of 2014.

Just how grim has Johnny Alpha become since he was ressurrected? And the anwser is 980790 grim on the Matt Murdock Scale. Turns out that though is a story I want to read.

How much back story can one Mills fill if the backstory can be filled? The answer - all too much backstory it would seem. I remember liking 'Return to Mars' when first reading it - here I'd just left questioning what purpose its serving? I do hope I shake that as Langley's art is perfect still and I want to like this. We'll see.

Was Ulysses Sweet only used for 3 parts back in the day cos it had limited appeal and as a character he would become grating after a short period of time... and the answer... is... well I don't know. See Ulysses Sweet didn't have any reason to come back and reading the episode on Prog 2014 was like eatting too much... well sweet stuff... each individual sweetie is lovely and yummy and you like it, have too many sweeties and it all gets a bit much and you start to not like the experience. How much is too many sweeties, well 10 pages it would seem. The trouble is even though I've had too many sweeties too often in the past, If I see the sweeties I still enjoy them. And chomp them down, even knowing its doing me no good. That's Ulysses Sweet that is.

The series 'Centred' is made up of lots of lovely parts, each of which tastes great and makes me think I want more. The trouble is I don't need more and after a while it leaves me with a slight headache. But I like the inidividual treats I still get excited for more when I see it. Its a fully ol' thing and leaves me wondering how I'll feel about it when I get to the end. Shoddy and silly for doing this to myself, all all excited from the sugary goodness?

Dredd and Grey Area ask nice questions, but like Strontium Dog in the good way. Especially Dredd - that starts the magnificent 'Titan'. Its a smart insight into the character, and the impact of 'Day of Chaos' though I do question if the extreme ending I seem to recall will wipe away that goodness.

We'll see, after all you can have too much in a good thing.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1085 on: 10 February, 2021, 09:24:36 PM »


Is there life after death?

The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha has been an interesting beast and its conclusion in Chapter 4 - 'Dogs of War' is an equal curiosity. Life and Death of Johnny Alpha started really nicely with the narrative casting doubt on much of what had been told and there what was being told. I loved that structural tool but if drifted away.

At the end it returned, but before that it turned into a more traditional thrilling adventure / war tale. Well traditional if the protagonist has been left as dark as he was during 'Rage' the ultimate revenge thriller and the dark spirit that had possessed him is removed as an 'excuse'. Johnny leading mutant army in open rebellion again is as dark as he's ever been. Deliciously wicked villains allow you to understand Johnny's murderous rage... or was it that unreliable narrator which allows us to us what we want for our story and our Johnny.

The action is tense and thrilling and the war fair rattles on... and then kinda runs out of steam. Its reads to me like John Wagner wrote himself into a corner, wasn't quite sure where to take things and so wrapped it up in two episodes losing the meat on the bones of the story. It read like and ending just to end things. But then at that end we get that unreliable narration that casts doubt on what Johnny's ultimate fate was.

NuYNWA knows Johnny comes back, to be honest Self-Absorbed YNWA was pretty damned confident he would too. It just left the point of all that drama at excitment a little in the air. Still it was a thrilling tale if one, even on re-read I can't quite tell what it was trying to do, or where it was taking things... well yeah bringing Johnny back but that didn't need 40 episodes. I'm really intrigued to get to the next story now, but only in the context of trying to understand what this story was doing.

Elsewhere ABC Warriors completely raises an even more definitive question of why that story exists.

Grey Area isn't good, but not quite great yet, but Patrick Goddard kicks ass on the art.

Dredd - Titan is hard and interesting but doesn't quite deserve review without the next part to round things off. Its is half a story.

And I couldn't quite help but love Ulysses Sweet despite the fact I think it should drive me nuts.

This is a fascinating run, even if nothing quite satisfies entirely - well almost everything - has something to offer.


Funt Solo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1086 on: 10 February, 2021, 09:42:46 PM »
That weird possession thing was brushed under the carpet after a few episodes, which did feel as if it wasn't really working so well and had to be removed.

The "war crimes are okay because we're the goodies" part of things has been shuffled away by the time the adventures start up again.
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broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1087 on: 11 February, 2021, 02:43:57 AM »
The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha story arc was not my favourite. They should have just told Alpha and Wulf stories before boths dies cases they did together rather than trying to bring Johnny back.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1088 on: 11 February, 2021, 09:04:40 PM »


Oh so we get a job on Prog with a montage cover (a beautiful one) in Prog 1874. But I'm getting ahead of myself as I've not read it yet. The jump on has kinda sprung out the blue, but I guess I should have seen it coming. With the first line-up be an interesting near miss we then get lots of decnt filler. A 3riller for filler, Terror Tales and one off and short Dredds (including a nice epilogue to Titan in Prog 1873), Future Shocks. Around these ABC Warriors lumbers on, Grey Areas continues to be near great. So its been a slow start to the year.

After the slow end to last year I'm beginning to see where these rumours of an end to the NuGolden Age come from Let's see what the new line-up brings before we get carried away though.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1089 on: 20 February, 2021, 09:52:01 AM »


New angry things

The line up that kicks off in Prog 1874 really shouldn't work, but by George it does somehow. Well okay we have a dark and imposing Dredd by Wagner and MacNeil in 'Mega City Confidential' and and energetic and punchy Sinister Dexter in 'Gun Shy'. But the rest of the strips shouldn't work.

Simon Davis' earthy and worn art revitalises Slaine in the first 'Brutania Chronicles' a 'Simple Killing'. His art seems to inspire Uncle Pat into an examination of a Slaine carrying the weight and baggage of the last 30 years of adventure and in doing so making him interesting again. The art is a Slaine not from a Games Workshop poster, instead its tone and feel is much more in keeping with the early Mike McMahon art, down to earth, grounded and hard. Its an absolute revelation. One I do wonder how long it will last however.

Then we get to new strips that should have real problems, but don't. Both Jaegir and Outlier on the surface seem to fall into that early 90s trap of having gruff, hard boiled leads in grim and gritty worlds. They both demonstrate different ways of avoiding that making for a bad strip and infact I really like both.

Jaegir when it first came out really took a while to sink in with me. Love it now, but much like GRennie's other recent (in self absorber terms) strip Absalom it took me a few stories to get into. I think that's because it took me a while to get past the trappings of the story that didn't immediately appeal to me. My problem not the strips. Now having done that as I reappraoch both these strips in reread I'm finding myself really enjoying them from the off.

Jaegir is a hard soldier, in the hard landsape of NuEarth and the surrounding conflicit. There's barely a chink of light and hope to be seem. Unlike those early 90s characters that drag down so many of the stories of that era though she immediately becomes interesting and sympathetic. Her clear issues with her father, their struggles to find her place in a brutal world really work. The action is hard, the character is hard, but that line of vulnerability makes the whole thing work perfectly.

Oh and speaking of perfect Simon Coleby brutal art was made for this strip.

Outlier is a strip that didn't seem to impress many folks. It got three books (as I recall) but that didn't to a trade, rather a quick turn around to a floppie with the Meg. Such a shame. The thing is I can kinda see why. Again its a hard world, filled with hard character and barely a chink of light and hope to be seen. We have a grim and hard boiled detective being used to track down a seemingly murderous monster. The monster is on a brutal mission of revenge, having been abandoned to some unseen alien horrors - The Horde and transformed in torturious experiements into a living weapon. To seemingly escape and hunt down those that abandoned him and a few others to their terrible fate.

I think the reason it works is we quickly learn that the hardboiled detective isn't the character with whom we're meant to have sympathy. We're not following his adventure, we are following the monster and learning why his terrible mission of revenge is justified... well justified in 2000ad terms. And it does that wonderful 2000ad trick (see Kano) of giving us a monster to support by making the things he's fighting even more monsterous.

I'm really enjoying this and suspect I will until it finishes down the road.

So yeah these strips seem to learn the lessons of the 90s, you can have hard and grim, humourless protagonists, but use them well, imbue them with enough humanity and the strip can be utterly elevated.

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1090 on: 20 February, 2021, 11:06:54 AM »
Outlier was good piece of sci-fi maybe not the best but I still enjoyed it. Agree would be nice of all 3 volumes are collected in one big collection. Jaegir for me is the best strip of the Rogue-verse. This is a story that I would like to featured more in the prog but now and then it gets a measly 6 parts only.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1091 on: 20 February, 2021, 09:07:11 PM »


Just a quick update(s)

1. Outlier ends really well and I'm really looking forward to the turns it takes when it returns.As I recall it spins things into a presently unexpected direction.

2. We get some great 3rillers dropping in after Jaegir finishes. Both 'Colony' - red plague in a Siberian work camp and 'In Seconds Flat' man develops time machine and lives with himself until aliens come... have a real Future Shock vibe about them. Well the latter is a Time Twister isn't it. But they both really work.

3. I skipped Traumatown when it popped into this months Meg knowing it was coming up here soon. Well its here and its great twisty mystery in true Dredd style.

4. So Sinister Dexter, Jaegir and Outlier switch out for now - the strength of the squad comes to the fore as alongside the 3rillers providing superior fillers we get Indigo Prime and Grey Area step up to the plate. So we're more than all good. Especially as this is just as Grey Area makes the step up from good to great.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1092 on: 21 February, 2021, 08:59:01 PM »


4. So Sinister Dexter, Jaegir and Outlier switch out for now - the strength of the squad comes to the fore as alongside the 3rillers providing superior fillers we get Indigo Prime and Grey Area step up to the plate. So we're more than all good. Especially as this is just as Grey Area makes the step up from good to great.

Then the wonderous Indigo Prime - Perfect Day finishes and Brass Sun fills the gap. For Slaine we get more Sinister Dexter. We get Wagner Dredd in - swapping places with Rob Williams and Chris Weston giving us more Sensitive Klegg. We get some truly fantastic Time Twisters and Terror Tales as well. Some more good 3rillers... oh and The Order has just appeared in Thrills of the Future.

And I was worried about a bump or two in the road!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1093 on: 04 March, 2021, 09:23:52 PM »


I didn't comment on the run in to Prog 1900. I meant to and the focus was meant to be the magnificent Brass Sun as Floating World - the third series completed a brilliant run. The action ramped up, Arthur the golden doombot landed and alas we lose Ramkin in a plesently Doctor Who companion leaving way. Its been a blast.

The rolling line up of quality dips a little. The introduction of viking werebeast saga Black Shuck and the return of Aquilia not quite able to keep up the quality, but they are hardly bad.

Anyway then we get to

Prog 1900

and an old beef of mine. A big launch Prog, a shiny cover, even a text feature celebrating those big round number Progs. The thrills, well its top notch stuff. Wagner and Ezquerra on Dredd. Stickeback and Kingdom return and... and... oh hold on...

That's it. Three thrills. Admittedly three superb thrills but The Galaxys Greatest biggest strength is its depth of quality and its variety and to only showcase three thrills to new readers is such a shame. Its an old and personal beef, but when Grey Area and  Ichabod are the thrills coming in next issue its not like Tharg has anything to be ashamed of. Those five thrills are a superb line-up fully demonstrating the great variety and Tharg's Thrill Arsenal.

Why not whip it all out for the big thrusting launch issue, huh Tharg. Don't be shy there's nothing to be ashamed of here. Your fully engauged thrill cavalcade is a thing of beauty, don't let these big number, big draw issues go off half cocked huh!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1094 on: 07 March, 2021, 09:14:50 PM »


Prog 1909 - Explosive Endings

I was curious on rereading 1909 with its two very different endings, both with BIG explosions what I'd have thougth of those two read in real time. Not that I'd have changed that much, rather the experience of reading them week to week, rather in the compressed manner of a re-read.

To be honest I had no concerns about the ending to Kingdom 'Aux Drift' it was just classic, big hard, thrilling action. The explosion engulfing all, casting Gene aside just enough to save him as a giant Them was shattered. I won't say it was big dumb fun, but it offered all the thrillpower it was going to on first reading. I say that not as a slight its what Kingdom does very, very well. Its an absolute classic thrill and I loved this then and now.

It was the end to Dredd - Block Judge that I feared would throw me. While it was clearly and wonderfully foreshadowed it still blow what had gone before away and fired out of leftfield to end the strip abruptly and suddenly while ending nothing. I shouldn't have doubted Self Absorbed YNWA he got it fine. Well in fact I shouldn't have doubted the masters John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. They give us all we need week to week and in re-read.

Here's what I said 6 (and a bit) years ago now.

Quote
What a stonking Prog. Two endings so brilliantly contrasting in one particular way, what they foretell. Kingdom reachs an explosive conclusion and while the episode is all bang the ending promises... well an ending. I wonder if the next story will be the last, what with Rich Elson being so busy elsewhere. It certainly makes a significent change and I personally can't wait for this superb strip to return... or more likely will have to but will do so willingly knowing it will be back.

Dredd too reaches its explosive conclusion and its quite, quite brilliant. The contrast though is that Dredd makes it clear it will never end, his struggle goes on and he does too. His reaction to the dramatic conclusion throw me a little I have to say. He took it all so matter of fact, too matter of fact maybe. Has he seen so much that even that, after all that work begs no reaction, just turn round and get to work. Have events of the last few years hardened him so much? Am I just expecting too much from it all and he reacted exactly as he should... that's how I think it goes to be honest but I found it fascinating and loved the whole thing.

Spot on old boy (well younger boy).

What's great is on this read I got the more explicit point I missed, or at least failed to comment on before. Wagner and Ezquerra don't give us one thing they layer it and so unlike the brlliant Kingdom and I got another point. That's not to say it was sutly tucked away. Far from it. Rather its exposed more clearly when Block Judge is read as one. The endless fight against crime, sure. But the point its making really is for all of Dredd and co's relentless battle against organised crime, their rigourous persecution of crimelords, to the extent it even stretched Hershey's - then Chief Judge - patience and brought early signs of tension between the two coming back to the fore. Anyway yeah for all that - for all the brutal twisted war against brutal twisted men and women in Mega City One it isn't enough. They'd won, they'd beated the crimelords, but this is Mega City One all it takes is one deluded crazy and all that is undone.

Its quite, quite brilliant. Then and now.

Oh and while we're at it I said this as well

Quote
So much so in fact that it gets thrill of the week even over Ichabod and his title of blarh blarh blarh lots and lots of words blarh blarh blarh blarh. Which was quite brilliant too... as was Greysuit heck even Sticklebrick which I've struggled with again, was superb this week, quite an eye openner.

Possibly Prog of the year that... which I can't back up or haven't thought about, but boy if it wasn't...

Yep 1909 as explosive thrilling then as it is now.