Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 

Author Topic: Prog 2265: Worlds at War  (Read 2000 times)

Goosegash

  • Member
  • Sentient Tea Bot
  • **
  • Posts: 496
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #30 on: 25 January, 2022, 12:42:27 PM »
Yeah, it may be the double "mostly" loss of Wagner and Mills, but the prog feels even more Era-less over the last year- at best, I bet the things you could mostly define the 21st C into are big Dredd events such as Day of Chaos, or Slaine Eras.

It isn't like there aren't good stories - Abnett gives us Brink and the Out - the Devlin Waugh over in the Meg is as good as any Devlin Waugh - Neimand, despite my grumblings above, does "good" Dredd.

Not to sound all Pat about it, but you can't help think he has a point that work for hire is never going to encourage a flood of great new stories - Abnett seems the exception, possibly he is so prolific he just has to
get stories out whatever the terms and conditions!  Neimand and Kot's output are using existing IP.

Spurrier, Ewing, Morrison R... the early 2000s seemed to have a lot more potential, even if it didn't fulfill its promise for whatever reason, and you still had some Wagner and Mills to scaffold any experimentation.

I suppose all it would take would be a single writer with a load of great ideas outside of existing IP, willing to give those to Rebellion....   


I think Pat's conveniently forgetting is that, although work-for-hire is far from a perfect arrangement, a lot of fantastic, creative work was done under those restrictions. But what's changed since the "golden" era is that the British publishing industry as it was no longer exists in the same way.

The days when writers & artists would churn out content for a single big publisher are long gone, and basically everyone who provides material for 2000AD now is likely to be juggling multiple gigs & commissions in order to stay afloat. The consequence of basically all the creative teams being freelance means the lengthy runs a lot of strips used to get now tend to be much shorter in order to accommodate differing schedules.

This impacts on something like Dredd, as where at one time there would largely be a single voice defining the character and storylines week after week, now it's divided between multiple writers who often feel like they're writing in their own Dredd universes that don't really interact with each other. Which makes the strip feel like it doesn't real have a strong unifying direction. I think the last time I was really excited about Dredd was Rob Williams' run of stories from Enceladus through to The Small House, but "End Of Days" was...disappointing to say the least.

I don't think you can really criticise Rebellion's approach, as they've kept the comic alive and thriving long beyond the point anyone could've anticipated it would last. They've found a formula that has worked for over 20 years and that's fine, but I feel like there's room in that to maybe take a few more risks with the kind of stories being told. Roll the dice on something that might not necessarily be what the fanbase want or expect, but something that feels "new" and brings back the element of surprise that's been lost.

That's not to say that approach always pays off, for every Revere there's a Soul Sisters after all, but it's good to have some noble failures once in a while, things that at least tried to break the mould even if they didn't succeed.

Basically, I'm saying they need John Smith back. Or someone with the equivalent feverish imagination.

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 9673
  • Research Monkey
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #31 on: 25 January, 2022, 06:43:46 PM »
Basically, I'm saying they need John Smith back. Or someone with the equivalent feverish imagination.

ISTR a recent Tharg Input-response in which he said Smith was welcome back anytime.
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

Leigh S

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 6391
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #32 on: 25 January, 2022, 08:05:38 PM »
While there's certainly an argument to say its as much a change in the landscape as WFHs fault, I think WFH is reasonably one of the reasons why we have that current landscape.

I recall Pat getting a lot of flak for "end of book X", but that seems tob e all the current prog is - mid sections of stories I have lost my thread with.  There's space for one , maybe two stories at a push doing that in any given prog.  When it is three, it just overwhelms the prog with stuff I can't just "plug in and play".

We have Saphir as the only "stand alone" tale, but even that feels like I need to reacquaint myself with the 3riller....

I think Pat's conveniently forgetting is that, although work-for-hire is far from a perfect arrangement, a lot of fantastic, creative work was done under those restrictions. But what's changed since the "golden" era is that the British publishing industry as it was no longer exists in the same way.

The days when writers & artists would churn out content for a single big publisher are long gone, and basically everyone who provides material for 2000AD now is likely to be juggling multiple gigs & commissions in order to stay afloat. The consequence of basically all the creative teams being freelance means the lengthy runs a lot of strips used to get now tend to be much shorter in order to accommodate differing schedules.

This impacts on something like Dredd, as where at one time there would largely be a single voice defining the character and storylines week after week, now it's divided between multiple writers who often feel like they're writing in their own Dredd universes that don't really interact with each other. Which makes the strip feel like it doesn't real have a strong unifying direction. I think the last time I was really excited about Dredd was Rob Williams' run of stories from Enceladus through to The Small House, but "End Of Days" was...disappointing to say the least.

I don't think you can really criticise Rebellion's approach, as they've kept the comic alive and thriving long beyond the point anyone could've anticipated it would last. They've found a formula that has worked for over 20 years and that's fine, but I feel like there's room in that to maybe take a few more risks with the kind of stories being told. Roll the dice on something that might not necessarily be what the fanbase want or expect, but something that feels "new" and brings back the element of surprise that's been lost.

That's not to say that approach always pays off, for every Revere there's a Soul Sisters after all, but it's good to have some noble failures once in a while, things that at least tried to break the mould even if they didn't succeed.

Basically, I'm saying they need John Smith back. Or someone with the equivalent feverish imagination.

Woolly

  • Member
  • Battle Hardened War Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 4261
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #33 on: 25 January, 2022, 09:26:47 PM »
Basically, I'm saying they need John Smith back. Or someone with the equivalent feverish imagination.

ISTR a recent Tharg Input-response in which he said Smith was welcome back anytime.

Can't see John Smith returning somehow, considering his two biggest ongoing stories were handed over to other creators. (That's not a knock on Matt Smith BTW, I totally understand the reasons why he had to make that decision.)

Probably best I leave that one there.

As for 'Eras' of the prog, I'd say we've been mid-era for about 10-15 years now. The Matt Smith Era is still onging, and probably the strongest we've known overall, but then that encompasses alot of thrills over it's years so has it's fair share of stinkers too (an anagram of one of them is 'Creak Strip', as is 'Crap Strike'. Have fun with that one!)
Point is, the prog is strong and has been for years. The ups (Trifecta, Titan/Enceladus, The Out) have been such massively awesome ups that they can sometimes make damn good thrills (Sinister Dexter) seems a bit less so in comparison.
I think the Prog's OK is what I'm trying to say!

That said... Dredd needs a shake up.
We nearly had it with Day of Chaos, and the loosening of the Mutant laws, but it's all led to nothing in the long run. I worry that having Dredd running in both the Prog and the Meg at the same time has weakened the impact of any mega-epics, considering that all the crossover epics (Doomsday, Judgement Day) ultimately failed upon publication. I fear that the 'illusion of change' rule is seeping into Dredd a bit too much these days, and would definitely agree that someone needs to be a creative director of sorts with Dredd, try and keep a bit more of a flowing narrative going.*




*Moon on a stick, in purple. ;)


IndigoPrime

  • Administrator
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 11237
    • View Profile
    • http://www.craiggrannell.com
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #34 on: 26 January, 2022, 02:12:11 PM »
I suspect a lot of this again comes down to people being haded. The argument the Prog isn’t taking risks doesn’t seem to align with what I’ve read in recent years. As for WFH, what alternate model would be viable for the magazine? Be mindful that Image works primarily for those creators who make it big. It’s not like people making smaller books are rolling around on piles of money. I’d say the industry itself is the bigger problem: fewer comics are sold; rates haven’t kept pace with inflation. That’s the same throughout. (In my magazine work, my word rates haven’t gone up in 20 years, for example. So I have to either write faster, or seek out alternative work that pays better — something many comics folks do when heading into things like games.)

As for Dredd, I do largely agree there. The Dredd universe, such that it is, was never that coherent. Massive events would happen in Anderson that didn’t even touch on the main strip. But I suspect there’s even nostalgia in the thinking the central Dredd strip was a coherent entity. What we really mean is that when Wagner was the main writer, everything centred around what he was OK with happening. On that basis, I think Woolly is perhaps right that it could possibly do with some kind of ‘showrunner’ of sorts. Either that, or Dredd becomes more like a Marvel strip, where specific runs make sense in and of themselves, but major (if largely illusionary) changes happen when someone else takes over.

Personally, I still think Day of Chaos was a mistake. The city’s population was always too small to begin with. Hacking it down to something like Japan but in an area many times that size always felt odd. MC-1 right now should be a husk — huge areas of nothing. But that doesn’t make for good storytelling, so it’s mostly business as usual, with the odd story about how the city is broke and no longer as influential as it once was.




Leigh S

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 6391
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #35 on: 27 January, 2022, 06:03:33 PM »

WFH is a bit chicken and egg though - is the shrinkage of the industry causing WFH, or has WFH shrunk the industry? Is it a vicious circle of each driving the other?

I was sorting through the progs of the early 2000s last night, and I think it stood apart by having a lot more "new names" and those creators working on a lot more shorter self contained strips.  There was always the feeling that something good / game changing could be just around the corner even if what WAS round the corner might have been Stalag 666 or Asylum

Currently, three stories out of five are deep in book X of their respective potentially infinite runs - are any heading to towards an end game, or providing stories that stand alone outside of the wider arc (something Dante did well)? I'd argue not.  "This is the prog now" is never a feeling the comic should inspire. 

Like some Bizarro Anti-FB fan, I applaud Regened, but wish some of that energy would rub off on the spaces inbetween.

The admit the April line up looks a lot better, but that maybe because Brink and Fiends have done a much better job of keeping me engaged in the longer story being told and keeping each story satisfying in and of itself.  Then we should get some light  in both hearted and continuity fun from Intestinauts.  Hope is there to ironically remind me that "This is the Prog now".

 

 

I suspect a lot of this again comes down to people being haded. The argument the Prog isn’t taking risks doesn’t seem to align with what I’ve read in recent years. As for WFH, what alternate model would be viable for the magazine? Be mindful that Image works primarily for those creators who make it big. It’s not like people making smaller books are rolling around on piles of money. I’d say the industry itself is the bigger problem: fewer comics are sold; rates haven’t kept pace with inflation. That’s the same throughout. (In my magazine work, my word rates haven’t gone up in 20 years, for example. So I have to either write faster, or seek out alternative work that pays better — something many comics folks do when heading into things like games.)

As for Dredd, I do largely agree there. The Dredd universe, such that it is, was never that coherent. Massive events would happen in Anderson that didn’t even touch on the main strip. But I suspect there’s even nostalgia in the thinking the central Dredd strip was a coherent entity. What we really mean is that when Wagner was the main writer, everything centred around what he was OK with happening. On that basis, I think Woolly is perhaps right that it could possibly do with some kind of ‘showrunner’ of sorts. Either that, or Dredd becomes more like a Marvel strip, where specific runs make sense in and of themselves, but major (if largely illusionary) changes happen when someone else takes over.

Personally, I still think Day of Chaos was a mistake. The city’s population was always too small to begin with. Hacking it down to something like Japan but in an area many times that size always felt odd. MC-1 right now should be a husk — huge areas of nothing. But that doesn’t make for good storytelling, so it’s mostly business as usual, with the odd story about how the city is broke and no longer as influential as it once was.

broodblik

  • Member
  • Battle Hardened War Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 4715
  • watkykjy?
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #36 on: 27 January, 2022, 06:47:17 PM »
In the golden age of the prog most of the stories running in the prog was one contained story (or storyline) for example you can read Strontium DogIncident on Mayger Minor” and then “Rage” without needing to read the previous arc or the order in most cases. We are in a time where the chronological order of the series has become important, so if you look at The Order you will need to read the previous arcs to get into the story. So, if you stop reading and with the time-lapse between arcs you mostly will get lost in translation. I like both approaches and this is maybe where we are missing something in the prog a series (or two) that has a lot of self-contained storylines rather than one big chronological order.
When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.

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.

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 9673
  • Research Monkey
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #37 on: 27 January, 2022, 07:49:34 PM »
We need even more use of "Previously on..."

Remember when Dante did an entire episode* that was effectively a 12-page summary of the previous 1,638 pages of the epic. That was cool. (Also, it rather suggests you could just have told the story in twelve pages instead of 1,638. Boy, I bet they felt silly!)


*The Memoirs of Nikolai Dante, prog 1731
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

IndigoPrime

  • Administrator
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 11237
    • View Profile
    • http://www.craiggrannell.com
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #38 on: 27 January, 2022, 07:59:34 PM »
WFH is a bit chicken and egg though - is the shrinkage of the industry causing WFH, or has WFH shrunk the industry? Is it a vicious circle of each driving the other?
From my vantage point, I’d say the main issue is fewer people buying stuff reduced the amount of money within certain industries, forcing specific decisions to be made. Publishing has been very hard hit, with a lot of people thinking they should get everything for nothing, without stopping to think what that means.

Mills asserts that if 2000 AD left rights with creators, the mag would flourish and be full of breathtaking new ideas. I suspect it would be the death-knell for a comic that in part relies on reprint as part of its business model. As for whether 2000 AD would be in a different place now had the business model changed earlier, who knows? Ultimately, money talks. I suspect most of the creators who buggered off would still have done so, purely on the basis that the Americans have a shit-ton more money.

Quote
Currently, three stories out of five are deep in book X of their respective potentially infinite runs
TBF, it’s not like most of these strips have been around forever. Proteus Vex is in, what, its third run? I don’t recall how many Kingmaker has had, but it only kicked off in 2017. There is, I agree, a modern tendency to write stories out in books rather than satisfying standalone chunks, and that is something I’d like 2000 AD to address a little more: learn from the book of Abnett, basically.

Leigh S

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 6391
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #39 on: 27 January, 2022, 08:59:20 PM »

Yeah, I'm more for the longstanding effect of WFH  -if things had changed in the 50s  for Hampson and Baxendale, or the 80s for Wagner, Mills and Moore, would the comics industry (if not necessarily 2000AD) be healthier?

We've had the Generation of creators inspired by the "Golden Age" pass through Tharg's doors now, so I do wonder where the fresh young blood is going to come from.

Neither Wagner or Mills buggered off for more money even under WFH and I may be naïve in thinking Moore buggered off for more Rights not more money. But you can't help but see Mill's point that if the creators were more invested in the commercial outcomes of their work, they might have either more time to put into them, or more incentive to keep working on them. 

You have to wonder if Sanders buy out hadn't been hijacked by a Maxwell Money Laundering scheme, could things have been reversed, or was it too late then?

The "season" / "chunks" style of so many stories really is my biggest bugbear.  They all advance their story somewhat, I'm sure, but for the casual/unhooked reader, it feels we are trudging from a fairly nebulous starting point to an entirely nebulous end point that may or may not ever materialise. 

Abnett has a good grasp of how to apply some hooks, both in the long term and the story at hand. If you can't manage that, then you don't really have any business telling these long form part works - its like the opposite lesson of what the Future Shock apprenticeship is supposed to instill.



WFH is a bit chicken and egg though - is the shrinkage of the industry causing WFH, or has WFH shrunk the industry? Is it a vicious circle of each driving the other?
From my vantage point, I’d say the main issue is fewer people buying stuff reduced the amount of money within certain industries, forcing specific decisions to be made. Publishing has been very hard hit, with a lot of people thinking they should get everything for nothing, without stopping to think what that means.

Mills asserts that if 2000 AD left rights with creators, the mag would flourish and be full of breathtaking new ideas. I suspect it would be the death-knell for a comic that in part relies on reprint as part of its business model. As for whether 2000 AD would be in a different place now had the business model changed earlier, who knows? Ultimately, money talks. I suspect most of the creators who buggered off would still have done so, purely on the basis that the Americans have a shit-ton more money.

Quote
Currently, three stories out of five are deep in book X of their respective potentially infinite runs
TBF, it’s not like most of these strips have been around forever. Proteus Vex is in, what, its third run? I don’t recall how many Kingmaker has had, but it only kicked off in 2017. There is, I agree, a modern tendency to write stories out in books rather than satisfying standalone chunks, and that is something I’d like 2000 AD to address a little more: learn from the book of Abnett, basically.

Swerty

  • Member
  • Page Numbering Droid
  • **
  • Posts: 157
    • View Profile
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #40 on: 28 January, 2022, 02:26:55 PM »
I'd llovebto see the centepage double page artwork return.Certainly a standout feature from the early days

IndigoPrime

  • Administrator
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 11237
    • View Profile
    • http://www.craiggrannell.com
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #41 on: 28 January, 2022, 02:48:15 PM »
if things had changed in the 50s  for Hampson and Baxendale, or the 80s for Wagner, Mills and Moore, would the comics industry (if not necessarily 2000AD) be healthier?
Possibly. Some sort of co-ownership might have helped more talent stick around. But if we purely look at British comics, the industry would still have to have dealt with the Americans and their money, major shifts in the entertainment industry (including video games and access to streaming telly), where comics sit in society (probably the one most likely to succeed of more independent creativity came to the fore) and the very real problem of people en masse understanding they need to pay for quality content.

I get the concerns about fresh blood, but it’s not like 2000 AD doesn’t have new writers and artists coming through. As for Mills, I suspect what he says often says more about him than “the industry”. WFH reduces reward but also reduces risk. I’m WFH. I work hard, and that gets me more work. I’ve arguably become more despondent about indie things, because I’ve worked just as hard on those and made fuck all, regardless of objective quality.

Again, I agree with the nature of the way too many series are produced (something that, frankly, Mills has also long been guilty of). Series should work as standalone entities. Plot threads might dangle and you might want more, but you should be able to read a series of any strip and not feel like you were missing the beginning and didn’t get an end of some kind.

Jim_Campbell

  • 2000AD Creator
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14068
  • Letterer to the Stars! (and PJ)
    • View Profile
    • deviantArt Gallery
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #42 on: 28 January, 2022, 02:58:57 PM »
they might have either more time to put into them, or more incentive to keep working on them.

Equally, the comic might find itself with a breakaway hit on its hands and one or other of the creators buggers off to work for someone else, leaving a hit series dead in the water, or all the creators might just decide to take the whole thing to a different publisher, leaving the original publisher unable to take any reward for the popularity of a series that they took a chance on, commissioned, published and promoted.

Don't get me wrong: I've said repeatedly that work-for-hire is inequitable and it shouldn't be beyond the wit of man to devise a hybrid model that safeguards the publisher's investment (which is non-trivial) whilst dealing more fairly with the creators.

I think most creators would be happy signing a WFH deal if there was a guaranteed decent percentage of all exploitation — merchandise, reprints, translations, film/TV, computer games. I mean, obviously that wouldn't be as generous as with fully creator-owned, where you keep the lot, but you also don't run the risk as creator of losing a pile of money if a project doesn't turn out to be the success you'd hoped.

(I'll mention again that I can think of at least half-a-dozen creator owned books that were well-reviewed, sold OK, and made the creators significantly less money than if they'd just flogged the thing wholesale and taken a page rate. Hypothetical Netflix money's no good unless your mortgage is also hypothetical.)
Stupidly Busy Letterer: Samples. | Blog
Less-Awesome-Artist: Scribbles.

Art

  • 2000AD Creator
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 8966
    • View Profile
    • Twitter
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #43 on: 28 January, 2022, 04:52:57 PM »
If it’s more pages of comic you’re after the history of British comics is littered with examples of creator owned anthologies where everything just crawled to a halt and died. I’m not sure I’d want to say outright they are incompatible models but I’m having trouble thinking of counter examples.

Jim_Campbell

  • 2000AD Creator
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14068
  • Letterer to the Stars! (and PJ)
    • View Profile
    • deviantArt Gallery
Re: Prog 2265: Worlds at War
« Reply #44 on: 28 January, 2022, 06:17:47 PM »
I’m not sure I’d want to say outright they are incompatible models but I’m having trouble thinking of counter examples.

Also true. I'm talking more broadly in terms of Image and the like when I talk about creator-owned projects. Anthologies in general, and weekly anthologies in particular, are beasts that must be fed pages at an incredible rate, but which also need to come out like clockwork. I think those twin demands probably are incompatible with an outright-creator-owned model.
Stupidly Busy Letterer: Samples. | Blog
Less-Awesome-Artist: Scribbles.