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Funt Solo:

--- Quote from: DrRocka on 16 December, 2021, 04:50:54 PM ---one of the customers brought a couple of progs over to me recently, including a regened one, and muttered “see this”? - pointing to Prog 346 - “this was subversive when we were kids. It was OURS. This is just nothing”… (pointing to the last regened and 2257).

--- End quote ---

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Given how the government of the day is, and the prevailing populist moods it feels like proper subversion is actual kindness and thoughtfulness to other people. I'll grant you, it's not as exciting as spitting in someone's eye, but there it is.

There's are few things less punk rock that a bunch of old gits telling the kids what punk is.  "It was better in my day" bah.

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

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

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

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

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

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


--- Quote ---There's are few things less punk rock that a bunch of old gits telling the kids what punk is.  "It was better in my day" bah.
--- End quote ---

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


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