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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 206584 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1200 on: 28 September, 2021, 09:38:36 PM »


Prog 2130 - Brave New Word

The Regened FCBD issue in 2018 was immense fun, so when Tharg, or is it Joko-Jargo announced we'd be getting another I was delighted. When it was announced that would be inserted into the regular run of Progs I was intrigued - due to the printers not being able to handle the number of special planned for 2019 I believe. When it landed in the middle of some lovely ongoing stories I was a bit bemused... but then I'm not at the coal face and don't understand the logistics of it all... still it seemed a fumble and opened the door to a grumble, as so many did.... little did they know at this stage!

What was interrupted - well a pretty fine line-up - Scarlet Traces, Max Normal and Kingmaker. I'll be back to talk about them when they're done. Two interesting Dredd stories straddle the all ages special. The Long Game by Mike Carroll and Mark Sexton has a fascinating first part. Introducing Sage in a fantastic opener our expectations are defied, as we learn he's not a good samaritan, rather a practical career criminal. After that we learn of the struggles in the the organised crime world. Deals between parties are being made, folks don't like it and betrayals and subsequent revenge are had. Its all heady stuff with Dredd on the edges... and then the end... well alas it all rather falls apart as we learn Sage's secret, which keeps him alive... cos he knows how far away Dredd is... just Dredd... no one else - and that's seen as an invaluable asset because... reasons... such a shame as up to the end this was a great strip.

The other side of the break... well we'll see next time but its chimpion stuff.

So yeah sorry for the interruption there, back to the main event. The Regened Prog. Its really pretty good. All the fuss, a lot of chest banging seems to mean some online commentators can't see the wood for the trees. A good thrill is a good thrill and Tharg ... Joko ... sorry... are doing the exactly right thing, trying new things and reaching out to new audiences. While we might not like the logistics and the way its done, even the most 'knowing' of our social media friends doesn't really have a clue as to factors that drive decisions, so we can just shrug and try not to pre-judge.

In this case that would be a very healthy thing to do. There are real highlights - Cadet Dredd by Chris Weston is fantastic crowd pleasing fun. Full Tilt Boogie sets up a world and feels very much the opening part of a series... which is luckily what we get, but in the context of this special is a little too teasing. Still a fantastic opening part with so much packed in. The rest of the strips by and large look great but don't quite live up to the standards of those two, but all have positives.

This issue felt like a very worthwhile experiment and ... well actually it doesn't matter what we think, it was clearly a success and has given rise to a legion of new stories and internet whines. We'll have a bumpy road to travel with these issues next year as they become regular features, but it will also provide some gold and some bold new horizons. This Prog is one of the most important of recent years and in moments was good enough to justify that billing.

Funt Solo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1201 on: 28 September, 2021, 10:32:43 PM »
Y'see, there are only so many jump-ons you can reasonably fit into a year:




These days, that's usually an end of year prog, and then a round number prog - you're lucky if Tharg manages to wangle a third from his mighty organ.

And then, if you stick your special Regened issue as the issue before a jump-on, then you're putting all of your special thrill-eggs into one squishy fortnight basket instead of spreading the joy more evenly throughout the year.

As for poor 1998 - it may be time to bash the Bishop! That was the year we got all those twin-jumps because of one-story progs (like 1077's In The Year 2120), and a lot of double-episode progs (Sinister AND Dexter) to finagle the schedule.
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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1202 on: 28 September, 2021, 11:04:31 PM »
due to the printers not being able to handle the number of special planned for 2019 I believe.

No… it was explicitly stated in a Thrill-Cast that the distributors nixed the idea of an additional special that year, so it was folded into the regular prog, I imagine because the content was easier to fit into the prog than the already-commissioned strips for the specials that were in the works.
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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1203 on: 29 September, 2021, 06:15:48 AM »
due to the printers not being able to handle the number of special planned for 2019 I believe.

No… it was explicitly stated in a Thrill-Cast that the distributors nixed the idea of an additional special that year, so it was folded into the regular prog, I imagine because the content was easier to fit into the prog than the already-commissioned strips for the specials that were in the works.

Arh thank you for the correction. I knew it was some external factor, but good to have that stated correctly.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1204 on: 29 September, 2021, 06:24:34 AM »
These days, that's usually an end of year prog, and then a round number prog - you're lucky if Tharg manages to wangle a third from his mighty organ.

And to be fair heading into 2019 even the end of year/start of year Prog wasn't a complete jump on with Brink cutting across the years.

I'm guessing (???more corrections welcome???) Tharg / Joko may have just gone with the date (or as near as sensible) that they wanted it to come it as a Special originally? I'm speculating again they probably had done some research into when this sort of issue would have had most impact?

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1205 on: 29 September, 2021, 09:35:47 PM »


Not your Normal apes

Spring of 2019 sees 2000ad roll out two superb apes. One is a co-star in someone elses story, another is starting out on a tale to his own series in Dredd.

The first is Vito, Max Normal's ape companion to whom the pin-striped freak relays his origin story in Max Normal - How the Max got his strips. An origin story we never knew we needed and the past comes back to haunt Max in the form of the next generation and their anger at the old folk taking all the money and good stuff away from them.

I mean we didn't need a Max Normal solo series did we, we certainly hadn't been hankering after an origin stiry. But with Vito at his side Max knows what we need, even when we don't. Guy Adams and Dan Cornwell (very ably coloured by Jim Boswell) absolutely nail this one. Its brilliant. In turns funny, thrilling and often poigniant or funny. Its alway engaging and just keeps going as the tale drives from one point in time to the next and Max and Vito just ooze charm as they bicker and bite the exposition as the perfect comedy odd couple. We even get action Shuggy at the end.

Its just a superb series, one of my favourites of recent years, and there's been some brilliant stuff. It holds up wonderfully on re-read and I suspect on may subsequent reads as well. We haven't had more from Max since and I'm not sure we need it, but I would welcome him and Vito back in a heart beat.

A character that first appeared in Prog 2131 we haven't had to wait long to raise in the ranks and while Max and Vito haven't returned Noam Chimpsky has come back several times already and recently got his own, richly deserved, series. Dredd has had lot of co-stars who've moved onto their own thing, but not for a long time and rarely with the impact of Chimpsky. In his first appearance in The World according to Chimpsky creators Kenneth Niemand and PJ Holden quickly imbue Noam with charm, just as Vito has. Noam's charm is so much more ... well cute... he's an innocent in a violent and overwhelming world, so wonderfully captured in this first opening page splash by Holden.

Noam in the foreground facing out into a looming and impossible world of neon and commerce, a Judge, all be it a holographic one, standing tall over him proclaiming 'No you can't'. Chimpsky wears his propeller beenie with a satchel slung over his shoulder. Its a wonderful scene setter on so many levels, but as an introduction to this great character its hard to imagine it being topped.

In the next page we see Naom's other side as he springs into life and swings through that city - which seemed so overpowering before and we meet the cities own Spider-man. He is then netted by Dredd, but we quickly learn he's more than a match for ol' Joe. By the time he swings off into the sunset (not literally) we know already a star is born and he'll be back.

What really works is of course the glorious script by Neimand (who he?) written from Noam's perspective its fizzes and bubbles with the charm of the great ape. With numerous hilarious knowing nods - the real genius in the way he translates Dredd's dialogue into it sterotypical meaning. Its so good as by the end we know we have two stars Noam Chimpsky himself and Kenneth Neimand - who impressed with his first Dredd, but raises things up a notch here.

So Tharg proves once again he's not monkeying* around resting on his laurels. He's constantly looking to the future and even when he draws on the past he brings some new to the table.

*Monkeys and apes are different - the tail of a monkey and self awareness of an ape being the key biological differences but allow me this one...

Sean SD

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1206 on: 30 September, 2021, 02:30:28 PM »

Nobody top Kenneth

Prog 2113 marks one of the most significent addtions to Tharg's arsenal for sometime as Block Buds marks the enigma that is Kenneth Niemand's debut on Dredd. Its a superb, confident tale. Both classic and fresh as Niemand, with pitch perfect art from Jeff Anderson, introduces giant holographic AI friends to every Block in a test area, designed to help keep the mood of the citizens calmer and safer. It, of course all goes wrong but it such fun.

Its a great Dredd on anyones terms, but from a debut writer on the series... well we're coming back to that aren't we... Niemand had only done the Starlord strip in the 2017 bumper Prog ... unless you believe the conspiracy theroiests that is...

See much as its been a delight to see Niemand so quickly develop into one of the best Dredd writers for years it been as much fun trying to guess who Kenny Who really is. Some remain convinced it Grennie. Other refute the writing style make that a possiblity. If it is a known Droid an appearance on the Thrillcast by the erstwhile radio scripter under a nom-de-plume mean Tharg has gone to extreme lengths to dispell the guesses.

What fun.

Put what matters most is the Prog has gained a wonderful writer and for that Prog 2113 needs to be celebrated.

Hey Colin
Thanks for the reminder to check out the Niemand droids first thrill and first Dredd.
Great to have a quick look back, both strips well done esp for a freshly commissioned droid
I humbly request that you keep the Niemand droid well oiled please Tharg

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1207 on: 06 October, 2021, 09:53:52 PM »


Absalom

You know I thought I'd have more to say about this. Absalom is a tight, neat story. With a sharp focus and while it allows itself the time to explore it corners it never feels as if it drifts.

The final story, well the second half of Terminal Diagnosis in 2019 is an almost perfect distillation of that and the series as a whole. Its brutal, creepy and when it wants to be utterly heartbreaking. Man that ending is just nailed to the wall superb. The final moments even further distilling what's gone before and then... peace and harmony, so absent throughout the series to add the full stop.

And Tiernen Trevallion delivers it all with art that's ugly and brutal in a perfect reflection of the story. Its sublime, its that perfect fit.

The series and it end are very, very good and theres not much else to say to be honest.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1208 on: 07 October, 2021, 09:15:52 PM »


The Galaxy's Grimmest Comic

So last time I talked about a tight, focused strip, with a perfect ending and art that was made to realise the story. I'm essentially going to do the same again with TC Eglington and Simon Davis' Thistlebone. I think so much has been said about this series, so brilliantly atypical of 2000ad, which again makes it so perfectly 2000ad, that there can't be much new to say. Its closest comparison is of course 'Cradlegrave' in terms of pacing, and tone. Both have a creeping, crawling horror, that slides between the panels and into your head. Neither makes it entirely clear what the horror is exactly, but makes us dwell on what we are allowed to see, and more importantly fear even more that which we are not.

Both had stunning art so perfect for them.

Thistlebone, as a folk horror seems different to Cradlegrave, however its what ages you get your folk tales from is the only real difference. The anicent country horror of old tales, or the urban modern horror of the right wing press. There is so much in common. Yet for all those comparisons, Thistlebone remains utter unique in the history of 2000ad in so many ways. We are left very clearly, with a lack of clarity - one that has been boldly continued in its sequel, not needed but welcome - is there any true horror, or is it all in the mind... or if it is all in the mind does that mean the horror is not there... errr.... no, no... make it your own and accept that the horror is there, magical or mental.

Its a genius strip, with glorious art. Simon Davis is just magnificent for this and while we all felt his (early) Slaine was the strip for him, this just proves what fools we were THIS is the perfect strip for him and he mades nature red in tooth and claw look so beautiful and... well yes I'm over using it but - horrific.

Oh and the end, christ that ending is chilling, absolutely chilling.

The great thing is though that Thistlebone isn't alone in its absolute brilliance as we charge into Prog 2150. We get the end to the Judge Pin storyline that is almost as harsh as Thistlebone. We get the tortured magic of the mind in Indigo Prime and Jaegir replacing Absalom reminds us that all that glitters is not gold and in the case of 2000ad is grim and cruel...

...actually is the period the most grindingly brutal and ... well yes... horrific in 2000ad's long and hard nosed history? I think it just might. And of course its all the more beautiful for that.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1209 on: 08 October, 2021, 09:17:42 PM »


Quick summary of some of the great thrills that run us into Prog 2150 (bloody hell I'm only about 100 Prog behind now! We're almost done.... which feels pretty.... weird... anyway...) and while both Absalom and Thistlebone were exceptional there are some pretty excellent thrills beside - its just like the New Comicbook Day Mega Thread... which I'll still have when all this is done.

Indigo Prime - I mean there are issues I seem to be avoiding / hiding trying not to think too hard about the creator / genius but there's no denying on its own terms this is a superb thrill. Somehow being utterly impenitrable while being curious straightforward. There are details you can delve into / explore but under all that - multilayers in reverse - its a cool action adventure and such fun. Oh and we could do the perfect art thing again!

Sinister Dexter - All the pieces in place, well at the end of the run coming into 2150 that is as the AI (well AGI) is introduce and ... well spoilers ... released and Sinister gets a tattoo. This run is brilliant in putting things in line for what should have been a brilliant story....

Dredd - The Fall of Barbarbara Grimm - one of the best Judges and Mega City One grinding a citizen down for many a year by Mike Carroll and Nick Dyer. Love the cruelty of this one.

Jaegir - Valkyrie - love the cruelty of this one too and the way again a different cruel world twist another great character.

3riller - Red Road - Andi Ewington and Ben Wilsher do a very good job 'Mad Max - Fury Road' storytelling through action and this one is an astonishing action adventure.

Future Shock - Congested Anima - One of the best Future Shocks in years, a car crash and terrifying insurance.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1210 on: 15 October, 2021, 09:42:57 PM »


I always get distracted as I get towards the end of the year and thrills fly here and there as they rocket to their various conclusions. This is going to be particularly the case as the last line-up of 2019 is so bloody good. Brink - Hate Box - I will be talking more about that! Judge Dredd Guatemala I will be talking more about that. Defoe... hmmm... the second Hope series I almost certainly will be talking about that. Some of them I'll lose sight of if I'm not careful.

One I don't want to lose sight of Fall of Deadworld (you readin' this Phil? I got a thread to introduce you somewhere here abouts!). So I'll mention it early now.

There is much that could be said, but the one thing I love in this one is the way it appears as a sort of zombie apocolypse end of the world horror BUT actually slips greesily between genre within that. It has moments of Mad Max Dystopia, while toying with being an odd couple buddy road trip. Then becomes a Roman political thriller, as the powers that be twist and turn to be most betraying plotting snakey type... while bathed in the most body horror. Having ripped the eyeballs from that genre kek-W and Dave Kendall in Doomed finish with that and decide to throw the Apocolypse War into things and drag their blooded claws across a war comic.

This series isn't hard to follow, its just brilliantly restless and pulls out didn't tropes and ideas, slashes across genre and never lets itself settle. It twists and turns and always trys to become something new, while never losing its core story. Its that which makes the series fantastic and we should never lose sight of it.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1211 on: 16 October, 2021, 09:25:16 PM »


We can all get distracted by how great Wagner Dredd is and in Guatemala, where he teams up with Colin MacNeil we have a prime example of that. Its superb stuff, perfectly crafted. From the 'passing' of Hershey, which remains so powerful, regardless of the wonderful things we got after it with her. To the delving into her family history, to the cuelty of robots being confirmed, just as Dredd starts to trust them. Brilliant stuff. And here Wagner does one of those things he does of so well, he makes villains so monstrous that they make Dredd seem like the good guy. El Presidental and his robot cabal are so creepily awful, they get under your skin and they must Dredd, and he let's us now but of course remains in control.

Its just brilliant and the ending in Prog 2157 spot on.

Its not the best thing in the Prog though. That is Brink - Hate Box. There is no surprise that the series is just a dream. The episiode in Porg 2158 probably deserves a post for itself too but I'll focus on Bridget's visit to her mother in 2157. Brink as we know is a talking heads strip. Built of blocks of conversation, episode to episode to sculpt perfect intrigue on intrigue - until it explodes into rapid and horrific violence from time to time.

For a series so built on dialogue episode 8 of Hate Box plays with this quite, quite brilliantly. An episode almost striped of its primary tool shows that the dialogue isn't the trick. The trick is the character that is conveyed in those conversations and with the absolute supreme acting in INJ's art you don't always need words. Bridget's visit to her mother says so much, reveals so much and builts so much more character into our lead. Its also utterly heartbreaking. In an series built on words, an episode with next to no dialogue manages to say so much.

That is why this series is amongst the very best Tharg has ever given us. It defies our expectations of what a 2000ad story is and THEN it defies our expectations of what it is. Well except for the fact we know it the very, very best comics.

broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1212 on: 17 October, 2021, 05:20:21 AM »
Brink is more than just a modern-classic it brings so much to the party. What I like about the strip is that my interpretation of what is going on differs from yours and the next guys. Abnett script likes to play with our perceptions: what is real and what is not, is there supernatural elements at play or is it our imagination? The whole narrative is built upon a slow-burning, talkative characterizations with burst of ultra-violence. It is not your normal AD story since it reveals itself on its own pace and time. Cannot wait bring on book 5.
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Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1213 on: 17 October, 2021, 09:32:08 PM »


And so 2019 end and I've caught up with most the thrills that made this such a great end to the years. The one I've not mentioned in Hope - Under Fire, which is another frankly brilliant thrill. First let start with the art by Jimmy Broxton, its greytone perfectly capture the noir atmosphere that give the story its time, place and context. It looks and like the cinematic world its characters inhabit... well except that noir atmopshere has had it belly riped open and its inside splatter across the page. Its as brutal and horrifying as the Bacon picture that haunts this tale.

The story take the art and uses it to maximum effect. Its Dorian Gray, Hellbrazer and more. It plays with the cliche of the cost of magic. The oft used, well over used idea that the more you use it the more magic takes and cuts from you. It takes that and makes it fresh and strips away the fact it is cliche and makes it feel vital, and the cost terrible. Then it does the most bizarre thing it makes it into a sort of buddy story... well no but the tales tests the bond between Cade and Hope, literally. The villain Alberto Modi makes others pay the cost and uses that to try to rob Cade and then user her for his own nefarious end. Hope realises, whatever the cost he is a better host for the demon than Modi and he has to make the grand sacrifice to stop Modi's plans. Again so much cliche, but again it defines that with deft craft and superb storytelling it uses and its just a fantastic strip.

So there we have it 2019 ends on a real high, and a great line-up. All the thrills run to the end of the year and so there is no awkward filler and its a triumph march to the end of the year. A year that has once again... well that's for next post isn't it...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1214 on: 18 October, 2021, 06:55:30 AM »


2019

As ever a look back to my look forward to kick us off

Quote
So will 2019 be a better place as well, will the positive trajectory continue to drive up as the change continues. Well I think the answer will be yes. It won't be massive, it will be continual, subtle development, but I can already think of the good things that are coming and its hard to draw out the bad, aside from what have already identified. So yeah 2019 is going to be just another great year!

And the answer is yes. 2019 is a fantastic year, up there with the best. As thrills end new things come in. Absalom concludes with heartbreaking power, but Thistlebone steps up. Kenneth Niemand joins a cast of regular Dredd scribes and will go on to become a firm favourite of many.

The big change however is of course the introduction of Regened into the regular run of Progs - as Jim pointed out as the distributes didn't want to add yet more specials to the line-up. And for all the nashing of teeth Regened will becomes new thrill generators of the highest order. And that's another thing that 2019 demonstrates Tharg needs to pump ouit new Thrills at a ... well chilling rate as the Prog is all about regeneration. Some of the absolute highlights of 2019 come from new and relatively new thrills, Kingmaker, Hope, Max Normal (welllll its new in the context of an ongoing series!).

Heck Absalom demonstrates this perfectly. Its a relatively new thrill and yet also reaches an end and Grennie and Trevallion clearly had a path worked out for this thrill. It landed in 2011, burnt with a dark brightness for 8 years and then ended its tale told. The strength of the Prog in these modern (at the time of writing) is it can sustain that rotation. Tharg, the Droids are all working at full capability, bringing in the new, arguably to the extent that there's too much and there's not enough capacity to keep everything in the pages.

In 2020 Regened will exemplify this growth and development. The restless experimentation. Things will again start, things will again end. Change is hard and we'll see that with the Regened. But for 2000ad change and growth is the very things thats need and we'll see that yet again. More of the same as things refuse to stay the same!