2000 AD Online Forum

Spoilers => Prog => : Funt Solo 23 July, 2019, 10:57:01 PM

: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 July, 2019, 10:57:01 PM
Stage #1: Launch (progs 1-35)

(https://i.imgur.com/BMpPSs0.png)

Invasion (https://youtu.be/HDvqkjIbjV8)
Cockney rebel Bill Savage defends Britain from invading Russian Volgans.
Continues in the next stage...

Flesh [Book I] (https://youtu.be/73yp6m8wp_M)
Cowboys from the future harvest dinosaurs from the past: what could possibly go wrong?
A second series turns up in prog 86...

Dan Dare (https://youtu.be/n9__bcLRzss)
It's like Star Trek, except they kill all the aliens.
Continues in the next stage...

M.A.C.H.1 (https://youtu.be/fELiiuDf8c0)
The Bionic Man crossed with 007.
Continues in the next stage...

Harlem Heroes (https://youtu.be/grR5_GjHXGY)
Basketball meets Rollerball (minus motorbikes, plus jetpacks).
Returns in the next stage as the sequel series Inferno...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Dirty Harry filtered through Death Race 2000.
Continues in all subsequent stages...

Shako (https://youtu.be/40hw6kB_QRs)
If Jaws were a polar bear...
This is the only series of Shako.

Tharg and the Intruder (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y)
Alien editor deals with various assaults on thrill power.
Returns in prog 129...

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
Usually one-off tales with a twist.
More in the next stage...

---

Links are to the The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 24 July, 2019, 12:27:57 AM
How have you decided when the stages are?  I always think of the first 19 progs as the first stage (i.e. the end of one of the original line-up: Flesh) though I guess Dan Dare ending and being replaced by Future-Shocks (by way of prologue Intruder) could act as an alternate stage.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 July, 2019, 12:47:17 AM
The first thing I thought of was how to see a snapshot of the make-up of 2000 AD in a particular era (inspired by the thread about "when did 2000 AD get good again"), and my first thought was to look at a year.

But then years don't always end neatly (certainly not in the earlier years), and so then I started to look at jump-on points, figuring that a perfect jump-on prog would suit the graphic view of the stage. 

Even here, things aren't necessarily neat, though.  Pure 100% jump-on progs are sparse in the early years: it goes something like 1 - 86 - 335.  You can imagine the tabular way of representing the data gets too deep if you allow the stage to go for too long.

So, prog #36 is a sort of pseudo-jump-on, if you follow Barney's method of splitting up stories like Invasion, Dan Dare and M.A.C.H. 1 into segments.  The line up in #36 is:

My second stage ends at prog 85, ready for the Starlord merger in prog 86. I figure there's a ton of different ways this could be approached, all with pros and cons.

I like that in this first stage we don't just get the original line-up, but also a thrill that never returns (Shako, filling the gap left by the first book of Flesh), the first Tharg story and the start of the Future Shocks (a key launch pad for new talent, even if sometimes they leave the reader cold).  Of the starting line-up, it's really only Dan Dare that doesn't echo down the ages (although his being here was an echo from an earlier time).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 24 July, 2019, 06:25:59 AM
Oh this is going to get very interesting and massive well done for doing it. The phases of 2000ad is something I've thought about in very broad strokes so really interested to see how you do this. The amount if detail you seem to be adding is also going to be really cool by the look.

So is Shako the marker here?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sintec 24 July, 2019, 11:57:21 AM
Oh this is going to get very interesting and massive well done for doing it.

Seconded - as a relative newcomer I find this kind of historical analysis really interesting.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 24 July, 2019, 12:33:23 PM
Oh my God, I love this. With every new thread, Funt, you remind me just why I lamented your long, long absence from the board.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 24 July, 2019, 12:39:04 PM
I'll be watching with interest.

Will Dredd have his own Phase categorisation?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 24 July, 2019, 12:47:39 PM
I'll be watching with interest.

Will Dredd have his own Phase categorisation?

Dredd's a strange one - loads of one-offs (even the first 'epic' was less than 10 episodes long) followed by Luna-1, which is also a series of short stories.  Then it's The Cursed Earth immediately followed by The Day the Law Died - the phase after that would go up to the Apocalypse War.  Post-Apoc it'd be less easy to split into phases, though mega-epics are a good base.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 24 July, 2019, 01:25:36 PM
The Cursed Earth immediately followed by The Day the Law Died - the phase after that would go up to the Apocalypse War.

You've made The Judge Child cry, mate.  For 25 weeks.

And The Mega-Rackets, for that matter, although Punks Rule (110) and Cityblock (117-118) represent more significant marker points, representing the closing-out of an era that lasted for most of the first 100 issues.

Punks Rule, more than The Day The Law Died, feels like Wagner marking his territory and making it clear that even former shed-mates weren't going to be taking a turn with his toy anytime in the next decade.

And it's essentially a rewrite of Harris's first published Dredd strip, replacing the angst and heroism with the dickish obduracy that would become the character's single note until A Question Of Judgement (387) and A Letter To Judge Dredd (661).

Cityblock is even more important, introducing as it does the concept of near-total unemployment and shifting the focus of the strip from Judge Dredd encountering wacky crimes to citizens whose lives in Megacity eventually lead them to cross paths with Judge Dredd, sometimes only in the last panel of the strip.

But since Funt's focus is on 2000ad as a whole, I just typed all that guff for no reason.


: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 24 July, 2019, 01:35:43 PM
I was thinking more of the evolution from action movie heroics to police procedural.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 24 July, 2019, 01:45:58 PM
Damn, this is a cool project. I've always mentally bundled Shako into 'initial 2000AD stories' category, seeing it as essentially a duller continuation of Flesh's themes: very interesting to see how that plays into a more thoughtful chonological grouping, didn't twig that Future Shocks were a parallel development, I would have unconsciously placed them into a second phase. Watching with excitement!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dandontdare 24 July, 2019, 02:10:53 PM
I often think of the prog in phases, but in a much more vague and less-rigorously researched way, basically:

1977 - 1980 - Finding its feet
1980 - 1987 - First Golden Age
1987 - 1995 - Gradual decline
1995 - 1999 - WTF are they doing???
2000 - present - Return to form - Second Golden Age *


*as an old fart, anything beyond 2000, whether it's music TV or progs is filed under "New and current " in my brain, even though it's almost 20 years worth, so this last category could probably be subdivided further.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 24 July, 2019, 02:15:25 PM
The Cursed Earth immediately followed by The Day the Law Died - the phase after that would go up to the Apocalypse War.

You've made The Judge Child cry, mate.  For 25 weeks.


Funnily enough I did think of City of the Damned, but forgot about Owen's earlier appearance!

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 24 July, 2019, 02:20:20 PM
I often think of the prog in phases, but in a much more vague and less-rigorously researched way, basically:

1977 - 1980 - Finding its feet
1980 - 1987 - First Golden Age

I'm currently on prog 76 / Starlord 13 (prog slog gets published a few days after I read them (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=42158.msg1009838#msg1009838)) and finding that the presence of The Cursed Earth and Robo-Hunter are making a big difference to the finding-it's-feet / whatever-I'd-call-the-next-stage.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Pyroxian 24 July, 2019, 02:26:44 PM
1995 - 1999 - WTF are they doing???

1995-1999 is the embarrasing teenage years that we'd all rather forget...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 July, 2019, 02:57:50 PM
Obvious ones are 127 and 178 - The Judge Child may have been chuntering on, but 178 is cearly the first jumping on prog not inspired by a merger - free gift and everything!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 24 July, 2019, 03:45:10 PM

1/ All The Old Dudes

Most of the stories are written by the same characters supplying IPC's sport and WWII-based comics with 4-pagers, using the same style and with the same imagined audience in mind. The strips sometimes only have a single sci-fi element but stuff like Invasion could run in Battle.

I find much of this period unreadable, and it lasts at least until the Starlord strips and Robohunter double the Wagner/Mills quotient overnight but probably stumbles along sometime into the late hundreds. If you're being hardcore, it doesn't end until Mean Arena is put out of its misery.


2/ Don't You want Me?

Sometime around the 200s, the Tullys and the Hebdens are needed to repel the Nazi advance/foil Birmingcastle FC's title challenge and 2000ad settles into a long(ish) period where everything's coming up Wagner, Grant, Mills & Moore and everything's pitched at either an older or (slightly) more sophisticated reader.

The only significant exception is Rogue Trooper and Gerry Finley-Day, but his stuff reads a lot like Wagner/Grant's punchy comedy-action stuff without the occasional flashes of brilliance that convince you there's more going on than meets the eye.



3/ Hand In Glove

Readers lose Moore and many of the best artists but are compensated by the arrival of Milligan, Morrison and Smith and enjoy a brief period where the best of two generations of British talent are producing great work alongside each other albeit in very different styles and with completely different audiences in mind.


4/ Oh Well, Whatever, Never Mind

Anyone who knows which end of a pen to hold gets Toxic Vertigo and Tharg replaces them with creators who've washed up from Marvel UK, Deadline/Crisis and US comics. The comic is largely unreadable again from late-Rave era to Fiddy Cent/Strokes time.


5/ Take Me Out

Morrison and Abnett iron out the wrinkles in their work and Tharg mines the UK small press/indie scene and his letter pile for aspiring writers who have grown-up reading 2000ad to supplement the now completely returned Wagner & Mills.


6/ Dance Wiv Me

The new-hires get really good and start occasionally showing up the old/mid-guard, then leave to write stories about folk getting their tights and their Tardises in a twist.

7/ Shake It Off

Mills & Wagner are delighted to discover they're getting a cheque from the government every month whether they think of something new for 40 year old characters to do or not and decide to make more time for learning Italian cooking and drinking Spanish beer.

Tharg's efforts to replace the departed newcomers results in the realisation he's probably exhausted the pool of people who grew up reading 2000ad who can also write for 2000ad and starts looking further afield, first to UK writers who haven't written comics before and, currently, to US creators who fancy having a go at 2000ad.



: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: MumboJimbo 24 July, 2019, 04:42:17 PM
Even here, things aren't necessarily neat, though.  Pure 100% jump-on progs are sparse in the early years: it goes something like 1 - 86 - 335.  You can imagine the tabular way of representing the data gets too deep if you allow the stage to go for too long.

I would say the following could also be taken to be jumping on progs:


Still haven't found a jumping on prog in the 200s though!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 July, 2019, 04:43:48 PM
Thanks for kind words: I didn't know if anyone would care for this sort of project.  Frank sort of nails it in terms of a grand overview.

---

Looking at this first stage again through a slightly different lens, it's notable (especially for modern readers) how different early 2000 AD is from modern.  Here, I've color-split the thrills to show how Barney has them indexed as separate, smaller segments within a larger narrative:

(https://i.imgur.com/jI4wSrE.png)


Looking at Invasion as a key example, there are 23 separate Barney entries for the first 35 progs (which inside the prog are all just titled as simply "Invasion").  Each tells its own mini-story.  These 23 segments have four writers (Pat Mills, Gerry Finley-Day, Nick Allen & Nick Flynn) and eight artists (Jesus Blasco, Pat Wright, Sarompas, Ian Kennedy, Mike Dorey, Carlos Pino, Eric Bradbury & Luis Collado), which are not necessarily split neatly within the storytelling narrative.

You find a similar story with Dredd, Harlem Heroes, Flesh and M.A.C.H. 1: multiple artists and writers shoulder the work, and even longer stories within the larger narrative don't get provided a single artist.  For example, Robot Wars has four artists split over the 9 parts, and then not even sequentially.  Ian Gibson does the work in progs 14 & 17, for example.

This entire first stage is before creator credits (which start in prog 36), and this pragmatic approach to getting thrills out (just use any artist!) was very much the nature of comic creation at the time.  The benefits are clear: you get the thrills out on time.  The downside is that you lose narrative cohesion and a strong, consistent artistic vision.

Standing out, then, is the heroic Massimo Belardinelli, who provides the first 23 progs of Dan Dare.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: MumboJimbo 24 July, 2019, 05:00:02 PM
Looking at this first stage again through a slightly different lens, it's notable (especially for modern readers) how different early 2000 AD is from modern.

As someone who started reading in the early 300s the early progs feel like a completely different world to even '83 2000 AD. The art style is very different and there's a luridly violent, punkish tone to it. However, from the quick look I've seen of the insides of prog 86, the Starlord merger prog, that doesn't look a whole lot different to progs 4 years later. The drawing style is a lot cleaner and there's a more considered pace to proceedings. Dredd looks like Dredd and not some bulbous insect in bondage gear.

BTW - very much enjoying your work here so far Funt.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 July, 2019, 05:38:30 PM
I started at 195 and those early progs seemed very different to me - I'd say a good trigger point was when all the stories were definitely set in a much removed future setting? so no more MACH 1 or Invasion, Colony Earth or Project Overkill?


Looking at this first stage again through a slightly different lens, it's notable (especially for modern readers) how different early 2000 AD is from modern.

As someone who started reading in the early 300s the early progs feel like a completely different world to even '83 2000 AD. The art style is very different and there's a luridly violent, punkish tone to it. However, from the quick look I've seen of the insides of prog 86, the Starlord merger prog, that doesn't look a whole lot different to progs 4 years later. The drawing style is a lot cleaner and there's a more considered pace to proceedings. Dredd looks like Dredd and not some bulbous insect in bondage gear.

BTW - very much enjoying your work here so far Funt.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tjm86 24 July, 2019, 06:22:31 PM

Still haven't found a jumping on prog in the 200s though!

One possibility would be Pirates of the Black Atlantic since it leads into Apocalypse War.  Another would be Portrait of a Mutant possibly, especially considering how seminal that story was.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 July, 2019, 06:47:52 PM
234(?) when Ace Trucking Co turned up following the appearance of Nemesis in 222 and Rogue in 228?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 July, 2019, 07:29:26 PM
Stage #2: Settling In (progs 36-85)

Prog 36 marks a jump-on of sorts and takes us into a phase that necessarily answers the question of what happens when the original thrills start to reach their natural conclusions or dry up.  As 2000 AD flourishes, it's stable-mate Starlord is merged in (hatch, match, dispatch) for prog 86, which marks the beginning of the next phase...

(https://i.imgur.com/SkdHdFM.png)


Inferno
This follow-up to Harlem Heroes (https://youtu.be/grR5_GjHXGY) realized that the algorithm "Basketball meets Rollerball (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073631/) (minus motorbikes, plus jetpacks)" should never have subtracted the bikes.
This series really marks the end of the narrative, but there's a reboot of sorts when the much-maligned "The Harlem Heroes" launches in prog 671 (12 years later) featuring entirely different characters.

Invasion (https://youtu.be/HDvqkjIbjV8)
Cockney rebel Bill Savage continues to defend Britain from invading Russian Volgans using sassy language and a shotgun.
While this marks the end of Invasion, the prequel (Disaster 1990) shows up in the next phase and then the saga gets rebranded (26 years later) and woven tightly into the Millsverse in Savage, starting in prog 1387.

M.A.C.H.1 (https://youtu.be/fELiiuDf8c0) / MACH ZERO
The Bionic Man crossed with 007 replaces itself with the Bionic Man crossed with the Hulk: the story of MACH ZERO is far less 007 and much more Frankenstein's monster.
MACH ZERO has a brief return in 1980 and M.A.C.H.1 gets rebooted (29 years later) as Greysuit in prog 1540

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
What look like two epics (in Luna-1 and The Cursed Earth) still follow a very episodic structure.  Luna-1 is just the setting (not a visible title), and we get 13 separate stories before Dredd returns to Earth.  The Cursed Earth is much more a planned saga. 
Continues in all subsequent stages...

Bonjo from Beyond the Stars
If you remember when Scrappy Doo got added to Scooby Doo, you might form a realization of why Bonjo is in the prog.  It's a fairly harmless, partial page strip about a moronic alien.  This kind of shorter (page count) content aimed at younger minds continues for a while in different guises.
Barring some specials action, this never returns.

The Visible Man
Answers well enough the question "What if this science toy (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-W-7_7L9iXbg/UyA9lakoEeI/AAAAAAAASXc/tWKAXM6uYbQ/s1600/Visible+Man+a.jpg) was a real dude?"
You might think this was it, and for 34 years you'd be right because this doesn't return until the Prog 2013 seasonal special.

Walter the Wobot
Single-page stories about the titular Walter.
Apart from some specials action, this run exhausts the format.

Colony Earth
An evil Gort-a-like tries to enact a climate change genocide of Earthlings (to make way for its masters).
One run and done.

Death Planet (https://youtu.be/43w2ncibAss)
Colonists try to colonise a homicidal planet.
One run and done, although the idea of a planet that hates you is revisited at least twice: in Ace Trucking's Too Many Bams (progs 273-278) and much later in Zombo (progs 1632-1639.)

Ant Wars
Them! (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047573/): giant ants meet humans with predictable results.
One run and done, but ... don't get too comfy.

Robo-Hunter (https://youtu.be/U3m6wLFbT3w), Verdus [part 1]
Sam Slade (predictably now, that's S-L-A-Y-E-D to you) and his sidekicks create a new genre: robo-noire-com.
Of all the new thrills in this stage, this one's the stickiest: it seems to puff out of existence half way through the story, but it shoulders its way back in the next stage.

No changes:
 - Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ) More in the next stage...
 - Dan Dare (https://youtu.be/n9__bcLRzss) Continues in the next stage...

---

References:
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 24 July, 2019, 07:42:02 PM
I just want to say thank you for sharing this with us Funt. These earlier progs are very much an unknown to mean since I only started reading from around prog 375.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 24 July, 2019, 07:54:55 PM
Death Planet (https://youtu.be/43w2ncibAss)
Colonists try to colonise a homicidal planet.

One run and done, although the idea of a planet that hates you is revisited at least twice: in Ace Trucking's Too Many Bams (progs 273-278) and much later in Zombo (progs 1632-1639.)

And The Tenth Planet/Wilderlands (https://i.imgur.com/ugR4rVY.jpg?1) (Meg 2.58 - 2.68). Entertaining and authoritative stuff, Funt.


(https://i.imgur.com/ugR4rVY.jpg?1)


: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 24 July, 2019, 09:13:27 PM
Stage #2: Settling In (progs 36-85)

Prog 36 marks a jump-on of sorts and takes us into a phase that necessarily answers the question of what happens when the original thrills start to reach their natural conclusions or dry up.  As 2000 AD flourishes, it's stable-mate Starlord is merged in (hatch, match, dispatch) for prog 86, which marks the beginning of the next phase...


Interesting that you see this phase as settling in. I think if we have a division at Prog 36 and I certainly see why, I'd see the phase after as a more unsettled period as the Prog flexes realising the scope of what its got to do to cover the ground. The ebbing away of the opening stories leaves us a much more hit and miss beast.

There are some real highlights, Mach 0, Visible Man and yes I love Ant Wars, Dredd finally really hits its stride with Cursed Earth but its starts to buckle at times.

Still no doubt at all 86 turns things around.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 July, 2019, 09:40:30 PM
Titling these things is tricky, certainly.  We could call this "Teething Trouble": the launch thrills are starting to dissipate and the replacements aren't sticking (but then I don't know if that was the intention).  In terms of what makes 2000 AD a good modern comic: we need strong, known quantities alongside fresh content.

Here we see Dredd making its mark as a core thrill.  If the colour centre pages are a mark of a prestige position, the launch places Dan Dare centre-stage, but Dredd takes over those reigns in prog 46 and remains there until Flesh gets a go in prog 86.  But still, Dredd, who started out as the last thrill in the prog, then takes over as the first.

Another oddity of this era is the 6-thrill line-up, but we're about to see that fade and morph into the more recognisable 5-a-prog that we're used to.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 July, 2019, 09:59:10 PM
I've only been including strip content for these overviews, but those without the progs might be interested in the wide array of alternative content that graced the early era of 2000 AD and sometimes isn't visible through great resources such as Barney.

Prior to Star Pin-Ups, there was diagrammatic content in the form of various strip-related Futuregraphs:
(like the Harlem Heroes Power Gear in prog 2 and Mega-City 1 map in prog 3).

Progs 8-11 provided a collectible Flesh card game: in which Squaxx were told to cut up their progs to create the game. 

Progs 19-43 hijacked the cover for Supercover Saga: there'd be an image on the cover relating to a short text story inside (often part of the Nerve Centre).

Progs 26-32 have a (cut and mount) collectible poster series called Futurefocus, which imagines things like a Space Hospital and Star Warriors (which are just Stormtroopers (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)).

Supernova (46-51) is a sci-fi (cut out) card game along the lines of Top Trumps.

Progs 54-57 contain a short-lived series of text stories with a single accompanying image, titled Encounter.

Prog 74 sees the first Star Pin-Up (early name for Star Scans), of Artie Gruber (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles), the villain from Inferno.

Progs 75-80 contain a collectible Cursed Earth game.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 July, 2019, 10:21:44 PM
"Tooth-ing Trouble"?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dandontdare 24 July, 2019, 11:06:35 PM
I've only been including strip content for these overviews, but those without the progs might be interested in the wide array of alternative content that graced the early era of 2000 AD and sometimes isn't visible through great resources such as Barney.

Prior to Star Pin-Ups, there was diagrammatic content in the form of various strip-related Futuregraphs:
(like the Harlem Heroes Power Gear in prog 2 and Mega-City 1 map in prog 3).

Progs 8-11 provided a collectible Flesh card game: in which Squaxx were told to cut up their progs to create the game. 

Progs 19-43 hijacked the cover for Supercover Saga: there'd be an image on the cover relating to a short text story inside (often part of the Nerve Centre).

Progs 26-32 have a (cut and mount) collectible poster series called Futurefocus, which imagines things like a Space Hospital and Star Warriors (which are just Stormtroopers (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)).

Supernova (46-51) is a sci-fi (cut out) card game along the lines of Top Trumps.

Progs 54-57 contain a short-lived series of text stories with a single accompanying image, titled Encounter.

Prog 74 sees the first Star Pin-Up (early name for Star Scans), of Artie Gruber (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles), the villain from Inferno.

Progs 75-80 contain a collectible Cursed Earth game.

...aaand this is why I have no intact early progs. I used to cut out every piece of those bastard fiddly board games, and IF I could ever persuade someone to have a game, it would turn out either to be tediously simple or mind-bendingly complicated. I also put up all the star scans (I still have Artie Gruber up!), assembled all the "action" figures, and created scrap books and exercise book decorations with the mangled leftovers. *sigh*
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 25 July, 2019, 07:14:12 AM
Stage #3: Starlord Merger (progs 86-126)

The merger with Starlord pushes back publication of some ongoing thrills, but injects new found strength into the nascent prog with the inclusion of Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters (which soon morphs into The A.B.C. Warriors).  The line-up of the jump-on prog 86 is ridiculously strong (Dredd, Ro-Busters, Flesh & Strontium Dog) and echos down the ages: thirty-six years later prog 1862 features Dredd, The A.B.C. Warriors and Strontium Dog (with the most a Flesh series having just completed its run in the previous issue).

Prog 100 sees the chance to fold back in the missing second part to Robo-Hunter's Verdus storyline and Dan Dare returns for the final segment of his tenure.  Prog 119 provides the next mini jump-on but the wind is picking up: there's a tornado on the way...

(https://i.imgur.com/WmKSpzd.png)

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Seems like Dredd can't catch a break: after getting out of that dead end Luna posting he had to crawl across the Cursed Earth to save a city he only ends up nuking later anyway.  Finally he gets back to the city for some R&R but before he can sentence a juve to six months in a cube for wall scrawling he's been framed for murder and the maniac Judge Cal (who bears more than a passing resemblence to one P. Mills) has sentenced the city to death (starting with Aaron A. Aardvark, naturally) in The Day the Law Died. It's after these back-to-back epics that Mega-City One (perhaps a character as important to the longevity of the strip as Dredd) gets a chance to show us what makes it tick, and we move into a sequence of shorter stories.

Ro-Busters (https://youtu.be/d5vz_LQ1JeU)
Thunderbirds, but with robots!  The best bit is The Terra-Meks in progs 98-101.
Mills soon morphs this into The A.B.C. Warriors...

Flesh, Book II (https://youtu.be/73yp6m8wp_M)
Like Flesh, but fishy.
Returns with The Legend of Shamana starting in prog 800 (13 years from here).

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
Clearly iconic thrill that's vital to 2000 AD: arguably these earliest entries in the prog (The Galaxy Killers and Journey into Hell) aren't as strong as the subsequent set.
Returns in the vital prog 178...

Angel
A sort of British Bionic Man ... wait!  Didn't we already do this in M.A.C.H. 1?
It's over and done with. (https://youtu.be/2NBegquhJRM)

Robo-Hunter (https://youtu.be/U3m6wLFbT3w), Verdus [part 2]
Sam Slade concludes his time on the crazy planet of Verdus.  If you haven't already, this is worth catching just for the sheer volume of droids that Ian Gibson is capable of conjuring into existence.
Sam's back on Earth in prog 152.

Dan Dare, Servant of Evil (https://youtu.be/n9__bcLRzss)
I should confess that I'm not really sure what happens in this one: anyone else got a summary?
This is really it for Dare in the prog, although a version of him turns up in Revolver in 1990, and there's a Dan Dare 3000 AD in the prog 1034 supplement (but I don't own a copy).

Rick Random: The Riddle Of The Astral Assassin
Fifties thrill in a seventies punk comic sounds a bit too random: anyone else remember this?
It's over and done with. (https://youtu.be/Z0GFRcFm-aY)

Disaster 1990
Rather than fend off an invading army, this prequel to Invasion (https://youtu.be/HDvqkjIbjV8) sees Bill Savage deal with a high water table. This may all have been a fever dream of Bills, though, as the global flood seems not to have happened at all nine years later.
Continues in the next stage...

The A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI)
Hired to clean-up Mars: seven robotic warriors spread the word.
Continues in the next stage...

Project Overkill
Some kind of uncovering of an AI world takeover plot: anyone else got a better summary?
It's over and done with. (https://youtu.be/JSUIQgEVDM4)

---

References:
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 25 July, 2019, 10:15:38 AM
url=https://youtu.be/n9__bcLRzss]Dan Dare, Servant of Evil[/url]
I should confess that I'm not really sure what happens in this one: anyone else got a summary?
I don’t remember much about the strip itself. I do remember it ends up a bloody great cliffhanger.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 25 July, 2019, 10:57:49 AM
Lovely thread this!

*wallows happily in nostalgia*
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 25 July, 2019, 02:04:52 PM
Wow, I'd no sense that ABC Warriors was only separated from Ro-busters by a fortnight.  In my head they're virtually different eras of the comic.  Which may be why I'm tempted to draw an eopchal line at 119 rather than 126...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Steve Green 25 July, 2019, 03:16:38 PM
The last Dare story? Something along these lines...

Dan Dare returns to Earth with Sondar - he is put under arrest following a claim that he nicked the crystal of life/cosmic claw(?), the claim apparently backed up by the princess from the previous story.

Smelling a rat (or rather a shapeshifter), Dare and Sondar bust out, taking the claw with them and head up to orbiting Mos Eisley, Topsoil - where the lost world expedition started.

They find the shapeshifter in a bar, a fight starts and they escape - the Krulgan is then attacked and killed by the pet pterodactyl of a woman that the Krulgan had already crossed.

With the Krulgan dead, Dare must find another way to clear his name and they fuck off into space, never to be concluded.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 25 July, 2019, 04:06:48 PM
It was to have been revealed that the Sondar in the strip is the original Sondar from the 50s Dan Dare, who has time travelled to stop Dan having the accident that makes him go all punk rocka in the first place - someone somewhere on the net has started to create that final storyline, where 2000AD Dan would be written out of history?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 25 July, 2019, 05:31:03 PM
The Starlord merger was foreshadowed editorially by Mek-Quake and Ro-Jaws showing up in the Nerve Centre (as early as prog 78) and serving as foils to Tharg.  Ro-Jaws can often be heard decrying Tharg as a "daft nerk". Somehow Mek-Quake is also in Walter the Wobot's strip in progs 84 & 85.

As part of the merger we get a new editorial regularity in the shape of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein's Laugh-In, running from progs 86-103, then petering out with a final hurrah in progs 116-118.

Prog 99 sees a film report on Superman.

Holiday to Mars is a diagrammatic poster series (progs 96-102) with some space-faring kit that would get Elon Musk drooling.  (Apologies to those for whom mention of Musk results in hives.)

Progs 119-122 sees the collectible Book of Robots to tie in with the launch of The A.B.C. Warriors.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 25 July, 2019, 09:17:48 PM
The Starlord merger was foreshadowed editorially by Mek-Quake and Ro-Jaws showing up in the Nerve Centre (as early as prog 78) and serving as foils to Tharg.  Ro-Jaws can often be heard decrying Tharg as a "daft nerk". Somehow Mek-Quake is also in Walter the Wobot's strip in progs 84 & 85.


Loved the way Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein (amd Mek-Quake) were added to the editorial staff. It all sublimented the idea that there was this 'cool' club thing going on and Ro-Jaws kinda represented us scruffy kids.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 25 July, 2019, 09:32:52 PM
It's been fun throwing data at this thread but I'm off on holidays for a few weeks and won't have access to my Spreadsheets of Ultimate Geekery (+2, +5 vs. Zragians).  Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. 
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 26 July, 2019, 11:49:02 AM
Ant Wars
Them! (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047573/): giant ants meet humans with predictable results.
One run and done, but ... don't get too comfy.


Interesting that you call Greysuit a reboot of MACH One but consider Ant Wars a one-and-done, when it very clearly has a sequel?  Zancudo, bringing it into the Judge Dredd universe
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 26 July, 2019, 03:02:41 PM
Have a great break!

Btw - do you know what would be lovely? Adding the names to multi part stories for some of the other major ones, like you have for Dredd. Not as lovely as going on holiday however!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 26 July, 2019, 03:22:38 PM
I'm in love with this thread and all who sail in her.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 27 July, 2019, 05:20:54 AM
Ant Wars
Them! (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047573/): giant ants meet humans with predictable results.
One run and done, but ... don't get too comfy.


Interesting that you call Greysuit a reboot of MACH One but consider Ant Wars a one-and-done, when it very clearly has a sequel?  Zancudo, bringing it into the Judge Dredd universe

My “don’t get too comfy” was referencing exactly what you kindly put in spoiler tags (as the connection was something of an Easter egg). It might be a similar issue in chatting openly about Trifecta, although this thread is in the spoiler section of the msg board, so..?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 15 August, 2019, 01:39:58 PM
Stage #2.5: Starlord

Starlord (or is it Star Lord?) ran (for 22 issues) concurrently with 2000 AD progs 64-85 before being merged with the longer-running title.  Good luck searching online for info because you'll just get a bunch of Guardians of the Galaxy hits.  This Starlord is the editor of the comic: a sort of Dan Dare in a cape dude who's a bit cheesy next to Tharg's nacho-like goodness.

Reading the plot outlines it starts to become fairly clear why it was Ro-Busters and Strontium Dog that made the leap.


(https://i.imgur.com/3uftJ9q.png)

Planet of the Damned
The Bermuda Triangle meets Death Planet (which started a fortnight before this in 2000 AD): a passenger jet gets Triangle-warped to an inhospitable planet [see title] and has to cope with other survivors from through time.

Timequake
Time cops stop timequakes (i.e. fuck ups in the past shitting up the future).
Oddly pops up in 2000 AD way after the merger for just four episodes (in progs 148-151 in early 1980).

Strontium Dog
This initial run introduces Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer as interstellar bounty hunters and establishes key story devices and motifs such as the time bomb, ranged blasters, the Gronk and the Smiling Chukwalla.  A few things that don't seem to stick so well: time drogues, mini-nukes, Alpha's possum ability and Marci (his niece).

Key to the politics of the strip are that Strontium Dogs are disliked by standard cops and that mutants (such as Alpha with his ability to force-read minds and see through walls) are hated by many non-mutants.
Continues with the 2000 AD merger of prog 86.

Ro-Busters
Thunderbirds, but with robots and industrial relations.  Odd couple Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein form the focal point of a work force overseen by their irascible owner Howard Quartz - who thinks nothing of having recalcitrant workers dismantled by Mek-Quake (his demented enforcer).
Continues with the 2000 AD merger of prog 86.

Mind Wars
A simple story of psychic fraternal twins and high stakes interstellar war.

Holocaust
Clint Eastwood (here playing Carl Hunter of the FBI) attempts to foil a plot hatched by telepathic alien rats.  It's Dirty Harry meets Close Encounters (meets The Pied Piper of Hamelin).

---

References:
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 15 August, 2019, 02:16:27 PM
...Alpha's possum ability...

Pretty importamt element in The Ragnarok Job/Rage.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 15 August, 2019, 04:38:37 PM
Stage #3.5: Tornado

Tornado ran (for 22 issues) concurrently with 2000 AD progs 105-126 before being merged with the longer-running title.


(https://i.imgur.com/mFhSfjR.png)


Victor Drago
Presented as a mixture of text and strip stories (4 of the 6 are text), these are the investigations of Baker Street residing, pipe-smoking detective Sherlock Holmes Sexton Blake Victor Drago and his assistant Watson Tinker Spencer.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith
Nondescript young man has ESP.
Continues with the 2000 AD merger of prog 127.

The Angry Planet
(Angry) Martian colonists battle corporate Cylon knock-offs intent on mischief.

Wagner's Walk
Panzer commander Major Wagner escapes from post-war Russian internment and attempts to walk [see title] to freedom.

Captain Klep
Klutzy superman knock-off causes comedic chaos, one page at a time.
Continues with the 2000 AD merger of prog 127.

Storm
Feral teenager of the Scottish highlands (aren't they all?) meets a Henry Higgins type: it's Wee Geordie crossed with Pygmalion.  Beano/Viz style episodic calamity ensues.

Black Hawk
It's Spartacus meets the Dirty Dozen as a nubian warrior leads a special Roman cohort accompanied by his familiar (and literal) black hawk [see title].
Continues with the 2000 AD merger of prog 127 and becomes something else altogether...

[Big E]
The first two are "Big E Specials" and the final two are photo stories in which Dave Gibbons gamely abandons any pretense at ego by dressing up as the superheroic titular editor.

The Lawless Touch
Johnny DiGriz Lawless is a thief turned secret agent who sometimes goes up against the Russians Volgans, making this a mash-up of the premise of The Stainless Steel Rat and the setting of Invasion.  (Set pre-Invasion, we can note the absence of any global flooding.)

Tornado's Gallery of Heroes
A poster series by Carlos Ezquerra that provides everything from Roman Centurions to Mek Warriors: really a warriors through the ages (and beyond).

---

References:
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: O Lucky Stevie! 16 August, 2019, 03:26:32 AM
Dan Dare, Servant of Evil (https://youtu.be/n9__bcLRzss)
I should confess that I'm not really sure what happens in this one: anyone else got a summary?
This is really it for Dare in the prog, although a version of him turns up in Revolver in 1990, and there's a Dan Dare 3000 AD in the prog 1034 supplement (but I don't own a copy).

You know how every sports strip written by Tom Tully revolves around a corrupt manager conspiring to kill the team as a tax write off? Dan Dare, Servant of Evil is that draped in Jim Starlin-lite cosmic disco drag (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWeJ9p42ufg).

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 16 August, 2019, 05:27:31 PM
Stage #4: Tornado Merger (progs 127-177)

The merger with Tornado (less than a year after the one with Starlord) seems less welcome, when all is said and done.  Starlord gifted us with Ro-Busters (spawning The A.B.C. Warriors and becoming a cornerstone of the Millsverse) and Strontium Dog (a thrill that, almost as much as Dredd, defines 2000 AD for many fans).  It's a poor comparison that Tornado gives us Blackhawk and The Mind of Wolfie Smith: which isn't to say they're terrible, only that they don't provide the same immediate inspiration and longevity.

And then there's Captain Klep.

This period is vitally interesting, then, in that it seems to have to shake free of the new merger, and as it does so (over 51 progs) we're introduced to some of the most important Dredd world characters ever devised alongside many fresh thrills that are a well-loved part of the 2000 AD canon. Progs 140 & 152 position themselves as jump-ons but the merger doesn't shake loose until the end of Wolfie Smith in prog 177.

Conspicious by its absence, Strontium Dog disappears for a stretch of 59 progs, but don't worry: Tharg has a plan...


(https://i.imgur.com/8HCXCNC.png)

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Sov Judges were first introduced by Wagner (& Bolland) back in prog 50 during The First Lunar Olympics, and in progs 128-129 the Battle of the Black Atlantic sees Dredd and the Sovs cross swords again. We're also introduced to exploding mob blitzers (130), we hear Otto Sump's Sob Story (131-132), witness the effects of Boing, the miracle plastic, at the Palais de Boing (136), start our cravings for Uncle Ump's Umpty Candy (145) and Judge Dredd cancels New Year (146: my first encounter with 2000 AD).

You'd think that would be enough world-building, but then progs 149-151 introduce us to Judge Death and Psi-Judge Anderson.  All of this before Dredd goes on the hunt for The Judge Child, a hugely influential epic (giving us Judge Hershey and the Angel Gang) that sprawls into the next stage... 

Blackhawk (https://youtu.be/E_ygd4eCWFw)
In Tornado this was historical fiction but 2000 AD has aliens beam the hero off Earth so that Blackhawk becomes "Once a Roman centurion - now gladiator in a savage alien arena!" (as the strapline from prog 137 (http://www.2000ad.org/functions/cover.php?Comic=2000ad&choice=137) has it). As if that weren't enough, he then gets his soul sucked out (by the aptly monikered Soulsucker) and quests to retrieve it.
Instead of the plot dead-ending it literally disappears down a black hole, but the premise (a Roman warrior in search of his stolen soul) serves as the kernel for Aquila (https://www.cbr.com/gordon-rennie-and-leigh-gallagher-talk-2000ads-aquila/) (starting 32 years later in the special Prog 2012).  On far shakier footing, the sidekick character Ursa has a song: "My axe he chop with crunching thud, soon he be drinking plenty blood!"  Is there where the idea for Slaine came from? A couple of text stories show up in annuals and we get a one-off in the '82 Sci-Fi Special.

The A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI)
Most of the first half of this run (in the previous stage) focussed on back stories for some of the seven titular warriors: a re-designed Hammerstein from Ro-Busters, the beast-like Mongrel, the wizard Deadlock, the cowboy Happy Shrapnel, the sniper Joe Pineapples, the pirate Blackblood and the remains of Steelhorn as The Mess.

Having introduced the warriors, the second half of the sequence is free to have them "Spread the word!" in a collection of Seven Samurai themed adventures as the smaller force defends against the likes of the evil Biol Corporation: perhaps the strongest stories are Cyboons (progs 130-131) and Mad George (137-139).
We have to wait until prog 555 in '88 for the Warriors to return in their own series, but they do crop up prior to that in Nemesis the Warlock (in '84).

The Mind of Wolfie Smith
Inherited from Tornado: a young hobo with ESP and preternatural bad luck (in a thematic cross between Tales of the Unexpected and Sapphire and Steel.)
One could argue that "young man has special powers" also results in Luke Kirby, the Books of Magic, Harry Potter and, erm, The Phantom Menace: but Wolfie Smith didn't have legs in 2000 AD and is dropped.

Disaster 1990
A global flood requires that Bill Savage 'ave a word in various ne'er do wells' shell-likes.  Sorted!
This prequel to Invasion finishes here but Savage returns in a sequel to Invasion named (appropriately) Savage (starting with 2004's Taking Liberties in prog 1387).

Captain Klep
Inherited from Tornado: Captain Klep continues causing comedic chaos. Wearing its silly openly on its sleeve with sub-titles such as "The Case of the Five BANG! Six Dead Taxi Drivers", this fills the slot vacated by Bonjo.
Whilst this doesn't return there's a tenuous argument that it serves as a thematic precursor of sorts for Marshal Law in 1987.

The V.C.s (https://youtu.be/NjFNdjX_Lno)
It's 'Nam in space, as the Vacuum Cleaners go up against the bug-eyed alien threat of the Geeks. Vape! Vape! Vape! The gritty ensemble of characters sets this apart from traditional hero-centric tropes: Trooper Smith is our focal point but instead of being the obvious hero, he's a fish out of water - an "Earthworm" to a crew of system-born veterans.
Not only does this return much later (starting in 2002), but the new recruit motif repeats itself in Bad Company ('86).

The Stainless Steel Rat (https://youtu.be/t3PeyuxNh8I)
James Bolivar "Slippery Jim" DiGriz is the titular rat: an interstellar rogue that justifies (non-homicidal) theft on the basis that it's covered by (someone's) insurance. Carlos Ezquerra beautifully realizes this serialized version of Harry Harrison's space operatic novel.
So much fun that it returns later in this stage...

Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales
The first anthology format to challenge Tharg's Future Shocks: here the gimmick is that each tale features robots [see title]. Gary Rice starts to shoulder writing duties as the series progresses, with memorable titles such as The Revolt of the Tick Tock Monkey Bomb (157) and Droids Are Dispensable (161).  Of particular note is prog 170's Killer in the Cab, by Alan Moore: probably his first script for the prog although his A Holiday in Hell (a Westworld homage) had been published earlier in the 1980 Sci-Fi Special.
More tales in the next stage...

Timequake
Time-traveling into the Tornado merger from the Starlord merger is typical behavior for the Time Cops, as they stop a final time quake from discombobulating the future.
Having published what was probably still in the drawer, Tharg leaves this one alone.

Robo-Hunter (https://youtu.be/U3m6wLFbT3w), Day of the Droids
Verdus had Same Slade defeat a planet full of robots and even though we knew he was a Robo-Hunter (a robot bounty hunter in the mould of Sam Spade, the private eye from The Maltese Falcon) we never got to see him on his home turf.  Here, he's back in his home city on a case that brings in the robot mafia (the God-Droid) and a plot where, as with Verdus, robots threaten to take over from humans (in this case with the help of the wonderfully cute but terribly threatening Teeny Meks).

Key to the Robo-Hunter mythos are the addition of Sam's idiotic assistant Hoagy and Carlos Sanchez Robo-Stogie (a Cuban cigar determined to help Sam quit smoking).  These foils form the comedic backbone of the strip for years to come.
We have to wait a couple of years for Robo-Hunter to return when he emigrates to Brit-Cit in 1982's prog 259.

Fiends of the Eastern Front (https://youtu.be/ybye2FWnzI0)
Vampires stalk the terrible World War II battlefields where the Germans invaded Russia in their (hubristically titled) Operation Barbarossa.
We have to wait 26 years, but get a second series in the Megazine in 2006.

MACH ZERO
The tale of a British Hulk is put to rest in the four-part The Final Days.
It's all they wrote.

The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (https://youtu.be/t3PeyuxNh8I)
The third rat novel (the second serialized by 2000 AD) sees the villainous "He" attempting to wipe out Jim's Special Corps by going back to the Napoleonic era and erasing their timeline. (There's a similar side-plot in a 1985 gamebook: Falcon - The Renegade Lord.)
We have to wait until 1984 for The Stainless Steel Rat for President.

Terror Tube
This bizarre one-off from Mills & O'Neill takes over the cover and introduces Nemesis (an alien freedom fighter unseen within his Blitzspear), Termight, the evil Torquemada and his Terminators.  Inspired by earlier tube designs (in Ro-Busters' The Fall & Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein) this was supposed to be first in a series of "Comic Rock" one-offs but instead serves as the launch pad for what would later become Nemesis the Warlock.
The next stepping stone towards Nemesis is Killer Watt (progs 178-179), and The Galactic Olympics collectible booklet uses an otherwise incongruous terminator/tube cover in prog 174.

No changes:
 - Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y)More in the next stage...
 - Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)More in the next stage...
 
(https://i.imgur.com/b6QPIKi.png)

---

References:
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Swerty 16 August, 2019, 10:41:07 PM
My favourite era of 2000ad by a country mile.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 16 August, 2019, 11:39:06 PM
This was my starting point, with The Black Plague with the excellent Ron Smith on art droid duties. Just amazing stuff.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 17 August, 2019, 03:20:18 PM
The Proto-Millsverse

Pat Mills enjoys blending characters and stories through time and (because he had his fingers in many creative pies) his Millsverse also ties into the Dreddverse. Sometimes people produce timelines that try to make sense of it all (e.g. in The Judge Dredd RPG by Games Workshop in '85).

First of all, back in Flesh (Book I) we have Old One Eye (a T-rex) that begat (and later killed) Satanus, whose clone shows up in The Cursed Earth. Mills also explores a body horror aspect of this thread in The Blood of Satanus (progs 152-154).

Satanus begat Golgotha, who is taken to Mars and features in The ABC Warriors (134-136), itself a future spin-off of Ro-Busters (the link at this point being just Hammerstein). The Golgotha connection is recognized in the prog as being convoluted so prog 134 features a 1-page Flesh File introduction that explains the Old One Eye - Satanus - Golgotha chain.

Ro-Busters' The Fall and Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein serves as the inspiration for Terror Tube (the nascent start of Nemesis the Warlock). Earlier in Ro-Busters, during Hammerstein's War Memoirs, we see him fighting the Volgans.  They're the enemy (editorially censored Russians) from Invasion and, because they're now part of Hammerstein's history, they also show up in The ABC Warriors back stories (such as The Retreat from Volgow in prog 120).

Diagrammatically, then:

(https://i.imgur.com/LpOkzwk.png)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 17 August, 2019, 11:49:48 PM
Always time for a good diagram!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 18 August, 2019, 07:10:24 AM
Always time for a good diagram!

Yeah diagram and charts this thread is becoming the best every!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 18 August, 2019, 08:28:34 AM
I'm sure I'm not the only one hoping this turns into a nice little PoD book...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 August, 2019, 04:00:45 PM
Stage #5: Going It Alone (progs 178-221)

Prog 178 sets out a stall: no more mergers!  This is now "2000 AD featuring Judge Dredd" and we get a new logo, a free gift and a fresh line-up with five key thrills: Strontium Dog, The Mean Arena, Judge Dredd, Meltdown Man and Killer Watt.  With the last of those only lasting for two progs, Return to Armageddon is drafted in and the roster remains quite stable throughout this stage (only being interrupted by filler strips).

Is this the beginning of the comic's first golden age?

(https://i.imgur.com/wsCoEOt.png)

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
Returning from a 59-prog hiatus, Strontium Dog kicks down the door with arguably the strongest run of the series.  Before things got grim and characters we loved started to die off we could just enjoy the thrill of seeing Johnny and Wulf on their bounty hunting missions (mixing up the commercial side of Wulf with the big heart of Alpha). Being able to sympathize with people hunters is one of the great strengths of the series.  Whilst all the stories here are powerful classics (Death's Head, The Schicklegruber Grab, The Doc Quince Case & The Bad Boys Bust) it's the seminal Alpha origin story Portrait of a Mutant that proves absolutely vital.
Returns in the next stage...

The Mean Arena (https://youtu.be/GCVhjdcaZdw)
Parkour meets Rollerball.  In a hyper-violent near future close combat team sport, star player Matt Tallon seeks revenge for his brother's suspicious death.  Where Harlem Heroes focussed on the team, this wisely has a central hero and a dramatic question, with other members of the team sketched in as needed.  There's a theory (http://splankblog.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-rise-and-fall-of-sports-strips-in.html) that this may have been cribbed from the novel Killerbowl but where inspiration (or homage) ends and plagiarism begins is a stormy sea and early 2000 AD often sailed close to the wind.
The first 19 episodes are often titled as "The Southhampton Sharks" in collections (and the first page is entirely missing from the Extreme reprint), but actually the first 5 episodes feature a game against the Wakefield Warrios, the next 4 are a US-set flashback sequence (the Florida Fiends against Tallon's previous team the St. Louis Leopards) and then we get 10 episodes of "The Southampton Sharks" taking us up to prog 202.  After a 15-prog hiatus, we get The Jensens, with art by Steve Dillon: a storyline that continues into the next stage.  Prog 219 challenges readers to come up with their own team designs for later use in the strip.

Dash Decent
This pastiche of old black & white Saturday morning serializations of Flash Gordon provides the last of the triumvirate Bonjo - Klep - Dash.
Apart from a brief 2000 AD Annual appearance, this is it for Dash. The next foray into single-page comedy strips is probably Sooner or Later in '86.

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
As The Judge Child saga ends and Dredd returns to Mega-City One we're left with the dangling thread of Owen Krysler and predictions of future doom, but the most far-reaching effects of the tale have been the introduction of Judge Hershey and The Angel Gang (in particular Mean Machine).  It's not long before another brother is added to the mix in The Fink (193-196).

Otto Sump returns with his Ugly Clinics (186-188), inspiring Who Killed Pug Ugly? (203).  Block War (182) and Pirates of the Black Atlantic (197-200) foreshadow perhaps the most far-reaching and famous of all Dredd epics, but that's for a later stage.  Unamerican Graffiti introduces Marlon 'Chopper' Shakespeare (who we'll meet again, of course) and The Mega-Rackets provides an umbrella for eight shorter stories of organized crime in Mega-City One (some of which, like The Umpty Baggers, had already been introduced in earlier tales).

So, this is a stage that cements the past, harks to the future and builds up Mega-City One as a living, breathing place.  You've got to build it up before you knock it down...
The Mega-Rackets have their final Crime File in the next stage...

Meltdown Man (https://youtu.be/Pf8fW1YiKt4)
Charles Bronson in Planet of the Furries. This epic saga marks a record in 2000 AD: a fifty-one prog unbroken run by Massimo Belardinelli. Nick Stone finds himself blasted into a future where animal hybrids (yujees) are a slave race to a human elite.
Continues to its conclusion in the next stage...

Killer Watt
The second stepping stone (after Terror Tube) towards a full series of Nemesis the Warlock, this sees Torquemada chase Nemesis (still unseen within the Blitzspear) through some 'phone lines and get destroyed.  Unfortunately, simple corporeal death can't stop Torquemada's evil spirit.
The influence of Terror Tube and Killer Watt reverberate through this stage, building towards an eventual series (starting in prog 222). As we wait, we get three Star Pin-ups: Torquemada (184), the Blitzspear (187) and the Official Gundola (195), and finally a reveal of Nemesis himself, not in the prog, but in the 1981 Sci-Fi Special (in a 5-page thrill sometimes titled The Sword Sinister).

Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y) More in the next stage...

Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales
Gary Rice continues to dominate with memorable tales such as The Tidy Up Droid and Miracle in Slum Alley. Alan Moore invents a recurring character in the two-part Final Solution (189-190) featuring Abelard Snazz: a literal four-eyed geek who causes chaos as his hubris outweighs his supposedly vast intellect.
This ends the Robo-Tales and we switch back to Future Shocks, one of which features Abelard Snazz...

Return to Armageddon
Space pirates (yay!) unwittingly release a super-Satan whose fraternal twin hopes to avert galactic armageddon with the help of a one-armed robot, a magic sword and a beatiful woman. Thirty-five progs of barmy space opera beautifully rendered by Jesus Redondo.
One and done.

[one-offs]
These probably belong under a Future Shock banner, but occassionaly a story would just appear as its own thing: in this case we get Last Thought and The English / Phlondrutian Phrasebook.
Yeah, these keep happening...

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
This season of Shocks starts to bear fruit in the form of Abelard Snazz (swinging in from the Robo-Tales with The Return of the Two-Storey Brain in prog 209), Joe Black (in 204's often incorrectly named Trail and Error and 216's The Man Who Was Too Clever) and one of the characters from prog 213's Slashman, Kowalski and Rat.
All three of these characters (Snazz, Black and the other one that I'm deliberately not naming in a vain attempt to avoid a spoiler from 1981) return in later stages...
 
(https://i.imgur.com/gQw8cEn.png)

The Future Worlds poster is a great example of how barmy and interactive this era was: not for the first or last time Tharg would joyfully instruct us to cut the comic up and paste bits of it to a big sheet of card - which is exactly what I did.  The downside is that in the process you ended up destroying two pages of Meltdown Man and half of a one-off (Last Thought).

The result, though, was an awesome artifact - and given that I only started my regular collection during this phase, a lot of the characters on the poster seemed like an untouchable dream world: it's such a great celebration from 2000 AD of having 200 progs under their belts.

I found a pic of the completed poster (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/thargs-futureworlds/) at "Everything Comes Back to 2000 AD":

(https://2000ad.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/200.jpg?w=627&h=515)

---

References:
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-1-of-4/)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 18 August, 2019, 08:01:02 PM
Its interesting to see how few strips there are in this phase. This will continue for a while I suspect, but maybe not to that degree. Interesting that you've selected the start of Nemesis as the start of the next phase. Defo feel this marks a shift in the Prog. Intrigued to think about how you end that section as the Prog has a certain consistany from here for a while in my head.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 18 August, 2019, 08:19:14 PM
Intrigued to think about how you end that section as the Prog has a certain consistany from here for a while in my head.

[Insert boringly predictable post about ‘resident’ strips from me here.]
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 18 August, 2019, 08:23:22 PM
and finally a reveal of Nemesis himself, not in the prog, but in the 1981 Sci-Fi Special (in a 5-page thrill sometimes titled The Sword Sinister).


Yes, I noticed that in my recent read for Eamonn's podcast - though it was Olric's Great Quest when I were a lad.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 August, 2019, 08:31:48 PM
Intrigued to think about how you end that section

It's tricky to phase it because after 178 the next pure jump-on is 335.  The format I've chosen limits me to at most a year of progs in a single stage, and from 222 to 335 there are 113 progs.  Some of them are almost pure jumpers: 245, 260, 308 and 331, but other things have swung my thinking a bit.  I'll leave that as a future surprise.

Staring on 222 is slightly messy (slicing up Meltdown Man and The Mean Arena), but the end of Portrait of a Mutant in 221 leading into the first full book of Nemesis the Warlock is pretty powerful as a hinge.  We segue then into a powerful series of launches: 228 with Rogue Trooper, 232 with Ace Trucking Co. and 236 with Block Mania (just in case anyone needed something to get excited about).

I remember at the time feeling like this was a new era as each new thrill that launched was just so fucking good.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 18 August, 2019, 08:57:36 PM
When I first started buying up back-progs* from the basement table in The Diceman circa 1983-4, I tried to make individual 'blocks' of progs a priority for my very limited budget. The very first of these that I set my sights on was 222-244, taking in Nemesis Book 1, the start (and best) of Rogue Trooper and Block Mania (Apocalypse War I already had courtesy of the Eagle reprints), and Meltdown Man/Mean Arena I couldn't have cared less about. 'Course in those days I had no idea of what ran when, I was flicking through the actual (unbagged!) comics in the shop, or in friends' houses, in order to work out my scheme.

On that basis alone I feel 222 is one of the most natural era-breaks in the comic's history. Where the endpoint should have come in the light of Funt's analysis is going to be interest!



*I started weekly buying with 309.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 19 August, 2019, 07:15:16 PM
Stage #6: Key New Thrills (progs 222-272)

Marking out a new era, the giant-length one-off thrills such as Meltdown Man and Return to Armageddon are coming to an end.  In their place, with a staggered start, come three new thrills set to serve the comic for years to come: Nemesis the Warlock, Ace Trucking Co. and Rogue Trooper.  From a historical perspective, each of these thrills, to some extent, loses steam over time but here they're at their strongest and the comic feels confident and fresh.

Scheduling is problematic, with stutters in the art supply needing plugged by fillers (e.g. the first book of Nemesis gets delayed twice).  Rogue Trooper (positioning itself quickly as a resident thrill alongside Judge Dredd) skirts the problem with shorter tales and multiple artists.

Providing a consistent throughline in what's quite a chaotic schedule is Judge Dredd, dominating the latter two thirds of this stage with the unmissable, legendary double whammy (https://youtu.be/6cNd0hbIoQk) of Block Mania & The Apocalypse War.

(https://i.imgur.com/BbpxmqK.png)

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ)
Almost defying description, Nemesis is up there as perhaps the most inventive story in 2000 AD.  The title character is captured by simple human villagers who decide that they should hang him.  Usually, this would be a tale about the foolish superstitions of poorly educated bumpkins, but here they're actually correct: Nemesis is a demonic being (an alien Warlock) and proceeds to execute those that wronged him in inventively horrific ways. This is the hero of the piece. The villain, Torquemada, is a human supremacist who commits multiple genocides on an interstellar scope.  Kevin O'Neill's art is so intricate that scheduling becomes an issue. Book II has art by Jesus Redondo and features a plot involving a deadly, human-sized, intelligent spider-race.
Doesn't return until prog 335.

Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y) More in the next stage...

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ) More in the next stage...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Judge Death Lives (224-228) wisely revives Anderson and Death but then goes a massively creative step further by introducing the other three Dark Judges: Fear, Fire & Mortis.  Each has their own preferred method of extinguishing life and the creative team clearly knew they were onto something special when they treated us to a full colour poster centre-spread of the four dark judges in prog 226.

Diary of a Mad Citizen (229-230) tells the compelling story of what makes a citizen turn futsie. Assault on I-Block 4 (231-232) introduces the Gila Munja, a Cursed Earth threat so compelling that they also feature in The Hotdog Run (233-235) which establishes new lore on the training of Judge Cadets.

This sequence of short, powerful stories features an amazing art roster of Brian Bolland, Colin Wilson, John Cooper and Ron Smith.  Just on their own, they form a ridiculously strong run for Dredd and we might expect a slightly weaker follow-up.  Instead we run straight into Block Mania, itself just a precursor to The Apocalypse War. Together, these run for 34 progs and utterly change the world of Dredd and Mega-City One.
The birth of so many important aspects of Dredd lore echo out from this era: the four Dark Judges, the Gila Munja, Hotdog Runs, Sovs intent on revenge, much of the city nuked out and the character of Orlok.

The Mean Arena (https://youtu.be/GCVhjdcaZdw)
Steve Dillon's superlative work on The Jensens (218-223) provides a negative comparison when Eric Bradbury and (later) Mike White take over art duties. Despite the fun, interactive idea of readers coming up with team designs, the story starts to lose traction. The shark is jumped with the introduction of Chip (a precocious super-powered android bodyguard), who seems to fit the mould of Scrappy Doo as being both too childlike and too obnoxious.
Mother Vlad's Vampires takes us on into the next stage...

Meltdown Man (https://youtu.be/Pf8fW1YiKt4)
Finally concluding, Nick Stone seems to solve the problem by altering the past such that the future never occurs (which, bleakly, means that all his friends will never exist).
In the coda, he materializes on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike (as do metaphysical head-space renters in Being John Malkovich (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120601/) from 1999).

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
Something of an odd tonal shift after Portrait of a Mutant, we get a couple of much lighter, frothier tales with The Gronk Affair and The Kid Knee Caper.
We have to wait 101 progs before this returns.

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
A blue-skinned Genetic Infantryman (bred for war) stalks the poisonous battlefields of Nu Earth seeking revenge for the massacre of his comrades by a traitor general. In order to provide some dialogue for the loner, Rogue is accompanied by the bio-chips (i.e. encoded personalities) of three dead comrades, slotted into his equipment: the appropriately (and oddly presciently) named Helm, Bagman and Gunnar.
Following a series of short adventures, some of which advance the central plot, the longer All Hell on the Dix-I Front takes us through to the next stage...

Ace Trucking Co. (https://youtu.be/FAFaKPqzguI)
Mush rush meets B-Hive-K on line for blubbos and flanners. Clearway lugbuddies burn jekyl from disgumby to plasma jam blipping big byms. Ace Garp jocks Speedo Ghost alongside biffo GBH, powerhouse lugbuddy Feek the Freek and a blubberoni scarf.

[Translated for wah wah diggers:]
Convoy meets Mos Eisley cantina by way of Only Fools and Horses. An alien space trucking crew lurch from difficulty to disaster seeking their fortune. Ace Garp captains the Speedo Ghost alongside his minder GBH, his engineer Feek the Freek and his pointlessly (plot-wise) animate scarf.


Launched lovingly with its own Space Truckers' Dictionary (232-235) this succeeded well as a long-form, light-hearted series of misadventures.  This initial foray includes Hell's Pocket, Lugjack, The Great Mush Rush, Last Lug to Abbo Dabbo ("I'll sing you a song and it won't take long, or maybe I won't and it will") and the slightly weak Joobaloo. It continues in the next stage.

[Abelard Snazz]
Alan Moore's Snazz continues to miscalculate the application of his vast intellect.
Returns for a final hurrah in prog 299.

Superbean
Not quite fitting under the umbrella of a Future Shock (or a Robo-Tale), this one-off instead stood proudly alone...
...very briefly, and then was seen no more.

[Joe Black]
A Han Solo-ish rogue isn't as clever as he thinks in these rags-to-rags stories of galactic misadventure.
Dipping in and out of Future Shocks (asterisked in the diagram), this stage sees the four final Joe Black adventures with art by John Higgins.
 
Robo-Hunter (https://youtu.be/U3m6wLFbT3w) [in Brit-Cit]
After an 84-prog hiatus, Sam Slade, Hoagy and Stogie emigrate to Brit-Cit and start a sequence of shorter investigations (starting with The Beast of Blackheart Manor and The Filby Case.)
Continues in the next stage...
 
---

A special shout-out to prog 251, which launched The Great Mush Rush.  Having been abandoned in a remote farmhouse by my mother, I went cross country to my nearest thrill merchant, which was three miles away. Hiking back, it started to rain: so my copy is a bit water damaged.

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/251.jpg)

---

References:
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-1-of-4/)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 19 August, 2019, 08:50:06 PM
Stage #6: Key New Thrills (progs 222-272)
Marking out a new era, the giant-length one-off thrills such as Meltdown Man and Return to Armageddon are coming to an end.  In their place, with a staggered start, come three new thrills set to serve the comic for years to come: Nemesis the Warlock, Ace Trucking Co. and Rogue Trooper.  From a historical perspective, each of these thrills, to some extent, loses steam over time but here they're at their strongest and the comic feels confident and fresh.

I'd disagree with Nemesis - the first book is brilliant, but Book III is still my favourite.  It's also difficult to view Book IV now in the same way we would have then, because we weren't oversaturated with steampunk from all directions!

Providing a consistent throughline in what's quite a chaotic schedule is Judge Dredd, dominating the latter two thirds of this stage with the unmissable, legendary double whammy (https://youtu.be/6cNd0hbIoQk) of Block Mania & The Apocalypse War.

You'd bad and you should feel bad*.

The Mean Arena (https://youtu.be/GCVhjdcaZdw)
Steve Dillon's superlative work on The Jensens (218-223) provides a negative comparison when Eric Bradbury and (later) Mike White take over art duties. Despite the fun, interactive idea of readers coming up with team designs, the story starts to lose traction. The shark is jumped with the introduction of Chip (a precocious super-powered android bodyguard), who seems to fit the mould of Scrappy Doo as being both too childlike and too obnoxious.

I love Eric Bradbury's work, especially on works such as (non-2000AD) The Dracula File and the odd Future-Shocks, Tharg stories and Time Twisters he worked on.  Not so much on Mean Arena, unfortunately.  As for Chip - who could be a more inconspicuous bodyguard for a thirty-something year old man than a ten-year-old boy?  Erm...




* I've done the same myself in the past...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 19 August, 2019, 08:52:16 PM
A special shout-out to prog 251, which launched The Great Mush Rush.  Having been abandoned in a remote farmhouse by my mother, I went cross country to my nearest thrill merchant, which was three miles away. Hiking back, it started to rain: so my copy is a bit water damaged.

I strongly suspect one of my progs with a George (giant robot on Mars) episode in will also contain some chip fat from the late 1980s.  I'll be sure to mention it when I get to that point in my slog - at the current rate sometime before the end of the year...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 21 August, 2019, 05:42:22 AM
(https://2000ad.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/260.jpg?w=627&h=192)

Image can be viewed at higher resolution at Everything Comes Back to 2000 AD (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/war-what-is-it-good-for/).

From progs 260-263.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 21 August, 2019, 02:41:41 PM
Stage #7: Post-Apocalypse (progs 273-307)

In the previous stage, new thrills had formed multiple residencies in the prog and they still form the starting line-up: Rogue Trooper, The Mean Arena, Judge Dredd, Ace Trucking Co. and Robo-Hunter.  But what happens when they start to run out of steam?

Replacing The Mean Arena we get a new long-form one-off as we follow the adventure of Harry Twenty on the High Rock.  When Ace Trucking Co. takes a break, we get a new anthology banner in Tharg's Time Twisters.

Prog 300 is celebrated with an eight issue prog 1 replica for us to cut out and construct.

(https://i.imgur.com/MXzWqQQ.png)

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
All Hell on the Dix-I Front closes out and provides a new string to the plot in the form of a poison that can take render Rogue useless.  Marauders (unfortunately making us choose between Colin Wilson and Cam Kennedy for best rendering of a Nort hopper) moves the central plot forward in the hunt for the traitor general and then the epic Fort Neuro is by turns fun and out of place (as Rogue goes disco dancing), but doesn't provide any forward momentum.

Schedule-wise, it is difficult as a reader to stick with the multiple artists on a storyline thing, especially when their designs are so far removed from one another.  It's something very much of the era, though.  Dix-I has three, Marauders has two and Neuro has two.

Fort Neuro drifts into the next stage...

[Agent Rat]
Trouble On Tree-World - An Agent Rat Adventure sees the return of Agent Rat from a Future Shock in prog 213.  He's like a rat yujee, and he's an agent.
That's all we get from Agent Rat, which is perhaps just as well.

The Mean Arena (https://youtu.be/GCVhjdcaZdw)
Staring out as a gritty sport drama, this eventually became mired in Halloween costumes. It staggers to a close here with a sort of Tron-like climax inside a giant physical realization of a video game.
This is it for The Mean Arena.  Another strip named Mean Arena borrows the title in '93, but the two bear no relation apart from that.

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Post-Apocalypse many of the tales explore the post-war effects on the city, whether it's chem pits in The Game Show Show or food shortages in The League of Fatties.  This ends up being a strong sequence which includes Fungus, Destiny's Angels (resurrecting Mean Machine and freeing Fink), The Executioner, Shanty Town and Trapper Hag.
Dredd continues, of course, but there is a marked reduction in mentions of the war.

Ace Trucking Co. (https://youtu.be/FAFaKPqzguI)
This sequence gives us the superlative Too Many Bams (starring many of the comic's creators in Bam caricature), The Kloistar Run (or The Garp Who Would Be King) and then ends with Stoop Coop Soup.
Ace could have ended here as the characters are all imprisoned, but returns in prog 378 in '84

Robo-Hunter (https://youtu.be/U3m6wLFbT3w) [in Brit-Cit]
The Killing of Kidd reintroduces Kidd from the Verdus storyline: now the star of a soap opera.  Football Crazy riffs on the 1982 Soccer World Cup by introducing teams of robots from around the world (*cough* "Blakee Pentax" *cough*.) Then, like Buffy (in 2001's Once More, With Feeling), it was decided that a musical would be the thing to do and we get Play It Again, Sam.
Robo-Hunter returns in the next stage...

Harry Twenty on the High Rock 
Alcatraz in space, as Harry Twenty tries to figure out how to escape the classic inescapable prison. Perhaps that old timer can help him...
It's one and done.

The Great Detective Caper, Hemlock Bones - Who He?
Not quite fitting under either the Future or Time umbrella, this two-parter has a hapless actor mistaken for a supposedly real Sherlock Holmes by an alien race.  Wait, that's Sherlock Holmes meets Galaxy Quest.
The tale is told in two parts, and requires no more.

Tharg's Time Twisters 
Rather than just being scheduling filler, these take up an almost permanent residency (for a while). They allow Tharg to expand the repertoire of bannered one-off stories so that they don't necessarily need to be of the future (or shocky) variety. 
More in the next stage...

[Abelard Snazz]
Titled Genius Is Pain: An Abelard Snazz Misadventure, things continue to go badly for the large-brained guy who can't get along with anyone.
This is the last outing for the two-storey brain as Alan Moore has other things to occupy his time...

No significant changes:
 - Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ) More in the next stage...
 - Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y) More in the next stage...

---

Another giant collectible poster is a celebration of all things Robo-Hunter (and you can see a hi-res version over at All Things... (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/robo-hunters-robo-world/)):

(https://2000ad.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/283.jpg?w=627&h=742)

---

References:
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
 - Albion British Comics Database Wiki (https://britishcomics.fandom.com/wiki/Albion_British_Comics_Database_Wiki)
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 21 August, 2019, 09:25:24 PM
Wow thanks for linking to that hi-res scan of the four past Robo-Hunter poster. Hadn't seen that and it does look GREAT.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 22 August, 2019, 12:48:30 AM
Yeah - I think it's my favorite out of Future Worlds / Total War / Robo-World.  It really marks the end (I think) of these well put together poster collectibles.

(Well, there's the 12-piece Mega-City Primer in progs 501-512, but it's just not as good a composition.  Oh, and the Tribal Imagery ones: a 2-part ABC Warriors in 1055-1056 and a 4-part Ukko in 1057-1060.  They're interesting, but incongruously tied to rave culture.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 22 August, 2019, 06:37:01 AM
Yeah the Ukko one was just plain... strange. The image, though nice, certainly didn't hold the interest and scale to justify the format.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 August, 2019, 01:31:20 AM
Stage #8: Mooreland (1983's progs 308-334)

Alan Moore has been active in the prog for a while now, turning out consistently entertaining short thrills in the form of Robo-Tales, Future Shocks and Time Twisters.  Abelard Snazz demonstrated that he couldn't quite be contained within the strictures of those mediums, and here we get to see his first long-form thrill in Skizz even as he continues to dominate the Time Twisters.

Dredd, Rogue & Slade take up the other main slots in the prog as we head towards the prog 335 pure jump-on.  Just before we get there, though, prog 330 steals the limelight (by smashing it apart with an axe) as Slaine launches himself ferociously into the fray.

(https://i.imgur.com/8HDY69B.png)

Skizz (https://youtu.be/27bRs1r_k8I)
Altogether now: it's E.T. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.T._the_Extra-Terrestrial) meets The Boys from the Black Stuff (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boys_from_the_Blackstuff).  Perhaps the first 2000 AD strip with a female lead in Roxy O'Rourke.
There's a second series (Skizz II: Alien Cultures) in '92, but it's not by Moore and so perhaps can be considered non-canon. It certainly stretches the format, and there's no cliffhanger in this first series that needs answered.

Tharg's Time Twisters 
Alan Moore provides over half of the Twisters in this stage.  Of key importance is prog 317's DR & Quinch Have Fun On Earth, as it once again demonstrates Moore's ability to create characters that break free of their restrictions and go on to greater things.  We'll see them in their own series soon.
These do return in the next stage, but at a much reduced rate as they share space again with the Future Shocks.

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
This stage proves that you don't need epics: there's scope for great medium-length thrills in Dredd. Up to now, the average length of a Dredd story has been three episodes (and that's including epics), so the 8-part Destiny's Angels in the previous stage, and here the 6-part The Starborn Thing and 7-part Cry of the Werewolf are a new direction (plus they're all first-rate stories).
Medium-length Dredd's continue in the next stage as dusk falls...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
Fort Neuro comes to an end and Eye of the Traitor moves the central plot forward.
The Rogue residency continues unabated in the next stage...

Robo-Hunter (https://youtu.be/U3m6wLFbT3w) [in Brit-Cit]
After a short-break, we get the 19-episode The Slaying of Slade (which is more gritty and less comedic than earlier Brit-Cit adventures), followed by the 4-part coda of Sam Slade's Last Case.
Slade is coaxed out of retirement in 1985's Farewell, My Billions (435-443).

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ)
It's a celtic Conan, as Slaine and his literal sidekick Ukko roam Tir Nan Og (a mythic Britain) in search of riches and redemption. Slaine ends up smiting all who stand against him, but doesn't ever think it's too many.  Here we get the introductory The Time-Monster (where Pat Mills can't resist including a T-Rex, but at least it's not a relative of Old One Eye) and The Beast in the Broch.
Slaine chops his way through into the next stage...

No significant changes:
 - [one-offs] More in the next stage...
 - Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y) More in the next stage...
 - Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ) More in the next stage...

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 23 August, 2019, 01:38:22 PM
Harry Twenty on the High Rock 
Alcatraz in space, as Harry Twenty tries to figure out how to escape the classic inescapable prison. Perhaps that old timer can help him...
It's one and done.


It is a one and done.  There was no more.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 23 August, 2019, 01:44:18 PM
Yeah - I think it's my favorite out of Future Worlds / Total War / Robo-World.  It really marks the end (I think) of these well put together poster collectibles.

(Well, there's the 12-piece Mega-City Primer in progs 501-512, but it's just not as good a composition.  Oh, and the Tribal Imagery ones: a 2-part ABC Warriors in 1055-1056 and a 4-part Ukko in 1057-1060.  They're interesting, but incongruously tied to rave culture.)


I completely don't remember the Ukko one - that's weird - I can't imagine what the point of it was!


Also - what about the DR & Quinch and Psi-Judge Anderson calendars (sure I'm missing one)?[/font] (http://[font=Verdana)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 23 August, 2019, 01:51:55 PM
Yeah - I think it's my favorite out of Future Worlds / Total War / Robo-World.  It really marks the end (I think) of these well put together poster collectibles.

(Well, there's the 12-piece Mega-City Primer in progs 501-512, but it's just not as good a composition.  Oh, and the Tribal Imagery ones: a 2-part ABC Warriors in 1055-1056 and a 4-part Ukko in 1057-1060.  They're interesting, but incongruously tied to rave culture.)

I completely don't remember the Ukko one - that's weird - I can't imagine what the point of it was! (http://[font=Verdana)

Also - what about the DR & Quinch and Psi-Judge Anderson calendars (sure I'm missing one)?

SMF strikes again!  Wish there was a source text view so it didn't force size adjustments on what you write after you've posted it!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tjm86 23 August, 2019, 04:17:53 PM
Harry Twenty on the High Rock 
It is a one and done.  There was no more.

Nope, it got another outing a few years ago.  One of the SF specials, end of year progs or FCBD ...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 August, 2019, 04:45:51 PM
Harry Twenty on the High Rock 
It is a one and done.  There was no more.
Nope, it got another outing a few years ago.  One of the SF specials, end of year progs or FCBD ...

Ah, I wondered when this might start to happen.  I've only read 2000 AD up to (and including) 2014, due to a temporal disturbance.  I think Sheridan was hinting that there's a bit of Harry Twenty action that I'm not aware of yet.  Fun! 

Later, I'll be like "Dry Run", one and done, and it'll turn out that it got rebooted into a 12-book saga. Maybe I should stop now while I'm mostly still talking sense.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 August, 2019, 04:50:44 PM
Yeah - I think it's my favorite out of Future Worlds / Total War / Robo-World.  It really marks the end (I think) of these well put together poster collectibles.

(Well, there's the 12-piece Mega-City Primer in progs 501-512, but it's just not as good a composition.  Oh, and the Tribal Imagery ones: a 2-part ABC Warriors in 1055-1056 and a 4-part Ukko in 1057-1060.  They're interesting, but incongruously tied to rave culture.)

I completely don't remember the Ukko one - that's weird - I can't imagine what the point of it was!

Also - what about the DR & Quinch and Psi-Judge Anderson calendars (sure I'm missing one)?

You're quite right - I'd forgotten about the calendars.  Here's a list with those highlighted...

Collectible Posters of 2000 AD

Judge Dredd: Mega-City Hyper-Cop, 100-103
Judge Dredd's Hall of Heroes, 152-155
Tharg's Future Worlds, 200-205
2000AD Calendar 1982 [Judge Dredd], 245-246
Laser Lift-Off! (Towards 2000) [diagram], 247-248
Total War (Rogue Trooper), 260-263
Robo-Hunter's Robo-World, 283-286
2000AD Calendar 1983 [Judge Anderson], 297-298
2000AD Calendar 1984 [Tharg the Mighty], 350-351   
D.R. & Quinch: Star Laser Scan, 375-376   
2000AD Calendar 1985 [D.R. & Quinch], 401-402
A Mega-City Primer, 201-512
[Hershey, The Statue of Judgement, Justice 1], 953-955
ABC Warriors, Tribal Imagery, 1055-1056
Tribal Imagery [Ukko], 1057-1060
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 August, 2019, 04:53:12 PM
Jeebus H. Typo...

A Mega-City Primer, 501-512
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dandontdare 24 August, 2019, 12:36:47 AM
Yeah - I think it's my favorite out of Future Worlds / Total War / Robo-World.  It really marks the end (I think) of these well put together poster collectibles.

(Well, there's the 12-piece Mega-City Primer in progs 501-512, but it's just not as good a composition.  Oh, and the Tribal Imagery ones: a 2-part ABC Warriors in 1055-1056 and a 4-part Ukko in 1057-1060.  They're interesting, but incongruously tied to rave culture.)


I completely don't remember the Ukko one

me too - google hsa no images, can anyone post one?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: M.I.K. 24 August, 2019, 01:52:09 AM
me too - google hsa no images, can anyone post one?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 August, 2019, 03:03:18 AM
Just checked my back progs, and the input page explains the Tribal Imagery posters.  Here's the text copied from prog 1057:

The back cover of this prog of 2000 AD is the first quarter of a four-part poster painted by top art droid Dermot Power, to commemorate the Galaxy's greatest comic going to the Tribal Gathering festival. This piece is part of a selection of 2000 AD-related artworks which is being auctioned soon to benefit the Nottinghamshire Leukaemia Appeal. The celebrity charity auction is supported by Universe, organisers of Tribal Gathering. More details about the auction will be published soon in 2000 AD!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 24 August, 2019, 08:02:06 AM
More significently does Ukko really drink Stella? I see him more as an Tennets Extra dwarf myself.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 August, 2019, 06:42:36 PM
Stage #9: Golden Jump-On (progs 335-386)

The first all-new-thrills prog since 86, which was 249 issues ago, back in '78.  Boasting a powerful starting line-up of established tales we have (in order of age) Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Nemesis the Warlock, Rogue Trooper and Slaine (being the newest barbarian on the block).

The cover (obscured by a taped on Dredd poster) rightly celebrates the return of two well-missed thrills as Nemesis (taking over the colour center) and Johnny Alpha crash back into the prog after significant absences.

Replacing Nemesis as we move through this year's worth of progs are more classic works from the Moore-meister in the forms of D.R. & Quinch and The Ballad of Halo Jones.  As Slaine takes a hiatus there's the suprise return of Ace Trucking Co. taking us into the next phase.

(https://i.imgur.com/ET4OP6s.png)

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Dredd launches with the 7-part The Graveyard Shift and then follows a sequence of confident slices of Mega-City life.  The high points are probably Citizen Snork, The Haunting of Sector House 9, Portrait of a Politican, the rookie Decker set (Superbowl & Bingo) and The Wreckers.  Dredd Angel is an oddity but important for later clone-continuity.
In the next stage, Dredd has doubts...

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ)
The early Slaine tales are amongst the most well regarded in the history of the strip and include Warrior's Dawn, The Beltain Giant, The Bride of Crom, The Creeping Death, The Bull Dance, Heroes' Blood, The Shoggey Beast, Sky Chariots and Dragonheist.  By this stage, editorial really have their act together in terms of commisioning the art and each segment belongs to a particular artist (either Massimo Belardinelli or Mike McMahon).
Slaine doesn't return to the prog until 411's Time Killer, but the 1985 2000 AD Annual (running at about the same time as prog 376) includes The Battle of Clontarf, with full color art by Belardinelli (who is also interviewed about his career), a Slaine cover by McMahon and an Ask Ukko article.

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ)
Back after a 78-prog absence, this is Book III (aka The World of Nemesis). In the interim, the '83 annual had The Secret Life of the Blitzspear and the '84 annual A Day in the Life of Torquemada. Boasting the colour center pages, and making great use of them, this book features a planetary battle between the Terminators and the alien Basilisks.  The key plot development is the birth of Nemesis's son Thoth, but it's rather overshadowed by the giant robots (including one who has the brain of Mek-Quake from Ro-Busters).
Book IV starts in prog 387...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
Back after a 102-prog absence with the tragic The Moses Incident.  (As with other absent tales, we got a taster of what we were missing in the '83 annual's Incident at the Back O' Beyond.)  A really strong phase for Strontium Dog, we also get The Killing (a much lighter tale) before what's really a sequel to Portrait of a Mutant in the 23-prog Outlaw.
Strontium Dog returns in prog 416...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
The Rogue residency continues unabated, having turned up in 94% of the progs since it launched in 228.  While there are some very strong stories still present, the main plot stalls somewhat.  We get introduced to Venus Bluegenes in From Hell to Eternity, Colonel Kovert shows up for the first time and Gunnar gets re-gened.
Rogue continues in the next stage, but key changes are afoot...

D.R. & Quinch (https://youtu.be/3WJGX49n1iw)
Mad magazine meets Happy Days. For a strip that only lasted 15 progs, Waldo D.R. Dobbs and Ernost Errol Quinch made a thermonuclear impact on the readership.  S'right.  If you haven't already, stop reading this and go find a collected edition (https://shop.2000ad.com/catalogue/GRN265) as the demented duo Go Straight, Go Girl Crazy, Get Drafted and Go To Hollywood.
Returns in the '85 Sci-Fi Special where the boys Get Back to Nature, but that's the last that Moore wrote. There's also the un-Moored Agony Pages starting in prog 525.

The Great Infinity Inc. Foul-Up
A sequel to the Time Twister Kismet in prog 333: "about a time-travel tourism company". (Direct quote from Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/).)
It's over and done with.

The Amazing Maze Dumoir
The Gauntlet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gauntlet_(film)) meets Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Rotten_Scoundrels_(film)).
A cool short story with a compelling lead character this sadly never got picked up for a longer series. There's still time, Tharg!  You commisioned more Ulysses Sweet, so really it's like you owe us.

The Ballad of Halo Jones (https://youtu.be/CJSsSUX10gw)
An amazing portrait of a young woman's life on a fantastic but ultimately banal future Earth: it's utterly captivating to watch as Halo Jones is pushed and pushed to escape and try to capture a dream, rather than allow her life to become a repetetive struggle.  Owing something to A Clockwork Orange, this seems otherwise very much Moore and Gibson's wonderfully imaginative collaboration.
We are treated to a second series starting in prog 405.

Ace Trucking Co. (https://youtu.be/FAFaKPqzguI)
On The Dangle marks the beginning of diminishing returns for Ace & Co. (after a 155-prog hiatus). It never really reaches the highs of the first major run, but still has a long way to trudge.
Returns in the next stage...

No significant changes:
 - Tharg's Time Twisters More in the next stage...
 - Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ) More in the next stage...
 - Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y) More in the next stage...
 - [one-offs] More in the next stage...

---

The A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI)
We last saw the Warriors in '79's prog 139, but in the 1985 2000 AD Annual (released circa prog 376) we get Red Planet Blues: a beautiful one-off by Alan Moore that really shows us what can happen when great writers get to borrow from each other.
The Warriors first start to show up again in Nemesis the Warlock's Book IV (The Gothic Empire), which eventually triggers their own returning series in 1988.

(https://i.imgur.com/aEfjAym.jpg)

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-1-of-4/)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 25 August, 2019, 11:29:11 AM
Harry Twenty on the High Rock 
It is a one and done.  There was no more.
Nope, it got another outing a few years ago.  One of the SF specials, end of year progs or FCBD ...

Ah, I wondered when this might start to happen.  I've only read 2000 AD up to (and including) 2014, due to a temporal disturbance.  I think Sheridan was hinting that there's a bit of Harry Twenty action that I'm not aware of yet.  Fun! 


I am indeed, and I reiterate - There was only one Harry 20 on the High Rock story - you might have imagined something coming out a few years ago, but there was only ever one!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 25 August, 2019, 11:32:54 AM
Just checked my back progs, and the input page explains the Tribal Imagery posters.  Here's the text copied from prog 1057:

The back cover of this prog of 2000 AD is the first quarter of a four-part poster painted by top art droid Dermot Power, to commemorate the Galaxy's greatest comic going to the Tribal Gathering festival. This piece is part of a selection of 2000 AD-related artworks which is being auctioned soon to benefit the Nottinghamshire Leukaemia Appeal. The celebrity charity auction is supported by Universe, organisers of Tribal Gathering. More details about the auction will be published soon in 2000 AD!


Showing a character smoking to raise money for a Leukemia appeal.  That's... um... interesting?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 30 August, 2019, 08:23:30 PM
Stage #10: Golden Stutters (progs 387-434)

Whilst there are still very powerful thrills, some of the longer-running strips are showing signs of age.

Key for this stage is a lack of new properties, with everything being either a sequel or a spin-off.  Interestingly, this is the first phase where that's true. That's okay if all your existing properties are fantastic, but it perhaps signals a lack of freshness.

(https://i.imgur.com/2DAFPMj.png)

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ)
Originally planned as the first part before some back-filling that became the first three series, this is Book IV: The Gothic Empire. Something of a tour de force, it sets up a fantastic alien empire of shape-shifters that Torquemada (more demonic ghost than man) is hell bent on destroying.

That plot (itself riffing on Victorian horror stories such as The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Frankenstein) is busy and fantastic enough, but Pat Mills also decided to build on the idea that Termight is the future earth of Ro-Busters (as the previous book featured Mek-Quake) by reintroducing first Ro-Jaws and then a war-weary Hammerstein.

There follows a side-quest of getting the gang back together as Nemesis reforms the ABC Warriors and reveals himself to be a shared embodiment of Deadlock.  The Warriors (having lost The Mess to Big George on Mars, and Happy Shrapnel in a verbal aside) now consist of Hammerstein (with what's since become his trademark metal-fatigued head), Ro-Jaws, Blackblood, a re-designed Joe Pineapples, Mongrel, Hitaki (a samurai-bot) and Mad Ronn.

This mash-up of two great properties is celebrated in the prog with a series of five Fact Files and prog 410 has the Six of the Best poster:

(http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/a/abcwar2.jpg)

Book V is in the next stage...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
To the Ends of Nu Earth closes out the main plot of Rogue seeking revenge against the traitor general.  There follows an 8-prog gap (the longest since the story launched back in prog 228) before Rogue loses his rogue-ness by returning to base and Gunnar, Bagman & Helm are re-gened in the sequence running from progs 401-406. The problem here is that all the key elements of the story have been systematically removed or resolved and so it's the end.  But it doesn't end.

Gunnar, Bagman & Helm start to dissolve but the only cure is to be found on another war-torn planet and Rogue is told he's not allowed to go there ... so he goes ... rogue! This launches the Horst sequence, but the problem is twofold: the traitor general throughline was much more compelling than this new "seek a cure" and (much more importantly) Nu Earth was a key character in the story and now it's gone as well. Horst also suffers a bit from a monster-of-the-week syndrome that smacks of a poorly thought-out D&D adventure.  It was always a stretch that almost everyone was appropriately named, but now we have to face up to the idea that you can't have Rogue be Rogue without him going rogue all the time.

Returns briefly in the next stage as the comic struggles to know what to do with one of it's strongest properties.

The Helltrekkers
Inspired by stories of wagon trains making the dangerous trek from east to west across the US, this has Mega-City One citizens attempting the same thing across The Cursed Earth in radwagons.  It plays like a disaster movie, with us being introduced to folk who are then killed off by various terrible events (like dinosaur attacks and acid rain).
Although this never sparked a sequel (and was Marmite for the readership), the concept of Helltreks and radwagons became part of Dreddverse lore.

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Kicking off this phase is the doubts trilogy (Question of Judgement, Error of Judgement and A Case for Treatment) in which Dredd questions his ability to provide justice. The Wally Squad, The Hunters Club and Nosferatu set up important lore for the Dreddverse.  Sunday Night Fever feels like a sequel to The Graveyard Shift and Midnight Surfer sees the return of Marlon Chopper Shakespeare (who has given up scrawling for the visceral thrills of sky-surfing).  We also get the mini-epic City of the Damned, which explores a possible future in which a mutated Owen Krylser clone seeks vengeance on the city.
To an extent treading comfortable water in the next stage...

Ace Trucking Co. (https://youtu.be/FAFaKPqzguI)
Captain Evil Blood drags us through the interminable 13-part Strike. A 27-prog hiatus is followed up with The Croakside Trip, in which Ace Garp commits suicide rather than face a terminal illness.  It's worth noting that the writers have tried incarceration and now suicide as methods of avoiding writing any more of this strip.
Despite having died, Ace Garp returns in prog 451.

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
Peter Milligan produces 12 of the 15 Shocks in this phase, with Alan Hebden providing the remainder.
More in the next stage...

The Stainless Steel Rat for President (https://youtu.be/t3PeyuxNh8I)
Jim diGriz was last seen in prog 177 (in 1980). This is a serialization of the fifth published Rat novel by Harry Harrison. 
Whilst this is the last adaptation in the prog, there are another nine books.  So, there's still time, Tharg.

The Ballad of Halo Jones, Book Two (https://youtu.be/CJSsSUX10gw)
The second book follows Halo into space as a worker aboard the Clara Pandy. Although she's managed to escape The Hoop, unresolved issues from the past stalk her, and her good-hearted nature foreshadow difficulties to come.
Returns next stage for Book Three...

[one-offs]
Bad Vibrations, The Snikker Snack, Breathless and Judge Grexnix (featuring Tharg).
More one-offs in the next stage...

Psi-Testers
A psychic is blackmailed into helping a criminal.  Wait: isn't that the plot of Wolfie Smith?
A one and done extended Future Shock style story.

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ)
Slaine changes quite dramatically in Time Killer. The Drune lords (evil druids) are augmented with dark gods The Cythrons: an alien race who live off negative emotions, but are restricted by rules of cosmic balance. Into that mix Slaine's axe is replaced by a leyser sword and leyser pistol: and the world we're adventuring in now feels quite different. Despite these jarring alterations, the amazing art and the inventiveness of the narrative allow it to work.
Returns next stage with Tomb of Terror...

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
Anderson's first standalone series sees her go up against the Four Dark Judges, who we thought defeated in 1981's Judge Death Lives.
Anderson returns in prog 468's The Possessed.

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
The Big Bust of '49 and The Slavers of Drule are both rather derivative, and perhaps signal why such significant changes were to come. In particular, the Big Bust feels like a repeat of themes already explored well in The Bad Boys Bust ('81) and The Killing ('84).   
Returns next stage with the seminal The Ragnarok Job.

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-2-of-4/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 30 August, 2019, 08:57:06 PM

Whilst there are still very powerful thrills, some of the longer-running strips are showing signs of age.

Key for this stage is a lack of new properties, with everything being either a sequel or a spin-off.  Interestingly, this is the first phase where that's true. That's okay if all your existing properties are fantastic, but it perhaps signals a lack of freshness.


That's a fascinatating point, one that had never occured to me. Tharg does have a full old chest of delights, but in that there is there hidden danger that it can stifle invention.

There's some glorious stuff hereall the same.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 30 August, 2019, 10:59:42 PM
Golden Stutters is a great name for this stage. I can only imagine the names brewing for stages when the prog was on somewhat lesser form...

Gold star also for stepping back and giving the big picture view. Very nice!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 30 August, 2019, 11:15:24 PM
There follows an 8-prog gap (the longest since the story launched back in prog 228)

That’s remarkable. I remember Rogue being a regular fixture, but I had no idea that he was in the prog on such a consistent basis for so long…
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 31 August, 2019, 05:52:06 AM
Yeah, the stats are pretty crazy...

From prog 228 to 392 is 165 progs (or 3 years and 2 months) from September 1981 to November 1984.

Here's the percentage select thrills are in the prog (non-reprint) in that span:

98% Judge Dredd
94%   Rogue Trooper
44% Ace Trucking Co.
40% Robo-Hunter
30% Strontium Dog
27% The Mean Arena
27% Nemesis the Warlock
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 31 August, 2019, 11:18:40 AM
Golden Stutters is a great name for this stage. I can only imagine the names brewing for stages when the prog was on somewhat lesser form...

Gold star also for stepping back and giving the big picture view. Very nice!

Yes interesting name but I can understand why this happened: Great established popular characters. Why change or create new original characters when the ones you have is going great guns. Maybe that is why we had a "dark age" period because for a long period no new characters where introduced.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 31 August, 2019, 01:01:00 PM
Maybe that is why we had a "dark age" period because for a long period no new characters where introduced.

I don't think that was the problem - there were loads of new characters and strips in the 90s. Dead Meat, Junker, Trash, Kola Kommandoes, Dry Run, Babe Race 2000, Mother Earth, Mambo, Soul Sisters... the list is long, but generally not very good.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 31 August, 2019, 01:47:22 PM
What I am trying to say is that with any successful company complacency is a big problem. Sometimes your success today creates a failure tomorrow. Suddenly in the start of the 90s all the creators that as part of the golden age where not around. A lot of the stories created during this period was all new and tried to something completely different (which many or most did just not work).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 01 September, 2019, 06:04:31 AM
Stage #11: Going Out (progs 435-467)

Generally the comic seems strong and confident in this stage, but when people think of a golden age they're probably remembering Nemesis, Strontium Dog, Slaine and Halo Jones.  Conversely, they're probably not thinking of Mean Team, Rogue's return from Horst or The Doppelgarp.

(https://i.imgur.com/oYsAsJ8.png)

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ), Book V: The Vengeance of Thoth
Skipping ahead ten years from Book IV but carrying on the Thoth plot from Book III, this sees Nemesis get married to Magna but then almost immediately do a Total Recall (https://youtu.be/RYtQMhnBtTw), but not before she's eaten Grobbendonk.  Varty slar!

Original Torquemada died for good in the previous book, but Thoth goes and grabs a copy from earlier in time.  Oddly, the new Torque teams up with Nemesis and the ABC Warriors (who have replaced Mad Ronn with Mek-Quake) and by the end of the book they're all on the tail of Thoth and his pet: a fireball breathing Satanus (because Millsverse).

More unpredictable mash-up madness in Book VI, next stage...

Robo-Hunter (https://youtu.be/U3m6wLFbT3w): Farewell, My Billions
101 progs after Sam Slade's Last Case it's a surprise to see him return to the prog for his "first case since his last case".  It's a comedy of errors in which Hoagy and Stogie attempt to get Sam back into the Robo-Hunting game despite his being quite content as a rich retiree.
Robo-Hunter, Samantha Slade (about Sam's niece) plays out from 2004-2007 (written by Alan Grant), and there's a one-off flashback style story (The Bodj Job) in 2014's Sci-Fi Special (authentically written by Alec Worley).  More controversially, Mark Millar started writing knock-off stories under the banner of Robo-Hunter in 1991 but most kindly these should be considered a temporary reboot.

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
1985 finishes out with a sequence of short tales that riff on existing themes.  Most memorable would be The Man Who Knew Too Much, Magnificent Obsession, Death of a Politician, Love Story and The Squadron That Time Forgot.  Prog 450 stands out with the 14-page A Merry Tale of the Christmas Angel.

1986 starts strong with The Warlord and has significant Dreddverse beats in A Chief Judge Resigns (McGruder takes The Long Walk, Hershey joins The Council of Five) and the absolutely vital Letter From a Democrat.

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
Peter Milligan, Oleh Stepaniuk and Grant Morrison share script duties on these one-off shocks. Of note seems to be Morrison's first work for the prog in 466's Hotel Harry Felix.
More in the next stage...

Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y)
Exit the Wally, Enter the Beast; Psmith's Farewell & Supersub tell veiled tales of Nerve Centre shenanigans.
More in the next stage...

Mean Team (https://youtu.be/N8EYDJq4f9o)
Blackhawk meets The Mean Arena, in that it's got aliens but also an urban future sport.  Oddly, it's more reminiscent now of computer games: so like a cross between League of Legends and Call of Duty.  This may mean it was ahead of its time, but it's an odd fish.  The lead character, Bad Jack Keller, is a murderous asshole and the best thing that can be said about the melodrama of one of the player's having his brain transplanted into a panther is that his reaction when he wakes up and looks in the mirror is pure comedy gold.

It feels like it loses its way, having the team transplanted to what seems like an entirely new story (itself a sort of Meltdown Man meets Death Planet) at the end of this opening salvo, but the first page lays this out as the intention all along. Can perhaps be summed up well with this quote: "Just one man - and a cat with a man's brain, but they were too much for the Black Swamp Dragons."

Prog 447 says "they'll be back in the spring [of '86]", but they don't return until the summer of 1987, 78 progs later.

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8), [Return to Milli-Com]
Rogue found a cure for his bio-chipped buddies on Horst and returns to base. A firing squad pretend to shoot him (for a joke) and then the highest ranking Souther general punches him in the face. 

Peace between the Norts and Southers beckons but is sabotaged by mysterious aliens who teleport troops in on targeted assassination missions.  Of course, this means the bio-chips don't get re-gened, the peace process is spoiled and ends with Rogue going ... rogue ... again.  (This time, though, he seems to be leading a rag-tag mixed group of Norts and Southers: like he has a rogue gang.)

More in the next stage after a 45-prog break...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
Key here is The Ragnarok Job, a 21-prog epic that contains Wulf's origin story whilst also setting up Max Bubba as a plastic-wrapped nemesis. By the end of the tale, both Wulf and Johnny have died...

...except [SPOILER ALERT] Alpha wasn't really dead, just playing possum. The two-part coda (sometimes known as Smiley's World) see's Alpha regain his health.
 
Johnny returns seeking vengeance in the next stage...

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ), Tomb of Terror
The mid-80s were the heyday of choose-your-own-adventure game books, with The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Warlock_of_Firetop_Mountain) having really kicked things off in 1982. Whilst the Fighting Fantasy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_Fantasy) series was probably the most well known, there were also great serial publications such as Lone Wolf (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lone_Wolf_(gamebooks)) (starting in '84), Way of the Tiger (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_the_Tiger) ('85) and Falcon (https://gamebooks.org/Series/146/Show) (also '85), where you could maintain your character from book to book.

Here, Slaine joins in with a choose-your-own-adventure comic running alongside the strip for fifteen issues. Slaine (and YOU!) must stop the dark god Grimnismal from awakening from the ... Tomb of Terror!

Returns after a 31-prog break in the next stage...

The Ballad of Halo Jones, Book Three (https://youtu.be/CJSsSUX10gw)
Halo's always had tragedy in her life, but here it reaches new heights and almost drives her mad. A war foreshadowed in earlier books becomes central and ideas of time and gravity play with perspective as Halo struggles to escape a dark web threatening to engulf her.
Not only the last of Halo Jones, but also the last of Alan Moore in the prog.

Ace Trucking Co. (https://youtu.be/FAFaKPqzguI)
So Ace, who died by flying into the sun, actually instead traveled to a different dimension, where he meets up with another Ace (& crew) and together they adventure in The Doppelgarp. There's definitely been a shift in this story from being inventive and fresh, to just being punny (e.g. The Dave Cluck Five).
Continues in the next stage...

---

There's a great celebration of the Dreddverse with the eleven History of Justice posters spread throughout progs 436-452. They don't show up in Barney, but you get seven by Brian Bolland and four by Mike McMahon. Here's an example from prog 441:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/3658/3422144264_448686a8ec_b.jpg)


We also get The New Masters, a seven-poster series celebrating Ian Gibson (454), Robin Smith (457), Brett Ewins (458), Cam Kennedy (460), Cliff Robinson (465), Massimo Belardinelli (466) and Carlos Ezquerra (467).  Here's Cam's:

(https://2000ad.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/460.jpg)


Tying in thematically with Slaine's Tomb of Terror foray into choose-your-own-adventure, the first two issues of Diceman were released during this stage and contained two more Slaine adventures (Cauldron of Blood and Dragoncorpse), Dice Man (an occult private eye), Hammerstein (vs. Volgo the Ultimate Death Machine), Judge Dredd (in the House of Death) and Nemesis (in Torture Tube).

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-2-of-4/)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-2-johnny-wulf-hunt-sabs-holy-moses-valhalla-beckons/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 01 September, 2019, 01:09:48 PM
Was just reading those first two Dicemen this morning.  They were, for the most part, incredibly well written and illustrated.  The Ronnie Reagan one from a later issue remains a personal favourite.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 07 September, 2019, 10:20:55 PM
Stage #12: Rage (progs 468-499)

Covering a large chunk of 1986, this stage is most renowned for its relentless response to Wulf's death at the end of The Ragnarok Job.  For Strontium Dog, which had spent much of its time hopping from one bounty job to another, this powerful sequence altered the make up of the strip and ran for over a year with just a single gap.

Whilst established thrills hold court or pop up briefly (Dredd, Ace, Anderson, Nemesis, Rogue and Slaine), there are also experimental new properties such as Sooner or Later, Metalzoic and Bad City Blue.

(https://i.imgur.com/Rlcbm9V.png)

Sooner or Later (https://youtu.be/FxmnAPVk7ZE)
This acid-laced, Ken Loach-ish Time Machine ran for 32 progs, often as single-page back covers (except for the 6-page opener). Micky Swift gets whisked off into the future and in a surreal, post-modern commentary on eighties Britain, must somehow find his way home. "You know it mock's sense."
We get Swifty's Return in progs 416-617, but that's three years away in 1989.

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I), The Possessed
Anderson's second solo series sees her team up with the Exorcists (a new Psi-Div sub-div) to tackle a case of demonic possession [see title]. A fairly pedestrian adventure that re-uses Brett Ewins' amazing designs for twisty-ghost-people from The Haunting of Sector House 9 (progs 359-358).

Supernatural sexual harassment trivia: the cover of prog 475 has ghostly corridor-hands groping Anderson, with her responding "I said 'Hands UP'!" Twenty-four years later, in 2010's Megazine 303 (The House of Vyle), another corridor of hands gets fresh, with Anderson asking "Don't you know it's an offence to grope a Judge, creep?"

The next series for Anderson starts in prog 520...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
A mixed period of shorter thrills, with a spate of considerably weaker stories.  Standing out above the rest in terms of quality are 468's It Pays to be Mental, the artistically vibrant Riders on the Storm (472-473), the meta critique of US comics presented as The Art of Kenny Who? (477-479) and the representation of Brit-Cit Judges in Atlantis (485-488).
Dredd continues quite a long-running period of highs and lows in the next stage...

Ace Trucking Co. (https://youtu.be/FAFaKPqzguI)
The interminable Doppelgarp draws to its 21-prog close but is quickly followed by the 23-prog Garpetbaggers, which stretches terribly thinly the idea that they're adventuring in Movieland. When a strip entirely abandons the central premise (space-trucking), it's a sign that barrel bottoms are being scraped.
Garp crops up briefly next in the 1989 2000 AD Annual, but ultimately it's done.

Bad City Blue
Whilst this shares thematic elements with A Clockwork Orange (brain-washing violent criminals), Logan's Run (the idea of Button Men / Sandmen), Silent Running (domes in space) and Escape From New York (Blue is a tough guy against all the odds in the mould of Snake Plissken) it's also very much its own beast. Blue, programmed to enforce the law, discovers that not is all it seems in the asteroid-set Bader City, and sets out to uncover its fate.
Very much a one and done.

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
In the 21-prog Rage, Johnny Alpha seeks revenge against Max Bubba and his gang for the torture and murder of his long-time partner Wulf. With the murder of Wulf, and the positioning of Alpha as entirely driven by vengeance, there is the question of where the story goes now.

Rage is immediately followed by Incident on Mayger Minor (Alpha, acting solo but otherwise emulating the storyline of The Magnificent Seven) and War Zone (where Johnny teams up with Middenface McNulty). Certainly, Rage is a hard act to follow, but both of these tails manage to hold their own in terms of continuing the strip.

Alpha returns next stage in Bitch (starting in prog 505).

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
Grant Morrison continues to provide the main portion, writing five of the thirteen new Shocks, but there are some new kids on the block in the shape of John Smith (writing three, starting with prog 473's Time Enough to Tell) and Neil Gaiman (writing two, starting with prog 488's You're Never Alone With a Phone).
More in the next stage...

Tharg the Mighty... (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y)
Tharg sends 2000 AD into the past in "2000 BC".
More in the next stage...

[one-offs]
We get Danger: Genius at Work, Blood Sport and the memorably spooky Candy and the Catchman (which would be a Terror Tale if those existed yet).
More one-offs in the next stage...

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ), Book VI.I: Torquemurder
Nemesis, the ABC Warriors, Purity Brown and Torquemada travel to Earth's end-times, where the Termites have been mining humanity's ultimate evolutionary form for fuel and shipping it back to their own time. Unfortunately the by-product of the mining is the Monad (a murderous collective spirit), and this first half of the Book leaves everyone under threat from its harmful psychic projections.  (If all that sounds weird, its because it is.)
Returns for the second part in prog 500...

Metalzoic
Actually a reprint of a DC Comics graphic novel (and here limited somewhat by lacking the original's full colour presentation), this is an original piece set on a future Earth where machines have evolved into sentience and are reminsicent of extinct mammalian life. The story is complex but revolves around a conflict between two tribes: the wheeldebeasts led by Amok and the Mekaka led by Armageddon.
It's one and done.

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ), The Spoils of Annwn
This seven-parter serves as the opener to what might be considered the third epoch of the Slaine saga. The first few stories introduced us to Slaine and told his back story: effectively he was a warrior in search of a tribe, and we followed his wanderings from The Time-Monster to Dragonheist.

The second epoch introduced the Cythrons, and Slaine's battles against the dark gods took us through Time Killer and the Tomb of Terror (with a marked difference in the design aesthetic as the axe was replaced with a leyser sword and gun).

The Spoils of Annwn take us back to the fantasy aspects of a mythical Albion as Slaine searches for mythical knowledge in the Temple of the Stars, armed with an axe again.
 
Foreshadowed is the idea of Slaine becoming king, which occurs in the next stage...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8), [The Hit Man]
Forty-five progs after Rogue teamed up with a gang of Norts and Southers to combat some mysterious aliens who want to propogate the war, we get this follow-up. Rogue abandons his gang, gets teleported to the alien base where they reveal that they're actually trying to enact galactic peace: but they need an assassin to do it (and had to murder a bunch of people first rather than just ask nicely). Rogue is thus employed.
Returns in prog 520...

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (part 2) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-2-of-4/)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (part 2) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-2-johnny-wulf-hunt-sabs-holy-moses-valhalla-beckons/) & (part 3) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-3-alpha-sees-red-rock-a-hard-place-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes-sibling-rivalry-end-of-the-road/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Richard 08 September, 2019, 11:43:14 AM
Just discovered this thread. Good work!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 08 September, 2019, 11:56:23 AM
Just discovered this thread. Good work!


Active Topics, Rich. Never miss a post again:


(https://i.imgur.com/xyLWMYe.png?1)


: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 09 September, 2019, 06:53:13 PM
It's the completely subjective but otherwise unassailable...

Top Ten Stories of the First Five Hundred

In order of publication...


Ro-Busters: The Terra-Meks (98-101)
Script: Pat Mills
Art: Dave Gibbons


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/99.jpg)


Fiends of the Eastern Front (152-161)
Script: Gerry Finley-Day
Art: Carlos Ezquerra


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/158.jpg)


Return To Armageddon (185-218)
Script: Malcolm Shaw
Art: Jesus Redondo


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/195.jpg)


Nemesis the Warlock: The World of Termight (222-233, 238-240, 243-244)
Script: Pat Mills
Art: Kevin O'Neill


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/222.jpg)


Judge Dredd: Judge Death Lives
(224-228)
Script: Alan Grant & John Wagner
Art: Brian Bolland


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/225.jpg)


Ace Trucking Co.: The Great Mush Rush
(251-258)
Script: Alan Grant & John Wagner
Art: Massimo Belardinelli


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/251.jpg)


Skizz
(308-330)
Script: Alan Moore
Art: Jim Baikie


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/308.jpg)


Strontium Dog: The Killing
(350-359)
Script: Alan Grant
Art: Carlos Ezquerra


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/354.jpg)


Slaine: Sky Chariots
(352-360)
Script: Pat Mills
Art: Mike McMahon


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/358.jpg)


The Ballad of Halo Jones
(376-385)
Script: Alan Moore
Art: Ian Gibson


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/376.jpg)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Aaron A Aardvark 09 September, 2019, 07:03:48 PM
Good list. Some great stories there.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 09 September, 2019, 07:28:32 PM
Good list. Some great stories there.

Nah, rubbish list - it doesn't include $insert-favourite-here :-)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 09 September, 2019, 08:11:18 PM
Ohhh lists we love lists. There's some good choices there and some ... interesting ones... as there always should be on such things*

*[Normalfontsize] Except my lists which are always great and right! [\Normalfontsize]
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 09 September, 2019, 09:15:15 PM
Metalzoic
Actually a reprint of a DC Comics graphic novel (and here limited somewhat by lacking the original's full colour presentation)
I actually preferred the B/W version – the art looked sharper than in the colour version I have (a 1986 Titan reprint). I really wish a new version hadn’t fallen through. I’d happily buy this as a lush hardback with a bunch of extras (or just printing the B/W and the colour versions, one after another!)

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8), [The Hit Man]
The Hit was bloody awful. Notable that they cut it short, wrapped it up in a Winter Special(!), and then rebooted the strip entirely.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 10 September, 2019, 12:17:53 AM
Metalzoic
Actually a reprint of a DC Comics graphic novel (and here limited somewhat by lacking the original's full colour presentation)
I actually preferred the B/W version – the art looked sharper than in the colour version I have (a 1986 Titan reprint). I really wish a new version hadn’t fallen through. I’d happily buy this as a lush hardback with a bunch of extras (or just printing the B/W and the colour versions, one after another!)

I prefer the black and white version too (I have the DC and 2000AD versions) - though do appreciate the Kev O'Neill colours (and I'm sure I've also mentioned before that I'd happily buy reprints of the two versions collected).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 10 September, 2019, 02:31:00 AM
Metalzoic
Actually a reprint of a DC Comics graphic novel (and here limited somewhat by lacking the original's full colour presentation)
I actually preferred the B/W version – the art looked sharper than in the colour version I have (a 1986 Titan reprint). I really wish a new version hadn’t fallen through. I’d happily buy this as a lush hardback with a bunch of extras (or just printing the B/W and the colour versions, one after another!)

I prefer the black and white version too (I have the DC and 2000AD versions) - though do appreciate the Kev O'Neill colours (and I'm sure I've also mentioned before that I'd happily buy reprints of the two versions collected).

Given that feedback and if I were re-writing my summation, I'd change it to point out the difference (from full color to mostly black and white) without positing that one were necessarily considered superior to the other.  Metalzoic is one of those quiet classics from that era that I definitely hold in very high regard.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 10 September, 2019, 10:41:55 AM
Quite bizarre to think that a “Graphic Novel No. 6” is the only print this thing’s ever had, as far as I can tell. At 64 pages, it’s slim. I do wonder how people would respond to a new hardcover that literally reprinted it in two versions, and then added a bunch of sketches and interviews (if the former exist and the latter are viable). That said, Miracleman HCs sold well enough, and those were quite a lot of not-strip.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 10 September, 2019, 01:16:48 PM
Quite bizarre to think that a “Graphic Novel No. 6” is the only print this thing’s ever had, as far as I can tell. At 64 pages, it’s slim. I do wonder how people would respond to a new hardcover that literally reprinted it in two versions, and then added a bunch of sketches and interviews (if the former exist and the latter are viable). That said, Miracleman HCs sold well enough, and those were quite a lot of not-strip.

Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill were among those disappointed when it wasn't reprinted a year or two ago - so I'd imagine they'd be more than happy to contribute.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 10 September, 2019, 03:11:24 PM
Seems to me that pending rights agreements you could also pad it out a bit with the Comic Rock stuff (Gooney birds etc) and Secret Life of the Blitzspear, playing to the techno-organic theme.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Swerty 10 September, 2019, 11:27:10 PM


Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8), [The Hit Man]
The Hit was bloody awful. Notable that they cut it short, wrapped it up in a Winter Special(!), and then rebooted the strip entirely.
[/quote]

Sorry! I loved The Hit back in the day.Steve Dillion on Rogue.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 11 September, 2019, 01:42:43 AM
Steve Dillon's art was always a favorite for me, as well.

It's interesting when I think of a bad movie, or a bad comic - I often am thinking purely of the story, rather than the constituent parts.  So, a movie might have great cinematography, acting and lighting: but still be a pretty awful story.  Like Terminator Salvation.

For example, I really love Balardinelli's art, but I think of Mean Team, the latter Ace Garp stories and Moon Runners as pretty weak stories.  Artistically, the story is being well told and presented, but the concept is lacking in some other aspect.

Of course, there are perhaps some Mean Team, Garpetbaggers and Moon Runners fans out there.  Perhaps another key point is when people start reading.  The Garpetbaggers probably doesn't seem as tired to someone who just walked in and hasn't already been through several years of adventures with those characters.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 11 September, 2019, 12:06:39 PM
Dillon’s always great, but the basic premise behind The Hit was – to mom a bit rubbish, and the ending was abysmal.

Like Funt, I’m in that space where I can put up with iffy art as long it’s coherent – the story is what matters. Pretty pictures and a duff script don’t really do it for me.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 11 September, 2019, 12:28:43 PM
I am a fan of both Rogue and Dillon but for me whole Hit thing was just plain stupid. His talents was wasted on a very weak story
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 11 September, 2019, 02:15:00 PM
Moonrunners just pisses me off so much Great premise, weird little ideas and the *perfect* artist for multi-species space pirate dynasties with an hallucinogenic means of FTL and it all just spirals into nothing.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: O Lucky Stevie! 13 September, 2019, 08:08:39 AM
Mean Team (https://youtu.be/N8EYDJq4f9o)
Blackhawk meets The Mean Arena, in that it's got aliens but also an urban future sport.  Oddly, it's more reminiscent now of computer games: so like a cross between League of Legends and Call of Duty.  This may mean it was ahead of its time, but it's an odd fish.  The lead character, Bad Jack Keller, is a murderous asshole and the best thing that can be said about the melodrama of one of the player's having his brain transplanted into a panther is that his reaction when he wakes up and looks in the mirror is pure comedy gold.

It feels like it loses its way, having the team transplanted to what seems like an entirely new story (itself a sort of Meltdown Man meets Death Planet) at the end of this opening salvo, but the first page lays this out as the intention all along. Can perhaps be summed up well with this quote: "Just one man - and a cat with a man's brain, but they were too much for the Black Swamp Dragons."

Reading that original run of Mean Team you can't help but feel that it is a cracking interstellar caper story in the making. Until you remember the first page & promptly lose interest in the strip at the same time that script droid John Wagner does. A genuine missed opportunity, that.

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 14 September, 2019, 06:00:20 AM
Stage #13: Bad Company (progs 500-519)

Celebrations for landmark prog numbers had been hit and miss through the years: prog 100 went with a four part Dredd poster in the centre, and the relaunch of Dan Dare.  Prog 200 had Tharg presenting his six-part Future Worlds poster.  Prog 300 went with a Dredd badge and a multi-part collectible prog 1 replica.  Prog 400, well, they just kind of ignored that. 

Clearly feeling guilty, Tharg went all out with the special prog 500: it had a special glossy cover featuring a pantheon of characters and art droids, an extra four pages and the spiky, censored, owner-baiting sign of droid malaise that is Tharg's Head Revisited.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dv7LTFMX4AAbr0q.jpg)

Back-stage, it's not just that some creators are heading onto pastures new, but the Tharg that's been driving the bus since the Starlord merger in 1978 is passing the keys over to a new incarnation. Change is on the horizon...

(https://i.imgur.com/V9rQPLc.png)

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ) the King
Hit by a scheduling glitch, this twelve-parter suffers an eight-prog hiccup as it tells the story of Slaine returning to the tribe from which he was banished and becoming the Sun King of the Sessair. Something of a poisoned chalice, the job comes with a seven-year time limit and a retirement gift of ritualized execution.

Prog 506 provides an excellent run-down of the story so far, as Slaine reunites with Niamh (his one-time lover, who had been the former King's wife) and their young son Kai. She is none to pleased with him, because when he left the tribe she had to give birth alone, and she knows that whilst she struggled as a single mother he's been larking about doing his barbarian thang. So, she exits stage left to take Kai to a druid school while Slaine goes to rescue his tribe from the Sea Demons.

Find out what Slaine does with his Kingship next in prog 582...

Bad Company (https://youtu.be/dfdR-A2ukVg)
Starship Troopers meets Apocalypse Now starring Robert Smith from The Cure and directed by George A. Romero. This very-fish-out-of-water tale sees the ingenue squaddie Danny Franks recruited into the titular Bad Company, a squad of psycopathic veterans battling the alien Krool on the planet Ararat.

As Apocalypse Now is less the story of Benjamin Willard as it is that of Colonel Kurtz (layered with the madness of war, an examination of what one might consider sane or insane and the passing of the torch from one generation to another), Bad Company is very much embroiled not just in the journey of Danny Franks but also in understanding the motivation of Kano (the seemingly morally bankrupt leader of the Company).

Bad Company, with its roster of crazies and amazing art design was a tour de force that shook the foundations of the comic and provided this stage with a stable all-out classic when most other stories were to some extent treading water or suffering from scheduling glitches.
 
The story ends well enough here but a second series starts in prog 548...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
A relatively uninspiring sequence of shorter Dredd tales with the clearly superlative exception of The Taxidermist (Mega-City One meets The Godfather) running in progs 507-510.
Dredd continues to be a mixed bag in the next stage...

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ), Book VI.II: Torquemurder
The second half of Torquemurder (after a 12-prog gap) is basically a big fight with the aim of disentangling the huge cast of characters that have been chasing Thoth. The ABC Warriors are sent off on a mission (minus Hitaki, plus Mek-Quake) to fix time, Torquemada is left to die but quickly usurps expectations and is left back in charge of Termite, Thoth is busy hunting through time for incarnations of Torquemada to murder and Nemesis is trying to track him.
The ABC Warriors finally head off for their own series in 1988's Black Hole starting in prog 555. Prior to that, we get Torqemada the God in the next stage.

Tharg's Head Revisited (https://youtu.be/CWFjnOYW6_Y)
The first time that creators were asked to get a bit meta and write about how they felt ... was then heavily censored. The details of that are covered elswhere (see Thrill-Power Overload) but the key themes were the talent drain to the US, and the issue of plagiarism.
This sort of introspection perhaps stung and stories featuring Tharg become sparse, cropping up in specials (Judge Dredd Annual 1988 and 1990's Winter Special) a couple of times before prog 719's Galactic Greetings in 1991.

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
A mixed bag, as usual: standing out, formerly for all the wrong reasons and latterly because it's beautiful (and both scripted by Grant Morrison) are prog 507's Maniac for Hire (starring Ulysses Sweet, who segues immediately into his own mini-series, below) and 515's The Invisible Etchings of Salvador Dali, with startling art from John Hicklenton.
More in the next stage...

[one-offs]
The Ark, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World and the legal-department-baiting Star Traks.
We don't see another spate of un-framed one-offs until 1989...

Ulysses Sweet
Ulysses Sweet has a business card: Maniac for Hire, Have Riot - Will Travel. He proceeds to utilize nuclear-level solutions to corporate conflicts. The first Future Shock has him deal with lazy caricatures of Japanese business folk (somewhat excused, perhaps, by the fact that it was 1987 and others (https://youtu.be/8odnFywwp6Q) were doing it too). This is followed by the two-part Fruitcake and Veg, which picks on vegetarians. Some of the internal monologue makes it clear that this is attempting to channel D.R. & Quinch, but there was something about their friendship and sometimes innocent-seeming chaos-mongering that let you forgive them. Conversely, Ulysses just seems like a bit of a Scunthorpe.
A completely one-dimensional idea that entirely exhausts its central premise and therefore, unsurprisingly, never returns. Entirely predictably returns for at least two full series, twenty-seven years later, starting in 2013's festive Prog 2014.

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
Johnny Alpha teams up with Durham Red (who has the mutation of being a make-up-the-rules-as-you-go-along style vampire, which sits oddly in the narrative) and they spend a lot of time tracking down a time-kidnapped President Ronald Reagan. Re-playing the idea of famous people from history being kidnapped (as in The Schicklgruber Grab from 1980) but also introducing the new potential side-kick in Red, the story itself is quite sparse, but somehow gets extended out to twenty-five episodes.
With Tharg clearly on vacation from editing duties, this continues in the next stage...

The Dead (https://youtu.be/eomKRUhKKgQ)
Humanity has evolved to a point of immortality, but a lack of death has lead to demonic entities taking over limbo and invading the world of the living. Our hero, Fludd, is murdered in order that he might find a solution. A really odd tale of existential angst that suggests that while your existence might suck, it's probably better than non-existence. Chin up!
It's one and done.

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Nemesis the Warlock: A Potted History (part 2) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-2-of-4/)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (part 3) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-3-alpha-sees-red-rock-a-hard-place-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes-sibling-rivalry-end-of-the-road/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 14 September, 2019, 08:33:18 AM
Slaine ... Something of a poisoned chalice, the job comes with a seven-year time limit and a retirement gift of ritualized execution.

Drawing Slaine is certainly a tough gig for any artist.


really enjoyed this overview - you write very well and you're funny
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Richard 14 September, 2019, 12:20:44 PM
I love The Dead! Such a great story, with such great art. Must be due for a reprint by now!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 14 September, 2019, 07:04:14 PM
I love this thread so hard.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 14 September, 2019, 08:44:31 PM
Yeah we are hitting the change hard and fast now.

Love the fact that you have 'Bad Company' as its own phase as it really feels the start of the transition from the orginal 2000ad to the (then) new. And while 520 is the more obvious marker for that transition I see 500 and Pete Milligan's Bad Company as the real apex.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 14 September, 2019, 11:42:42 PM
When this excellent thread is all done, it might be worth PDF’ing together. Gold star, that droid!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 September, 2019, 05:17:31 AM
Stage #14: Transmute! (progs 520-531)

The 10th birthday Prog 520 came as a bit of a shock with a prog of different dimensions printed on higher quality paper and edited by a new Tharg (although that last wasn't obvious to the readers). This fresh start (although feeling quite punchy and new) contains all existing characters, and some of them are past their heyday.

This begs the question of how 2000 AD will remain fresh as it continues through its eleventh year...

(https://i.imgur.com/YUwFB8Z.png)


Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I), [Hour of the Wolf]
Whilst Anderson is a spin-off from the Dreddverse, here the student has become the master, with this tale easily overshadowing the main Dredd strip in terms of excitement, action and forward momentum. Re-introducing East-Meg agents (including the currently cubed Orlok) as threats, and borrowing Hershey, this sets the Judges and their system up as fallible again. (It suffers a bit from art issues: prog 528 sees pages printed out of order and then the final two and a bit episodes require a different artist.)
Despite this powerful showing, there's a 76-prog wait for the next Anderson story, beginning with Contact in prog 607...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8), Hit One
Rogue is sent on his first assassination mission for his new alien masters (thus effectively eliminating the moral authority at the core of the character). Amusingly, his first target (a Nort General) has a throne with a statue of pterodactyl on the back, set atop a dais and flanked by flaming braziers. This mixture of what seems like a medieval castle with a D&D villain and Rogue's hi-tech background is incongruous and the ten episodes struggle to solve the core morality issue: ultimately it's just too difficult to balance with the deliberate ambiguity of Rogue's new masters.
Wait 35 progs for Rogue to return in prog 567...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Following something of a pattern through recent stages, there are some fairly weak stories in this bunch, although 10 Years On (520), The Raggedy Man (525-526) and Simp (527) stand out in terms of high quality. There's a sense with something like "What if the Judges did the ads?" (521) that gimmicks and meta-humour have replaced story progression and world-building, itself a sign that perhaps the barrel is running dry at times. Revolution (starting in 531 and continuing into the next stage) is a vital part of the democracy through-line, and a welcome respite from the easily ignored (and broadly silly) Fairlyhyperman.
We see a strong uptick in quality for Dredd moving into the next stage...

Torquemada the God (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ)
Kevin's back on the illuminations, and he's not feeling well. Tap! Tap! Tap! As pointed out in A Potted History (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/nemesis-the-warlock-a-potted-history-part-3-of-4/), this is really Nemesis the Warlock Book 6.5, forming a bridge between the escape of Torquemada from Nemesis at the end of Torquemurder and the upcoming Book VII. The idea of Torquemada as being a sequence of reincarnations of evil throughout human history was first mooted when Thoth started hunting them through the time wastes: here, the modern Torquemada is starting to rot as his prior incarnations are hunted down and executed.
There's a Nemesis one-off in the next stage's prog 534...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
If you don't like Ronald Reagan (see: any even slightly left-leaning British person who grew up in the 80s), then you'll struggle to enjoy watching him dropping the soap in the shower with Johnny Alpha, or getting sucked off by Durham Red (prog 522, page 2, frame 3), or saying "goshdarned", or "ulp" for ten more episodes on top of the fifteen (count 'em) from the previous stage.
The Royal Affair starts in prog 532...

Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
With a Bang in prog 522 features Simon Harrison's first art in the prog. We also get His Name Was Janus, Old Quagmires Never Die, Fair's Fare and Someone is Watching Me.
More in the next stage...

Tales from Mega-City One
A new format that provides a one-page Tale without necessarily needing to involve Dredd (but he's in all three). We get Wreckers, [Marital Disputes] and Quarantine.
More in the next stage...

Mean Team (https://youtu.be/N8EYDJq4f9o)
"They're back!" declares the tagline, after a break of only *cough* 78 progs. The story of a violent future sport team led by mericiless killer Bad Jack Keller [clue: name] ditches the sport and instead strands them on an odd Earth where technology doesn't function (which did for unfortunately robotic teammate Steelgrip last time) and everyone else seems to have teleported in from a Grimm's Fairy Tale. (It turns out that Keller is completely immune to damage, which you think someone would've noticed when he was involved in the galaxy's most violent sport, but logic, she does not live here.)
More (?!) in the next stage...

D.R. & Quinch's Incredibly Excruciating Agony Page (https://youtu.be/3WJGX49n1iw)
A one-page, back cover, full color, surreal agony aunt forum in comic strip form. It's nice to see drawings of the characters again, but as this is sans Alan Moore, it's not really them, is it?
More in the next stage...

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (part 3) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-3-alpha-sees-red-rock-a-hard-place-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes-sibling-rivalry-end-of-the-road/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 18 September, 2019, 09:26:57 AM
If you don't like Ronald Reagan (see: any even slightly left-leaning British person who grew up in the 80s), then you'll struggle to enjoy watching him dropping the soap in the shower with Johnny Alpha, or getting sucked off by Durham Red (prog 522, page 2, frame 3), or saying "goshdarned", or "ulp" for ten more episodes on top of the fifteen (count 'em) from the previous stage.

I read this for the first time in the recent Ultimate Collection book, and you know what...? Bitch is better than I expected. As more a child of the 90s than the 80s I have only the haziest understanding of what Reagan was like as either a person or president, so all the potshots sailed over my head - but then, the satire's all pretty broad stuff, so I still felt like I was getting it. A really interesting read in 2019, with Trump in the White House - Reagan seems like the most harmless, amiable old buffer imaginable in contrast!

As to the story itself - well, read across 25(!) weeks I cannot imagine how it must have dragged, but read in one go, it fair zips along, and only gets noticeably decompressed towards the end, with everybody hiding in the jungle. And it very much feels like the last part of Johnny's post-Wulf rehabilitation. Red constantly needles and annoys him, refusing to take him as seriously as he takes himself - and by the end, he's smiling again, joking, shooting Reagan with a catapult. She's the distraction he never knew he needed.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 18 September, 2019, 12:59:02 PM
Mean Team (https://youtu.be/N8EYDJq4f9o)
 (It turns out that Keller is completely immune to damage, which you think someone would've noticed when he was involved in the galaxy's most violent sport, but logic, she does not live here.)
More (?!) in the next stage...


More importantly, how did he get the facial scar? </continuity>




It's been a while since I read it, so perhaps the field that stops technology working is also the thing that makes him heal?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 18 September, 2019, 01:02:09 PM
If you don't like Ronald Reagan (see: any even slightly left-leaning British person who grew up in the 80s), then you'll struggle to enjoy watching him dropping the soap in the shower with Johnny Alpha, or getting sucked off by Durham Red (prog 522, page 2, frame 3), or saying "goshdarned", or "ulp" for ten more episodes on top of the fifteen (count 'em) from the previous stage.

I read this for the first time in the recent Ultimate Collection book, and you know what...? Bitch is better than I expected. As more a child of the 90s than the 80s I have only the haziest understanding of what Reagan was like as either a person or president, so all the potshots sailed over my head - but then, the satire's all pretty broad stuff, so I still felt like I was getting it. A really interesting read in 2019, with Trump in the White House - Reagan seems like the most harmless, amiable old buffer imaginable in contrast!

As to the story itself - well, read across 25(!) weeks I cannot imagine how it must have dragged, but read in one go, it fair zips along, and only gets noticeably decompressed towards the end, with everybody hiding in the jungle. And it very much feels like the last part of Johnny's post-Wulf rehabilitation. Red constantly needles and annoys him, refusing to take him as seriously as he takes himself - and by the end, he's smiling again, joking, shooting Reagan with a catapult. She's the distraction he never knew he needed.

I first read it as a child (not even the teenage variety) and if I knew who Reagan was, it would have been almost entirely from Spitting Image (if I'd managed to stay up late enough to see any episodes of that show).

I certainly agree that as bad as he seemed at the time, by the time George W came along it seemed like halcyon days.  The experience has been repeated with both Ron and George with Donald...

I wonder how people who lived through Tricky Dicky feel the presidenthood has fared since?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 18 September, 2019, 01:10:59 PM
...And of course Wagner did the same again, much less memorably, with Bill Clinton and Dredd - the ending is almost exactly the same to Bitch, with the President telling his incredible tale and the minders and First Lady all agreeing it'd be better to pretend it never happened.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 September, 2019, 03:24:06 PM
If you don't like Ronald Reagan (see: any even slightly left-leaning British person who grew up in the 80s), then you'll struggle to enjoy watching him dropping the soap in the shower with Johnny Alpha, or getting sucked off by Durham Red (prog 522, page 2, frame 3), or saying "goshdarned", or "ulp" for ten more episodes on top of the fifteen (count 'em) from the previous stage.

I read this for the first time in the recent Ultimate Collection book, and you know what...? Bitch is better than I expected. As more a child of the 90s than the 80s I have only the haziest understanding of what Reagan was like as either a person or president, so all the potshots sailed over my head - but then, the satire's all pretty broad stuff, so I still felt like I was getting it. A really interesting read in 2019, with Trump in the White House - Reagan seems like the most harmless, amiable old buffer imaginable in contrast!

As to the story itself - well, read across 25(!) weeks I cannot imagine how it must have dragged, but read in one go, it fair zips along, and only gets noticeably decompressed towards the end, with everybody hiding in the jungle. And it very much feels like the last part of Johnny's post-Wulf rehabilitation. Red constantly needles and annoys him, refusing to take him as seriously as he takes himself - and by the end, he's smiling again, joking, shooting Reagan with a catapult. She's the distraction he never knew he needed.

My distaste for Ron blinded me to the subtleties of the story: in particular I think it's a great point you make about the rehabilitation following Wulf's death.

The weekly read vs. collected read being two very different experiences crops up quite a lot and I think it's fascinating the difference that makes to the experience (of many strips). Rogue Trooper (say, the first year) was a great experience for me as a weekly reader, but I've heard that as a sit-down it seems too repetitive.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tjm86 18 September, 2019, 06:58:11 PM
Mean Team (https://youtu.be/N8EYDJq4f9o)
 (It turns out that Keller is completely immune to damage, which you think someone would've noticed when he was involved in the galaxy's most violent sport, but logic, she does not live here.)
More (?!) in the next stage...


More importantly, how did he get the facial scar? </continuity>

It's been a while since I read it, so perhaps the field that stops technology working is also the thing that makes him heal?

This is it.  I always took it as unique to earth.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 18 September, 2019, 07:12:56 PM
If you don't like Ronald Reagan (see: any even slightly left-leaning British person who grew up in the 80s), then you'll struggle to enjoy watching him dropping the soap in the shower with Johnny Alpha

In 1985, if you'd asked me to name my favourite TV show I would definitely have replied Spitting Image. Grant & (the uncredited) Wagner were shamelessly copying that show's characterisation of Reagan as affable but dumb and psychotically hell-bent on Armageddon (https://i.imgur.com/pv3mezX.jpg).

I don't remember feeling Bitch outstayed its welcome, but it had a break of several weeks because of the change from squareish pages to A4-ish proportions. In retrospect, I wonder whether Tharg asked for an extra few episodes, so it wasn't just returning for 3 or 4 parts after the change to tall, narrow format?


: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 September, 2019, 07:16:58 PM
It's been a while since I read it, so perhaps the field that stops technology working is also the thing that makes him heal?
This is it.  I always took it as unique to earth.

This'll be another case of me not paying enough attention. What was funny was that when Bad Jack was figuring out that Emerald Eyes was his sister, and probably also immune, he tested the theory by shooting her in the back with a crossbow.

Someone else recently pointed out that it was unusual that Jack basically wore a Henry Moon codpiece the entire time as well...

(https://i.imgur.com/JyQoD4d.png)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 September, 2019, 07:23:10 PM
In 1985, if you'd asked me to name my favourite TV show I would definitely have replied Spitting Image. Grant & (the uncredited) Wagner were shamelessly copying that show's characterisation of Reagan as affable but dumb and psychotically hell-bent on Armageddon (https://i.imgur.com/pv3mezX.jpg).

I don't remember feeling Bitch outstayed its welcome, but it had a break of several weeks because of the change from squareish pages to A4-ish proportions. In retrospect, I wonder whether Tharg asked for an extra few episodes, so it wasn't just returning for 3 or 4 parts after the change to tall, narrow format?

Wagner & Grant are fairly subtle compared to the depiction of Reagan in Diceman #5 (You are Ronald Reagan in Twilight's Last Gleaming) in which, whatever option you choose you end up burning innocent Nicaraguan villagers as part of the Iran-Contra affair.

(Bitch didn't have a break: it ran for for twenty-four episodes straight through progs 505-529.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 18 September, 2019, 07:33:21 PM
Bitch ... had a break of several weeks because of the change from squareish pages to A4-ish proportions.

Bitch didn't have a break: it ran for for twenty-four episodes straight through progs 505-529.)

Right you are. That'll teach me to check my facts before commenting.


: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 18 September, 2019, 10:59:53 PM
Someone else recently pointed out that it was unusual that Jack basically wore a Henry Moon codpiece the entire time as well...

So what you're saying is, it isn't normal to wear a portrait of your best friend over your groin when you go out?




















I guess I'd better buy some new clothes then...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 September, 2019, 09:49:50 PM
Stage #15: Wizards of Oz (progs 532-570)

It feels like the new Tharg starts to find their feet in this phase, which delivers some of 2000 AD's all time classic thrills in a powerful mix of old and new. This might be considered a second golden age, or just a grittier comic, but it certainly feels different. No surprise, as not only has Tharg reincarnated but the comic changes publisher around the prog 540 mark and then changes logo in the new year prog 555.

Longer thrills sometimes still suffer either from scheduling blips or from multi-artist solutions (something the modern prog largely avoids), and this seems to be the beginning of a period where strips often get split awkwardly across the centre-spread story with its colour pages.

Alongside the known quantities (including a reprint from Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales) we get the introduction of a raft of new thrills (some more important than others) in the forms of Zenith, Universal Soldier, Freaks, Bradley, Hap Hazzard & Tyranny Rex.

(https://i.imgur.com/wD3U9La.png)


Tales from Mega-City One
We get the two-part Taxi Driver, [Fire!] and [Father Time]. Taxi Driver breaks the rules (that these are one-pagers) by jumping in with a fourteen-pager.
Taking the naming entirely literally, the next one of these is in 2012 in the Megazine, but there have been others inbetween that fit the mould. There's a "Tale of Mega-City One" in prog 605, for a really obvious example. Utimately, it's an anthology series that didn't take off: maybe because you can do almost exactly this just in the weekly Dredd.


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
This is a hugely important stage for Dredd: first we get the tail end of Revolution (progs 531-533), which is a direct follow-up to Letter From a Democrat in prog 460. Here, a peaceful protest march is deliberately stamped on by the Judges, as directed by the Chief Judge (Silver) who orders Dredd to break the law to achieve the required result. Dredd complies, and the Justice Department infiltrates the marchers with Wally Squad operatives who attack uniformed Judges and provide the excuse needed to violently suppress the march. Up to now, Dredd's clear focus has been attacking those who break the law, but here he's deliberately attacking citizens who have broken no law. We're left with Dredd clearly as fascist (although believing that ultimately his actions are best for the city), not as hero.

This is followed up by the one-episode Bug (with atmospheric art by Liam Sharp) which introduces the character of PJ Maybe (as a youth) and tells the story of his ingenious first murder. Having Maybe as a recurring character is clearly planned right from the start as the story states "This has been his first murder. It is far from being his last."

Alabammy Blimps is a fondly remembered flatin' five-parter (with excellent art by Steve Dillon) set up as a Cursed Earth rescue mission with a difference. This is partly down to the setting (the Alabama Morass), as it takes us away from the more standard baked desert, and aided by the humor inherent in the caricatured inhabitants.

Marlon 'Chopper' Shakespeare started out as King Scrawler in 1981's Unamerican Graffiti but was then remoulded as a sky-surfer in 1985's Midnight Surfer, where he won Supersurf 7 and became a hero figure of the citizens, only to be cubed by the Judges. Now, clearly advertized as a Mega-Epic and with a cut-out support kit, we get Oz, a 26-part saga where Chopper escapes encubement and tries to make it to Supersurf 10 in Oz, half a world away. The comic utterly embraces this as a multi-artist comic event, with (count 'em) Jim Baikie, Steve Dillon, Dave Elliot, John Higgins, Barry Kitson, Garry Leach, Brendan McCarthy, Liam McCormack-Sharp, Cliff Robinson and Will Simpson all involved in the 198-page, 9-cover, 5-poster epic.

Of course, it's not all about Chopper and Supersurf, as this is a story with two narrative threads: one of which introduces a Justice Department splinter group from the distant past, the Judda, who are intent on a hostile takeover of Mega-City One. This suggests (quietly) the character of Kraken, a Dredd clone and part of the Fargo bloodline. This idea of a bloodline (and, as with Dredd's clone-brother, Rico) the common flaw of corruption within it, becomes another throughline that echos (like democracy) into the future of the strip.
 
The next stage returns us to a more regular Dredd schedule...


Tharg's Future Shocks (https://youtu.be/Sebs-wIEZlQ)
Fifty-six percent of the progs in this stage contain Shocks, but what does that tell us? More importantly, prog 533's Alter-Nators introduces the character of Bradley (a troublesome alien child), who breaks out into his own sequence of one-offs starting in prog 545.
More in the next stage...


Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
A mixture of adventures for Alpha starting lightly with the five-part Royal Affair (where King Clarkie falls in love with mutant Vera Duckworth) as Strontium Dog meets Coronation Street by way of Edward VIII's actual factual historical abdication.

The four-part Sorry Case has Alpha attempt to transport Sorry Bobbs from A to B, with the metaphysical problem that Bobbs causes misfortune to those around him: the closer you are, the worse things go for you.

The Rammy is a ten-parter that has Alpha team up with Middenface McNulty on a scheme not too far removed from 81's The Bad Boys Bust, 84's The Killing and 85's Big Bust of '49. In those terms, it's a bit formulaic.

Finally for this stage, Stone Killers features Johnny, Durham Red and McNulty in a pun-laden escapade featuring go-to never-quite-defeateds the Stix brothers.

Stone Killers continues through to the next stage...


D.R. & Quinch (https://youtu.be/3WJGX49n1iw)'s Incredibly Excruciating Agony Page
A bold experiment in reader-driven comic narrative, this ends here with the ninth episode.
The Crazy Chrissie Star Scan in prog 536 marks the last vestige of D.R. & Quinch, although the final Agony Page in prog 534 states that they'll "return to 2000 AD after some, like suitable treatmant, man." Still waiting...


Mean Team (https://youtu.be/N8EYDJq4f9o)
Just to get you up to speed, Bad Jack Keller, an enslaved future sport gladiator, is head of the titular Team, who have absconded to a weird Grimm's Fairy-Earth where technology doesn't work (except for human-brain-in-a-panther's-body team-mate Henry Moon's electronic vocalizer) and Jack discovers his sister (Emerald Eyes), and that they're both entirely immune to damage (except when a random unicorn-centaur gives them the stink eye).

Like a demented D&D campaign inspired by Ray Harryhausen, we're taken through a gladitorial arena and a sort of river-borne Jason and the Argonauts segment before tumbling down seemingly into hell itself (replete with hot coals), all on a quest for the Rod of Power! The rod turns out to be a poorly made crutch that has the power to destroy the ultimate evil that infests the earth, but only if you remember the magic words [see title]. With that done, technology starts working again, Jack and his sister revert to being vulnerable and (because they are all wanted murderers) a spaceship pops in and summarily executes them all (from behind) in a low-key and rather grim denouement.
 
Despite everyone apparently being disintegrated (look closely, eagle-eyed readers), a spin-off series starts up for one of the characters in 1989's prog 639...


Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ)
The one-off Bedtime Story in prog 534 is a photo-story with some fairly inept Nemesis and Torquemada costumes (by modern cosplay standards) in which Nemesis takes the time to cure Candida of her madness. There's also Torquemada's Second Honeymoon, a short flashback in the 2000 AD Annual 1988, with art from Kevin O'Neill.

Like a nightmare in comic form, John Hicklenton's art brings the horror of The Two Torquemadas (Book VII) to ghoulish life. The initial premise is odd: the modern day Torquemada is being taken through a hypnotic regression to witness his past lives and arrives at Tomas de Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition, who is being observed by a magically disguised Nemesis and Purity Brown (themselves on the hunt for Nemesis's wayward son Thoth, known to be murdering incarnations of Torquemada from throughout time). Medieval torture, time travel, spirit-walks, descents into madness, dinosaur-love and chainsaw massacres follow.

Following on immediately from Book VII (in the very next prog, and narratively the very next panel) we get Book VIII, Purity's Story: in some sense a Purity Brown origin story and also some background as to how she and Nemesis began working together. The larger theme is that of Purity being used by Nemesis as a plaything, as he toys with humans as a human might toy with insects (or, as in the strip, actual termites). It ends with Nemesis making Purity forget, and so he continues to abuse her by controlling her thoughts. Pretty dark stuff.

Part of the story continues with the ABC Warriors but Book IX of Nemesis (Deathbringer) starts after that, next stage, in prog 586...


Zenith (https://youtu.be/p0p8xlc6lIU)
An out and out classic that succeeds in taking a superhero reality to the UK: something that still feels unique today. It sets out its stall early as an alternate reality in which the war in Europe (of World War II) was ended by dropping an atom bomb on Berlin. Thrown into the mix are scientifically wrought superheros, dark gods akin to those of the Cthulhu mythos and the yuppie culture of 80s Britain. For all that it features a Nazi superman with laser-beam eyes, it feels real in a way that perhaps no other story in the comic ever has.

The level of care and artistry attached to this story sets it up there vying for position as the best thrill ever published in the comic. It has a careful history that is sewn into the plot, at times seeming just like backstory and then later coming back to the fore. It has "Next prog..." captions that are all song titles (and some playlist). It has beautiful art by Steve Yeowell and supporting covers by Steve Dillon, Brendan McCarthy & Dave Gibbons (a roster of some of the best artists at work on the prog). Brendan McCarthy did the character designs for the series, which you can view on Steve Cook's blog (http://secret-oranges.blogspot.com/search/label/Zenith) (as linked to in Ben Hansom's 2013 review (https://sites.google.com/a/deepspacetransmissions.com/site/Resources/theincompletezenith-areview) of a collected edition).

Letting us know that the series is not yet done, progs 558 & 559 present A Zenith Interlude, providing some backstory and deepening the context for what came before and is yet to come.

Phase II starts up in 1988's later summer prog 589...


Universal Soldier (https://youtu.be/VeYJWJk2JPU)
Escape from New York meets The Matrix (marking this as clearly ahead of its time): an agent has been provided with some tech that allows them to adopt whatever combat technique best fits the situation (that's the Matrix-y bit) and is dropped into an open air prison to retrieve a target. The odd part of the tech is that when they adopt a combat technique they hallucinate an altered reality (including one which is an homage to A Man Called Horse): as do we as the readers.

Slightly less compelling as comic fare, the adventure is Basil-Expositioned from the perspective of a darkened board-room where nobody moves, sometimes with entirely blacked out panels. An unsatisfactory conclusion (and really a lack of a recognizable hero) allows this to peter out. As the nameless corporate bastards in the board room lack any care for their agent, so we the readers have been given no reason to root for him (beyond his being a puppet).

We have to wait three years for an unexpected second series, starting in 1990's prog 672...


Freaks
An attractive yet shallow and selfish yuppie finds himself transported to the world of the Kakkaks, where he's the ugly, weird one. Him being the alien, the locals want to harvest him for military secrets and biological study, which he's none to keen on. He falls in love with a brave local and together they (and a sentient pet) attempt to escape the machinations of the evil-doers. Like an 80s US sitcom, the strong moral message that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, is lathered on thickly from beginning to end, with some laughs in the middle.
There's a text story in the winter special Prog 2004 and then a sequel series starts in 2004's prog 1412.


Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k)
Bradley's Birthday introduces his friends Milton (giant psychopathic child that all adults and most children are afraid of) and Annabella (who uses her smarts and chutzpah to pacify Milton). We also get [Bradley and the Bandit] and A Krissmas Karol (where Santa is captured). There's still a byline that suggests we're on another planet, so it'll be interesting to see how that gets dropped (or if it does) when Bradley starts meeting pop stars later in the history of the strip.
Bradley's one-offs are sporadic and we don't get the next one until prog 606...


Bad Company II (https://youtu.be/dfdR-A2ukVg), The Bewilderness
A thinly-disguised Kano is rampaging through scrubby landscapes, massacring human and Krool alike, until it's revealed that the other half of his Krool brain is locked away somewhere but taking control of his body from time to time. Elswhere Danny Franks and the sparse remnants of Bad Company go on a recruitment drive to up their numbers with a roster of deliberately unlikeable weirdoes.
Part 2 of Bad Company II (The Krool Heart) starts next stage in prog 576...


The A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI), The Black Hole
Simon Bisley kicks the door down with the opening four episodes, where the ABC Warriors go up against the Mekaniks in an attempt to find their way to the control room of the time wastes. Bisley's art style was very unique and a crowd pleaser, so it felt odd that it was then switched every four episodes with S.M.S., who was also a great artist: but who'd want to follow Bisley on stage?

The plot, as you'd expect, ties back to Nemesis, with the Monad (from Book VI) in there as a foil. In terms of warriors, we get our first human, Terri (who falls in love with Hammerstein) and the return of Deadlock, who we must suppose stopped being a subsumed aspect of Nemesis when we weren't looking. Blackblood loses a leg and replaces it with a road drill. There's an unusual backstory when Hammerstein dies and then, through traumatic memory recall, brings himself back to life.

The story continues in the next stage after a six-prog break...


Hap Hazzard
Set on Fred's World, but it could just be Camden Town on Halloween, these are the relatively innocuous misadventures of young man about town Hap Hazzard, who gets into trouble with young women, gangsters and drunken sailors.
Returns next stage...


Tyranny Rex (https://youtu.be/cgOHumlXhrE)
A woman (the title character) with a lizard tail is a criminal mastermind running an illegal pop-star cloning racket.
This quick three-parter is followed by another in the next stage, with a thirteen-prog wait...


Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
Realizing that thirty-five progs since the last instalment is a bit much, prog 567 has a two-page catch-up with The Legend. In Hit Two, Rogue assassinates a souther commander but then gets shirty with his alien overlords and demands intel in advance of further missions. Wonderful art from Steve Dillon lifts this above a disappointing premise.
Continues directly into the next stage...

---

Simon Harrison provided his take on Joe Pineapples (as the back cover of prog 535) to foreshadow the return of the ABC Warriors in their own series (The Black Hole) in prog 555:

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/scans/hires/535.jpg)

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (part 3) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-3-alpha-sees-red-rock-a-hard-place-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes-sibling-rivalry-end-of-the-road/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 23 September, 2019, 11:12:37 PM
Prog 534 should be the start of a Phase.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 September, 2019, 12:48:05 AM
Prog 534 should be the start of a Phase.

Not 535 with the start of Zenith? (I wasn't happy with where this phase started, either. I felt kind of stuck with bad options.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 24 September, 2019, 08:03:52 AM
Yep, there are no really good options around here. You either end up splitting Revolution and have everything else more-or-less fresh (532; as Funt did), or starting with a bunch of last episodes (531), or cutting up a Strontium Dog (534) and starting with a mix of ongoing and one-offs.  The argument for starting with 534 presumably hinges on the introduction of PJ Maybe, and leaves Revolution entirely in the previous phase.  The case for 535 comes from Zenith.  Either would be a solid call, as is 532 - none are perfect.

Thing I can't believe from this phase is that Bradley started before Tyranny Rex.  :o
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 24 September, 2019, 08:18:48 AM
Prog 534 should be the start of a Phase.

Not 535 with the start of Zenith? (I wasn't happy with where this phase started, either. I felt kind of stuck with bad options.)

Apologies, poor joke. You don't remember the Prog 534 club? (For people bemused about us old uns always banging on about having read from Prog 1)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 24 September, 2019, 08:30:25 AM
Ah, that! (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=1253.msg9107#msg9107)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 24 September, 2019, 10:52:49 AM
...the return of Deadlock, who we must suppose stopped being a subsumed aspect of Nemesis when we weren't looking.

That's presumably still to due to happen in the future, but the Warriors have travelled back through the Time Tubes to an earlier era, when Deadlock is still kicking around as his own bad self.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 September, 2019, 03:46:15 PM
...the return of Deadlock, who we must suppose stopped being a subsumed aspect of Nemesis when we weren't looking.
That's presumably still to due to happen in the future, but the Warriors have travelled back through the Time Tubes to an earlier era, when Deadlock is still kicking around as his own bad self.

I never thought of that! Curse Pat Mills (not really) and his timey-wimey shenanigans.

---

I had entirely forgotten about the 534 club ... if I ever do a re-write ...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 29 September, 2019, 01:14:02 AM
Stage #16: Summer Magic (progs 571-588)

The comic struts confidently through the summer of 1988, declaring cool assassins and things that are well wicked (like the upcoming returns of Nemesis, Slaine and Zenith).

(https://i.imgur.com/rNwwKtc.png)


Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
Hit Two ends with an interstellar gang of assassins being set against Rogue. In the two-part (and cunningly named) Hit Three Rogue takes out another Goldfinger-style target with the slight twist that one of the henchmen he offs (unbeknownst to him) was an assassin targeting him. It's assassinception!
Rogue returns in 13 progs, continuing the terribly sporadic momentum of a storyline that started in 1985...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
Stone Killers ends with Johnny and Red having fallen out and then the one-off Incident on Zeta moves Alpha to a meet with Middenface. The No-Go Job sees Middenface, his dug and Alpha join forces on a mercenary mission to the war planet No-Go. Unfortunately, this is a scam so that a Lyran sorcerer can retreive the bones of Malak Brood (from '83's The Moses Incidident).
Continues in the next stage...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Some regular fare in this stage with stand-outs being the fondly remembered Full Mental Jacket (running for five episodes) followed by the vital Bloodline two-parter. The latter introduces Kraken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Kraken), an ex-Judda (from the epic Oz in the previous stage) and younger clone-brother of Dredd. Justice Department is attempting to deprogram him so that he can ultimately serve as a replacment for a disillusioned and aging Dredd. (Yes, he was considered aging thirty-one years ago.)

Summer Magic (https://youtu.be/Fm5MutUaikE)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde meets The Hound of the Baskervilles featuring Harry Potter, except this is 1988. Luke Kirby is a boy who becomes his uncle's apprentice ... magician. Unfortunately for him this is more Tales of the Unexpected than The Railway Children, so great power also brings dark shadows of a doom-laden future.
Sort of returns in the next stage: not in the prog but in the first Winter Special...

The A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI), The Black Hole
In this second part the Warriors battle each other in a conflict between order and khaos, eventually seeing through their differences to finish off the Monad and effectively save Earth by stabilizing the black hole bypass system. They then nick a spaceship and fly free.
The Warriors return in 1991's prog 750...

Bad Company II (https://youtu.be/dfdR-A2ukVg), The Krool Heart
In this second half of the second series, the quite compelling central plot is that the Krool Heart is going to be reborn - with someone jumping in to influence it, and thus influence all of the Krool thereafter. Who will it be?
The first series ended with no scope for a sequel. This second series has ended with no scope for a sequel. Series three begins in 1993's prog 828...

Tales from the Doghouse
Spinning off from Strontium Dog, this seeks to tell short tales of Dogs other than Alpha (or McNulty, or Red). Here we get Back-To-Front Jones and Tom "Birdy" Lilley. Both of these are just jokes about their individual disabilities mutations: so Jones keeps bumping into things because his head is on backwards and "Birdy" has wings but can't fly.
More of these in the next stage...

Tyranny Rex (https://youtu.be/cgOHumlXhrE)
Jonah and the whale meets Escape from New York ... in space!
More short-lived, throwaway chaos from Tyranny in the next stage...

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ) the King: A Prologue
A three-page post-battle vision of slaughter with just these words: "...he didn't think it too many."
The three-part mini-series this advertizes starts in the next stage...

Tribal Memories (https://youtu.be/aPEXZ58m1NI)
Brave New World meets apartheid... in space!
This is one and done, because it told a story well and then ended.

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ), Book IX: Deathbringer
Nemesis ... in 80s Britain!
This marks the end of the 80's sequence of books. Next we get a Nemesis and Deadlock tale in prog 700. We have to wait until 1999 for a Book X.

Hap Hazzard
Only Fools and Horses ... in space!
Returns for more short adventures in the next stage...

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (part 3) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-3-alpha-sees-red-rock-a-hard-place-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes-sibling-rivalry-end-of-the-road/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 29 September, 2019, 07:17:21 AM
"Only Fools and Horses...in space!"

GOLD!

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 29 September, 2019, 12:19:54 PM
Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
Hit Two ends with an interstellar gang of assassins being set against Rogue. In the two-part (and cunningly named) Hit Three Rogue takes out another Goldfinger-style target with the slight twist that one of the henchmen he offs (unbeknownst to him) was an assassin targeting him. It's assassinception!
Rogue returns in 13 progs, continuing the terribly sporadic momentum of a storyline that started in 1985...
Making the three hits last roughly the same amount of time as Rogue's introduction up to the killing of the Traitor!
Summer Magic (https://youtu.be/Fm5MutUaikE)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde meets The Hound of the Baskervilles featuring Harry Potter, except this is 1988. Luke Kirby is a boy who becomes his uncle's apprentice ... magician. Unfortunately for him this is more Tales of the Unexpected than The Railway Children, so great power also brings dark shadows of a doom-laden future.
Sort of returns in the next stage: not in the prog but in the first Winter Special...
Also pre-dating Tim Hunter from The Books of Magic...
Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ) the King: A Prologue
A three-page post-battle vision of slaughter with just these words: "...he didn't think it too many."
The three-part mini-series this advertizes starts in the next stage...
Isn't this the one that marks Glenn Fabry as an script droid?
Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ), Book IX: Deathbringer
Nemesis ... in 80s Britain!
This marks the end of the 80's sequence of books. Next we get a Nemesis and Deadlock tale in prog 700. We have to wait until 1999 for a Book X.

Not forgetting The Shape of Things to Come and that three-parter about the Hammer of Warlocks (and a special/annual story or two).
Hap Hazzard
Only Fools and Horses ... in space!
Returns for more short adventures in the next stage...
I wouldn't have minded more tales from Fred's World (wouldn't be the same now, obviously).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 29 September, 2019, 06:07:08 PM
Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ), Book IX: Deathbringer
Nemesis ... in 80s Britain!
This marks the end of the 80's sequence of books. Next we get a Nemesis and Deadlock tale in prog 700. We have to wait until 1999 for a Book X.
Not forgetting The Shape of Things to Come and that three-parter about the Hammer of Warlocks (and a special/annual story or two).

And I've fluffed this a bit: Deathbringer only has the first three episodes in this stage and completes itself sporadically in the next stage.

And you're quite right - although the next full Book is in 1999, we do get some content prior to that...

 - Nemesis And Deadlock Warlocks & Wizards (700)
 - Nemesis And Deadlock The Enigmass Variations (723-729)
 - Bride Of The Warlock (WS4)
 - The Good, The Bad And The Deviant (text; WS4)
 - Shape Of Things To Come (824)
 - Nemesis: Hammer of Warlocks (901-903)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 29 September, 2019, 06:31:43 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/7c8GyCr.png)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 29 September, 2019, 09:43:04 PM
Testing a layout theory...

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/571.jpg)Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed rhoncus eros eget venenatis euismod. Ut suscipit massa massa, eu viverra ante convallis non. Curabitur ac maximus ipsum, eget luctus nisl. Nullam neque urna, mattis quis diam hendrerit, posuere venenatis justo.
(https://imgur.com/Wv3RHXj)
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/588.jpg)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 29 September, 2019, 11:20:41 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/7c8GyCr.png)

Excellent use of excel there! :)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 01 October, 2019, 03:38:07 AM
Something I skipped with Tyranny Rex was the link-up with Indigo Prime that occurred in the 1988 Sci-Fi Special. This was published between In His Image (progs 566-568) and Under Foreign Skies (progs 582-584), and directly tied Tyranny into the world of Indigo Prime (which had first appeared in the guise of Void Indiga in the Future Shock A Change of Scenery in prog 490).

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/specials/hires/SCIFI88.jpg)

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 04 October, 2019, 04:56:06 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)

Stage #17: Unstable Growth (progs 589-613)

In 1983 the 25-prog run 308-332 features nine different thrills. Here, as we cross over from 1988 to 1989, we have a 25-prog run featuring twenty-two separate thrills (including some reprint material).  Partly, this is due to the extra four pages, but that doesn't quite explain it: the prog has a problem with scheduling.

Back in '83, Skizz ran for twenty-three episodes and The Slaying of Slade for nineteen: each with a single artist, published with no prog breaks. The list of broken up thrills in this stage is a long one: Nemesis (Deathbringer), Rogue Trooper, Moon Runners, Tyranny Rex's Soft Bodies and Strontium Dog all suffer from what seem like scheduling problems.

Still, the prog feels exciting as it launches 589 with shiny cover paper, a second Phase of Zenith, an extra four colour pages (making eight in total, including the covers) and a thicker, thirty-six page comic. Those extra pages stay with us for a decade, and felt really exciting at the time. Unfortunately, due to the way the colour pages are printed, the strip that is honoured by them (usually Dredd) gets split over another strip, which lasts until prog 650.

Another key marker of this phase is specials content that ties into the narrative of the progs' thrills in a way that seems less peripheral and more core (to an extent that it perhaps hasn't in the past).

(https://i.imgur.com/vIpGnef.png)


Zenith (https://youtu.be/p0p8xlc6lIU), Phase II
Zenith goes up against an evil Richard Branson surrogate while the story delves into the past and continues to masterfully foreshadow the future. It's a story full of wonderful touches: like when Zenith first tries to use telepathy and nearly mentally deafens Peter St. John. The second Phase introduces the idea of alternative universes, and that the war with the Lloigor is happening across the multiverse, and that superheroes in the know are part of a resistance movement battling the dark gods. The first Winter Special expands on this idea and also recaps the series to date with Interlude 3: Maximan.
Phase III begins in prog 626...

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ), Book IX: Deathbringer
Nemesis in 80's Britain sees Torquemada (and his nose-comfy) become a sort of new age Oswald Mosley as Nemesis continues to toy with humanity, to the increasing dissatisfaction of Purity Brown.
The next we hear from Nemesis is in 1990's prog 700...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
The memorable Twister (progs 588-591) mashes up Dredd and The Wizard of Oz as a way of introducing the increased number of colour pages in the prog. We also get some more murderous sociopathic dyslexia action with What I Did During the Summer Holidays by P.J. Maybe (clearly riffing off Adrian Mole) and The Further Advenshers of P.J. Maybe age 14. The homages continue with Eldster Ninja Mud-Wrestling Vigilantes (601), we get poignant with Curse of the Spider Woman (603-604) and finally Our Man in Hondo introduces Hondo City, adding to the idea that each country has their own Judge force with a uniform to match. The list now includes the US Mega-Cities, the East-Megs, Brit-Cit, Oz and Hondo City.
Next stage beware: Crazy Barry is on the loose...

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ) the King
The 1989 Annual has the Drune's invoke a dark god named Hu, who promptly starts eating his worshippers in The Arrow of God. The three-part Slaine the King in the prog sees Slaine lead the Sessair to victory in battle over the Fomorian sea demons, but in many ways this tale is simply introducing concepts for the next saga. The idea of the triple-aspect earth goddess is introduced, and the desire to seek out and utilize arcane treasures (the Spear, Sword, Stone and Cauldron) are declared as a way to unite the tribes and win the war.
It's just a short thirty-four prog wait for the first book of The Horned God...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8)
The one-off Through the Eyes of a Gun seems like it's another Hit, but turns out to be more Do Biochips Dream of Electric Sheep? We do then get the five-prog Hit Four: The New Moral Army, with more Thwack-Ye-Mole (https://pbfcomics.com/comics/thwack-ye-mole/) nonsense as Rogue runs headlong into another room full of Stormtroopers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raF9wfPxir8) and manages to come up smelling of roses.
We are promised "Coming Soon: Hit 5 - The Queen is Dead", but that never materializes and, instead, we get an odd conclusion to the storyline of the Hit in the second Winter Special close to the end of '89. Before that, we get a different Rogue story (and a very well-regarded one) in the next stage...

The Daily Dredd [reprints]
Some reprint material from the Dredd stories printed originally in the Daily Star: here we get the collected The Mean Machine and Bride Of Death.
More in the next stage...

Tharg's Time Twisters 
The Twisters last appeared in 1984's prog 374, and return briefly here for the appropriately named Time and Time Again.
The next time it is deemed useful to use the Twisters super-title is in the 1995 Yearbook (published, of course, in 1994)...

Moon Runners
Triangle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_(1981_TV_series)) ... in space! It's sort of Ace Trucking Co. minus the fun. It's way more Babylon 5 than Farscape. (Switch out Babylon 5 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpb1OXvNNMc) for Andromeda if you're piqued.) It's like Star Trek: The Motion Picture as opposed to The Wrath of Khan. It's like The Postman rather than Waterworld (rather than Mad Max 2). On a scale of gently snoozing to amphetamine-driven altertness, it's been in a coma for twenty years. Like Blue Thunder instead of Airwolf (but in space). Like blatbugs instead of ughbugs. If all the references are a bit dated, then that matches the sexual politics: where women are allowed to own the space trucks spirit ships but not actually board them. And then all their clothes fall off. (https://youtu.be/Fg_cwI1Xj4M)
There was more in the drawer, which gets published in the next stage...

Chopper (https://youtu.be/Uw9lIwadvVs): Soul on Fire
Chopper, now a mopey swagman living rough in the Oz radback, is still salty from losing Supersurf 10, to the extent that he times himself through the course trying to prove something (the big gallah).
Returns for Song of the Surfer in prog 654...

Tyranny Rex (https://youtu.be/cgOHumlXhrE): Soft Bodies
A notoriously impenetrable enigma of a tale. Earlier stories made it clear that Tyranny was not someone to be messed with, but here she violently beats a hospitalized man to death in a fit of pique. But then the entire story (sans any explanation of what's actually going on) turns out to be a fictional version of events anyway, so did she really?
The next tale is in the 1989 Sci-Fi Special...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
The 1988 Winter Special gives us Incident at the Birth of the Universe, where Alpha sends his enemy (who's about to destroy the nascent universe with his anti-matter eyes at the moment of the Big Bang) a few seconds into the past, where the universe didn't exist yet, and thus winks him out of existence. Three problems here: there's nowhere to stand, nothing to breath and (this one's the doozy) you cannot send someone into the past before the Big Bang because time itself didn't exist. Woah!

The opening seven episodes of The Final Solution follow on from The No-Go Job and have Brother Sagan take over New Britain and torment Alpha with the help of Lyran sorcery (and the corpse of old friend Wulf). If this was a soap, it would say "Introducing Special Guest Star: Feral". (Best not to mention that twenty-two years from now he'll be fattened up and ritually sacrificed by a bitter co-creator.)

Winning the award as the most disjointed thrill ever to grace the prog, this twenty-nine part epic is spread thinly, like Marmite, over eighty-seven progs and five segments, beginning in 1988 and ending in 1990. The next bite-sized morsel appears in prog 615...

Bad Company (https://youtu.be/dfdR-A2ukVg)
The 1989 Annual has the full-colour Young Men Marching, a prequel of how Danny Franks got drawn into the war. Prog 601 had Ararat (aka Simply), another flashback tale but created as part of a charity event.
Another series starts in prog 828, way off in 1993...

Tales of Mega-City One
The one-page My Favourite Laundrette riffs on a celebrated advert (https://youtu.be/wT4DR_ae_4o) of the era (from 1985).
No more Tales in the prog, but there is Mega-City Stories: Bazooka Bowl in Megazine 2.41...

Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k) and the Toboggan Race
An homage to the story-telling format of Rupert Bear where Bradley, Milton and Annabella go sledding. There's a Sainsbury's, so perhaps this is where it drops the idea of being set on an alien planet.
Next up is the sequence Bradley's Thesaurus of Modern Music, starting in prog 660. It was promised in "the new year", but I guess they didn't say which one...

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
The 1988 Winter Special has Colin Wilson Block, an alien possession investigation. The prog then has Contact, with more alien visitations and Beyond the Void (which reminds us that Judge Death is only a dimensional slip-up away).
Continues immediately in the next stage...

Night Zero
Taxi Driver meets cyberpunk in the hard-boiled Zero City: where finger-pistoled mercenary cabbie Tanner gets immediately embroiled in a case involving a (who'da thunk it?) woman in distress.
Continues in the next stage...

Hap Hazzard
A couple of guys chat about life and lie to women ... in space!
Returns in ten years for a last hurrah in prog 1164...

Zippy Couriers (https://youtu.be/8z3pz08Ec6c)
Shauna McCullough is a zippy courier [see title], but it's difficult to make that career interesting (https://youtu.be/EFVx9vjuGNs), however you dress it up. Transporting thing A to thing B can be viscerally exciting (https://youtu.be/YWNWi-ZWL3c), though. Take notes.
There are more of these in the next stage...

Tales from the Doghouse
Freddy 'Chameleon' Finegan breaks the mould set in earlier episodes by not just making jokes at the expense of each bounty hunter's specific disability mutation but then we revert to type with the tale of Edward 'Spud' O'Riley, who (wait for it) gets his chips.
More Tales in the next stage...

---

Ace Trucking Co. (https://youtu.be/FAFaKPqzguI)
A final coda for this once-plentiful thrill comes in the shape of The Homecoming from the 1989 Annual, where Ace returns to his original universe to look up his old lugbuddies.
Next shows up in a cameo in another series in 1994...

Summer Magic (https://youtu.be/Fm5MutUaikE)
Dropping the original title, this is A Winter's Tale: A Luke Kirby Adventure, in which Luke discovers that another patriarchal figure in the family is a magic-user.
The next tale isn't until 1990's Sci-Fi Special...

---

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/590.jpg)  (http://www.2000ad.org/covers/scans/hires/591.jpg)  (http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/613.jpg)

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Strontium Dog : A Potted History (part 3) (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/strontium-dog-a-potted-history-part-3-alpha-sees-red-rock-a-hard-place-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes-sibling-rivalry-end-of-the-road/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 04 October, 2019, 06:55:59 AM
Wow that's really telling.The number of thrills there as you say is striking and 'Unstable Growth'  seems to be the perfect title as it sums up exactly what seems to be happening. Especially borne out my having (or choosing I suspose?) to run Daily Dredds in the Prog.

Loving the new banner.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: norton canes 04 October, 2019, 10:03:28 AM
That Kano poster - the way he's holding the gun, it has to be based on a photo of a guitarist, no?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 04 October, 2019, 12:02:08 PM

"Zippy Couriers
Shauna McCullough is a zippy courier [see title], but it's difficult to make that career interesting, however you dress it up. Transporting thing A to thing B can be viscerally exciting, though. Take notes."

I thought The link would be to FUTURAMA.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 04 October, 2019, 12:57:13 PM

"Zippy Couriers
Shauna McCullough is a zippy courier [see title], but it's difficult to make that career interesting, however you dress it up. Transporting thing A to thing B can be viscerally exciting, though. Take notes."

I thought The link would be to FUTURAMA.

Or, y'know, Ace Trucking Co (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAFaKPqzguI).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 20 October, 2019, 01:23:37 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Stage #18: Split Tales (progs 614-649)

Special occassions during 1989 are the 12th Birthday (prog 615) and the start of bar codes on the cover (prog 634). Dredd and Slaine take turns on the colour pages, so also take turns being split in two (although sometimes it's Slaine that splits things in two). Scheduling breaks continue to hit multiple strips, with Strontium Dog, Medivac 318, Rogue Trooper, Zenith and Beyond Zero all failing to maintain their momentum.

Specials-wise, it's a rich time to be a Squaxx with a Sci-Fi Special, a Judge Dredd Mega-Special, a 2000 AD Annual, a Judge Dredd Annual and a Winter Special released each year.

(https://i.imgur.com/SeenRfO.png)


Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
Helios (614-622) sees Anderson and colleague Corey go dancing to relieve the stress of the job, only to be attacked by a man driven to insane psychotic rage by the powerful psychic spirit of a dead doctor that's partially possessing his own daughter and desparate for revenge against a corrupt gang that he used to be a member of. Truth. Corey gets her own story in the 1989 Sci-Fi Special, but seeing as she's an empath and it's difficult to deal with witnessing first-hand the extinction of whales, she only goes and kills herself in Judge Corey: Leviathan's Farewell. Triad (635-644) fails to strike a cheery note as Sov agents try to cause psychic mayhem in the Big Meg by paying to have little children beaten up. The Prophet (645-647) sees Anderson at a fashion shoot where she has to pose next to a wind turbine a lot. (There's also a madman dressed up as a robot.) Finally, the 1990 Annual has Confessions Of A She-Devil, in which a downtrodden housewife transforms into a Xena-type and decides to murder all the men.
Anderson's adventures continue in prog 657...

Sooner or Later (https://youtu.be/FxmnAPVk7ZE): Swifty's Return
Sooner or Later meets Bill & Ted (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096928/), as Swifty brings his mate Clinton along for the ride this time.
This is it for the adventures of Swifty Frisko (& Clinton).

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Crazy Barry, Little Mo (615-618) was the demented tale of corrupt Judge Barry Kurten, who often follows the (violent, enraged) advice of Little Mo - who lives in his head. Under surveillance by the Justice Department, he flees to Ciudad Barranquilla, where we get the incredibly stylish follow up Banana City (623-625). Other important tales from this stage would be In The Bath (626), John Cassavetes is Dead (627), Accidental Death of a Citizen (631) and The Confeshuns of P.J. Maybe (632-634). There follows a somewhat weak phase through progs 635-649.
Important Dredd fare in the next stage...

Night Zero
Amusingly having failed to save the life of the woman he's been paid to protect on multiple occassions (but it's okay: she's got clones), Tanner finally says enough is enough and kicks butt all the way to the finale (and a snog, because that's what happens in detective noir). All those clones, and the city being in a giant bubble suggest that maybe this was partially inspired by the RPG Paranoia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_(role-playing_game)), with a hint of Logan's Run (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan%27s_Run_(film)).
Returns as Beyond Zero, in this very stage...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k), The Final Solution
After waiting for eight progs we get 7 more episodes, then we wait fourteen progs for 6 more episodes, then there's a gap of three progs and we get 3 more episodes, then it's thirty-four progs till the finale. Tharg of '89: wtf? Momentum, dude! Probably nobody minded at the time because in place of this we got Cinnabar, The Horned God and Phase III of Zenith and everyone was busy drooling in awe at the thrill-power. Anyway, evil Brother Sagan fancies a bit of genocide so he sends muties through a portal that he promises leads to utopia, but instead leads to a hell dimension where a seemingly invulnerable flying demon kills on a whim. The last episode here sees Alpha get his eyes burned out, which sort of destroys the character.
Returns for the Final Conclusion starting in prog 682...

Tales from the Doghouse
It's puns-a-plenty with the light-hearted adventures of Maeve The Many-Armed (it's five), 'Sting' Ray, Ernest 'Froggy' Natterjack, Jerry 'Ratty' Cagney, Maeve The Many-Armed (again, in Niall Of The Nine Sausages) and Chris 'Moosey' Day. Actually, that last one is pretty dark.
This marks the conclusion of the Tales experiment.

Zippy Couriers (https://youtu.be/8z3pz08Ec6c)
Kind of ahead of its time, with an amusing talking cat, when the Internet was still several years away and I Can Haz Cheezburger in particular almost a decade out. Also: alien donuts. There's not much couriering anymore. It's a bit like sci-fi Friends, but don't take that as a recommendation.
Continues in the next stage...

Medivac 318 (https://youtu.be/8pv6R4Q669s)
It's E.R. crossed with M*A*S*H ... in space! As the terrans battle the insectoid Jenarit, the first half tells of a downed ambulance in the warzone. In the second half Nurse McKinnon trains to be an ambulance pilot and the Jenarit assault the orbiting hospital as the war draws to a close. In the 1989 Winter Special we also get Medivac Dispatches featuring Perry: Chemical Warfare, which ditches the focus on Nurse McKinnon for some more standard Boy's Own action.
A second season starts up in prog 683...

The Daily Dredd: A Guide To Mega-City Law [reprints]
Lots of the key aspects of Mega-City life and Judging whizz by: like Spy-in-the-Sky cams, riot foam, stumm gas and so on.
This is it for the Daily Dredd reprints in the prog.

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8): Nu Earth Flashback, Cinnabar
More or less abandoned as a steady thrill with the advent of The Hit storyline (i.e. Rogue Torpor), this flashback tale set during Rogue's time on Nu Earth was a massive breath of fresh chem. John Smith presents a vulnerable Rogue and a monstrous threat. Whilst it could be compared unfavourably to Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, it lacks that movie's desperately soggy cheese and manages to vie for position as the best Rogue Trooper story ever told (although, to be fair, it relies on a lot of prior world-building).
The Hit storyline (last seen in prog 603) concludes (like a damp squib) in the second Winter Special...

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ): The Horned God, Book I
You may have heard of this one (also see associated fan film (https://youtu.be/nRIPAsbhZpM)): it's Slaine meets Bisley, with fully painted art. As is often the case with a Mills launch, the supports are in place: a gorgeous cover, a back cover map of the the Land of the Young and an intro page "Guide to the Horned God", replete with Ogham Alphabet, and an explanation of key aspects of the saga so far (like the Cauldron of Blood and the triple goddess).

The story is told from the perspective of an aging Ukko (which provides Mills with an avenue to complain about his page rate) and recaps the key points of prior adventures before moving onto Slaine's quest to gather four treasures (the Cauldron, the Spear, the Sword and, erm ... the other one). This involves Slaine's trippy adventures through the Cauldron to shag his goddess in a paganistic reflection of the biblical Eden story and some time spent reminiscing with an aging Slough Feg (the current Horned God). He's obsessed with death and ruminates infamously "Eyes without life... sundered heads... piles of carcasses... these are pleasing words to me...". The Book ends on a cliffhanger, with all the treasures (bar the already owned Cauldron) still to be gathered.

Book II of The Horned God begins in the next stage...

Zenith (https://youtu.be/p0p8xlc6lIU), Phase III
The opening of Phase III tells the other half of the epilogue of Phase II (with both ending at the same point in time): a masterful intertwining of tales. As various alternate earths are included, each with their own pantheon of superheros (some possessed by Lloigor, some fighting against them), we recognize many of them either as homages or simply new renditions of existing characters from other comics. Because many of these were from children's comics, and the themes here are so dark, there's a sense that the Lloigor aren't just murdering fictional characters, but our own childhoods. Despite this utter darkness, there's a glimmer of hope at the end of this section. (The 1990 Annual provides A Zenith Interlude: Shadows & Reflections, which shows us past events where U.S. agents attempt to assassinate Peter St. John.)
Phase III continues in the next stage...

Beyond Zero [after Night Zero]
Continuing in the mould of a Paranoia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_(role-playing_game)) playbook: after an adventure set inside the bubble city, the Troubleshooters (in this case the cyborg taxi driver Tanner, a sexy combat android and a Rambo-clone) are sent on a mission outside the city on some flimsy pretext. This is starting to sound like a re-run of the Garpetbaggers with slightly different window-dressing. Then there's a giant zeppelin, a mushroom forest, a talking big cat (wait, isn't that the next story?), loads of *budda budda* sound effects and a castle populated entirely by sexy women and grapes.
The next prefix for Zero comes in the 1991 Annual...

Survivor [after Mean Team] (https://youtu.be/N8EYDJq4f9o)
Two years after we saw the entire Mean Team summarily executed this new tale reveals that you weren't looking closely enough: one of them escaped the disintegrato-ray! After some football with Jack Keller's head (true), we get down to the dramatic question: what if a man's brain was transplanted into a panther's body and then he was imprisoned and threatened with a lobotomy if he didn't play nice?
This is it for the Mean Team / Henry Moon saga. I mean, so far. There's still hope.

Moon Runners
The first indication that Moon Runners wasn't just done was a series of six Star Scans in progs 617-622, which were a bit incongruous as the strip wasn't running at the time. Next, the 1989 Sci-Fi Special ran A Prologue: Out Of The Past, which is all mooshy and melodramatic about the (scantily-clad female) boss being in love with her best pilot. The prog then runs Old Aquaintance (641-644), where Lady Cara's ex turns up as Chet the farting blob from Weird Science (https://i.imgflip.com/1xhx8o.jpg) before Flynn does a Jaws (https://i.redd.it/6fuo5mj0wsg21.jpg) and shoves an explosive canister in his mouth prior to Cara (from a hospital bed and dressed only in a flimsy neglige) provides the coup de grace. Finally, the 1990 Annual has Pirate, in which a scantily clad woman ... hang on - all the women in this strip are slim, scantily clad and giving it mucho cleavage. Anyway (*mopping brow*), as I was saying, Ace gets lugjacked but manages to fob off the pirates with a cargo of blubberoo. Ten-ten, good buddies!
Returns for a finale in the 1991 Annual...

[Indigo Prime / Tyranny Rex] (https://youtu.be/PzFCmDyK-68)
In the 1989 Sci-Fi Special Tyranny Rex: Systems Of Romance tells of a past love who sold out Tyranny's race, effectively causing their genocide. She thought she'd killed him, but his brain survived. As she's now a pacifist nun seeking redemption, she visits him inside his mind. Fervent & Lobe: The Issigri Variations is a baffling (perhaps indulgent) eight-parter that avoids such niceties as a dramatic question in favor of poetry and spectacle. Tyranny Rex returns in the 1989 Winter Special in a tale that sees her as a mob assassin (which clearly doesn't tie in with her also being a pacifist nun).
Indigo Prime returns in 1990's prog 678. Tyranny (barring text stories) returns in the '94 Yearbook.

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 20 October, 2019, 08:00:20 AM
Cinnabar for me was never a true Rogue Trooper story. The main enemy felt to me like something out of Indigo Prime. I enjoyed the story but for me the stand-out was the awesome art by Dilllon/Walker. 
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 20 October, 2019, 09:27:31 AM
Cinnabar for me was never a true Rogue Trooper story.

I think I agree with you - the difference is, you say that like it's a bad thing!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 20 October, 2019, 10:09:15 AM
No it is not a bad thing it is just different
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 20 October, 2019, 10:20:53 AM
I think describing Zippy Couriers as ahead of its time is pretty fair. I think Hilary Robinson's work of this time is often unfairly reflected. Its often really good and as I've said countless times before no doubt offered a different voice. Its just a shame it happened a little too early, as it would have been a fantastic counterpoint in the next couple of hundred progs as we increasingly get male leads for whom writers mistake being a hard, dull charmless dick with character.

... well okay that and Surviver....
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 20 October, 2019, 10:26:30 AM
Cinnabar for me was never a true Rogue Trooper story.

I think I agree with you - the difference is, you say that like it's a bad thing!

When we say a true Rogue Trooper story*, what we mean is a Gerry Finley-Day story. A World War II action-adventure with superficial sci-fi elements and punning proper nouns.

The scenario of Cinnabar doesn't map onto WWII, the sci-fi elements are central to the plot and characterisation, and if anyone's called Majin O'Line, I've forgotten it.


* Or 'a true Dredd story' or 'a true Robohunter story' - the only 2000ad strips to have suffered the indignity of franchising. Strontium Dogs and Durham Red were spin-offs, rather than continuations. I suppose Adams's Ulysses Sweet, Abnett's VCs, and Mills's Savage and Flesh should count, but all except Savage are two or three series by a single author. The real horror of franchising lies in the passing of the strip from one writer to another, which allows the strip to become an almost permanent feature.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 20 October, 2019, 10:30:03 AM
For me Rogue's power run was when we had Day on words and Cam on pictures. GFD wrote Rogue like a WWII story as Frank said
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 20 October, 2019, 10:56:48 AM
I think describing Zippy Couriers as ahead of its time is pretty fair. I think Hilary Robinson's work of this time is often unfairly reflected.

A bit of a mixed bag, but overall a lot better than the consensus would often suggest. I liked Zippy Couriers as a decent change of pace/tone within the prog (and some lovely art, too) which, surely, is the point of an anthology. Medivac 318 also seems widely under-appreciated, despite strong scripting and some genuinely wonderful art from the much-missed Nigel Dobbyn.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 20 October, 2019, 12:22:50 PM
[img]

Sooner or Later (https://youtu.be/FxmnAPVk7ZE): Swifty's Return
Sooner or Later meets Bill & Ted (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096928/), as Swifty brings his mate Clinton along for the ride this time.
This is it for the adventures of Swifty Frisko (& Clinton).


Ah yes, the unforgettable moment when Clinton left Mickey behind and time-travelled to The Hoop... ;)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 20 October, 2019, 01:31:07 PM
Special occassions during 1989 are the 12th Birthday (prog 615) and the start of bar codes on the cover (prog 634).


Disappointingly no reference on the cover to the barcode - though the previous prog had a code warning (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=633)...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 20 October, 2019, 04:29:20 PM
I suppose age is part of the problem, and people back then lacked patience. Hilary Robinson sits alongside Peter Hogan in that respect, crafting quieter tales that seemed dull alongside all the explosions and men with big muscles. But these strips had character and nuance. I’ve not re-read Zippy Couriers in a long time, but I recall thinking it was fine; I’ve always enjoyed Medivac, though – a strip that should have run for a very long time, and in every way superior to the later Mercy Heights.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 21 October, 2019, 04:36:18 AM
These are getting quite long compared to my opening one-liners. Is that because later thrills are just less derivative so require more explanation? What do I do when the Megazine starts? Ignore it?

I'm surprised how much the prog still feels like it's in a golden age. I mean: Zenith, Cinnabar, The Horned God, Medivac, Anderson being all dark and using Orlok, Dredd in Barranquilla: these are some classic thrills.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 21 October, 2019, 06:45:56 AM
By all means keep them as long as you want. These recaps are hugely enjoyable.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 21 October, 2019, 09:37:05 PM
By all means keep them as long as you want. These recaps are hugely enjoyable.

I’ll second that! We’re getting into my wilderness years, so this is all essential reading! You’ve got an impressive overview of a LOT of material. Impressive stuff indeed!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 21 October, 2019, 10:09:10 PM
These are getting quite long compared to my opening one-liners. Is that because later thrills are just less derivative so require more explanation? What do I do when the Megazine starts? Ignore it?
Do whatever you like, but I’m enjoying reading them. I’d happily see you bring in the Megazine as well, if you can. Good luck with the dross that’s to arrive shortly, if you do continue, though!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 21 October, 2019, 11:15:21 PM
These are getting quite long compared to my opening one-liners. Is that because later thrills are just less derivative so require more explanation? What do I do when the Megazine starts? Ignore it?
Do whatever you like, but I’m enjoying reading them. I’d happily see you bring in the Megazine as well, if you can. Good luck with the dross that’s to arrive shortly, if you do continue, though!

There were some pearls among the pigstomm, mind you.  Mostly by John Smith: Killing Time, Revere, Firekind - but there was also Zenith 4 and, well, the Summer Offensive if you liked that kind of thing. I did.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 26 October, 2019, 07:54:20 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Stage #19: The Dead Man (progs 650-670)

This stage features perhaps the biggest rug-pull that's ever been played on the readership, along with a raft of classic thrills at the height of their game, and a surprise reboot. Prog 650 provides a powerful jump-on point, with additional colour pages removing the need to split stories in half.

(https://i.imgur.com/EDhTP0q.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
The Shooting Match (605) reminds us that the ex-Judda Kraken is now a talented cadet. Young Giant (651-655) introduces the (extra-Judicial) son of the famous Judge Giant (murdered by Orlok's Satelat during Block Mania), who has been inducted into the Academy of Law, but is struggling with the desire for vengeance. A Letter to Judge Dredd (661) makes Dredd question the Justice Department and his position within it.
Judge Dredd returns, a little worse for wear, later in this stage...

Zenith (https://youtu.be/p0p8xlc6lIU): Phase III
To save the multiverse, worlds must die. How brutal must the heroes become in order to achieve their goals? And how can they hope to triumph when their most powerful are taken by the Lloigor and used against them? (Plus, there's a side plot about the disgust felt by heterosexual male superheroes towards a transgender superhero, whose rampant nymphomania leaves them feeling dirty and betrayed.)
Phase IV begins in 1992, prog 791...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8): The Hit, Conclusion
An arc that started in 1985 but was never fully committed to by editorial (appearing in only 18% of the progs since) drifts to a close in the 1989 Winter Special with more Basil Exposition than you can shake a stick at. Rogue abandons his biochipped buddies (even though re-gening them was a key goal of the character) and just wanders off suffering from ennui. They get re-born (by a passing alcoholic hobo scientist) but with no memories and so they're effectively dead.
It's complicated, but this Rogue is next seen in the 1992 Sci-Fi Special, whereas an entirely new Rogue starts right now in prog 650...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Friday]: The War Machine
This hard reboot introduces Alpha Company of the First Genetic Infantry. Trooper 19 (aka Friday) and his squad-mates Eight-Ball, Lucky and Top (that's the equivalents, in order, of Rogue, Gunnar, Bagman and Helm) are launched from Highside (Milli-Com equivalent) to an unnamed planet to take and hold Hill 392. The troopers are wiped out and, rather than retrieve biochips, Friday just takes their equipment as they die: although Lucky doesn't really have anything. He then sets off to return to Highside to question why they were sent to their deaths on the hill (Frankly, he starts behaving like some kind of ... outlaw warrior, or aberrant commando. An uncontrollable infantryman. A gorilla of a guerilla. A disorderly draftee, stubborn serviceman, undisciplined combatant, petulant plebe, raucous rookie, belligerent battler and acrimonious assailant. If only I could come up with some pithy title for the strip...)
Continues in the next stage...

The Dead Man (https://youtu.be/Y4--MO6nj40)
Yassa Povey, a young boy living in a quiet Cursed Earth settlement, discovers a terribly wounded man close to death: who he calls the Dead Man. His skin burnt, his memory gone - he is nursed back to health but unknowingly brings with him a terrible curse. There's a huge clue to his identity in part 3, hidden amongst the villagers babble when an old woman says "Have you seen his eyes? Not right, somehow ... not natural". This is a reference to his bionic eyes, which he had fitted after losing his organic ones in the semi-epic City of the Damned.
Having linked this story back to Mega-City One, the tale continues in Judge Dredd...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Tale of the Dead Man (662-668) continues in the prog immediately after the denouement of The Dead Man, providing the backstory that leads to the arrival of the Sisters of Death (Nausea and Phobia, colleagues of the Four Dark Judges). Dredd takes rookie Kraken (the ex-Judda) on his final assessment, but fails him. In the first two episodes of Countdown to Necropolis, Dredd's decisions take an odd turn as Kraken becomes the new Judge Dredd (the original having taken the long walk)..
The countdown continues next stage...

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ): The Horned God, Book II
Slaine gathers together the four artifacts (cauldron, spear, sword and ... the other one) needed for him to become the high king and unite the tribes so that together they can fight back against the Drunes and the Fomorians.
Book III is in the next stage after a 23-prog wait...

Chopper (https://youtu.be/Uw9lIwadvVs): Song of the Surfer
Sky-surfing: a sport of dangerous rebellion, where death is a knife edge away. Here, it's a story of shrapnel and blood, as the Mega-City Two set Supersurf Eleven ups the stakes by introducing heavy weapons as natural hazards. Seemingly all stick and no carrot, several sky-surfers take part, and bloody mayhem ensues.
Controversially, because he seems to die here, Chopper returns in 1990's first Judge Dredd Megazine in Earth, Wind & Fire.

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
The Random Man (657-659) is a slight tale about a man who murders on the whim of a dice roll, but also has a side plot about the persecution of a transgender entertainer by the Justice Department. The Screaming Skull (669-670) is an atmospheric whodunnit.
Anderson returns in prog 700's Shamballa...

Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k)
This sequence was heralded as Bradley's Thesaurus of Modern Music, because after Bradley Visits His Grandpappy, he then goes on a quest to find him some good music and Meets Jason Donovan, Goes Gothic and Goes Gigging. (This has now given up all pretence of being on an alien planet.)
Bradley Goes Mental next stage in prog 682...

Bix Barton (https://youtu.be/-okDskhMLds)
Marmite sandwiches, matron! Bix Barton is a sort of upper class detective (master of the rum and uncanny) with a talking cane (Michael Cane) who goes on about rugby a lot and battles, well, rum and uncanny things (like a steam train with the face of Margaret Thatcher). Love it or loathe it, it is what it is.
Returns in the next Sci-Fi Special...

Beyond Zero [after Night Zero]
I swear I thought this had finished in prog 649, where it seemed obvious that giant zeppelin vs. man-with-a-goblet was a no-brainer, but the final two parts are here (fifteen progs later). Turned out that goblet-man isn't all smoking jackets and well-trimmed goatee: he also does a line in bomb-clones and combat-exoskeletons. The denouement has all the slim, attractive "feminist" characters lining up to snog Tanner and get jealous of each other.
The next prefix for Zero comes in the 1991 Annual with Lost in Zero, prior to the final full series appearing in prog 731's Below Zero...

Zippy Couriers (https://youtu.be/8z3pz08Ec6c)
The last two tales are Mascot (with a light-hearted tale of extra-judicial police interrogation and explosive teddy-bears) and Shelob (a light-hearted tale of exotic pets being light snacks for the talking cat).
This is it for Zippy Couriers.

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 26 October, 2019, 07:56:38 PM
Aw, crap - my editing went wonky there. [/b] Ending bold.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 26 October, 2019, 08:07:35 PM
Ah, no hassle, it's great stuff.

I never thought about that Bubbletown villager's reference to the Dead Man's eyes. What a stroke of brilliance, especially as iirc the bios hadn't been mentioned since they were fitted at the end of City of the Damned.

If only I could time travel and experience that twist again.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 26 October, 2019, 08:12:37 PM
Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Friday]: The War Machine
Frankly, he starts behaving like some kind of ... outlaw warrior, or aberrant commando. An uncontrollable infantryman. A gorilla of a guerilla. A disorderly draftee, stubborn serviceman, undisciplined combatant, petulant plebe, raucous rookie, belligerent battler and acrimonious assailant. If only I could come up with some pithy title for the strip...)

... and a tellingly concise summary of The Horned God.

Hurry up and catch up, Funt. The weekly prog review could use your insight and humour.


I will pray for a benevolent mod to intercede in human affairs by reaching down from the heavens and fixing the syntax in your post
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 26 October, 2019, 08:25:08 PM
Aw, hey - thanks, mods! You mended my waonky editing!

:) :D ;) >:( :P :( :o ::) :-[ :-X :-\ :-* :'( :| :lol:
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 26 October, 2019, 09:17:57 PM
Man that is some fine, fine thrill power right there. A real high amongst Tharg's many highs.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 26 October, 2019, 10:33:50 PM
So we’re approaching Shamballa. I have absolutely no idea what was in the prog at the same time, so I’m looking forward to the next stage.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 27 October, 2019, 01:36:47 AM
I reread Rogue Trooper - The War Machine recently.  I hadn't really realised the first time round, it was kind of amazing.  Of course, they should have ended it as soon as the first series finished. 
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 27 October, 2019, 01:52:14 AM
I totally agree about The War Machine: as a standalone re-imagining of the tale of the Rogue Trooper it's really solid. There's a sense in which it riffs on Blade Runner (not a bad thing), even casting Rutger Hauer as (name-check?) Cavill. You can read it as a hard reboot, or a re-telling of the legend, or even as an earlier tale of an earlier batch of G.I.s. The art and the bleak, pithy dialog boxes give a great sense of atmosphere. It could translate almost frame for frame into a movie.

All the Friday tales after this opening might as well be an entirely different reboot. What does The Golden Fox Rebellion have to do with The War Machine, apart from a little window-dressing?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 27 October, 2019, 11:17:32 AM
I totally agree about The War Machine: as a standalone re-imagining of the tale of the Rogue Trooper it's really solid. There's a sense in which it riffs on Blade Runner (not a bad thing), even casting Rutger Hauer as (name-check?) Cavill.


Yep, I only noticed the Rutger Hauer thing last week, which I suppose means Friday is 'played' by him too. (Clavel was his name, btw, though he somehow became Clavell in ill-advised later stories.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Swerty 27 October, 2019, 02:03:51 PM
Ron Smith on Rogue looks great but was he bored of Dredd?Have these episodes never been reprinted.I was kinda hoping the ultimate would print them?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 27 October, 2019, 02:38:56 PM
Ron Smith on Rogue looks great but was he bored of Dredd?

That doesn't seem to be the reason Smith didn't draw Dredd for many years.

Steve MacManus says the final issue of 2000ad he edited was prog 500. Ron Smith had a Dredd printed in the previous issue, but didn't get any work from Tharg for the next two and a half years.

Over the course of the four years between that last Dredd in prog 499 and his next Dredd for 2000ad, Smith's work appeared in ten issues of 2000ad*


A 5 episode Mean Team spin-off and some Future Shocks.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Swerty 27 October, 2019, 03:50:45 PM
I assumed he'd retired.His Rogue Trooper work certainly looks great.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 27 October, 2019, 06:06:27 PM
Much as I have grown to love Ron's DREDD (it wasn't entirely my cup of tea at the time), I still have no love for his Rogue Trooper stuff. It just looks wrong to me with some poor design.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 27 October, 2019, 09:37:02 PM
Wait, given that Dredd took the long walk, isn't there an untold story - the bit between walking out of the gates and meeting the sisters?

(Mind you: much like the Kessel Run, perhaps this is best left untold.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 02 November, 2019, 11:37:21 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Stage #20: Necropolis (progs 671-699)

This stage demonstrates well the importance of strong, identifiable characters to the popularity and longevity of a good story. Necropolis has the Sisters of Death, who are a bit hokey (winding Kraken up with playground taunts or giving chilling weather reports to a captive citizenry) but definitely memorable. On the other hand, Universal Solider stars ... a guy. And Chronos Carnival also has a guy (in a wheelchair), and that woman. And Dry Run has people in it. And horses. Say what you like about Armoured Gideon: you don't forget him.

(https://i.imgur.com/Vhi7qTh.png)


The Harlem Heroes *SOFT REBOOT*
It's Beverly Hills 90210 meets Rollerball (with a structure not unlike 24), as a gang of easily identifiable (but attractive) misfits (leader, vixen, driver, tough & hacker) are forced into service as mercenaries by a shadowy government organization, and then betrayed. Also, they have jetpacks. Everything explodes: whether it be escaping convicts in a mole machine, or computer terminals infected with an explodey virus (?). Then there's lots of budda budda and posing. Nobody ever changes their clothes, so if this was presented in smell-o-vision, you wouldn't like it. All of the work-a-day henchmen that get casually offed by the "heroes" are reminiscent of Austin Powers and The Henchman's Wife (https://youtu.be/Ag_AFraxj-4).
This continues (as agents are sent to track down Fleisher and take his typewriter away, by force if necessary) into the next stage...

Judge Dredd: Necropolis (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
The Countdown to Necropolis continues the setup: Judge Death's psychic claws had formed a link between Deadworld and Mega-City One, which the Sisters of Death use as a bridge in order to exert control across the dimensional void. The Necropolis epic is in three acts, starting with a build-up (674-684) in which the Sisters enact their plan to release their brothers from captivity. Once the city has fallen we have a coming together of the heroes (685-692), which include Dredd and ex-Chief Judge McGruder (both visibly scarred from their respective Long Walks), young Cadet Giant and a wounded Anderson. The third act (693-699) sees the fight back against a regime where sixty million have already fallen victim to the Deadworld denizens.

The Judge Dredd Annual 1991 has Judge Dredd and Johnny Alpha (& Wulf) team up in the time-traveling shenanigans of Top Dogs.

Post-Necropolis tales occupy much of the next stage...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Friday]: The War Machine
Hamburger Hill meets Blade Runner, as Trooper 19 (Friday) confronts his maker (Clavel) and demands an explanation for the pointless death of his comrades. Even though the build-up to this point ignored Norts and Southers, here they're visually represented as two sides in a designer war, engineered by Clavel to generate profit. Despite later retcons, the dialog here suggests that this is a clean reboot of the original Rogue Trooper, as opposed to a shared universe.
Friday returns (with a new story) in the next stage...
 
Armoured Gideon (https://youtu.be/-Nbve6tK3ic) *NEW THRILL*
A psychic press photographer unwittingly captures images of the titular giant robot who splits his time between wiping out the demonic life of The Edge (a demon-dimension linked to Earth through plot-convenient temporary portals) and chasing down anyone who's taken his photograph. Fun things about Gideon are his emote-screen (an idea stolen from Mek-Quake), the inventive ways in which he eliminates enemies and of course his single catch-phrase ("Annihilate!"), which reminds us (latterly) of Shakara. The 1990 Sci-Fi Special has the medieval fantasy one-off Starhavon's Edge.
We next get to see Gideon in No, No, Nanette (prog 722)...

Shadows *NEW THRILL*
Ahead of its time: a cyberpunk thriller cross between Johnny Mnemonic and The Net (both from 1995), with a climactic nod towards The Matrix (1999), as Nina (an elite member of a heirarchical future society) loses her status and becomes a shadow-person.
The rather gloomy denouement left no clear path to a sequel so this is a one and done.

Universal Soldier (https://youtu.be/VeYJWJk2JPU): [Book Two]
Uhm...it's like The Magnificent Seven (minus six), but that's okay because this one guy's got a magic crystal that can turn him into Galactus. He drops that later, but gets a shag. Also, there are some men riding giant rhino-things.
Returns with The Indestructible Man, starting in prog 750...

Chronos Carnival *NEW THRILL*
Uhm...so there's this theme park inside a (big) spaceship, and sometimes dangerous triangular portals to other worlds open up inside some of the attractions, so the staff are also heavily armed (in case anything bad pops through), and adventurous. Like Scooby Doo, but with laser guns. The second adventure sees a tour around The Caverns Of Colony Five go awry as a superpowered neanderthal troll is set free.
And that's it for Chronos Carnival.

Indigo Prime (https://youtu.be/PzFCmDyK-68)
If you ever wondered what the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks is going on in Indigo Prime then you need to read prog 678, which has a guided tour of their facility and operatives, plus a back-cover diagram of their organizational structure. After that we get a set of adventures with paired operatives in Winwood & Cord, Downtime (680-681) and Fegredo & Brecht, How The Land Lied (which has two episodes both in prog 682).
More from the cast of thousands in the next stage...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k), The Final Solution
This section starts with a catch-up episode (sensible given that it started in 1988) before getting down to business: a business so impactful that it later gets referenced by Mike in the tv show Spaced (2001), as an attempt is made to rescue everyone trapped in a hell dimension. What's depicted here as a very permanent end to a major character (they disintegrate into a pile of bones) is re-considered to have been a tale from an untrustworthy narrator by the time 2010 swings around. As retcon shenanigans go, the level of salt it engenders is wonderfully dampened by the two decade gap and consideration of the wishes of various creators.

Following the grand tradition of prefixing Strontium Dog sub-titles with the world "Incident" (as was done with Incident At The Back O' Beyond, Incident On Mayger Minor, Incident On Zeta and Incident At The Birth Of The Universe) we now get Incident At The End Of The World (in the 1991 Annual), in which a criminal gets his just desserts.

The next Strontium Dog (singular) tale is in the 1992 Sci-Fi Special, but we don't see another series until the year 2000. On the other hand, Strontium Dogs (plural) starts up a non-Alpha sequence in prog 750, and pre-Final Solution Alpha guest stars in the Judge Dredd epic Judgement Day in 1992.

Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k) Goes Mental
Aciiiieeeed!
Bradley returns in the 1990 Winter Special...

Medivac 318 (https://youtu.be/8pv6R4Q669s): Arcturus
Medivac moves into orbit around Arcturus, where anti-human riots blend with anti-psychic pogroms to make for a dangerous rescue mission. A great ensemble piece where every character has something to do.
That's all she wrote for this.

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ): The Horned God, Book III
Having sought the four treasures (the spear, the sword, the cauldron and ... the other one) in the first book, and found them in the second, now Slaine gets to use them. The "never trust a woman" motif of much of the author's work comes to the fore here with Cathbad entoning almost exactly that with "you can never trust a female": in this case the Earth Goddess herself. Slaine slays Slough Feg, the old horned god, to become the new one: then there's a great flood. 
Slaine returns in the 1992 Yearbook, but skips the prog until 1993...

Dry Run *NEW THRILL*
Set on a post-apocalyptic earth, a group of telepathic warriors are blackmailed into carrying out a desert-set mission (a *cough* dry run) to retrieve a McGuffin. There's lots of riding around, swords flashing, flying jellyfish, giant crabs, half-buried submarines and so on: but much like Beyond Zero, it might be considered a lot of shouting about nothing.
Uno y listo.

---

Special Mentions

Bix Barton (https://youtu.be/-okDskhMLds): The Full English Breakfast
The 1990 Sci-Fi Special presents Marmite on toast as a possessed breakfast proves no match for a deftly handled brace of croissants, and a clear nod to camera.
More Marmite in the next Winter Special...

The Journal Of Luke Kirby (https://youtu.be/Fm5MutUaikE): The Dark Path
The 1990 Sci-Fi Special presents a follow-up tale to Summer Magic. In standing up to some local bullies, Luke Skywalker Kirby realizes that there's a dark side path to the force his powers.
Returns in 1992...

Lost In Zero [after Beyond Zero, after Night Zero]
The 1991 Annual features a tale that's a cross between Big (1988) and Ted (2012). There's always something creepy about kids with adult minds gettin' jiggy, and that's no different here.
Returns for another series in prog 731...

Moon Runners: The Homecoming
The 1991 Annual takes us on one final trip (pretty much literally), as the psychic navigator drops a bad tab.
And that's it for Moon Runners.

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 03 November, 2019, 09:26:52 AM
I hadn't really noticed the Blade Runner connection to The War Machine till you pointed it out, but now it's staring me in the face.  Even though my favourite Rogue story is Cinnabar (hear some Mick with a weird voice enthuse about it on Eamonn's podcast), I feel that something like the Friday story might be a better angle for Duncan Jones to introduce the character and his world.

Also I'd forgotten about the great little twist at the end: The wrecked, filthy planet Friday was sent to turns out to be our planet.  Of course, this was all retconned in later stories where it was suddenly called Nu-Earth again and there'd been Norts and Southers there all along.  Then there were two Nu-Earths as the original Rogue met Friday and everyone knew it was time to pack it in, seriously.

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 09 November, 2019, 10:31:44 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Stage #21: Rough in the Diamonds (progs 700-722)

The backwash from an explosion of struggling "grown-up" comics threatens to drown whatever made the golden age so damned shiny in the first place. There are still diamonds here (in the form of Shamballa in Anderson, Nightmares in Dredd and the surreal wonder of Hewligan's Haircut) but we are also faced with a mixture of curios and misfires that bode ill for the future.

(https://i.imgur.com/WGvNJig.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
We get a strong collection of post-Necropolis tales in Theatre Of Death, Nightmares, Wot I Did During Necroplis and Death Aid. Stand-out amongst these is Nightmares, which serves as a vital post-script to the epic in the same way as Tale of the Dead Man is a vital precursor. As Dredd undergoes reconstructive and rejuvenative treatment, Cadet Giant is sent out to provide aid to Yassa Povey, the young Cursed Earth boy to whom Dredd is terribly indebted. Death Aid marks a big change as John Wagner steps back to give Garth Ennis a pop in a follow-up story about The Hunter's Club.
More mixed-author Dredd in the next stage...
 
Time Flies (https://youtu.be/0ZME5jarH-8) *NEW THRILL*
Subpar 'Allo 'Allo depictions of World War II era Germans introduce this (predictably nouned) romp. It's Carry On Doctor Who, as broad, slapstick humour refuses to give way to anything approaching sublety. Also, there's a running set of (often homophobic) gags about how unmanly and untalented the twins from the popular beat combo Bros were.
Returns from the drawer in 1996 for a second series...

Nemesis (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ) & Deadlock (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI): Warlocks & Wizards
Deadlock meets up with Nemesis, so that they can fight to the death in order to be reborn. Well, it serves as an excuse for a fight, anyway. (Also, the rest of the ABC Warriors are still hanging around with Deadlock.)
The pair return in the next stage...

Hewligan's Haircut (https://youtu.be/muH88oX-ZS8) *NEW THRILL*
A surreal and quite sweet adventure about an off-kilter young man (with an accidentally mystical haircut) and his more adept traveling companion Scarlet O'Gasmeter: both trying to solve the mystery of why the world's got it in for Hewligan.
Tis a one and done.

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
Shamballa (clearly labeled a pre-Necropolis story) has Anderson team up with Sov PsiKop Amisov from East-Meg 2 as they investigate violent global psychic phenomena (linked particularly strongly to real-world Tibetan Buddhist mythology) that seem to herald the end of the world. Engram sees Anderson violently hallucinating after an encounter with three witches in the Cursed Earth.
Engram continues after a thirty-nine prog gap...

The Harlem Heroes *SOFT REBOOT*
The poor person's Leonard Smalls (https://youtu.be/j0mlMcIOHqE) (an unnamed "deadly assassin" with bionic eyes) flags down a passing high-speed train and then, when he realizes it's going to Albuquerque rather than his prefered destination of Los Angeles, he murders his way into the engineers's compartment and forces them to de-couple all the other cars (which tumble to their doom) before demanding to be taken to LA. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes (or even Shaggy from Scooby Doo) to realize that if LA is in the direction of current travel, one assumes he'll still have to pass through Albuquerque, because this is a train that travels (like trains do) on rails. If it's behind them, then he's going the wrong way (and has blocked the track with crumpled train cars). He couldn't just go to Albuquerque and get a connecting train?

Then there's an ED209 from Robocop, and more shooting and stuff so that the "Heroes" can clear their names by making sure that the public realize they're not those hired killers.

Despite multiple artists being drafted in to put this one out of its misery, it returns for a new series in prog 745...

Silo *NEW THRILL*
Perhaps inspired by a scene in WarGames (1983) featuring the two-man rule (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-man_rule) and definitely borrowing heavily from both The Shining and Die Hard, this is tonally a blend of 70s and 80s horror movies. Dark, bloody and somewhat confusing.
Tis a one and done.

Junker *NEW THRILL*
Probably more at home in the rough end of a stack of Starblazers, a knock-off Han Solo (more sexist shitheel than loveable scoundrel) and his non-human sidekick reluctantly help a distressed princess (with an outlandish hairstyle) by taking her for a spin in their hunk-a-junk spaceship.
Continues in the next stage...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Friday]
The splash made by the rebooted Rogue Trooper with The War Machine (see previous stage) perhaps led to the decision to publish the 1991 Rogue Trooper annual, which features classic Rogue reprint alongside new Friday-Rogue tales. Decoys is a cargo cult (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult)-inspired tale of desperate cunning to survive against the odds. The Undeath Project is a bit like a mash-up of Road Warrior (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Max_2) and Countess Dracula (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countess_Dracula) with added zombies. Bio-Death has Friday go up against a giant swamp scorpion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpion_Swamp) with the help of some holdouts who don't know the war is over. (As original Rogue discovered, it's not much of a story if the war is over.) Circus Daze repeats the classic horror offer of "we'll have you for dinner", and gifts us the only Hicklenton::Rogue interface.

In the prog we get The Golden Fox Rebellion (set on an Earth still torn apart by war - so the war doesn't seem to be over), which is as barmy as all the other Fleisher stuff clogging up the prog. For example, the security system on a stolen aircraft only kicks in once you've taken off, and then flies you into space. Whereas original RT had the clear cut sides of Nort and Souther, this war seems global and chaotic, with endless faction-fighting. This is probably more realistic a mirror of modern wars, but it's difficult to follow. Rogue joins up with the Golden Fox (Gaia from The War Machine) to battle the lazily-monikered Commander (a knock-off human Mekon crossed with Mandroid from The Eliminators (https://youtu.be/vbsQAs5aCUc)), by doing things like jumping on and hot-wiring a cruise missile whilst it's in flight.
 
Continues in the next stage...
 
Brigand Doom*NEW THRILL*
It's D for Vendetta, as a motiveless, murderous and unbeatable drug-addicted zombie-thug in a Dick Turpin outfit has weird eyes in a bleak dystopian metropolis. In terms of window-dressing, it's 1984 meets Taxi Driver. High on aesthetic but low on explanation, it may also have been ahead of its time as it predates (and latterly is reminiscent of) Complicity (Banks, 1993), Dark City (1998) and The Mask (John Arcudi, 1991).
Returns in the 1991 Sci-Fi Special...

Danzig's Inferno
Densely weird surreal world in which ... I don't know. Ask John Smith. (Mentally ill part-cyborg trapped in a lab tries to save the world from demonic mad-men by turning them into barbie dolls. Or Sindies. But most of what happens isn't that.)
Tis a one and done.
 
Indigo Prime (https://youtu.be/PzFCmDyK-68)
The 1990 Winter Special has  Fervent & Lobe: Holiday On Ice, which is sort of The Shining meets Skegness. Almaranda (from Fervent & Lobe: The Issigri Variations) returns for Alamaranda in 'Solstice' (720-721), which is a frying-pan-to-fire tale of just desserts.
Tremble...Indigo Prime returns in prog 735...
 
Armoured Gideon: No, No, Nanette (https://youtu.be/-Nbve6tK3ic)
A one-off that features the titular giant robot and a delusional man but fails to provide forward momentum to the over-arching plot. (I mean, the main character of the first series wasn't the robot. And still isn't. But where's Frank?)
Gideon next surfaces in the 1992 Sci-Fi Special...

---

Special Mentions

Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k) and the Social Worker
In the 1990 Winter Special we have moved on from the previous set (Bradley's Thesaurus of Modern Music) of tales and Bradley ends up being sectioned, much to the relief of his exhausted parents. If you take Bradley's tales at face value, this might be seen as justice. But most of his complaints (please let me dress myself, please let me choose my own music) seem reasonable. Him dismembering kidnapped women is something else: but perhaps he's exaggerating to try to liven up the social worker's day (as he suggests at the beginning of the tale).
Bradley's Bedtime Stories start up in 1992's prog 795...

Bix Barton (https://youtu.be/-okDskhMLds): The Disproportionate Man
This is in the 1990 Winter Special and features the ususal mugging to camera as a man causes things to be out of proportion, including (meta) the art in the strip. I guess this is like Deadpool if he was from Eton.
The Marmite continues to be spread in prog 723...

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Richard 09 November, 2019, 11:40:22 PM
I'm a bit late, but I loved Shadows, it's great. It's a shame it's not more widely recognised.

"Like Scooby Doo, but with laser guns" makes Chronos Carnival sound better than it is.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 12 November, 2019, 01:38:58 PM
Funt Solo, I am jealous of how thorough, pithy and accurate your reviews are! A real treat to read.
I'm very much looking forward to your sarcasm circuits being fully engaged, perhaps even overloaded, as we go through the next 3-5 stages!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 12 November, 2019, 01:44:22 PM
This has been one of my favourite threads on this board. Really great stuff. The only disappointment is when someone bumps the thread (like, er, I’m doing now) and it’s not a new entry!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 12 November, 2019, 01:45:52 PM
This has been one of my favourite threads on this board. Really great stuff.

Yup.

The only disappointment is when someone bumps the thread (like, er, I’m doing now) and it’s not a new entry!

Also yup!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 12 November, 2019, 06:59:19 PM
Thanks for the kind words - very buoying. Naming stages is fun, and having a re-skim of the old progs has been interesting. 

I'd completely forgotten the ending to Shadows, and would have imagined it to be much more upbeat (like in Hollywood). Instead they went for the double-twist.

I'm also trying to switch off my prejudices about certain strips and give a neutral account, but some things (*cough* Dry Run) make that difficult. They have a bit in that where some horsemen attack the heroes in one frame, but are skeletons in the next. Oops. Nobody has come out in defense of Dry Run, but usually there's a Squaxx for every thrill.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Aaron A Aardvark 12 November, 2019, 07:32:53 PM
This has been one of my favourite threads on this board. Really great stuff.

Yup.


Yup yup from me too. Great thread.  Fantastic work.
The only disappointment is when someone bumps the thread (like, er, I’m doing now) and it’s not a new entry!

Also yup!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 19 November, 2019, 04:43:05 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Stage #22: Full Colour Potential (progs 723-749)

Prog 723 launches as the first full colour prog, with a series of three Megascans (fold-out posters with reprinted stories in them). There's a sense now that the reserves are being brought on as several established properties are given over to new creative teams. Now, if Novak Djokovic is having a bad day, it's just not going to work out the same if he hands me his tennis racket and asks me to give it my best shot. The same is true when Robo-Hunter and Rogue Trooper get passed around as if strong creative teams aren't a vitally important part of the equation.

Cinnabar (see stage #18) worked because the character and the setting were honoured, even if the writing style was different. On the other hand, The Golden Fox Rebellion writes the trooper as just another action hero. You can swap Rogue/Friday out for Action Man, or Rambo (after First Blood), or G.I. Joe: there's simply no character there anymore. The setting has become a generic war zone, rather than the understandable binary conflict and poisonous atmosphere of Nu Earth.

Robo-Hunter suffers from the same issues: the character has become action-hero cheese with Arnie-like muscles (rather than hard-boiled detective, or the later comedic put-upon hard-boiled detective), the setting is just urban Generica and the writing style has gone from hi-jinks to troubled PCP-fueled delusions. The 1991 Sci-Fi Special has an article that talks about the intention of getting back to the more serious version of Sam presented in Verdus, but aims and results don't seem to match up well (and Gibson's amazing robot designs are sorely missed).

Holding our head above the water are often known quantities: Wagner gives us a sorry tale where Mean Machine becomes the victim in Travels with Muh Shrink, John Smith treats us to Killing Time and Revere while Steve Dillon raises Emerald Isle up to a classic status that belies it's haphazard tone. Simon Coleby manages a similar trick with the otherwise gung-ho and forgettable Saharan Ice-Belt War and then Myra Hancock's Tao de Moto manages to hold interest with a shorter format mini-epic tale of alien surrogacy.

(https://i.imgur.com/X6gdpWS.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
In Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home, a hold-out Citi-Def unit from the Apocalypse War wage hit and run attacks against what they imagine to be a Sov occupation. Emerald Isle is an odd mix of drama (an armed insurrection) and Looney Toons (the spud gun) as Dredd visits Murphyville and we first meet Judge Joyce. Return Of The King also strikes an odd tone as Chief Judge Silver (usually portrayed as gritty but flawed) comes back as a whimpering zombie: a precursor of the writer's obsession with zombies as we'll see in a later epic.
In the next stage: democracy!
 
Nemesis (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ) & Deadlock (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI): The Enigmass Variations
It's a comedy whodunnit (or, rather, who's-doing-it) as Nemesis hosts a party of all the most powerful warlocks in the galaxy (sci-fi and fantasy tropes, one and all): but one of them has brought along a demonic entity that is murdering the others one-by-one. Nemesis dresses up as Sherlock Holmes (masterfully shaking us free of our willing suspension of disbelief) to solve the mystery.
Nemesis next shows up in Bride of the Warlock, in the 1992 Winter Special, whereas Deadlock returns next stage in the classic Khronicles Of Khaos...

Robo-Hunter(*) [*HARSH REBOOT]
Hoagy's all muscly and evil, Cutie (a tiny robot that's basically metal tits and orifices) magically reforms herself (after having died in 1979, on another planet) because she feels like it (that's the literal explanation) and then Sam and her snog, but his voiceover mysoginistically complains about ugly girls being easy. The writer casts himself as a second Robo-Hunter (that, far in the future, watches MTV and listens to music from 1991), and he and Pseudo-Sam buddy up and go on the run from murderous robots - the main antagonist being a Terminator knock-off.

The 1991 Sci-Fi Special continues the travesty in Return Of The Puppet Master, in which Pseudo-Sam deliberately gives his nephew a killer robot toy as a birthday present because he hates him. The 1992 Yearbook has Killer Grannies, which is an extended rip-off of the Hell's Grannies Monty Python sketch (https://youtu.be/SmzMzmnB-iQ).

Continues (inexorably) in the next stage...

Bix Barton (https://youtu.be/-okDskhMLds)
It's Carry On Marmite as Bix tracks down the murderous cast of the Carry On movies with the copyright-baiting and aptly titled, erm, Carry On Barton. Next up a love plague descends on England and people start doing a mass lemming impersonation off the cliffs at Dover in Love Sick World.
Continues to divide the audience in the next stage...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Friday]
We get the final episode of The Golden Fox Rebellion, which is highly entertaining: Mandroid (https://youtu.be/dNAu_53vdMg) is defeated by making him bump his head. Then, when the suddenly resurrected Golden Fox (Gaia) and Friday are flirting, Mandroid sneaks up on them and steals her molecular disassambler ("it is, I suppose, some kind of audio-vibratory-physio-molecular transport device" (https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/fb3b1f57-c13f-43df-ba7b-25e0c79d418e)). As he attempts to escape through the floor, smugly boasting of his future evil machinations, Gaia snatches it back, causing an amusingly deadly floor::villain interface.

The Saharan Ice-Belt War ditches Gaia and moves continents (pausing on the way to rip off Jaws) and rinses and repeats the idea of Friday being with one gang against another gang, whilst continuing to dangle the carrot of shadowy villains pulling strings (which is pretty much the plot of The Hit). Hollow Town (in the 1991 Sci-Fi Special) sees Rogue and random new aquaintance fall under the spell of a psychic vampire whilst The Arena Of Long Knives (in the 1992 Yearbook) sees Rogue and random new aquaintance get forced to battle to the death in a millenia-old alien arena (on Earth) but with no explanation of how the aliens got there.
 
Returns in prog 780...

Tao De Moto (https://youtu.be/lU3Y6Z8MFjo): Forbidden Fruit *NEW THRILL*
Tao (a dancer fallen on hard times) gets offered tons of cash to be surrogate mother to an alien baby. When she tries to back out the Mysterons force the issue. This is interesting, but seems like it doesn't get anywhere in the time it has.
The 1993 Winter Special provides a coda....

Junker
Princess, jewel (that causes plot-handy malfunctions), space pirates (yay!), grenade-tossing sidekick, grumpy Junker, reveal of cunning battle skills, sexist Junker, reveal of hidden secret agenda justifying Junker's hatred of women, sudden multiple genocide, BOOM: the end.
Irresistably, it's junked.

The Mean Machine: Travels with Muh Shrink
Mean's first solo series in the prog sees him hypnotized and regressing to his peaceful younger self. Like that bit where people start taking photos of Kong (or the monster in Young Frankenstein (https://youtu.be/SmvuRJzads4)), we can hazard a guess at what's going to happen next. 
Mean had his first solo story in the 1982 Annual with Mean Machine Goes to Town, and has his next in the 1994 Judge Dredd Yearbook with Judgement on Gosham...

Below Zero [after Beyond Zero, after Night Zero]
Tanner starts behaving a bit like Deadpool, referring to flashbacks as if he knows he's in a comic. The story is Zero crossed with Total Recall, as punters in their hired alternate realities are somehow being murdered (killing both their electronic and real selves). It has a tricky third-act as Tanner spends several episodes being invincible whilst the antagonists stand around shouting at each other.
For Tanner and Zero City, the fat lady has now completed her song.

Indigo Prime (https://youtu.be/PzFCmDyK-68): Winwood and Cord - Killing Time
Murder on the Orient Express meets Jack the Ripper by way of Cthulhu, as Winwood and Cord take a steam train ride through time in an attempt to stop an occult entity from leaking out of its cage and destroying reality. More than any other Indigo Prime tale, this one stands up as having a clear beginning, middle and end.
Indigo Prime next shows up (in mufti) in 2008's Dead Eyes...

Dead Meat (https://youtu.be/dOEuLR95zBM) *NEW THRILL*
A militant vegan's wet dream, in which Inspector Raam (a humanoid ram) in a future flooded England is part of a totalitarian police force that has outlawed meat eating (it's considered murder) - even for animals. Which is pretty fucked up, because if you follow that logic then most of the animal kingdom needs to be locked up and starved to death. We're all just sunlight anyway, man!
A second series goads us into submission in 1992...

Revere (https://youtu.be/yjsu-SRDAOQ): Finder's Edge *NEW THRILL*
In a future London, global warming has turned England into a baking desert, and Revere stalks the ruins: a boy with mystical powers and a floating-head zombie mum. Then it gets weirder.
The second book comes out in 1992...

[The] Harlem Heroes featuring Slice: Death-Sport
CLAK | SNEK! | KLUD | THWAM | POOMM | BOOM | CLAK | KBLAMMM | WHROOOM | KA-RAAASH | KLIK | WHOCK | FWIP | CHONK | KLIK | KABLAM | WHUD | KZAAAKT | HCHUP! | AAAAAAA
Because you demanded it, sports fans, we get another slice of the Heroes in the next stage...
 
---

Special Mentions

Brigand Doom: Scary Monsters
The 1991 Sci-Fi Special has this Ghost of Christmas Doom tale as the Brigand's spirit shows the possessed inspector the reality for many of the downtrodden citizens.
Returns to the prog in the next stage...

Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ): The High King
In the 1992 Yearbook Slaine beats the crap out of a good-looking guy and then gets told by a zombie that instead of being ritually killed at the end of his kingship, he'll be sent through time to do the bidding of the Goddess. This is the set-up for what will be a series of Quantum Salmon Leap adventures (or Conan Does Time Tunnel) that dictate the direction of the strip for years to come.
Returns to the prog in 1993...

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 19 November, 2019, 06:21:45 AM
So many thrills so little thrill-power. You get to the nub of this problem so well Funt and I think that summary of NuHarlem Heroes is about the best I've ever read!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 19 November, 2019, 08:56:00 AM
Lorta'mercy I can feel my love of the Prog slowly dying as I read this entry. A few twinkling jewels (Killing Time, mainly) but so much ho-hum.  Although...

Dead Meat (https://youtu.be/dOEuLR95zBM) *NEW THRILL*
A militant vegan's wet dream, in which Inspector Raam (a humanoid ram) in a future flooded England is part of a totalitarian police force that has outlawed meat eating (it's considered murder) - even for animals. Which is pretty fucked up, because if you follow that logic then most of the animal kingdom needs to be locked up and starved to death.

... maybe Tharg has a claim on some Zootropolis cash?  Inspector Raam partnered with Officer Judy Hops, I'd watch/read that. (I'd watch anything with Hops in it, even Dead Meat 2)

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 19 November, 2019, 09:05:55 AM
Quantum Salmon Leap
Heh.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: norton canes 19 November, 2019, 09:51:39 AM

Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k)
This sequence was heralded as Bradley's Thesaurus of Modern Music, because after Bradley Visits His Grandpappy, he then goes on a quest to find him some good music and Meets Jason Donovan, Goes Gothic and Goes Gigging. (This has now given up all pretence of being on an alien planet.)


Just a quick interjection to say I how ecstatic I was that Bradley decided to attend a gig by Nitzer Ebb, at the time - and still - one of my favourite bands.

"Good gig, Doug!"
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dandontdare 19 November, 2019, 01:40:37 PM
a series of Quantum Salmon Leap adventures

*applause*
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 November, 2019, 03:10:19 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Stage #23: Khronic Ills (https://youtu.be/sRhTeaa_B98) of Tooth (progs 750-779)

If the first seven hundred progs were the early, turbulent, exciting stages of the River of Thrills, then we've now traveled downstream to the meandering plains. Mind you, this was the year that gave us Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch featuring Loleatta Holloway with Good Vibrations (https://youtu.be/LFzinoft6hY), so the cultural bar is set fairly low.

Towards the end of the stage, there's a heavy ad sequence for prog 780, which is being touted as the Megablast!

(https://i.imgur.com/E1JhIat.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
After an extended period of Comedy Dredd (from Ennis), Wagner returns to carry on the democracy storyline (which had recently helped launch the Megazine with the seminal America). The Devil You Know has Dredd pushing forward with a citizens' vote on whether to form a democratic government or stick with rule by the Judges. A splinter group of Judges plan a coup to stop what they consider an insane mistake. The follow-up, Twilight's Last Gleaming finds that voter turnout is weak and (against expectations) the Judge's win the vote by a comfortable margin. Justice One is a great space-set whodunnit from Ennis as the mission is threatened by a murderous Judge.
Judge Dredd::Dennis the Menace crossover Judgement Day, next stage...
 
Robo-Hunter(*): Escape From Bisleyland [*HARSH REBOOT]
Oh god ... this is a cross between Aliens and Escape from New York [see title], also stealing liberally from several childhood movies. For some reason, the president is a Graceland-era Elvis Presley. Tonally, this is all over the place. Journalists are publicly executed by secret service agents, Pseudo-Sam has a mum now, he's in love with Cutie (but, because he's a shitheel, he hates her body) and they're planning on getting married, she's got magic powers, Hoagy's there (but is summarily executed without comment) but Stogie's not. And none of that is central to the plot of trying to rescue Elvis from a theme park that's been taken over by cute robots. The original Robo-Hunter had a lightness to it that's entirely missing here: now blood splatters the camera as Pseudo-Sam is beaten by brass-knuckle wielding agents, and a young girl (the Newt from Aliens stand-in) is brutally murdered to fuel a cheesy pay-off line. It's like a psycopath's toy shop (or, more accurately, an infant playing with someone else's toys).
Psuedo-Hunter returns first in the 1992 Sci-Fi Special and also in the next stage...
 
Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)s *SPIN-OFF*
An atmospheric continuation of the storyline of The Final Solution, this follows Feral as he battles norm troops who are subjugating the mutie population of Britain. It's a dark tale where every victory is tainted with loss.
Returns in 1993...

Universal Soldier (https://youtu.be/VeYJWJk2JPU): The Indestructible Man
The cover of prog 751's headline says "Universal Solider is back! Any objections?" Well ... the key one would be my level of confusion. Is Kelly the same guy that was in the first two series? Or is the new guy with the scar the one from those? Or have I got those mixed up? Anyway: a company is bankrupting itself trying to destroy Kelly, but he's indestructible because he has a magic gem embedded in his chest. All he wants is to be left alone, so it would be cheaper for them to just leave him to it. Anyway, they hire scar-face to chase him down, which he does: but then him and Kelly become Tai Chi friends and teleport around the galaxy. There's a woeful parady of Slaine towards the end, but you need to be good in the first place to pull that off.
This is the last outing for the Universal Soldier, although the character-free Kelly turns up in the one-off 2000 AD Action Special, I think...

A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI): Khronicles Of Khaos, Book One
Lord of the Rings meets Warhammer 40K as hobbits and space marines inhabit this stupendously rendered tale of pagan wish-fulfilment. Even though Ro-Jaws is hangin' out, it's clear he's not a warrior, so Hammerstein, Blackblood, Joe Pineapples, Deadlock, Mongrel and Mek-Quake are joined by new recruit Morrigun (the first female warrior) as they begin their ritualistic murder mission to collect seven heads for Hekate. Oh, and it's a comedy: "Nobody honks on an ABC Warrior and lives!"
Returns for the second book in the next stage...

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I): Engram
After a 40-prog break, we get a single page "previously on", which wouldn't be a bad idea in modern Tooth for those long-break thrills. Cass is in a padded cell because her hallucinations are causing her to attack colleagues. She delves deep within her own mind, breaking through blocks placed there by Justice Department to close off a dark memory from her past. In a fascinating tale of patriarchal control, her own experience (of being molested by her father, who she then accidentally kills via her nascent psychic powers) is denied her for questionable reasons. Decades after this she's usually being drawn as a much younger version of herself: often sexualized. Still, as this tale has it, there's always hope.
Next shows up in the 1992 Judge Dredd Mega-Special...

Trash (https://youtu.be/9KzXFN6A0vI) *NEW THRILL*
I loved Silent Running (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Running) as a kid, but I re-watched it recently and one of the central plot strands is that Freeman Lowell, a botanist, doesn't understand photosynthesis. That only worked for kid-me because I was ignorant of how nonsensical that is. Anyway: imagine Greta Thunberg was Dirty Harry, and you're someway to the tone of this aggro-Green tale of totalitarian environmentalism. Central Park is taken over by an enormous sentient plant which can only be defeated through the power of long conversations. The enemy is *yawn* the unreasonably unreasonable man in charge. The hero *snore* is a Green Bobby who punches his way out of all problems. He's so inconsequential that he's not even in the final scene.
Tis a one an done.

Bix Barton (https://youtu.be/-okDskhMLds): The Bloated Case of the Fatted Keef
"A Tale of Ameobas and Cannibalism in Catford". Yup. (Also, there's an enormous god-like urinal filled with sloshing ... marmite?) Say it in a booming voiceover voice: "TOILETS ... IN ... SPACE!"
Bix returns in the 1993 Yearbook...

Durham Red (https://youtu.be/kjncq39dvIc): Island Of The Damned *SPIN-OFF*
Durham Red (still disturbingly draining the blood of her enemies) is imprisoned by the insane Gothlord, where the sweat of suffering prisoners is harvested as a psychadelic drug.
Red returns in the 1993 Yearbook...

Brigand Doom: Voodoo Child
Starring John Houseman, who played Mr. Bartholomew from Rollerball (1975), as Mr. Bartholomew from Rollerball. Brigand is reanimated under the control of a posh weirdo who's collecting zombies. Embarrassed by his own smell, he enlists the help of the investigator who killed him. Tellingly, this ends with pretty much the exact scene that ended the first series.
Next pops the nitrate capsules in the 1992 Sci-Fi Special...

Skizz II (https://youtu.be/27bRs1r_k8I): Alien Cultures *NOT BY ALAN*
Skizz has been quarantined on a barren planet whilst Cornelius is carrying around the computer brain of Skizz's ship on Earth. A wayward tale brings together the Earthly protagonists from the first series, and Skizz variously tries to kill himself then save Earth from extinction. Borrowing the idea of Earth's destruction used in Hitchiker's Guide, this is difficult to swallow because Skizz's race seemed powerful but fair in the original: and yet here they're unthinking and cruel.
A third book looms in 1994...

Finn (https://youtu.be/OLF9HQOr0ww) *NEW THRILL*
From Third World War in the pages of Crisis, comes contemporary Slaine-a-like Finn: an eco-terrorist with a mullet, battling evil alien gods in the guise of ... tremble ... accountants.
Book II starts in prog 807...

Tales from Beyond Science (https://youtu.be/FPGM05EsuoI) *NEW THRILL*
These are, erm, one-off tales from, uhm ... well, they don't make scientific sense, y'see. Tis like Tales of the Unexpected meets The Twilight Zone, so it is.
We get a final one of these in the 1994 Sci-Fi Special...

The Clown (https://youtu.be/zaEBErNQhiE) *NEW THRILL*
The Clown and his pony, Toby are best of friends, with a great working relationship. When thieves murder Toby, The Clown goes bananas and sets out for (operatic) revenge.
An intro to a second series crops up in 1993's prog 841...

[The] Harlem Heroes featuring Silver: Grey Ghost Overflight
A prequel in which Silver (an arms dealer) fights back when the trade show she's at is taken over by unlikely mercenaries seeking to hijack a stealth fighter. This wouldn't have been out of place in Hotspur.
Accounts Div brings this version of the Heroes back in 1995...

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 24 November, 2019, 03:55:45 PM
This really is where it all starts to go horribly wrong. Even Dredd is problematic, with basic editing failures regarding things like the population of Mega-City One, which bounces around all over the shop. Robo-Hunter is abysmal. Trash is pointless. There are some highs (notably Engram, but also some of Tales from Beyond Science and possibly Durham Red), some disappointments (Skizz II), and some bits and bobs that are flawed but still solid (ABC Warriors; Strontium Dogs). But Robo-Hunter is more the shape of things to come than Engram. Tharg should be thankful John Smith kept penning little slices of magic to be peppered throughout this era’s dross.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 24 November, 2019, 04:42:55 PM
...with basic editing failures regarding things like the population of Mega-City One...

I agree with everything in your post, IP, but could you elaborate on this bit?  As you know, the population of MC-1 is a subject close to my heart.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 24 November, 2019, 04:56:25 PM
Embarrassed by his own smell, he enlists the help of the investigator who killed him

More entertaining than the story.

The late Jim Baikie was an old friend of Moore (https://downthetubes.net/?p=42363)*, which why Skizz joined DR & Quinch on the small list of Alan Moore creations that malingered beyond his escape (https://youtu.be/YvOZ1LzSAig?t=2011) from Kings Reach Tower.


* DR & Quich's Agony Page suggests having once occupied the same vagina as Moore is another qualifying factor, so maybe Leah Moore could write Halo Jones Book 4?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 November, 2019, 05:36:35 PM
My memory of "Twilight's Last Gleaming" ending is that the apathy and fear of the Mega Citizens is sold by Ennis as some kind of endorsement of their system?  At the very least, the Dems just shrug their shoulders and give up rather than realise that the real war is only just begun?

This is a woeful time for the progs isn't it?  Presumably the Meg is all that is propping up House Tharg for me at this time, despite being denied most of the good artists still working in the progs
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 November, 2019, 05:38:06 PM
And is it wrong that it was only many, many years after Inferno that i connected Grice with this story?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 November, 2019, 05:45:35 PM
Just reread the last few pages... dear Grud! As for the wonky figures - 43 million vote is 35% of voters - so 130 million voters?  In a city of 400-500 million?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Frank 24 November, 2019, 06:16:31 PM
Just reread the last few pages... dear Grud! As for the wonky figures - 43 million vote is 35% of voters - so 130 million voters?  In a city of 400-500 million?

That story was set shortly after Necropolis.

The population was down to 400 million after The Apocalypse War. I'm not sure anyone bothered to tell us how much it had recovered by the time of Necropolis, but the Dark Judges' time in charge is bound to have eaten into any baby boom significantly.

Assuming voter registration in MC1 is proportionally similar to that of present-day UK (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration/bulletins/electoralstatisticsforuk/2018)*, an electorate of 130 million would give a total population of around 200 million. I mean, it's all bollocks, but that's what I've got.


* I suppose there's reason to assume registration might be even more apathetic even than today
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 November, 2019, 06:31:20 PM
60 million estimated dead at the end of Necropolis - Judgement Day repeats that figure.  So maybe 350 million, not all voting age.  Doesnt look like you have to register to vote, just press a button - lots of slobbish Cits shown with the power to vote, but not really understanding why it is in their habs!

The resolution of "TLG" is hideous - I often wonder why Right wingers like Dredd when it iss clearly a satire against them. .except here, nope - Dredd is right, the people wanting freedom are wrong, it isnt for them and the sooner they "grow up" and accept  that there is a class fit to rule over them.... yikes!!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 November, 2019, 09:11:34 PM
The Devil You Know (by Wagner) presents the average citizen as an out of touch ignoramus who doesn't understand what the referendum is, when it is, how to participate or what's at stake.

Twilight's Last Gleaming (by Ennis) is generally well written but there are a couple of key problems. The population of the city is given as 800 million, which is the pre-Apocalypse War value. A sign of Dredd's encroaching senility?

Voter apathy has only 35% of the citizens take part. (It was about 50% in the last presidential election in the US. Local Washington state elections recently this month were below 30%). It's a landslide for the Judges, with 68% of the vote (23% pressed both buttons, 9% voted democracy). I took this as a sign that the vast majority of the citizenry just don't care who's in charge - and that the Dems are a big movement, but not when scaled up to the entire city. I would have thought most sane people wouldn't vote for Trump (because he espouses what I consider to be evil doctrines), but he won the presidency. So: the idea that people will vote for Scunthorpes isn't all that alien.

The bit I hated was when Blondel Dupre weeps and, cowed before her master, says "You are the law, Judge Dredd." It just smacks of a male dominance scenario that doesn't ring true for either Dupre or Dredd.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Greg M. 24 November, 2019, 09:21:32 PM
Twilight's Last Gleaming (by Ennis) is generally well written but there are a couple of key problems. The population of the city is given as 800 million, which is the pre-Apocalypse War value. A sign of Dredd's encroaching senility?

If you mean the quotation on the final page, it is exactly that - a quotation from Prog 59, correctly labelled as being stated by Dredd in 2100.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 24 November, 2019, 09:36:07 PM
Twilight's Last Gleaming (by Ennis) is generally well written but there are a couple of key problems. The population of the city is given as 800 million, which is the pre-Apocalypse War value. A sign of Dredd's encroaching senility?
If you mean the quotation on the final page, it is exactly that - a quotation from Prog 59, correctly labelled as being stated by Dredd in 2100.

That's true, but he also says it in the present in prog 754 (not as a dated quote).

Also, as pointed out by Leigh, the figure given of 43,000,000 being 35% of voters provides us with a voting population of 122,857,143.

Current US voting age population percentage of total population is something like 76%. Assuming MC-1 is similar (using my space maths), that would give a population of 161,654,135.

From previous guesses, it should be somewhere in the region 340-400 million (post-Apoc, post-Nec).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 24 November, 2019, 10:02:11 PM
Yeah, this is where the wheels come off - Wagner establishing the Cits as laughably ill informed and apathetic, well that was just more spot on future prediction.  Having the predictable outcome of the citizens having been dumbed down and beaten down to the point they can't imagine a future free of the Judges?  fine, a stark warning, a horrible, depressing outcome.

Having that resolution presented as a positive, as the "right" thing - a "triumph of the will" you might say... having the few citizens who still care enough just throw up their hands and give in, and have that painted as a victory?  I generally stand up for Ennis over other early non Wagner writers, but this is as stinky as it gets and it isnt a one off for Garth, as we see again in Helter Skelter, where the libtard journalist(?) is schooled in why JUDGES ROOL!

[quote author=Funt Solo link=topic=45960.msg1018133#msg1018133 date=1574629894

The bit I hated was when Blondel Dupre weeps and, cowed before her master, says "You are the law, Judge Dredd." It just smacks of a male dominance scenario that doesn't ring true for either Dupre or Dredd.
[/quote]
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 25 November, 2019, 05:42:41 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)

Stage #1: Launch (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1009836#msg1009836)(progs 1-35)
Stage #2: Settling In (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1009917#msg1009917)(progs 36-85) Stage #2.5: Starlord (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011308#msg1011308)
Stage #3: Starlord Merger (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1009950#msg1009950)(progs 86-126) Stage #3.5: Tornado (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011318#msg1011318)
Stage #4: Tornado Merger (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011408#msg1011408)(progs 127-177) The Proto-Millsverse (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011476#msg1011476)
Stage #5: Going It Alone (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011526#msg1011526)(progs 178-221)
Stage #6: Key New Thrills (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011619#msg1011619)(progs 222-272)
Stage #7: Post-Apocalypse (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011781#msg1011781)(progs 273-307)
Stage #8: Mooreland (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011889#msg1011889)(progs 308-334)
Stage #9: Golden Jump-On (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012040#msg1012040)(progs 335-386)
Stage #10: Golden Stutters (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012466#msg1012466)(progs 387-434)
Stage #11: Going Out (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012534#msg1012534)(progs 435-467)
Stage #12: Rage (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012982#msg1012982)(progs 468-499)
Stage #13: Bad Company (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1013385#msg1013385)(progs 500-519)
Stage #14: Transmute! (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1013574#msg1013574)(progs 520-531)
Stage #15: Wizards of Oz (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1014007#msg1014007)(progs 532-570)
Stage #16: Summer Magic (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1014451#msg1014451)(progs 571-588)
Stage #17: Unstable Growth (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1014743#msg1014743)(progs 589-613)
Stage #18: Split Tales (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1015706#msg1015706)(progs 614-649)
Stage #19: The Dead Man (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1016170#msg1016170)(progs 650-670)
Stage #20: Necropolis (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1016642#msg1016642)(progs 671-699)
Stage #21: Rough in the Diamonds (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1017080#msg1017080)(progs 700-722)
Stage #22: Full Colour Potential (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1017709#msg1017709)(progs 723-749)
Stage #23: Khronic Ills of Tooth (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1018108#msg1018108)(progs 750-779)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 25 November, 2019, 01:10:45 PM
Stage 23 is exactly the point where I'd outgrown both the Beano and Whizzer 'n Chips, and embraced 2000AD hard.
I didn't understand a lot of the strips, didn't get a lot of the jokes (especially on Ennis Dredd), but at the time assumed it was because I wasn't quite old enough and would find it all utterly brilliant in a few years. By the time we got to Babe Race 2000, I realized it wasn't actually me who needed to do more growing up...

NB I'm still waiting to be old enough to understand Revere.

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 25 November, 2019, 09:46:02 PM
Thanks for the list of Stages so far. I can now confirm with an absolute minimum of effort that 'Khronic ills of tooth' is the best title to date (maybe 'Khronic ill in the thrills') would have worked as well.

Its also important to salute as well as producing one of the all time great threads that linkie make me snort with laughter in an almost painful way.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 December, 2019, 01:38:41 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Megazine: Vol. 1 (America) (1.01-1.20)

Whilst Judge Dredd has dominated 2000 AD since prog 2, consistently being there (having skipped only 2 progs up to 1991) and having its own Annual from 1980 onwards, it wasn't until 1988 that the Sci-Fi Special got a new sibling in the form of the Judge Dredd Mega-Special. That first special, playing off the idea of world Judges that had shown up in the prog, presented Dredd's World and suggested that there was an entire globes's worth of content waiting to be written about:

(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/judgedredd/images/5/5e/Dredd%27s_World.jpg)


Some time in development, the first Judge Dredd Megazine was released in October 1990, and ran monthly for twenty issues before converting to a fortnightly format as a second volume. It's difficult to measure 2000 AD without including the content of the Megazine as it launched characters and throughlines that at times overshadowed the content in the weekly that spawned it. America, for example, has characters that echo out over the Dredd saga all the way to the present, and in that sense, we can't really untangle the two comics.

(https://i.imgur.com/vP8dcwY.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Of course Judge Dredd is the title strip in his own Megazine, but it's overshadowed by the superlative America [see below] in the first seven issues. Probably the most memorable tales here are Midnite's Children (a bleak comedy about a murderous dynasty of doomed psychopaths) and Black Widow (well ahead of 1995's Species (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_(film))): a Hicklentonian rendition of horror and a sequel to the classic 1985 morphing alien parasite tale from the prog - Nosferatu.

Raptaur pits Dredd against a bullet-proof, blast-proof, razor-toothed, poisonous, betentacled, hypnotic, stealth-capable alien that is feeding copiously on the cits. This series is notable for Dredd's gritty method of stopping himself falling to his death: he impales his own hand using his trusty boot knife. Also of note is the first appearance of Psi-Judge Karyn, who gets her own series in 1994. A friendly-ish raptaur later becomes a pet of sorts in 2004's The Simping Detective.

In Volume 2, Dredd crosses over with the prog's latest mega-epic...

Chopper (https://youtu.be/Uw9lIwadvVs): Earth, Wind & Fire *RETCON*
Given that Chopper met a tragic (and seemingly permanent) bullet-ridden fate at the finishing line of Supersurf Eleven (in Song of the Surfer), it was a surprise for readers to see him pop back up and brush himself off a few months later seemingly none the worse for wear.

Where it's precursor (with all the fireworks and blood) was an examination of how media-driven spectacle could lead to gladitorial inhumanity (whilst also perhaps being a study of the futility of a macho mindset), this particular boogie wonderland (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=god7hAPv8f0) mashes up the moral of Crocodile Dundee (don't fuck with a bushman on his home turf - or - biggest knife wins) with rote stereotypes of ocker Aussies - like a Chief Judge who's always drunk and wears a cork-adorned cattleman's hat.

A bit like when the A-Team defeated a gang of heavily armed thugs with a cabbage-firing tractor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrFkCVyd4sQ), here we must swallow defeat of one's gun-toting enemies by harsh language, posturing and well-timed beheading with a surf board whilst traveling at speed through the cab of a truck. Strewth, mate!

Returns in issue 2.36 with Dead Man's Twist...

Young Death (https://youtu.be/vNpAoZcIM_A): The Boyhood Of A Superfiend
In an epitome of dark comedy, Judge Death (lodger of the mostly blind and befuddled Mrs Gunderson) dictates his life story to investigative journalist Brian Skuter. Young Death (a boy named Sidney) has a penchant for offing those he finds troublesome that is not unlike that depicted in The Wasp Factory (Banks, 1984). Whereas that allows a restorative conclusion of sorts, Death's never quite satisfied: there's always another sinner to judge (as well as solving the thorny problem of his own mortality).

It seems somewhat rushed at the end, and the other three Dark Judges are thinly drawn dudes who seem oddly keen on becoming really fucked-up superfiends. We can pretty much buy into Death's whole shtick, but it would be interesting to see why Fire (for example) opted for (or was doomed to become) a flaming skeleton, as opposed to just a similar entity to Death.
 
Death returns in Volume 2 for a nice cuppa...

Judge Dredd: America (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
A seminal tale of the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism in Mega-City One, and also a love story, and also a favorite of John Wagner with superlative art by Colin MacNeil. In some ways it's the perfect encapsulation of Dredd's world: something you could give to anyone who hadn't read Dredd so that they could get it. On the other hand, the focus on the plight of the citizenry clearly places Dredd in the role of antagonist, which isn't always true in the general arc of the character.

America Jara is the daughter of Porta Rican immigrants, and grows up friends with Bennett Beeny. As she joins a pro-democracy movement and becomes involved with their militant wing (Total War), Beeny becomes a famous singer and their lives drift apart: until a crisis reunites them in tragedy.
 
There's a direct sequel that begins in 1996's issue 3.20...

Beyond Our Kenny
A sequel to 1986's The Art of Kenny Who?, which was a combination of the classic Who's On First? (https://youtu.be/2ZksQd2fC6Y) sketch and Cam Kennedy's real encounter with some U.S. suits with a poor cabability for appelational comprehension. During the first adventure, Who? was cubed (for fighting back against corporate art thieves), and now his wife and kids have come to the Big Meg to track him down. Get ready for plenty of this sort of thing: "Name?" | "Who?" | "You!"
I may be skipping one, but there's a sequel that starts in 2005's issue 228...

Al's Baby (https://youtu.be/j4pHAMPUFvQ)
Well in advance of Arnie-vehicle Junior (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junior_(1994_film)) from 1994, this comedy tells the tale of mobster Al Bestardi, brow-beaten into carrying his wife's baby to term. That she's also the daughter of the mob boss explains his motivation. Cue morning sickness vomit all over the Godfather, Al's Ratso Rizzo-like mobster buddy Sal making him quit his beloved cigars and escalating levels of gang violence as Al works through his pregnancy.
More from Al in 1992's issue 2.16...

Judge Edwina's Strange Cases
A one-off format, later replaced by Tales From the Black Museum (in 2006), the Strange Cases were relatively short-lived, with only nine in total spread out over three years, and cropping up in Mega-Specials and Yearbooks.
There are a couple more of these in upcoming Mega-Specials, then that's it.

Red Razors (https://youtu.be/VfdoyjoZgNs)
The author stars in an alternate reality where Dredd's world is a pile of day-glo poo. Sorry, sorry: the politeness and balance bafflers got switched off for a moment there. Try again: in the future of Dredd's world, East-Meg Two is culturally like an episode of Happy Days. Judge Razors (a reconditioned ex-con, and a self-confessed complete dick) and his colleague, Judge Ed (a talking horse with a Judge badge stapled to his chest), ride into battle against perps - gunning them down with abandon. It's all just so hateful: I'll let Kryton describe Red Razors for us (https://youtu.be/RXKlC8ph7mM), but there's not much anyone need add to the character's own description of himself: "I prefer to be nasty". Fair enough: I prefer not to read about you.
Ye gods: more Razors in the next Mega-Special...

Armitage (https://youtu.be/LZSPHPBZFDU)
A Brit-Cit detective Judge in the mould of Jack Reagan (The Sweeney) and Inspector Morse, Armitage is teamed up with rookie Treasure Steel in an Agatha Christie-like murder mystery as various high-level Judges within the New Old Bailey meet grisly ends in quick succession.
A sequel begins in 1992's issue 2.10...

The Straitjacket Fits (https://youtu.be/fZ5rbcHah-s)
A surreal comedy of varying episodic page-length (sometimes a one-pager, but ranging around like ... a lunatic) follows the adventures of Doctor Drongo Stabbins, newly arrived at one of those fictional insane asylums populated by likeable crazies (including Randle McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). Will the lunatics take over the asylum?
The Final Fit arrives in the 1993 Judge Dredd Yearbook...

Heavy Metal Dredd
These one-offs start out with some obvious link to rock music (the first is Dredd as a song, the second riffs on Pinball Wizard, the third references Ozzy Ozbourne) but then that either gets forgotten altogether or just obscure enough that you might not notice.
Sparks back up in issue 2.13...

Middenface McNulty: Wan Man an' His Dug
Top Dogs in the 1991 Judge Dredd Annual had set up the direct link between Strontium Dog and Judge Dredd through the narrative tool of time travel, and in this broad comedy the same technique gets applied with McNulty involved in the paradoxical shenanigans.
Gies his lumps agin in 2001's issue 3.76...

Brit-Cit Babes
We follow the Brit-Cit Vice Squad's undercover investigation of a people-trafficking operation. It's sort of a cross between The Sweeney and Charlie's Angels. There seems to be legs for Shea, who's a judge with pyrokinetic powers, but the series came and went in a flash and ended on something of a downer.
Tis one and done.

---

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/1.01.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/1.07.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/1.09.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/1.12.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/1.15.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/1.16.jpg)
---------------------------------------

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 18 December, 2019, 12:09:36 PM
Great stuff as always, Funt.  The decapitation with the surfboard thing always bothered me - Jug McKenzie suddenly becomes a murderer?  I mean, I think Chopper had already had a perfect death and shouldn't have come back at all, but if he has to, a little bit of subtlety wouldn't hurt.

Also agree about the characterisation of the other three Dark Judges in Young Death - Kek-W's Deadworld  stuff is doing it better.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 03 January, 2020, 06:16:42 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #24: Don't Believe the Hype…
and
Meg: Vol. 2.1 (Swimming in Blood)

In early 1992 (as prog 780 launched the much-hyped Megablast jump-on) the Megazine re-launched as the fortnightly Volume 2 and a few weeks later we got the first direct crossover-thrill in the form of the Judge Dredd mega-epic Judgement Day (featuring special guest star Dennis the Menace). That sort of sums up this era: on the one hand we get amazing new content (Button Man, Devlin Waugh, Dredd teaming up with Alpha) and on the other there's a sort of childlike spattering of colorful paint across the walls of the living room while nobody's looking (in the form of Kola Kommandos, Return to Verdus and a zombie-apocalypse-musical that leaves a bewildered Dredd looking on and trying to look taciturn).

(https://i.imgur.com/eUX3dNl.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
The major event here is the mega-epic Judgement Day, running concurrently in the prog and the meg (the latter for each third episode), and so floating in at twenty episodes, four artists and 150 pages of pressure to purchase both publications. Ennis ladles it on by making it a globe-trotting, multi-Meg, multi-Judge force adventure to save the planet from an unstoppable zombie horde consisting of everyone who's ever died. Roll in a pontificating stage villain (Sabbat the Necrophagus) who keeps Dennis the Menace as a pet and likes to put on stage shows for his captives, and you end up with an odd blend of deadly threat and camp spectacle.

Clearly in need of some grit, Johnny Alpha is teleported in from the future (inspired by 1990's Top Dogs story in the 1991 Judge Dredd Annual) as Dredd buys some time by nuking three of the world's Mega-Cities, at the loss of two billion lives. The climax is Carry on Dirty Dozen before Dredd and Alpha swagger off into the (apocalyptic, highly radioactive) sunset for all the world like Rooster Cogburn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooster_Cogburn_(character)) and Jesse Custer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Custer).

The prog and meg disentangle themselves, with the next crossover waiting until 1994...

---

In The Prog...

Kola Kommandos [NEW THRILL]
Hector Doldrum, a suit who works for the ethically moribund Okay Kola Kompany, investigates the mysterious other-dimensional eighth floor of his office to find evil experiments agogo, and then is sacked. He falls in with the Kola Kommandos, a militant group who are attacking the OKK. And then an obese guy in a cape (Captain Cholesterol) is sent after him (even though they just kicked him out) and also an invincible moon-man. And there are sentient teddy bears in a weird dream dimension. It's like someone read Third World War in Crisis, then took the RPGs Paranoia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_(role-playing_game)), Toon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toon_(role-playing_game)) & Traveller (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveller_(role-playing_game)) before just rolling on a bunch of random encounter tables and calling it a plot.
Tis a one and done.

A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI): Khronicles Of Khaos, Book II
This second half of the saga begins with a makeover prologue (missing from the Mandarin reprint) in which the copious damage the warriors suffered at the end of the previous section gets repaired, with the unfortunate side effect of mending Hammerstein's half-dreadlocked metal fatigue helmet (first introduced in Book IV of Nemesis back in 1984). Carrying on from where they left off last time, the warriors continue on their beautifully-painted quest for the remaining three heads they need for their sacrifice to Hekate, the planet of khaos. The moral seems to be: do as thou wilt, as long as that doesn't involve running other people's lives for them.
The warriors spread more of their word in 1994's Hellbringer, although Blackblood gets his own outing in the 1992 Winter Special...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Friday]: Apocalypse Dreadnought
Fleisher does some rinse and repeat, starting this new series off by having Friday ditch his sidekick before traveling to a new continent (like in the last series) and immediately leading the locals into a deadly maze of corridors (like in the last series but one).  At a local fishing village, he goes diving and finds a magic spaceship with a psychic alien manta ray pilot and together they fly through space to Nova-Corp (the baddies) HQ and blow their planet up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp-Ys_iFwnM). Friday is left floating in a bubble in space. In John Smith and Chris Weston's  Enfleshlings (1993 Yearbook) it's Friday meets Killing Time, as a demonic entity (in a classicly styled haunted house) threatens to consume any lone soldiers that happen along asking for a cup of sugar.
Friday gets sporadic for a while, next cropping up in the 1993 Sci-Fi Special...

Button Man (https://youtu.be/AckMAqZG88Y) [NEW THRILL]
In this taut thriller, Harry Exton takes a job as a modern-day gladiator: illegally battling to the death (or, sometimes, the loss of a finger) for the benefit and glory of his rich employers: the "voices". It's only when he tries to leave the game that he realizes that there's only one way he'll be allowed to retire. Of the much-hyped Megablast line-up, this is the one that surprised and delighted the most (with the Khronicles, after all, being something of a known quantity, however beautifully wrought).
We get a highly sought second series in 1994...

Zenith (https://youtu.be/p0p8xlc6lIU): Phase IV
The final phase of Zenith is presented in full colour and has a taut structure: immediately we are told that the Lloigor have taken over Earth, and that seemingly only Peyne remains as their plaything. As he is magically made younger, we go back in time to find out how this point was reached. Eventually the narratives meet, although throughout, things seem darkly devoid of hope.
Continues unbroken into the next stage...

Tharg's Dragon Tales [NEW THRILL]
Tharg's Dragon Shocks, more like.
This is it. I guess these could return at some point, right? Tharg?

Robo-Hunter(*) [*REBOOT]
John Smith and Chris Weston have a go at new Robo-Hunter in the 1992 Sci-Fi Special with Something for the Weekend, Sir?, in which Psuedo-Sam laments the cancellation of his three prostitutes and refers to his barber as a dago before everything descends into Sweeney Todd with robots. Return to Verdus sees Psuedo-Sam kidnapped by Jessica Cutie, there to be tortured and executed for his mass genocide of the planet back in his first adventure (Verdus, 1979). It's not abundantly clear how they've resurrected themselves, but here they all are. Psuedo-Sam is busted out by some alien Robo-Hunters and then there's lots of shooting and yelling, forests made of decomposing body parts and another theme park. The 1993 Yearbook dishes out The Succubus, which is an extended combat sequence between a murderous giant Butler droid and Psuedo-Sam, set in a flooded Manhatten. The script openly derides the time when Robo-Hunter had "cute little robots with a song for every occasion", but fails to offer up a better formula with this repetetive Generic Tough Guy Defeats Big Enemy schtick.
Return to Verdus continues into the next stage...

Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k): [Bradley's Bedtime Stories #1]
Bradley was locked away in 1990 in the Institute for Wayward Individuals, but The Great Escape sees him abscond (using parkour when it was still rad) and track down his parents, thus giving us a chance to listen to his Bedtime Stories in the form of The Little Were-Maid, The Ice Queen, The Nightingale and The King's Birthday Suit.
More bedtime stories in the next stage...

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/781.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/787.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/789.jpg)
---------------------------------------


In The Meg...

Devlin Waugh (https://youtu.be/su3M7IIY8vs): Swimming In Blood [NEW THRILL]
One of the best character introductions of all time: this presents the titular toff as (in the author's words) "Noel Coward played by Arnold Schwarzenegger", a "spiritual envoy" working for the vatican in Dredd's world. We meet him as he is sent to Aquatraz (an underwater prison with a layout in the shape of a seahorse) to tackle a vampire incursion.
Our next meeting with Devlin is fleeting as we get a Brief Encounter in 2.26...

Armageddon (https://youtu.be/A10GKrQUE-Q): The Bad Man [NEW THRILL]
Borrowing heavily from Terminator, Total Recall (literally lifting the "Open your mind!" scene) and, uh, The Bible, this derivative slice of action pie enigmatically ends on a cliffhanger without fully explaining itself. There's a hint in Meg 1.19 that this is going to explain the origins of Mega-City One, but it never explicitly does that, instead telling us of a shadowy organization using globabl destablization as an excuse to grab power (while a psychic runs away from a mysterious assassin).
Tis one and done, as per the contractual shenanigans.

Soul Sisters [NEW THRILL]
An avant garde, campy, technicolor romp set sixty-two years beyond the Dredd timeline in Brit-Cit: the Soul Sisters are a pair of handy (in a fight) vigilante nuns. I can't tell you the plot beyond that because however many times I sit down to read it, I find myself losing the will to live and then my id autopilots me onto something less lethal. In the 1993 Judge Dredd Yearbook The Dark Nuns Return has the Sisters come back from the grave to help a Brit-Cit that has been plunged into hell by, erm, John Major.
And that's it for the Soul Sisters. You may thank God in His mercy (or the two Daves who stopped writing it). Or maybe you loved it, in which case I apologize.

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
The 1992 Judge Dredd Mega-Special features the tragic two-part Baby Talk, in which a narcotic ingested by a pregnant addict gives her embryo psi powers. Meg 2.08's Blythe Spirit sees an insanely tortured soul set loose on a packed block. It's notable for two things: Anderson is continually followed around by a wind machine (because it's David Roach on art) and the climactic line is "Kill the chicken!" George (in the 1993 Judge Dredd Yearbook) is a weak-sauce, one-note joke strip about a satanic tapeworm (called George).
Anderson continues into the next Meg stage...

Judge Hershey: Downtime
The second solo outing for Hershey (since 1989's Mega-Special) sees her dealing with a violent drug outbreak at her local gym. (Yes, there is exposition explaining why she's at a local gym as opposed to a Justice Department facility.)
Hershey has more tales in the next Meg stage...

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.04.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.05.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.07.jpg)
---------------------------------------


Special Mentions

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)
The 1992 Sci-Fi Special has "An Untold Tale of Johnny Alpha" by Peter Hogan, which the contents page sub-titles as The Walking Lady. Set prior to the events of The Ragnarok Job, this sees Johnny and Wulf stalking a wanted man and seeking the help of a mystical blind woman. Meanwhile, Dead Man's Hand (in the 1993 Yearbook) really should be super-titled as Strontium Dogs, as it's a Feral tale. In a narrow-band game of high stakes poker, Feral reveals himself as an on-the-run card shark with no morals, willing to be the first to violence just to get along. He's not even a real S/D agent: he just has Alpha's old badge.
We have a long wait for Alpha's next story: The Kreeler Conspiracy in 2000 AD (the year, that is). Feral returns next stage in the woefully out of tune Return of the Gronk...

Brigand Doom
The 1992 Sci-Fi Special gives us Death's Door, in which Investigator Nine realizes she's been having nightmares about Doom since she was a child, and that she's addicted to his vials of magic drug-stuff. He's a bit like a zombie stalker now, asking her to be his undead girlfriend. The 1993 Yearbook follows up with Portrait of the Artist in which Doom (accompanied by his little cloud of flies) decides to execute vassals of the state such as, erm, art gallery security guards, an artist and a random politician. Fuck: even Finn was a bit more choosy than that. The detectives ignore the papier-mâché'd murder victim in his y-fronts as the tale of Brigand Doom unwittingly strays into Bix Barton territory.
Next stage starts up a new mini-series in the prog...

Armoured Gideon (https://youtu.be/-Nbve6tK3ic): Making Movies 1992 Sci-Fi Special
This serves as the third stepping stone between the first and second series as Armoured Gideon gets his big break in the film business going up against a demon-possessed mechasaur.
We get a proper second series for this starting in 1993...

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8): House of Pain 1992 Sci-Fi Special
An actual Rogue Trooper story, as opposed to the new Friday dude that's hogging the prog. Because The Hit had the shit ending of Rogue just wandering off like a disgruntled hippy, this is by necessity set before that happened, so he's still on Nu Earth. Unfortunately, it's an early Miller so doesn't make much sense. Plot: Rogue is captured by egg-headed mutant hillbillies who stick him with forks until he gets pissed and retaliates.
Rogue (not Friday) turns up again in the 1994 Yearbook...

Red Razors (https://youtu.be/VfdoyjoZgNs)
The 1992 Judge Dredd Mega-Special regales us with The Secret Origin Of Comrade Ed, in which we discover that Ed got deliberately transformed from human to sentient horse in order to escape an ugly girlfriend with a psycophathic father. The 1993 Judge Dredd Yearbook has Razors take on a gang of homicidal medical men in the risible Doctor's Orders.
A second series of this ... thing ... transits from the Meg to the prog in 1994...

Durham Red (https://youtu.be/kjncq39dvIc): Ring My Bell 1993 Yearbook
A thin tale about Durham tracking down a bounty at the Blackpool amusements. Then she drinks his blood. Because she's a vampire. Sort of. It's never really explained.
We get a new mini-series for Red in 1994...

Bix Barton (https://youtu.be/-okDskhMLds): The Mouth Thief 1993 Yearbook
The Marmite is spread thickly with this very literal tale of someone who steals people's mouths and grafts them onto his face. It's gross, it's bizarre: it's Bix Barton.
Bix, temporarily relegated to the subsidiary publications, next returns in the 1993 Sci-Fi Special...

The Straitjacket Fits: The Final Fit - The Relapse (https://youtu.be/fZ5rbcHah-s) 1993 Judge Dredd Yearbook
A follow-up to the Megazine's Volume #1 comedy, this provides a self-referential, self-confessed lack of resolve whose most impressive moment is a riff on Arkham Asylum (McKean & Morrison, 1989).
The sub-title speaketh true, and this is indeed the last of this.

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/specials/mediumres/SCIFI92.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/specials/mediumres/2000AD93.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/specials/mediumres/DREDD93.jpg)
---------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 03 January, 2020, 07:39:00 AM
Bonus points for referencing the craziest of RPGs Toon!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 03 January, 2020, 05:41:42 PM
Just realized I've been misspelling taut as taught, though. Oh well, you live and learn.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 03 January, 2020, 06:23:32 PM
Just realized I've been misspelling taut as taught, though. Oh well, you live and learn.
Looks fine to me. Ahem. Cough. Etc.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 03 January, 2020, 06:27:02 PM
Just realized I've been misspelling taut as taught, though. Oh well, you live and learn.

Not to worry,  this is great stuff as always.

I must be the only person ever who quite enjoyed Kola Kommandos.  I loved the golf course / advertising thing on the moon, and the poetically introspective CT Hall (I hadn't seen Blade Runner back then).  Shame about the big barrier to Hector's new love life but it was a nicely imperfect 2000ad ending.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 04 January, 2020, 12:27:25 AM
Love this thread. This was into my “years in the wilderness phase” so it’s very educational and full of things I’m broadly aware of but not to the level of such to the point commentary. Good work!

I do have the collected Devlin Waugh books though so great to see the love reflected here!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 04 February, 2020, 04:39:50 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #25: ...It's a Sequel

Pretty crazy, but here's a twenty-eight prog span with just one new story (Wire Heads): it's sequels and spin-offs a go-go with the prog 800 launch. With the launch progs come three Micro-Guides (small cover-mounted pamphlets): the Series Index, the Judge Dredd Index and the Collector's Index. They are but nothing next to the modern might of Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)! (But it was all we had back then.)

(https://i.imgur.com/EKI0F1V.png)

In The Prog...

Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Normally the mega-epics spin off some denouement tales that echo at least some of the aftermath of whatever the disaster was (Block War after The Judge Child, Meka-City after the Apocalypse War), but Judgement Day fades away into The Marshal (where a masked Cursed Earth vigilante out-does the Gila Munja in going toe to toe with the Judges). Innocents Abroad has Judge Joyce as the fish out of water in the Big Meg. The Magic Mellow Out sees Dredd affected by a hallucinogen. Raider tells of an ex-Judge turned vigilante. And P.J. shows up again for P.J. & The Mock-Choc Factory. It's not a hugely inspiring era of Dredd: post mega-epic without the maestro on script duties.
Expect more of this sort of thing in the next stage...

Flesh: The Legend of Shamana (https://youtu.be/73yp6m8wp_M)
A follow-up to Book II of Flesh (1979) didn't seem to be on the cards, when up popped this self-contained tale a mere thirteen years later. An inmate in a harsh prehistoric penal colony escapes the compound with her baby daughter, but is eaten by a dinosaur. (Of course, this is the secret origin of the phrase "Out of the penal colony, into the jaws of a massive carnivorous reptile".) A multi-species gang of dinosaurs then raise that baby as their own: that baby is Shakara Shakira Shamana! I don't recall the moral of the story, but the message seems clear: don't fuck with dino-lady and her usually hungry dino-gang! Shamana is later captured by men, who try to turn her into a nice little girl. It's a bit like A Clockwork Orange squeezed into a glass of Pygmalion, sat next to a copy of The Land That Time Forgot.
Flesh next rears it's razor-toothed maw in 1996 with Chronocide...

Zenith (https://youtu.be/p0p8xlc6lIU): Phase IV
The last half of this dark book sees the result of a Lloigor victory, as the earth (and humanity) is left to their dark, god-like devices. The tale is told from the perspective of Peyne (or so it seems) as he magically grows younger, and yet the narration continues beyond his de-birth, leading to one of those The Usual Suspects moments providing a novel twist as a climax. Zenith has always had a dark edge, but this series takes us to the dark heart of super-humanity.

But hang on: when Ruby destroys the Chimera, the assumption is that she's just imagining she did that, under the influence of Peter St. John. At that moment, he has moved his enemies into the Chimera. But, inside the Chimera is a copy of everyone from the original universe: including the doomed Zenith and St. John. My question is - what happened to the copies of the baddies? Shouldn't there be two Rubies in there, for example? Or, was she in an alternate universe at that moment, so..?

Growing up with Zenith, and Watchmen: I always felt treated - like there was something in British comics and their attitude to super-heroism that beautifully undermined the shinier, more childlike approach of US comics. You need the idea of a superman in order to undermine it: but it demonstrated that comics could debate a topic at a deeper level. Is Zenith the best thing ever published in 2000 AD? In your top three?

Mostly, this is it for Zenith, although there's a brief follow-up in the year 2000: in the oddly named festive Prog 2001 (actually prog 1222.5)...

The Journal of Luke Kirby: The Night Walker (https://youtu.be/Fm5MutUaikE)
Luke's getting on well at school until a weird tramp shows up and starts winking at him and persuading him to meet up in secluded thickets late at night. That's all before the villains turn up. It's a bit like (tonally) Sapphire & Steel meets (visually) Nosferatu. (Well worth a read if you can track it down: one of the strong pillars holding up the prog during this era.)
Kirby returns next in the 1994 Yearbook...

Robo-Hunter(*) [*REBOOT]
We get the final three episodes of Return to Verdus, in which an invincible but murderous Cutie, who can fly now (and always presents as a blonde babe in a red swimsuit), is ripped apart by an invincibility-defying cyborg in a comfy sweater, who earlier seemed to have been murdered by being impaled with a golf club (by a gay insectoid S&M fashionista). Pseudo-Sam, who is just along for the ride, gets teleported back to Earth (in the nude) as Verdus is nuked.

In Ace of Slades, suddenly all of the supporting characters are British, like a Cockney Pope and (oddly) The Fat Slags from Viz: even though this tale is usually set in the US. Pseudo-Sam meets up with a bunch of alternate reality Sams, one of whom is an evil cyborg. Oh, and it's also got The Watcher from Marvel (although this stolen version is called The Voyeur). You don't have to read to the end: it's a Millar script so the unstoppable, invincible, muscle-bound, heartless, murderous foe will get destroyed somehow on the second to last page (after a bunch of stuff gets ruined). And Hoagy's in one frame making tea, even though he died in Escape from Bisleyland.

In Serial Stunners, Sam is kidnapped by a gang of weird war robots, and then he kills them all, but he does it in drag. Lastly, there's Keith the Killer Robot, in which a killer robot (named Keith) kills. Stogie shows up in the second to last frame, as if he's been there all along.

We're not done yet with Pseudo-Sam, and get more next in the 1994 Yearbook...

Wire Heads (https://youtu.be/W06_LHibBE8)
Cyberpunk data wars! Kind of ahead of it's time (and yet still suffering from early cliches): this has the Internet as V.R. immersion (Paraspace), with monsterous virus creatures being zapped by in-system operatives. A dense plot full of Basil Exposition techno-babble serves to alienate the audience and turns this into a tricky to recall curio.
Returns (for financial, corporate reasons, according to ... everyone) in 1995 with sequel series paraSITES...

Finn (https://youtu.be/OLF9HQOr0ww): Book II
Back in Book I, Finn took out a bunch of super-powered accountants with skin conditions and aquatic fetishes. This time, he's levelled up to provoking an evil space god (with an aquatic fetish). Those accountants are still around, though: firing people by invoking (non-spontaneous) human combustion. And Finn can crush cell-phones with his bare hands, which is a bit odd. There's a stupid scene where Finn is locked in a flooding cell, but then his buddy pops the door open (none of the water escapes), gives him everything he needs to escape his future predicaments, then closes the door again (despite all of the water). It might sound like nit-picking, but comics are a visual medium, so there's a bit of "what the actual fuck" when the visual logic is just bollocks.
Killing the evil god-being that is your ultimate enemy might seem like a neat stopping point, but this returns in 1995...

Revere (https://youtu.be/yjsu-SRDAOQ): Written in Water
In Book I, Revere was the witch-boy, battling against totalitarian forces using magical powers and sharp things: but then he went on a serious trip involving bizarre god-beings. This time around, his family (which includes his mum as a floating head capable of doing a great flamethrower impersonation) are attacked by the soldiers, and Revere finds some time to go on a hot date before seeking vengeance on the thugs. I'm not sure what the deal is with evil demon-folk stealing his girlfriend, but maybe that'll get sewn up next time (assuming he isn't dead, because he jumps off a building at the end).
Book III will, perhaps, provide a satisfactory climax and leaps our way later in 1993...

Dead Meat (https://youtu.be/dOEuLR95zBM): [Book 2]
There's a prelude episode that provides an explanatory timeline of how we went from where we are now to a future of a flooded London and a totalitarian vegetarian state with a sentient Raminoid that can head butt air liners into scrap. (But nobody asked!) Anyway, this paints meat eaters as evil villains, and then off it trundles like Looney Tunes on a mephedrone high.
Dead Meat dies here.

Brigand Doom: Spirits Willing
Finally, Doom does something Robin Hood-like and steals some food to distribute to hungry homeless people. Up til now, he's just been offing art curators. The agent who's been tracking him all this time never bothers to catch him: she just leans provocatively in doorways looking like she has a mild headache. Lots of tower blocks.
Like the stinky zombie rebel without a clue that is Doom, his tale keeps coming back to life: next up in the 1993 Sci-Fi Special. Bring your nose plugs...

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)s: Return of the Gronk
What if the Gronk (a timid medic who continually has non-fatal heart attacks in moments of even light stress) was actually Rambo? (Asked nobody at all, and yet here is the answer.) Also, two cloned scientists (X & Z) turn up for no reason whatsoever and build a Gronkinator. And Feral's in it.
More Gronkish travesty later this year...

Kelly's Eye: Armed Response
Somehow drifting into the prog from the Boy's Own era of British comics having first hitched a ride in Universal Solider (and then in the 2000 AD Action Special (1992) with His Majesty's Service), this sees the invulnerable Kelly ... not being harmed by things that would normally harm someone. It's played like flim noir, with Kelly as the dick who's got himself a T&A client whose job is to wear short skirts and a low-cut top.

 - Nick Rivers: "Hillary. That's an unusual name."
 - Hillary Flammond: "It's a German name. It means 'she whose bosoms defy gravity'."

The last two episodes in this sequence consist almost entirely of frames of a flying car.

Continues without a break into the next stage...

Nemesis the Warlock (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ):
We get Bride Of The Warlock in the 1992 Winter Special, in which Candida is cured of her insanity by Nemesis so that he can cuckold Torquemada and provoke a deadly fight to the ... almost death. In the prog, Shape Of Things To Come serves to tease the next series but otherwise is just Nem & Torque beating up on each other again. It's like an S&M Fight Club round the back of the Mos Eisley cantina.
Nemesis returns in 1994 with Hammer of Warlocks (901-903)...

Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k): Bradley's Bedtime Stories
Rounding out the Bedtime Stories from the previous stage we get Bradley-ized tales of The Frog Prince, Milton's Progress and Hansel & Gretel. It's like The Brothers Grimmer.
The final set of Bradley tales crop up in 1994...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/805.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/810.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/817.jpg)
---------------------------------------


Winter Special 4 (1992)

Blackblood (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI): Dishonourable Discharge
A highly entertaining origin story for Blackblood details how he learned to be devious and how he lost his eye, all beautifully rendered by Kev Walker.
Blackblood returns with the rest of The A.B.C. Warriors in 1994's Hellbringer...


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - Thoughts Of A Workshy Fop: Zenith (http://thoughtsofaworkshyfop.blogspot.com/search/label/Zenith)
 - Touched by the Hand of Tharg (http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 04 February, 2020, 10:36:55 AM
I remember that 1992 special as being really good, although it was odd such an important Nemesis strip was dumped there. But, wow, the rest of this era is a shambles, and 2000 AD hasn’t even hit its nadir at this point.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 04 February, 2020, 03:19:42 PM
That winter special is heavy on the Nemesis: it's also got a "the story so far" article and a reprint of [The Sword Sinister] from the '81 Sci-Fi Special.

---

At some point during this stage, we got the transition from Fleetway to Egmont.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 04 February, 2020, 03:35:07 PM
That winter special is heavy on the Nemesis: it's also got a "the story so far" article and a reprint of [The Sword Sinister] from the '81 Sci-Fi Special.

It feels a bit like they were gearing up for the aborted 'Horned God-esque mega saga' - although the 'Hammer of Warlocks' prologue took another year or so to appear.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 April, 2020, 12:37:20 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Megazine: Vol. 2.2 (Mechanismo) (2.10-2.26)

The megazine has re-launch-itis, clearly, and here we get its fourth incarnation as the paper size goes wider:

Volume 01, issue 01 - logo #1 (giant Dredd, little Megazine), monthly, 52pp.
Volume 01, issue 08 - logo #2 (big Dredd, little Megazine).
Volume 02, issue 01 - fortnightly, 44pp.
Volume 02, issue 10 - logo #3 (tweak), wider pages.

The relationship between the Meg and the prog (after the tightly-knit crossover of Judgement Day) becomes one of creator influence. While the prog is a comparatively weak sauce Ennis-Dredd the Meg gets Wagner (of which, more later), and Alan Grant takes Anderson over to the Meg. These two experienced heavy hitters provide a strong foundation so that, at times, it's the sister comic that's shining as the progenitor prog struggles.

(https://i.imgur.com/MWxprWY.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
With the prog ignoring Judgement Day's aftermath, it's up to the Megazine to provide some post-epic adventures. The Taking of Sector 123 (titularly paying homage to the classic The Taking of Pelham One Two Three from 1974) tells some of the story. With the West Wall having taken a beating during the zombie attack and the Judge force having lost a third of its cohort, Sector 123 has declared independance and its up to Dredd to restore order.

And then Mechanismo stomped into view: a robot Judge force programmed to be as bad-ass as Dredd himself, but with Dredd dead set against the notion from the outset. His predictions come gorily true as the robots prove uncontrollably aggressive. We quickly get a follow-up in Mechanismo Returns, in which Number 5 (an homage to 1986's Short Circuit) reactivates and goes rogue.

Mechanismo stomps back into action in meg 2.37...


Calhab Justice (https://youtu.be/dYxI6C4xjxk)
The result of taking a tartan gift shop on the Royal Mile, Oor Wullie's rhetoric, Judge Dredd's uniform and a box-set of Taggart, throwing them all into a blender and pouring the result onto some newsprint. It's a bit difficult to marry well the conspiracy drama of an impending nuclear apocalypse with someone in a tam o' shanter saying "crivvens".
More Calhab Injustice later in Volume 2...


Armitage (https://youtu.be/LZSPHPBZFDU)
Sci-fi Morse in the nine-part Influential Circles (a mystery massacre with a Royal twist) and the three-part Flashback (which sets up why Drago San and Armitage have the mutual hates, whilst also nabbing a scene from 1987's Lethal Weapon).
We get a second Flashback starting in meg 2.31...


Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
Reasons To Be Cheerful has two parts (not three (https://youtu.be/qcjh1a9Yoao)). The first is a one-off in which Anderson tackles an Undercity vampire, but the second introduces the not subtly monikered Judge Goon and Anderson's growing disillusionment with the Judge system (explored further in the follow-up The Jesus Syndrome). The Witch? Report is a beautiful one-off by Ranson in which some young psi-cadets are taken on an ill-advised Halloween field trip.
Anderson's off to Mars next...

Judge Hershey
It's difficult to get to what makes Hershey a distinct character, and that's not helped by the many-headed hydra of scripters brought in to tell her tales. We had Downtime (2.09) in the previous stage by Dave Stone, now we get The Not-So-Merry Wives Of Windsor by Robbie Morrison (some light froth where Hershey could be any Judge), then Deathsquads by Peter Cornwall (Hershey takes down an SJS vigilante death squad) and Asylum (Morrison again with a supernatural thriller). So there's no sense of narrative continuity to hold onto.
It's Igor Goldkind's turn next with A Game of Dolls...


Judge Death (https://youtu.be/vNpAoZcIM_A): Tea With Mrs Gunderson
Astounding Dean Ormston art has Mrs Gunderson visit death in containment to get her back rent. Definitely sits in the comic horror section of the overall Death arc.
Death's next solo outing switches back to the prog in 2002 with My Name Is Death...


Al's Baby: Blood on the Bib (https://youtu.be/j4pHAMPUFvQ)
A crazy road trip where Al Besteradi and his terrible toddler travel the country on a series of mob assassinations.
Series three crops up in the prog in 1997...


Sleeze 'n' Ryder
A loose Cursed Earth road trip homage to 1969's Easy Rider: expect lava, dinosaurs, muties, deadly droids, forgotten nukes and mayhem.
Tis one series and done (even though it has a "we'll be back" coda).


Devlin Waugh (https://youtu.be/su3M7IIY8vs): Brief Encounter
Replete with disposable gloves, this features perhaps the only immigration cavity search scene in any comic I've read, as Devlin tries to slip his pussy through Mega-City customs. No - not like that!
Given such a strong start with Swimming in Blood, it's almost barmy that we end up having to wait until 1999 for the next series (Chasing Herod), although Devlin does crop up in Judge Dredd's Fetish in 1997.

---

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.10.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.12.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.15.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.16.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.19.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.23.jpg)
---------------------------------------

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 18 April, 2020, 08:08:26 AM

Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
Reasons To Be Cheerful has two parts (not three (https://youtu.be/qcjh1a9Yoao)).

This will always go down as one of the greatest missed opportunties in the history of Tharg's organs. I mean the chaps a master of the pun and great 'Next time' line to have dropped the ball here is indicative of the greater maliase around the Nerve Centre at these times.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 18 April, 2020, 08:15:17 AM
Gazumped! Just about to make the exact same  comment.as Colin.

So instead I'll observe that this is the golden age of Meg covers, despite that brutalist masthead. Just look at that run.
 
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 18 April, 2020, 10:17:12 AM
These two experienced heavy hitters provide a strong foundation so that, at times, it's the sister comic that's shining as the progenitor prog struggles.

I'd just like to highlight this bit because I think it tends to get a little overlooked in the history of Tharg's Mighty Organs™. Not just "at times", either — there's a fairly extended period in the second half of the nineties where the Meg was streets ahead of the prog in terms of consistency and quality, covering as it does, the arse-end of the Burton/McKenzie years at 2000AD and the thankless period Tomlinson and Bishop spent running down the mountain of horrible inventory they inherited.

Which is why it's so nice that the Meg has been on top form again for several years now, with 2000AD largely firing on all cylinders alongside. Keeping in mind that 2000AD and the Megazine had separate editorial teams back then, I have literally no idea how Matt does it now.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 18 April, 2020, 10:33:35 AM
... it's so nice that the Meg has been on top form again for several years now, with 2000AD largely firing on all cylinders alongside. Keeping in mind that 2000AD and the Megazine had separate editorial teams back then, I have literally no idea how Matt does it now.

While seeming to increasingly dabble in freelance writing and bringing on a new editorial team to produce specials and one would assume create succession plan. Its incredible.

All I can surmise is its experience. I know when I was leading a library service (which was nothing like as complex in my head) by the end of my 13 or more years of doing so I could just do it, eyes closed and was taking on various other responsibilities as FE needs dictated. Since moving jobs I've had to learn so much again, get used to different ways of working, expectations and whole new sets of folks and how they operate and think, which takes so much time and energy that you realise that experience in one organisation provides sooo many benefits and efficiencies.

I say this not to diminish the phenominal job Matt Smith has done as Tharg's little helper rather to enable me to rationalise how its even possible!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 19 April, 2020, 05:06:49 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #26: Spring Fever

This is the first time I recall the prog positioning itself with a seasonal jump-on: in this case the much-hyped Spring Fever, with a launch of two new series, a key new thrill, two postcards, some stickers and a pencil.

(https://i.imgur.com/GzVtOck.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
You may remember such classics as ... erm ... Hottie House Siege over in the Megazine? Cos the prog just gets some light froth from Ennis and Millar. There's the introduction of Jonni Kiss, which has the Gila Munja in it, I suppose (except they get easily defeated by Nick Kamen from the Levi's laundrette commercial (https://youtu.be/wT4DR_ae_4o)). And Muzak Killer is a bit of a (dated) curio featuring the author's clear frustration with the existence of  Terry Christian (https://youtu.be/iO7P1RCTCFw).
Next up the infamous Inferno...

Armoured Gideon (https://youtu.be/-Nbve6tK3ic) [Book II]
Frank Weitz is on a mission to switch (back) on Armoured Gideon and so save the earth from a demonic tsunami. A tricky second album.
With everything wrapped up neatly here, we get another series in 1994...

Firekind (https://youtu.be/PkfLqP6dCfI)
Whenever anyone derides this particular era of 2000 AD, someone always brings up Firekind - because it's amazing! If someone describes James Cameron's Avatar to you, they might as well also be describing Firekind, as each has dragons, floating rocks, an alien culture, a group of exploitative humans and one particular human who could just (just) make a difference. The key thing to remember is that Firekind is great, and Avatar's just good, and mostly the difference is that the former seems unique whereas the latter falls too readily into cliche.
Quits whilst it's ahead with just the one perfectly formed (especially when it's published in the correct order) series. If you are reading the progs (and not eXtreme #8) and want to avoid the hiccup then after part #6 in prog 833, you should read part #7 in prog 840, then part #8 (which is labeled as #7) in prog 834. Then simply follow the now incorrectly numbered sequence to the finale in prog 839. Easy.

Kelly's Eye: Armed Response
Invincible man kills men who keep shooting at him for some reason. Dialogue could surely have solved these problems before it came to this.
It's over. You can come home now.

Bad Company (https://youtu.be/dfdR-A2ukVg): Kano
Kano is a farmer, but people from his hamlet are going missing in the jungle, and his dead war comrades have come to visit. This rather marks the point where Bad Company stopped being a straight narrative and entered a subtler realm where you can't really trust the narrative.
More oddness featuring characters dressed up like the ones in Bad Company in 2001...

Purgatory
People say: "...but I like the Ezquerra art." Quite an interesting premise (a riot on the Justice Department penal colony of Titan) is lost beneath a heaving, grunting pile of illogical rage as ex-Judge Grice gets angrier than a barrel full of bees rolling down a mountain and proves it by burning his own hand off in lava, but not feeling the pain! One of the key problems with a story like this is that it features a complete bastard who you wouldn't want to know fighting other complete bastards that you wouldn't want to know. Is this cool? (https://youtu.be/6vWHNwmzf1o)
Continues under the Judge Dredd banner next stage as Inferno...

Tharg's Terror Tales
First Tharg shocked us with the Future. Ro-Jaws briefly shoved his way in to focus on robots but Tharg welded his mouth shut (http://www.2000ad.org/functions/cover.php?Comic=scans&choice=215) before twisting time, telling tales of dragons and finally going beyond even science. The only thing missing? TERROR!
Terror Tales continue to be one of the many options available to The Mighty One...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/832.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/836.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/838.jpg)
---------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 19 April, 2020, 06:41:26 AM

Kano....This rather marks the point where Bad Company stopped being a straight narrative and entered a subtler realm where you can't really trust the narrative.

Which for me is exactly why later Bad Company is so good... well most of it...

Purgatory
....Quite an interesting premise (a riot on the Justice Department penal colony of Titan) is lost beneath a heaving, grunting pile of illogical rage as ex-Judge Grice gets angrier than a barrel full of bees rolling down a mountain and proves it by burning his own hand off in lava, but not feeling the pain!

Brilliant!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 April, 2020, 01:16:40 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #27: Summer Offensive

The prog was given over to the younger writers for an 8-prog sequence of brand new stories (and Dredd). This attempt to shake things up was a brave experiment, but none of the new stories have resulted in long-term hits (which maybe tells you something). It did succeed at being offensive (for some), so, on some level, job done.

When the creators were interviewed about all of this in Thrill-Power Overload (Bishop 2007) years later they were all like "The haters be hating, man: they so square!"


(https://i.imgur.com/EEsN2Tq.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0): Inferno
The Harlem Heroes return as (no, wait)  A sequel to the risible Purgatory (Millar), where Grice took over the penal colony on Titan through the sheer power of RAGE and burning his own hand-off. For some reason, every single Judge who's been sent to Titan is a sadistic, piratical, murderous hillbilly. None of them are remorseful or see a chance to redeem themselves. Nope: just gurning pirates.

Anyhoo - Grice loads them all up on several spaceships, along with a magic plague, and they crash into Mega-City One, which Grant Morrison seems to think is about the size of Glasgow. Grice stands on top of the West Wall shouting and throwing amazingly resilient Chief Judges off of it until Dredd magically pops out of a hatch and punches him! But then Grice punches Dredd! But then Walter throws grenades! Wait - wtf (https://youtu.be/ahxG3iPeVcU)?

You can't even have this conversation without pointing out that Ezquerra's art is stupendous throughout.

Still have four episodes left to go...it can't get worse, can it?


Big Dave
Summary: Manchester's hardest man (Big Dave, natch) is a violent, homophobic, drunken yob with two homicidal dogs. The creators called it satire, so who are we to argue? Thing is: at some point it just becomes a horrible man shouting "poof" a lot. Is that satire? Or is it just an excuse to be offensive?  See also: Ricky Gervais.

When someone wrote into the prog (849) to complain, Tharg-of-yore said "[It] isn't satire. It's a warning!". I'm not sure what satirical point (or warning) is being given when Big Dave is drowning Postman Pat in his toilet while his cat gets eaten by Dave's dogs. Is it that post shouldn't be delivered to the working class? The weird thing is that, ultimately, it's too mean-spirited for Viz (which means that Viz is subtler than I thought).

The most controversial new strip survives for a time, with a further two mini-series and a Yearbook special...


Slaughterbowl
Death Race 2000 meets Jurassic Park meets Silence of the Lambs as a deranged lunatic with multiple personality disorder gets imprisoned as a serial killer but chooses Option B: riding a heavily-armed dinosaur in a race to the death! This sound great, but in execution doesn't quite land. The protagonist is not someone we can sympathize with: couple that with, frankly, not enough racey-dino action, leaves this a struggle to wade through.
Tis one and done.


Really & Truly
This one's Marmite. It's like if you got trapped in Austin Powers' dreams. If you can go forty pages of Rian Hughes art with some thinly-characterized mannequins roaming around a sixtie's disco version of Downlode then you might just love this. In context, this is certainly the least controversial thing in the Offensive experiment.
Tis one and done.


Maniac 5
Actually first seen in the 1993 Sci-Fi Special, this tells the story of cybernetically controlled war robots (numbered 1 through 6, and each with a speciality) fighting off an alien invasion of sewer lizards. Its a bit like Thunderbirds meets the Fantastic Four. The interesting concept doesn't quite land, with odd cyber-organic robot designs from Yeowell, and moustache-twirling villainy from the generals.
Survives to spawn a second series after a couple of stepping stones through Winter Specials...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/845.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/847.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/849.jpg)
---------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 23 April, 2020, 10:20:36 AM
Seem to remember Really and Truly was the best of a bad bunch.  Was that the one where they dropped words of Nadsat in every now and then?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 23 April, 2020, 10:25:13 AM
See also: Ricky Gervais.
Perfect. I still find it hard to fathom why people defend Big Dave. It’s risible stuff. But then people still like Gervais, so…
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 23 April, 2020, 10:28:06 AM
This stage of AD I cannot really recall any of the stories. It did not leave any impression on me.  The only thing I can really remember was Big Dave. This was the strip that let to final decision to stop with AD.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 23 April, 2020, 10:31:49 AM
Slaughterbowl, at least, was pretty good. I suppose that was the problem, though - it was only 'pretty good'. I like that it was just a one-and-done, though - even now there aren't enough of those in the prog.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 23 April, 2020, 11:09:19 AM
This stage of AD I cannot really recall any of the stories. It did not leave any impression on me.  The only thing I can really remember was Big Dave. This was the strip that let to final decision to stop with AD.

That's fascinating as for good or ill the one thing The Summer Offensive' was for a lot of people was a talking point and memorable, often for all the wrong reasons as a real experiment and folks have a lot of opinions on it typically.

I read this not that long ago and blattered about them over at my Self-absorbed' thread - a way that almost lacks the style wit and brevity of Funt Solo's wonderful work. To that end I'll do the arrogent self quote here as I'm too lazy to have new thoughts about these thrills.

And so here we are Prog 842 has been and gone and I'm five issues into the 'Summer Offensive'... why has it taken so long for me to babble? Well truth be told I wanted to get past all the bluster and fuss and just give myself a chance to evaluate the stories as just that 2000ad stories. As frankly once past all the nonsense and I was pleasently surprised how little there was... well aside from a certain annoucement about a certain film, which I'd forgotten happened during all this... anyway yeah once past all that these actually aren't all that bad at all. Certainly in the context of the last few years.

Don't get me wrong they are far, far far from the best but they are also a long way from the worst. So lets do a chart run down, TOTP style... which I'm sure the creators of the Summer Offensive would have thought was soooo cooooool at the time.

And at Number 5 we have - Really and Truly ... which surprises me. I've always remembered this really fondly and quite enjoyed it last time I read it as I recall... but its so... pointless. Its just about nothing. I can neither hate nor enjoy it, glorious art aside, but then there's not a strip in this line-up that is any less than wonderful to look at. Its forgettable and that's the worse crime a 2000ad story can commit. Worse even than...

Number 4 Dredd - Inferno... which at least give me enough reason to truly hate it. Its bloody awful, but at least I care that its bloody awful!

Number 3 Big Dave I always bemoan this is a strip that proves the fact that 2000ad is such a broad church that it can host almost any story done well by being the exception that proves the rule. On this reading though it feels more like a 2000ad story in that it does what 2000ad does well, it takes a pop culture trope and makes it 2000ad's own. In this case it takes the massively popular at the time Viz comic and makes a 2000ad strip out of it. So strangely it is so very 2000ad... still don't think it fits in mind, but I do really enjoy it for its own sake.

Just held off the top spot at Number 2 we find Manic 5. I really enjoy this series it takes Mark Millar's greatest weakness on other strips and gives it a home where it works. Its takes his passion for thinking cranking it number 11 and builds a strip that really sustains that feeble idea. Its got no depth or value, but By George its relentless high octane fun and feels very 2000ad.

But top of the pops this week number one with a bullet is of course Slaughter Bowl John Smith finds a way to make a fantastic story even with the draft rules that seem to surround. Its not his best, but not John Smith's best is still better than most. He uses a frankly superb idea, of course 2000ad should have an armoured dinosaur racing story, like all the best ideas when you see it, it just seems so obvious. John Smith however doesn't just stop there he layers it with a deeply creepy background, fun, rich supporting and even background characters. So intriguing is Stanley - our potentially psychotic protagonist and his hard luck (or is it) story the cool gun toting giant killer reptiles almost becomes an unwanted distraction... well almost they are after all  cool gun toting giant killer reptiles. So yeah this is a superb strip.

The most chilling thing about the summer offensive ... well actually its the coming soon ads. Is that more Fleischer Rogue I see coming... oh and Clown 2... I hope these 'Offensive' strips stick around longer than the 8 episodes I think they all get!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Greg M. 23 April, 2020, 11:18:39 AM
Seem to remember Really and Truly was the best of a bad bunch. 

I'd call it the worst of a bad bunch - at best, a throwaway nothing of a story, at worst, a tossed-off-in-a-night insult to the readership, bundled with Morrison's trademark helping of 'Look, look, drugs! Recreational drugs in 2000AD! Snort! Sniff! Toke! Comics have grown up! We're all cool now! 'Cos of drugs!' (See also his book 'Supergods' which intersperses some insightful comics commentary with a dose of chemically-induced self-lionisation.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 23 April, 2020, 11:34:22 AM
At the time, it didn’t come across as edgy. In hindsight, it comes across as a very immature take on edgy. If the aim was to create throwaway, pointless comics, this era of 2000 AD succeeded. It made me wonder why the hell I was still buying it. Given that Morrison in particular seemed to head wholesale into deep/meanintful comics territory, his 2000 AD effort (or lack thereof) here seems like little more than an insult — tear it all down, but build nothing in its place.

Subversion can be a good thing. Morrison has since shown he can work wonders with other characters, and do new and interesting things with them. With Dredd, he forgot about the interesting bit. Dredd became one dimensional. Grice was also one dimensional. There was no depth to the story, but also as a basic action thriller it’s incoherent. From Hollywood, this as a film wouldn’t be critically acclaimed — it’d just be dismissed as violent noise. (Notably, it also upends Grice, transforming him from a sneaky little shit into a punchy macho angry bloke. There was an interesting story to be told about Grice’s revenge. This wasn’t it.)

Elsewhere, I do remember the stories reasonably well. Really and Truly is what it is. Nice art. Paper thin. Maniac 5 is… fine. Big Dave remains divisive and to my mind is genuinely offensive, punching down rather than up. Being the thing you’re satirising is not satire. It’s a very teenager way of approaching this kind of material, and if the aim was to do something beyond merely yelling POOF a lot, it’s an abject failure.

Which leaves Slaughterbowl. Echoing Colin, third-rate John Smith is still typically solid, and this for me was the one properly redeeming thing in the Prog at the time. (I also found Maniac 5 reasonable, if trope-heavy and ultimately forgettable.) There was worse to come, though; and those issues without Smith in frequently had nothing worth reading at all. 2000 AD’s nadir is on the horizon. Poor Funt Solo…

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 April, 2020, 06:05:42 PM
Oops! I forgot the links to the ABC videos for Big Dave (https://youtu.be/cucf5u7weAM) and Maniac 5 (https://youtu.be/vxtAxxfjcrs).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 23 April, 2020, 11:04:43 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #28: 2-Prog Mini-Series

The prog continues to try new meta-formats: this time four two-part stories running alongside the continuing Dredd mini-epic of Inferno. This might read like a top line-up of thrills (Dredd, Stront, Rogue, Kirby and Slaine), but some of them are in their distinctly off-the-boil incarnations. 

Imagine an episode of Scooby Doo featuring only Scrappy. Or that 80s D&D cartoon featuring only Uni.  Or Buffy with just Tara. Or all of television replaced by scenes of Christopher Biggins in Rentaghost. Or Transformers with just Bumblebee - ah ... never mind (https://youtu.be/Dy_StNdNWPA).


(https://i.imgur.com/VahZluj.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0): Inferno
In these two episodes credulity is stretched by having all the good Judges just standing outside the West Wall, like there's about twenty of them. Grice's gang could just shoot them but are instead harassing old age pensioners for small change. In a brain-splintering set-piece the Statue of Judgement is toppled and, from its position overlooking the Statue of Liberty, somehow manages to smash through the West Wall, suggesting that Mega-City One is about three or four football fields wide.
Still has two episodes of shouty mayhem and geographical lunacy left to go...


Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)s: How The Gronk Got His Heartses
Uhm ... Genesis (chapter one of the bible, not the band) meets the Gronk's back-story? Great art from Nigel Dobbyn suffers next to ponderous hippie-smurfing from Ennis. One question: does Gronk really magically levitate into space at the end or is it all just a metaphor?
A prelude to The Darkest Star, starting up in prog 855...


Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Friday]: Scavenger of Souls, Prologue
At the end of Apocalypse Dreadnought (prog 791 in 1992) Fr1day was floating in a bubble in space. Somehow he's now been teleported to ... a war-torn planet. And he's been crucified (like at the beginning of Cinnabar). A weird dude called the Scavenger of Souls is introduced in a "he was always here" kind of a way. So, this is an additonal level of soft reboot of what's always been a soft reboot of a hard reboot, and doesn't tell us much (except that there's too many boots for these feet).
1994's Scavenger of Souls stretches this further starting in prog 873...


Journal of Luke Kirby (https://youtu.be/Fm5MutUaikE): Sympathy for the Devil, Prologue 
A flashback tale of Luke's father and uncle that brings a biblical slant to the story by suggesting that Santa (no, wait) Satan is gearing up to introduce famine, war, genocide and heroin to earth. Uhm ... aren't those here anyway?
A lead in to a longer tale beginning in prog 873...


Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ): The Jealousy Of Niamh
A neat little two-parter: Niamh is jealous that Slaine is shagging Danu on the side, so they both get punished by being tied to a tree together and fed by Ukko.
Immediately followed by Demon Killer next prog...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/850.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/851.jpg)
-------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 24 April, 2020, 09:29:41 AM
Satan is gearing up to introduce famine, war, genocide and heroin to earth. Uhm ... aren't those here anyway?

Luke Kirby is set just at the end of that same numinous time when Jesus walked the green and pleasant land and Brexiters were all obedient yet risk-taking children who didn't mind a parental slippering and a dose of polio after a long day fighting the Nazis.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Richard 24 April, 2020, 11:13:45 AM
I've only just discovered this thread for some reason, and it's brilliant! Thank you for this.

I agree with most of what has been said about the Summer Offensive, except that Slaughterbowl was a great story (somewhat marred by rather mediocre art). That, and Carlos's great art on Dredd, are the only good things to come out of the SO. Luckily, I was too young to recognise how shit it was at the time, otherwise I would probably have stopped reading the prog and missed out on two decades of brilliant comics that started a couple of years later. But first we had to wade through a few more months of stuff that was even worse than the Summer Offensive.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 28 April, 2020, 10:37:13 AM
Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)s: How The Gronk Got His Heartses
Uhm ... Genesis (chapter one of the bible, not the band) meets the Gronk's back-story? Great art from Nigel Dobbyn suffers next to ponderous hippie-smurfing from Ennis. One question: does Gronk really magically levitate into space at the end or is it all just a metaphor?

It's been ages since I read that story so don't know the context, but there is prior art for Gronks flying through space (though as part of their swarming season from their home planet Blas in the Galego system).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jacqusie 28 April, 2020, 07:17:05 PM
At the time, it didn’t come across as edgy. In hindsight, it comes across as a very immature take on edgy. If the aim was to create throwaway, pointless comics, this era of 2000 AD succeeded. It made me wonder why the hell I was still buying it…

It used to make me smile when Big Dave was lauded as satire as if we stupid readers didn't get the joke. I didn't care what the creators thought it was supposed to be, if it looks like crap, smells like crap and reads like crap, it was utter crap. At this point the prog's mediocrity was being held up by the gossamer thin threads of one or two strips and it wasn't getting better.

I couldn't afford the Meg at the time, but there appeared to be more fun going on at over at that party, than the one we were having round Russ Abbot's house, where everyone was telling you to sniff the poppers, smile and HAVE FUN!

Thank god for Deadline magazine at this time is all I can say...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: paddykafka 28 April, 2020, 08:36:05 PM
I'm in the minority of Tooth readers, in that I really enjoyed Big Dave and found it quite funny, for what it was. Different strokes as they say. Manchester's Hardest Man and Dredd were about the only strips I could be bothered with at the time. That being said, I'm glad it was fairly short-lived, as I imagined the joke would have worn thin after a while. The rest of the strips did absolutely nothing for me.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Aaron A Aardvark 29 April, 2020, 08:10:36 AM
This period was during my Long Walk so I've only read the Dredds.

I've heard about the Summer Offensive and always been curious about Big Dave. Has it ever been reprinted?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 29 April, 2020, 08:48:30 AM
This period was during my Long Walk so I've only read the Dredds.

I've heard about the Summer Offensive and always been curious about Big Dave. Has it ever been reprinted?

There are some copyright / ownership issues that mean I don't think it has. Which maybe  the same as those that surrounded Zenith - though that be could be wrong - or they are simply known to be creator owned (Edit actually Barney has them down as Creator owned). Whatever the reason there is clearly not the same desire to resolve or bypass these issues. At a guess as there isn't much demand to see these again?

Most of that is speculation on my part but in summary they have never been reprinted that I am aware of.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 29 April, 2020, 08:56:46 AM
This period was during my Long Walk so I've only read the Dredds.

I've heard about the Summer Offensive and always been curious about Big Dave. Has it ever been reprinted?

There are some copyright / ownership issues that mean I don't think it has. Which maybe  the same as those that surrounded Zenith - though that be could be wrong - or they are simply known to be creator owned (Edit actually Barney has them down as Creator owned). Whatever the reason there is clearly not the same desire to resolve or bypass these issues. At a guess as there isn't much demand to see these again?

Most of that is speculation on my part but in summary they have never been reprinted that I am aware of.

I have read somewhere (cannot remember where it was) that Big Dave is owned by the creators and not Rebellion. The ownership was transferred or something like that.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Aaron A Aardvark 29 April, 2020, 11:57:40 AM
Thanks for the info. I'll try not to be too disappointed.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 29 April, 2020, 01:11:37 PM
Pop over to the Daily Mail website and read some comments threads about immigrants. Copy random answers and you’ve got the basis for a Big Dave script.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tjm86 29 April, 2020, 02:47:22 PM
Pop over to the Daily Mail website and read some comments threads about immigrants. Copy random answers and you’ve got the basis for a Big Dave script.

... but without the humour.  Steve Parkhouse artwork is a plus but I reckon he probably wants to forget about it. 
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 29 April, 2020, 03:38:59 PM
I've heard about the Summer Offensive and always been curious about Big Dave. Has it ever been reprinted?

As others have said, the art is well done, and the humour is well written - in the same way that there's well-written humour in Till Death Us Do Part (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till_Death_Us_Do_Part). Both have issues with accidentally (and partially) becoming the thing they mean to pillory.

I can summarize the plot of the first series, for you. Saddam Hussein has created an alien love gun (shaped like an enormous phallus) that's turned the British army into stereotypical homosexual queens incapable of fighting. John Major (the prime minister) brings in Big Dave - "Manchester's hardest man" - and his two murderous dogs. Big Dave joins up with Terry Waite, who's portrayed as a combination of himself and Arnie.

Together they leap into Iraq (without parachutes because they're for "poofs"), shout "poof" a lot and defeat Saddam. The entire plot revolves around Big Dave being too "hard" to be turned into a "poof" by Saddam's big love gun.

The next mini-series has Diana and Fergie play as The Fat Slags from Viz and Big Dave either beating up or killing the entire royal family. And beating up on Postman Pat - drowning him (or nearly) in his revolting toilet.

(It's not too surprising it's not been reprinted and that Rebellion perhaps don't really want it. If you were to draw it yourself and post it here on the message board I expect you'd get banned.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Richard 29 April, 2020, 04:14:29 PM
The only good thing about Big Dave was that Steve Parkhouse did a really good picture of a lion for it once. Otherwise it was utter shit, and I thought at the time and still think now that it didn't belong in 2000AD. (Or anywhere else either really.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 01 May, 2020, 02:12:20 PM
I still get a kick out of trying to work out what, if anything, counts as satire in Big Dave. Was there a similar narrative somewhere out there in 1993 that basically did Big Dave but took itself seriously? I suppose Morrison and Millar maybe thought that this is what the Daily Mail + The Sun thought a true British hero should be like?
With that in mind that one cover and some of the pin-ups for Big Dave are both clever and funny. Wading through the actual episodes, not so much.

That said, I fear it's a better overall example of comics than BLAIR 1, which is definitely satire but equally definitely not funny.

Am loving Funt's wade through of the 90s. Bad comics make for good commentary!

Has it been remarked generally that Rob Williams' 'Titan/Enceladus' epic functions as a sort of apology for Inferno, as if to say 'look, there IS a way to tell a coherent revenge story about Titan judges'?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 01 May, 2020, 05:00:50 PM
Was there a similar narrative somewhere out there in 1993 that basically did Big Dave but took itself seriously? I suppose Morrison and Millar maybe thought that this is what the Daily Mail + The Sun thought a true British hero should be like?

That is exactly the premise of Big Dave: here's what it would look like if the picture of the world endlessly promoted in the Sun etc. was real, and their target reader was putting it all to rights. To-wit: being gay is being weak, contemptible and a Dick Emery character; everyone foreign is bad and probably gay; Terry Waite is a True Brit with True Grit; Diana and Fergie are psychopathic slags; all the problems of the world could be quickly sorted by a Manchester lad and his man-eating dogs if the Nanny State would only let him do his thing.

It's not a bad concep for a gag strip, but somewhere along the way it seemed to stop mocking the instigators and start revelling in their material instead.  It didn't help that Viz trod the same ground at the same time with 10 times the subtlety and 100 times the readership.

Has it been remarked generally that Rob Williams' 'Titan/Enceladus' epic functions as a sort of apology for Inferno, as if to say 'look, there IS a way to tell a coherent revenge story about Titan judges'?

If so, I'm still waiting.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 01 May, 2020, 05:13:10 PM
It's not a bad concep for a gag strip, but somewhere along the way it seemed to stop mocking the instigators and start revelling in their material instead.
That’s the problem with it. Satire is tricky. Dredd is often darkly comic and satirical. But the strip as a whole doesn’t punch down — and you get that when it’s done well/properly (i.e. basically everything in the Smith-edited era, and much of the classic era), the production itself doesn’t hold hostile and problematic views. I never got that from Big Dave. It felt — and still feels — like it just basically was the thing it was ostensibly lampooning. It’s not even a case of trying to be subtle as a brick — it’s just bad writing. Who you look at in particular what Millar was doing at the time in other 2000 AD strips, such as Robo-Hunter, it doesn’t look like an accident, nor a case of misinterpretation either.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 01 May, 2020, 05:39:00 PM
I might disagree that Dredd doesn't punch down. Frequently the oppressed citizens and their mutie brethren are as much figures of fun as they are victims, ignorantly gawping at their Tri-Vees, stuffing their faces, turning on each other, complaining about everything and voting turkey-like for Christmas. I know there are many, many counterpoints, but the stupidity and uselessness of the unwashed masses is a recurring source of humour.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tjm86 01 May, 2020, 07:36:19 PM
... it’s just bad writing. Who you look at in particular what Millar was doing at the time in other 2000 AD strips, such as Robo-Hunter, it doesn’t look like an accident, nor a case of misinterpretation either.

ISTR somewhere that Millar is alleged to have held his Tooth writing days in complete contempt as a stepping stone to America.  Certainly a lot of what he wrote supports that allegation.  I mean, I know that the casual homophobia and exploitational sexual attitudes of the 90's infected Tooth for a while but even by those standards what he wrote was offensive, trite and something that I generally avoid like the plague.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 01 May, 2020, 08:49:04 PM
the stupidity and uselessness of the unwashed masses is a recurring source of humour.
There’s a difference between a satire on the masses not getting their collective arses in gear and enacting change (actual satire) vs a comic running around yelling POOF every five seconds. But, yeah, Dredd does sometimes punch down — I just don’t get the feeling the strip does that relentlessly, nor that it — as you said of Big Dave — “revels" in that nastiness, and certainly not nearly in the same way. (Dredd feels like a warning. Big Dave was like an arsehole on the bus screaming at gay people and foreigners.)

ISTR somewhere that Millar is alleged to have held his Tooth writing days in complete contempt as a stepping stone to America.
In a sense, it’s curious that worked. His material was so awful that it’s surprising he’s as big as he is now.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Greg M. 01 May, 2020, 09:07:09 PM
I don't think Millar's success is surprising - but I also don't think it's wholly down to his writing ability. Some of it is - he's a very competent writer with a very strong populist streak (which also manifests as a certain meand-spiritedness in his writing) and an unerring ability to give the masses what they want. But a fair bit of his success comes from the hucksterish Stan-Lee-for-the-21st-century persona he's created - he's a brilliant salesman.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 01 May, 2020, 09:12:39 PM
I don't think Millar's success is surprising - but I also don't think it's wholly down to his writing ability. Some of it is - he's a very competent writer with a very strong populist streak (which also manifests as a certain meand-spiritedness in his writing) and an unerring ability to give the masses what they want. But a fair bit of his success comes from the hucksterish Stan-Lee-for-the-21st-century persona he's created - he's a brilliant salesman.

Exactly this. Mark Millar is a solid writer but with a deep sense of marketing and what makes the world tick. When I'm being particularly snarky no artist imperative, or drive, rather a commercial brain and a willingness to craft what will sell with amerciless precision. He writes pitches for movies not stories he needs to get out of him (utter speculation of course). This fully explains the cynical writing he did in 2000ad - alas his craft and precision wasn't honed at this point so we get raw less guileful Millar.

All that said fair play to him as whatever his motives are he clearly hits the mark if deliberate or not.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 01 May, 2020, 09:13:11 PM
Perhaps riding the wave of talent that came before him? At any rate, he's clearly become very successful. I find it difficult to hold it against him that he cut his teeth on Tooth: especially when he's self-disparaging.

Here's a couple of clippings from an interview he did in M323 (2012), where Calum Waddell is asking the questions:

Q: Nemesis also caused a fair bit of controversy – in the light of Big Dave, American Jesus and Kick-Ass it must be safe to say that you enjoy stirring things up a bit…

A: Yeah, I mean, you’re absolutely correct. But everything I’ve ever written has caused furore somewhere. I don’t seek controversy out, though. For me to be interested in something it has to be a little different. I get bored quite fast so I do things for my own amusement.

Q: Let’s go back in time – what are your memories of your stint with 2000 AD?

A: It is funny actually because I only got into 2000 AD after I began working on it. Growing up I was reading American comics – and that was mainly because my brothers handed me what they were looking at, which was all Spider-Man and Superman. So I didn’t realise how good 2000 AD was until much later on – and I hate to say this but I think I wrote some of the worst 2000 AD stories ever. I think I was lucky to get in there because it was at the time when Alan Grant, John Wagner and Pat Mills were busy working in the States. So they needed new writers and the guys running the magazine at the time – Richard Burton and Alan McKenzie – were really lovely to me. They were so patient with me and they helped me along. It was really hard for me because a good half of what I wrote was rubbish and the other half was just okay. I remember writing for 2000 AD and reading stuff like The Cursed Earth saga for the first time. I mean, wow, I never even got close to doing something that great. When I began working on CLiNT magazine I told people that I saw its readership as being ‘2000 AD and Empire’. I wanted to blend both magazines together.



: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 01 May, 2020, 09:15:33 PM
I’ve not read that much of his post-2000 AD output, TBF. I have Red Son, which was lauded as amazing at the time, and I found it… fine? His Ultimates was, when I read it, quite good, but then I went in quite deep with that when the line launched, and am… less keen when I head back to it today.

I recall quite liking Kick-Ass, but also having quite a lot of issues with its characterisation and treatment of certain people. Oh, and I did read Jupiter’s Legacy, but can’t remember what I thought of it, which… probably isn’t a great thing.

Good, I suppose, that he’s at least aware his 2000 AD work was mostly dogshit. (I will defend ‘Long Distance Calls’ until the cows come home, however.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Greg M. 01 May, 2020, 09:23:51 PM
This fully explains the cynical writing he did in 2000ad - alas his craft and precision wasn't honed at this point so we get raw less guileful Millar.

Yes - Millar writes what he thinks an audience wants, and in his prime, he knew exactly what an audience wanted. 2000AD, of course, was before his prime. As noted in the interview excerpt Funt Solo quotes, Millar wasn't a 2000AD fan prior to working on the comic: I think I've said it before, but this means his stories are a kind of warped funhouse-mirror version of 2000AD. From that perspective, they're a fascinating insight into what 2000AD looks like to someone on the outside - a den of amoral lead characters and ultraviolence, delivered with an 'up yours' attitude.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Richard 01 May, 2020, 10:26:17 PM
...a den of amoral lead characters and ultraviolence, delivered with an 'up yours' attitude.

To be fair, that's pretty much what 2000AD is meant to be, just not the way Mark Millar did it. But his answer to the second question quoted above is disarmingly honest and self-deprecating, and he acknowledges that the people before him did much better, so I can forgive him for Big Dave. Plus I quite enjoyed Silo, even if he did rip off a scene from Die Hard.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 02 May, 2020, 12:12:21 AM
even if he did rip off a scene from Die Hard.

And The Shining, if memory serves. Morrison at least had the decency to generally rob from obscure-ish and eclectic sources… barring some some shameless thievery from Claremont-era X-Men in Zenith, which at least had the rationale of being theme-appropriate homage.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 02 May, 2020, 01:04:13 AM
And maybe War Games, according to ... myself:

Silo
Perhaps inspired by a scene in WarGames (1983) featuring the two-man rule and definitely borrowing heavily from both The Shining and Die Hard, this is tonally a blend of 70s and 80s horror movies. Dark, bloody and somewhat confusing.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 02 May, 2020, 07:11:15 PM
even if he did rip off a scene from Die Hard.

And The Shining, if memory serves. Morrison at least had the decency to generally rob from obscure-ish and eclectic sources… barring some some shameless thievery from Claremont-era X-Men in Zenith, which at least had the rationale of being theme-appropriate homage.


I was looking forward to Silo before it came out.  Only read it the once, so far.  The Die Hard scene struck me too.


Regarding the X-Men - other than being generic superhuman stuff, what got stolen?  Not being a casual super-comics reader myself...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 02 May, 2020, 07:13:16 PM
Perhaps riding the wave of talent that came before him? At any rate, he's clearly become very successful. I find it difficult to hold it against him that he cut his teeth on Tooth: especially when he's self-disparaging.


That makes sense.  To the usual USA comic editor 2000AD is that comic from Britain where Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Brian Bolland, Simon Bisley, Alan Davis, etc came from - I wouldn't imagine many have read the actual comic itself.  So if Millar turns up saying he's got a few runs of stories for the same comic that would carry some weight (without the editors in question actually looking at the rubbish he wrote themselves).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 02 May, 2020, 09:34:07 PM
Regarding the X-Men - other than being generic superhuman stuff, what got stolen?  Not being a casual super-comics reader myself...

Without grabbing the reprints and checking, I can’t cite chapter and verse (although I distinctly recall one scene in Zenith Bk2 that’s an absolute steal from the Claremont/Byrne Proteus story) but I remember Morrison explicitly fessing up to it in (I think) one of his regular columns in Speakeasy, about a million years ago.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 03 May, 2020, 12:06:03 AM
Regarding the X-Men - other than being generic superhuman stuff, what got stolen?  Not being a casual super-comics reader myself...

Without grabbing the reprints and checking, I can’t cite chapter and verse (although I distinctly recall one scene in Zenith Bk2 that’s an absolute steal from the Claremont/Byrne Proteus story) but I remember Morrison explicitly fessing up to it in (I think) one of his regular columns in Speakeasy, about a million years ago.

Wow.  Speakeasy.  There's a name I haven't heard for a long time.  A long *you get the picture*
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 28 May, 2020, 02:11:15 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Megazine: Vol. 2.3 (Childhood's End) (2.27-2.36)

The megazine of this era struggles with consistency, firing off a barrage of thirteen hit 'n' miss thrills over a ten-issue sequence. But there's gold in them thar hills...

(https://i.imgur.com/Rj2FxS1.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Probably the most memorable thing about the Jigsaw Murders is the cover of issue 27, which came with a free jigsaw version. Entirely meta-tastic. Ladonna Fever was a bit of a "Dredd's Future Shocks" mash-up featuring a Madonna homage. The comedy Hottie House Siege is probably the most memorable from this era and is followed up by The Al Capone Story, Bagging The Bagwan, Slick Dickens - Dressed To Kill and Revenge Of The Egghead.
You have permission to get excited again (in a long-form aspect), as in the next stage we get the return of Mechanismo...


Judge Hershey: A Game of Dolls
A disturbing tale of a serial killer preying on costumed prostitutes in a low rent area of the city with a sparse Judge force.
After a brief stint teaming up with Steel (see below) Hershey returns in the next stage...


Harke & Burr: Antique & Curious *NEW THRILL*
Shoe-horned into the Dreddverse, this is about a couple of antique dealers. They seem to be living in Victorian London (given the Cockney accents, horse and carts, gas street lamps and so on), except the blurb says it's a township in The Cursed Earth. Lovejoy meets Dickens (meets Mad Max 3).
More shenanigans from this pair in the next stage...


Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I): Childhood's End
Kevin Walker paints Anderson & Orlock's trip to Mars. There's a disaster movie sense about the gang who go in to investigate a strange alien artefact (latterly reminiscent of set-ups like Congo or Prometheus) but aren't really equipped to deal with what they find. Orlok's never been as good since.   
Anderson returns in Meg 2.50, but if the series wanted to go out on a high it could've just ended here. Send your rebuttals to ... someone else.


Missionary Man (https://youtu.be/7NFZ8Q6p4vI) *NEW THRILL*
Gordon Rennie's opening salvo of Salvation At The Last Chance Saloon and A Town Called Intolerance were astounding partly because of the content (a living, breathing Cursed Earth setting borrowing heavily from Westerns) but also in no small part due to the art design from Frank Quitely.
There's lots more Missionary Man to come but in fits and starts and all the artists have a go, which can't help but feel a bit like Picasso couldn't make it.


Calhab Justice (https://youtu.be/dYxI6C4xjxk): Dounreay
Less hoots mon than the previous pile o'neeps an' tatties: in this wan MacBrayne taks oot a terrorist plot agin ra Dounreay power station, no?
Help ma boab - there's mair Oor Dredd next stage...


Brit-Cit Brute *NEW THRILL*
Judge Newt of the SAS dresses like a superhero and strikes poses all over the place and shouts at everyone: like a dystopian Spongebob Squarepants.
Barges its way into a follow-up in '94...


Armitage (https://youtu.be/LZSPHPBZFDU): Flashback II
An odd sequence in which Armitage plays Snake Plissken, and he has to destroy an evil metal version of the fantasy angel version of Sam Lowry from Brasil.
Returns late in '94...


Hershey & Steel: Degenomancer *NEW THRILL*
Doc Ock's tentacles are real as Hershey-U-Like visits Brit-Cit and teams up with Rookie Judge Treasure Steel.
Tis a one and done pairing.


Chopper (https://youtu.be/Uw9lIwadvVs): Dead Man's Twist *SET AFTER PAMELA EWING'S DREAM*
Surfing through nightmare canyon to prove himself to ... himself, again.
Zombie Chopper next shows his grisly visage in the Judge Dredd Poster Prog #4, before surfin' back over to the prog in '95 for Supersmurf 13...

---

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.27.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.39.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.34.jpg)
---------------------------------------

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 28 May, 2020, 02:12:52 AM
Oops: middle cover image is supposed to be from 2.29, not 2.39.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: DrJomster 28 May, 2020, 08:48:24 AM
I haven’t read anything from this period, so this is fascinating reading as always. Tips hat!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: davidbishop 28 May, 2020, 01:23:28 PM
Yeah, those issues of the Meg were quite bitsy. Glimpses of the treats to come, but nothing really to bind it all together aside from the Anderson. Meg 2.37 introduces a very strong run, and 2.50 sees another surge IMHO. Intrigued to see your assessment!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 28 May, 2020, 04:49:14 PM
Mmmm, Childhood's End is an interesting one. Despite it being the type of setup I hate (alien origins for humanity), and the whole space exploration thing rather at odds with the kooky galactic adventures we've already seen in the Dreddverse, I still really like this.  Walker's epic art is amazing (even Manderson herself), the character stuff is good and it all works really well.

Other than that, the Armitage flashback stories and the continuing run of fantastic covers there isn't a lot I enjoyed in this period.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 31 May, 2020, 03:18:55 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #29: Drums in the Deep
(Progs 852-872, 1993-94)

You know that bit in LOTR where they're sitting in the Mines of Moria reading the Book of Mazarbul:

"...we cannot get out. The end comes soon. We hear drums, drums in the deep. They are coming."

At this point I'd say the comic was still up and swinging punches, but signs of fatigue were showing. A lot of new thrills are tried, but few are landing well. There's a still a problem with re-hashing old characters or even just series titles but without the form or chutzpah of the originals.

It's far from being a terrible comic: there's great art and interesting themes. But, compared with earlier years, the thrill-thread that we follow through the comic is thinner

(https://i.imgur.com/QWcYHxM.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
The main issue with the Dredd of this era in the prog is that it's being written by folk (Morrison & Millar) who, by their own (later) admission, don't know well or enjoy the milieu. (We can exempt John Smith, who, in this section, provides us with the 3-prog Roadkill: although it's a bit on the obnoxious side.)

Morrison: "I was aware of Judge Dredd but it just seemed like a load of old toss". Quite why anyone thought it was a good idea to give their signature strip to people who regarded it as pish is ... a question. I suppose part of the answer must be the nurturing of talent.

Some of the results of that decision are the final two episodes of Inferno (nonsensical and perverted), then War Games (some foreshadowing that I don't remember paying off), Judge Tyrannosaur (does what it says on the tin), Book Of The Dead (well-rendered Egyptian-set thrill about a death cult - featuring conveyer belts), I Hate Christmas (Ezquerra!), Frankenstein Division (Sov Cyborg monster that can't be stopped gets stopped by Dredd's fists) & Crime Prevention (sort of Minority Report in four pages).

In the next stage five different writers try their hands at Dredd...


Mean Arena *NEW THRILL*
So, The Mean Arena ended in prog 282, and was good, then became less good over its run. This is not that. This is more like Gladiators (the tele show) crossed with that spikey platform from Flash Gordon, but not as exciting as either of them (together or alone).
Tis one and done.


Tyranny Rex (https://youtu.be/cgOHumlXhrE): Deux Ex Machina, part 1
Tyranny Rex is a nun seeking redemption, but she's a nun with attitude. When the cousins of the baddies from Firekind show up, she's all that stands between the congregation and gruesome annihilation.
Part 2 next stage...


Sam-Slade: Robo-Hunter(*) - Winnegan's Fake [*REBOOT of a REBOOT]
Peter Hogan comes on board as writer to replace Mark Millar, and suddenly Hoagy and Stogie are back in the frame. The art design gets a Rian Hughes makeover and now looks like we've landed with The Jetsons. So: not as aggressively offensive as the first reboot, but still not feeling much like the original.
It's back to Millar's version in the next phase, so good luck with any sort of continuity for the character...


Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ): Demon Killer
The time-traveling nature of Slaine's world has been there really from the first episode where he fights a dinosaur. The Time Tunnel aspect of his personal adventures was first brought to the fore in the 1985 Annual's Battle of Clontarf, which is retold in the first episode here to set the scene.

With Slaine's reign as high king over, he is to be sacrificed: but Danu has other ideas and instead sends him on the first of the Quantum Salmon Leap adventures that make up this stage of the wider saga. First up, then, and gloriously depicted by Glenn Fabry, we visit Roman Britain to tackle Elfric (again). 

After a rather sudden conclusion, this returns in prog 889...


Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)s: The Darkest Star
Feral and the Gronk (who's now a hard-drinking Rambo-type) decide to seek revenge against the Lyrans who murdered Johnny Alpha. Great art from Nigel Dobbyn lifts this above a thinly-stretched road trip. It's a bit like Falconhoof (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWmiShFb0go) meets Orko (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orko_(character)).
More Dogs in prog 897...


Timehouse (https://youtu.be/Gt1Tmlz1IT0) *NEW THRILL*
A collection of folk live in a magical house that can exist in any time and place. [Hello, Survival Geeks!]  The problem is that everything's a bit staid: it's like Indigo Prime through a Tintin lense. Zany things happen (although that's zany like Swap Shop, not zany like Tiswas) but there's no plot.
Returns for second series in prog 919...


Canon Fodder (https://youtu.be/4toxPx9mnkM) *NEW THRILL*
This has a religious enforcer (the titular Canon Fodder) investigating the double suicide of lovers Holmes and Moriarty, who have killed themselves in order that they can visit heaven and murder God. So, y'know, not a boring story. Art by Weston, and a similar plot structure, make this easily comparable to Killing Time and it's no doubt worth the admission price just for his depiction of God.
A second series with a different writer comes along in prog 980...


Soul Gun Warrior *NEW THRILL*
Serious Marmite based on your love for Shaky Kane. The soul gun uses as bullets the souls of pilots who have to commit suicide. So, the ghost of a US operative fights the ghost of Uri Gagarin, who is sabotaging space shuttles. Rocky IV meets pop art pulp sci-fi.
Soul Gun Assassin targets us in prog 920...


Mother Earth *NEW THRILL*
A weird, eco-warrior, wish fulfilment fantasy in which a heavily-armed time-traveling future human tries to save the planet by murdering corporate CEOs in cruel and inventive ways. For no credible reason, she requires some random civilians to be forced to help her so this is like Scooby Doo meets Captain Planet (https://youtu.be/TwJaELXadKo).
Tis a one and done.


Revere (https://youtu.be/yjsu-SRDAOQ): Book III
In some crazy world of future myth, Revere, the Witch-Boy of London, has leapt to his death but been transported to a spirit world, which eventually leads to some sort of cosmic rapture.
Wow. That was trippy.


Big Dave (https://youtu.be/cucf5u7weAM): Costa Del Chaos
Not realizing this could get any worse, this time it's in colour! Does what it says on the tin, really: Dave goes abroad and is horribly violent. In a sort of rip-off of Harry Enfield's mirror character to Loadsamoney (Buggerallmoney (https://youtu.be/gP4xuPbZ4Ic)), there's a counter-character by the name of Ballser that's inserted to create a "plot".
The apptly titled "Wotta Lotta Balls" crops up in prog 904...


---

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/854.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/861.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/871.jpg)
-------------------------------------

---

References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 31 May, 2020, 03:35:34 AM
Funt has dredged up strips I never knew existed - there was another Mean Arena? Quaequam blag! It comes as no surprise that I broke my weekly habit early in Stage # 29. As a result I'm interested as to why this stage doesn't start/stop at 860?  Once Slaine and Tyranny Rex ended, and Smith finished up his brief intermission on Dredd, the jig was well and truly up.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 31 May, 2020, 06:08:51 AM
I'm mostly just staging by full-five jump-on points, where they're available.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 31 May, 2020, 06:47:27 AM
Also, I think the end of this stage might be where Richard Burton stops being Tharg and Alan McKenzie starts. (I'm not sure exactly, mind.)

---

It is possible to follow great art through this stage: you can Demon Killer --> Book of the Dead --> Canon Fodder --> Revere. Or you could Tyranny Rex --> The Darkest Star --> Mother Earth, even.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 31 May, 2020, 07:10:21 AM
Also, I think the end of this stage might be where Richard Burton stops being Tharg and Alan McKenzie starts. (I'm not sure exactly, mind.)

What a heady coincidence given today votes - which have just gone up.

Have to say this Phase shows if nothing else there was some wonderful diversity in this period. That  brought both good (I love Soul Gun Warrior, Hogan and Rian Robohunter, Revere and Deux Ex Machina) and bad ... well chunks of the rest and some shocking Dredd - he pistol whipped the indestructible Russian beastie, pistol whipped him!

By heck though this time did help push the Prog into new places.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 31 May, 2020, 03:05:45 PM
At this point I'd say the comic was still up and swinging punches, but signs of fatigue were showing.

That's pretty generous - I think fatigue was showing when the prog failed to stick the prog 650 upsurge - I forgive them some of the problems before then as Crisis et al roll out and sap away Pat and Carlos and John (S) and Jim (B)... by prog 700 the fatigue is showing for me, and this is three years on and still in decline - well, maybe not all decline, the Robo Hunter is a marked imprvement, if still not quite anything that fits into the clssic continuity.  Can't deny some lovely art though, to be fair
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 31 May, 2020, 04:26:37 PM
I mentioned in in the mega city book club episode I was on but it bares repeating. Canon fodder by mark millar is utter dumb but sooooo worth it for the chris weston art. The reason i love the canon so much is series 2 with Kek-w writing a fantastic story and chris westons art being goddamn amazing

also yeah war games and a zombie chopper series from a wee bit later on were supposed to build to a mega epic involving sino cit going to war with mega city one that mercifully never happened
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 31 May, 2020, 04:44:59 PM
At this point I'd say the comic was still up and swinging punches, but signs of fatigue were showing.

That's pretty generous [...]

I am making an effort to be generous with these stage pieces, it's true. Partly I'm trying to allow any reader to be able to imprint their memory of the era without my being too judgmental. There's that outside possibility that someone who started reading here might have fallen in love with Strontium Dogs, for example.

There's also that idea from movies that nobody sets out to make a turkey (the plot of the producers aside). There's an argument that Morrison actually did set out to make a turkey with Inferno, though - so there's exceptions to every rule. But, in trying to maintain a sense of balance, I'm trying not to throw shade at creators who were giving it their all in a context in which it perhaps wasn't appreciated.

---

I'd say the biggest weakness of this set of progs is that there's no out and out classic in here:

 - Demon Killer is arguably the best thing here, but it's somewhat a re-tread of already covered ground.
 - Tyranny Rex is good, but it's arguably a poor man's Firekind.
 - Canon Fodder is good, but it's arguably a poor man's Killing Time.
 - Revere is good, but it's hellishly weird.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 01 June, 2020, 12:28:51 PM
As a reader who was 15 at this time and in the ascendancy of my love for all things 2000AD, it's weird looking back on it. I remember each new jumping-on Prog being talked up as a big deal in the comic - an atttiude of 'I guess we've been struggling a bit but THIS time the line up of thrills is AMAZING'. I beleived it every time, but it was around Stage 29 that I noticed this was happening and it wasn't always true...
From the Nerve Centres and reprint hype machine of the era you'd think 'Book of the Dead' was the best Dredd mini-epic since the Graveyard Shift.

But it bears echoing that the art at least really was spectacular, the likes of Weston and Power and Harrion were streets ahead of anything I was reading in Marvel comics at that time. (And Fabry, too, obvs, but he was kind of an old hand at that point).

I remember being super delighted with the whimsy injection provided by Timehouse and HoganHunter. They don't hold up as all-time classics but it kept me reading to know that the comic embraced lunatic macho nonsense in Dredd with something softer, as well as the baffling weirdness of Revere. I was convinced I'd understand it all when I grew up. Still waiting.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 02 June, 2020, 02:12:36 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Meg: Vol. 2.4 (Bury My Knee)
(Megs 2.37-2.49, 1993-94)

"Meg 2.37 introduces a very strong run" (Bishop, 2020), launching a new Mechanismo sequel, some stunningly inventive spot color in The Harlequin's Dance, stupendous launch art in new thrill Shimura and the light-hearted Return of the Taxidermist from maestro Ian Gibson.

It's worth noting that the Meg of this era was fortnightly, so is moving at quite a clip. And a point that's worth repeating: there have definitely been times when the Meg felt like the prog's poor cousin, but here the shoe's on the other foot in terms of stories that are showing off that perfect combo of quality art and script.
 
The momentum loses traction a little as we trail out of this stage getting ready for the big 2.50 jump-on.

(https://i.imgur.com/7YSUlPI.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Mechanismo's such a kick-ass high concept, that you just have to waft the suggestion of a sequel under my nose to throw my thrill-circuits into overdrive. The second sequel, Body Count, stomps along here for seven issues: an unhinged Stitch roaming the sewers looking for the rogue Number 5, for all the world like a Mega-City Dr. Frankenstein.

Bury My Knee At Wounded Heart (meg 2.46) is a one-off that's often cited as a contender for Best Dredd of All-Time. It's got pathos.

You ARE The Mean Machine (meg 2.47) is a comedy fiesta that riffs on the notion of Choose Your Own Adventure and ends with a limerick competition to win the orginal artwork from the story. (Hopefully the original art doesn't also contain the competition text, because otherwise we could end the universe in an endless art competition loop.)
 
Next stage sees the controversial Howler, and the build-up to Wilderlands...


Judge Hershey: The Harlequin's Dance
The Pied Piper of Hamelin (dressed as a Harlequin - see title) steals a bunch of kids and takes them to a mirror dimension.  (Pretty sure this sort of mass theft of children happens to Anderson in a later story.)
Hershey needs some time to recover from all of this Fairytale in M-C schtick and doesn't return until volume 3...


Shimura (https://youtu.be/m1f9URnWZoM) *NEW THRILL*
A stunning opening three-parter from Frank Quitely and Robbie Morrison focusses on the hi-tech crimes of Hondo City and introduces Judge-Inspector Shimura and Cadet Inaba. Everything about the design here is lavishly detailed: from the stylized lettering to the action-blended 3D sound effects (that seem before their time even today).
As with Quitely's launch of Missionary Man, there's a sense of loss when other artists carry on the franchise - like when you buy a comic with great cover art only to be disappointed that it doesn't continue on the inside. Frank Quitely is quite frankly a hard act to follow. Shimura returns in the next stage...


Return of the Taxidermist
Spinning off from 1987's The Taxidermist (in Dredd), this sees Jacob Sardini, skilled human taxidermist, compete in the Mega-Olympics. Wagner and Gibson are masters at shaggy dog comedies and you get to enjoy scenes such as the semi-nude recreation of the birth of Hitler (competing with The Producers for most ridiculous recreation of Nazi iconography) and the new olympic sports of staring and sex. Plus there's the moment when an axe-wielding maniac takes out the synchronized swimmers and gets top marks.
Returns in 1998, in the prog, with Revenge Of The Taxidermist...


Harke & Burr: Antique & Curious
Si Spencer and Dean Ormston have fun with A Hamster Horror Production, which features giant undead hamsters, and Grief Encounter which riffs on both Frankenstein and Metropolis.
There's another of these next in 2.83...


Creep (https://youtu.be/HNyNkLh3Tu8) *NEW THRILL*
I'm not going to be able to be fairly neutral because this is a story that I always detested. I'm assuming it's Marmite and has its fans. Plot: there's a super-mutant who lives in the sewers and murders and tortures people. He's creepy. He's the Creep. It's creepy. I'm creeped out. Imagine if, during The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface was the protagonist. And we just watched him fuck with people for the entire movie with no repercussions. That's kind of what this is. And that's gross.
More of this next stage, for Grud's sake when will the horror end...


Missionary Man (https://youtu.be/7NFZ8Q6p4vI): Legend of the Unholy Drinker
An odd little one-off where a zombie from Judgement Day has a drink with Preacher Cain and his sidekick.
A proper long-form series starts up in the next stage...


Pan-African Judges *NEW THRILL*
There was an explosion of the idea of world Judges where there was something of a creative competition to come up with culturally appropriate Judge uniforms for every nation on Earth. Here, Brit-Cit Judge Steel (not the one from Armitage) teams up with Judge Assengai of Pan-Africa. There's lavish design, with a detailed map of the continent that lays out much more detail than we've seen (before or since), and great art from Siku. The plot revolves around ivory poachers, but underlying it is the idea of continuing colonialist violence and exploitation.   
We have to wait until Volume 3 for a follow-up...


Calhab Justice (https://youtu.be/dYxI6C4xjxk)
Casualty is a dark tragedy where an empath is tasked with saving an injured victim, and serves as a prologue to the longer follow-up of Unfinished Business, where a rogue Judge goes on a psychic rampage.
More bitter gloom in 2.63...


Supporting Content
Worth a mention here is a (post-Judgement Day) "Offical World Map" in meg 2.37. That launch issue also came with an Anderson poster comic that I've managed to lose, and then the next issue came with a Dredd / Mean Machine poster calendar.


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.39.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.47.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.49.jpg)
---------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Woolly 02 June, 2020, 10:07:09 AM
From the Nerve Centres and reprint hype machine of the era you'd think 'Book of the Dead' was the best Dredd mini-epic since the Graveyard Shift.

To be fair to Tharg, he has to hype up something.
He can't just admit it's a bit naff and expect us poor earthlets to keep coughing up the groats  ;)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 02 June, 2020, 10:13:10 AM
Man, the contrast between Meg and Prog in this phase is painful. Although I must not have thought so at the time,  because I also stopped reading the Meg halfway through this phase...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 02 June, 2020, 10:29:27 AM
Here's a couple of clippings from an interview he did in M323 (2012), where Calum Waddell is asking the questions:


What's M323?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 02 June, 2020, 11:06:47 AM
Funt has dredged up strips I never knew existed - there was another Mean Arena? Quaequam blag!


I have read it, but so completely forgot about it that I only now know about it from threads such as this.  I (unfortunately) remember the reboot of Harlem Heroes but don't even know if this Mean Arena is a reboot or continuation of the proper Mean Arena.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 02 June, 2020, 11:10:54 AM
Here's a couple of clippings from an interview he did in M323 (2012), where Calum Waddell is asking the questions:


What's M323?

Megazine number 323.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 02 June, 2020, 01:21:38 PM
Here, Brit-Cit Judge Steel (not the one from Armitage)
Why do you say not the one? She’s the same Judge Steel, isn’t she?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 02 June, 2020, 01:52:15 PM
Why do you say not the one? She’s the same Judge Steel, isn’t she?

They're sisters, aren't they?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: GordonR 02 June, 2020, 01:54:43 PM
Why do you say not the one? She’s the same Judge Steel, isn’t she?

They're sisters, aren't they?

Yes.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 02 June, 2020, 02:23:15 PM
Ah. It’s been a long time since I read the strip. Thanks for the clarification.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 02 June, 2020, 03:52:31 PM
Why do you say not the one? She’s the same Judge Steel, isn’t she?

They're sisters, aren't they?

By the law that all black characters must be related, if nothing else.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 02 June, 2020, 03:57:35 PM
I had missed (or forgotten) that Treasure Steel (Armitage) and Becky Steel (Pan-African Judges) were sisters.

Abagnale sent this (where Becky and Assengai meet):

(https://i.imgur.com/CoeUt2L.png)

---

Funt has dredged up strips I never knew existed - there was another Mean Arena? Quaequam blag!
I have read it, but so completely forgot about it that I only now know about it from threads such as this.  I (unfortunately) remember the reboot of Harlem Heroes but don't even know if this Mean Arena is a reboot or continuation of the proper Mean Arena.

The Mean Arena was not a reboot or continuation of The Mean Arena. The commonalities almost end with the most important two thirds of the original's name. They're both future sport stories. Both are set in the UK. They each have a male protagonist. But that's it.

I suppose it's stretching credulity to imagine that Alan McKenzie wasn't aware of the former when he penned the latter, so I'm baffled as to why the name was reused.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 03 June, 2020, 03:37:20 AM
I used to despise creep but when it was reprinted in the mega collection i gave it a second try and its....actually not that bad?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 03 June, 2020, 06:55:40 AM
The sadly passed Kevin Cullen art on The Creep (and Hershey as I recall) really worked so well with this series. Shame he didn't do more for Tharg.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 04 June, 2020, 01:44:08 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #30: Hopes of Growth
(Progs 873-888, 1994)

Hope...for the future! Hope...under fire! It is a dark time for the Rebellion ... no, wait - this is still Egmont here.

I think this is around where Tharg shedded from Burton to McKenzie. It gets brought up quite a lot in other discussions that an outgoing Tharg leaves their *best* submissions in the drawer as a gift to the newcomer. A way of easing them into the weekly grind of the Galaxy's Greatest's never-ending, insatiable hunger for thrills.

We can only imagine the enormous HUZZAH that must have lifted Tharg's spirits as out spilled...   

(https://i.imgur.com/6U3Gaqy.png)


(Mind you, sarcasm aside, the 873 jump-on, on paper, looks really strong: Dredd, Rogue, Tyranny, Kirby and a new thrill - Dinosty - from Mills.)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Alan McKenzie, John Tomlinson, Mark Millar & John Higgins take turns scripting Dredd. The Sugar Beat takes Dredd to the Pan Andes Conurb and some racially-charged depictions of the locals. It's all a little bit Jeremy Clarkson. The Manchu Candidate provides another piece of set-up for a mooted confrontation with Sino-Cit and in that way plays a bit like Pirates of the Black Atlantic. The Enemy Below was memorable for the Clint Langley art.
Wagner's back in the next stage...


The Journal of Luke Kirby: Sympathy For The Devil (https://youtu.be/Fm5MutUaikE)
Luke's dad is stuck in hell and needs Luke to help him out. No pressure, then. (Disturbingly, women are relegated here to non-magic, top-totty duties as the narration tells us "women are no good at magic. But there was one kind of magic they excelled at". Oh dear. How parochial.) Previous parts of the tale have stuck with folkloric myth, to some extent, but here Santa Satan himself takes centre stage, and what was smoke and mirrors becomes set in stone and ergo less believable.
Returns for a new series in 1995...


Tyranny Rex (https://youtu.be/cgOHumlXhrE): Deux Ex Machina, part 2
The first part was set in a sci-fi nunnery under seige by bio-mechanical mercs. Now, Tyranny gets teleported to a city policed by floating robo-Elvis heads that only communicate using his lyrics. And she has a magic spirit-ball companion. And then madder stuff happens. I *think* it ends with the rebirth of humanity, with Tyranny as god. And there are songs, so it may qualify as a musical.
You have to wait ten years for a follow-up...


Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Fr1day]: [Scavenger Of Souls] *RETCON OF A REBOOT*
Friday is now on an un-named, war-torn planet (having arrived here using unknown means from the end of Apocalypse Dreadnought, where he was floating in a bubble in space). He finds a chatty alien biochip that says that he can take him to the Scavenger of Souls - an alien who, erm, scavenges souls. And stores them in biochips.

All of this is engineered as an excuse to rectify the problem of this Rogue Trooper not having biochips, by retconning them into existence on the Scavenger's spaceship as Top, Lucky & Eightball (the equivalents of Helm, Bagman & Gunnar). And Clavel/Clavell gets resurrected using exposition. Luckily, for no reason other than plot expedience, Friday happens to have slots on his equipment for a technology that didn't exist narratively until right now.

Chris Weston's of course an amazing artist, but he has a tendency to draw Rogue in this series grimacing as if he's constipated while he's saying things like "there has to be a way", "rrrr", "aaaaa" & "fight hard!" (https://youtu.be/J-YVt4gfquA). Get that trooper some castor oil, quick!

Having neatly fixed everything, Fleisher bows out now and the next series (next stage) has Steve White at the helm (ha!) of Retcon Rogue...


Dinosty *NEW THRILL*
Starting out as part of the opening line-up for the mooted Earthside 8 comic, this ended up being published here. Anthropomorphic dinosaur royalty have dominion over humans, which they treat as cattle. It's Planet of the Apes meets The Windsors by way of Jurassic Park.
Tis a one and done: although oddly there's a Star Scan in prog 1030.


Shaky's Beyond Belief *NEW CULTURAL ARTEFACT*
Aburdist pop art & commentary. For example, there's a monk carrying a cactus, and it says "Thai monks must carry a cactus plant at all times - as a sign of humidity!"
More in 1996, as it takes a while to get this high...


The Grudge-Father *NEW THRILL*
Uhm...a weird guy in a skin mask goes hunting for a monster that turns out to be the embodiment of hatred. There's a character called Prettymouth, and cats on laps feature predominantly. It's like ... James Bond crossed with a sewage processing facility (and that's me trying my absolute best to be fair and balanced).
Before anyone could stop them, they made a sequel, which gets published in 1995...


Sam-Slade: Robo-Hunter(*) - The Robotic Revenge Of Dr Robotski [*REBOOT of a REBOOT]
Here's what I wrote in stage #25: "it's a Millar script so the unstoppable, invincible, muscle-bound, heartless, murderous foe will get destroyed somehow on the second to last page (after a bunch of stuff gets ruined)". It holds true here.
Hogan & Hughes are back in the driving seat (well, one of them should probably sit in the passenger seat otherwise that'll be awkward) for Metrobolis, starting in prog 904...


The Clown (https://youtu.be/zaEBErNQhiE): Behind The Painted Mask
A psychotic clown who talks to his deceased pony is being hunted by a police detective. This is complicated by both an alien invasion and a zombie outbreak. Which made me think of this (https://i.imgur.com/cRXpzla.png).
This is the last we see of The Clown.


Babe Race 2000 *NEW THRILL*
The title is its own satire. Like, this is Death Race 2000 but they replaced all the drivers with heavily-armed strip club babes. WAY worse than Space Girls. And if you imagine that at least it sounds titillating, it's not that either. It even steals from Viz's Millie Tant by using the threadbare reasoning that anyone that complains about the sexualization of women is a fat, ugly lesbian. Needlessly offensive claptrap.
Despite the sky being blue and bears shitting in the woods, this actually gets another brief shot at stardom in the next Yearbook...


Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k): The Sprog Prince
Bradley's back to being depicted in an alien world (despite years on Earth), and the plot is sort of The Prince and the Pauper.
More Bradley next stage...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/880.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/885.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/887.jpg)
-------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 04 June, 2020, 04:07:06 AM
Tis a one and done: although oddly there's a Star Scan in prog 1030

methinks said star scan was a possible cover that got lost in the cabinet alongside that second time flies series
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 04 June, 2020, 10:05:16 AM
I do love Chris Weston's commitment to a permanently super-tense Friday. The character kind of only works as a coiled beast on the edge of exploding into shooty-death outbursts. With those popping veins and spittle-flecked teeth you can practically hear that his brain has an unending drone of 'OBEY ORDERS. FIGHT HARD. DIE WELL.' giving him a constant migraine. Also it makes it easier not to read the words.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 04 June, 2020, 11:20:59 AM
This era comes close to including a nadir Prog: 883 is properly atrocious, with the risible Babe Race 2000, the crappy second book of The Clown, a McKenzie Dredd, Grudgefather, and a Millar Robo-Hunter. That whole period was fingernails time for me and 2000 AD. Something would keep me reading—usually John Smith, but occasionally another strip, such as Like Kirby. But too often the majority of the Prog was pish.

In fact, having previously put forward 973 as the worst Prog, that at least has The Pit running (albeit alongside Wireheads, Flesh: Chronoside, Vector 13, and Kid Cyborg), and so perhaps 883 really is the nadir. (Also odd to look back at this and see how far Kek-W has come. Some of his early 2000 AD work is among my least favourite stuff to grace the Prog. But his recent contributions are mostly really good, if occasionally lacking in coherence.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 04 June, 2020, 11:51:16 AM
Sweet baby Jovus, I got out at the right time. The latter part of this stage I've only partially read through horrified fingers.  Even the Luke Kirby isn't that strips' finest hour, and The Clown is probably the next best thing for the whole 880s. The rest... shudder.  How did the Prog survive this?  How?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 04 June, 2020, 01:45:42 PM
I suspect people were buying out of habit, and some people just knew no better. But at the time, the Prog was losing readers at a steady clip — and as I understand it, it took until Rebellion’s ownership to steady the ship and ensure the comic became viable again.

Again, this period of 2000 AD is why I remain forever defensive of John Smith. He is basically why I stuck with the comic. Even his worst stuff was interesting and readable. His best was not only leagues ahead of the crap in the Prog at the time, but stands up among the finest in 2000 AD’s history.

It’s a crying shame that, for various reasons, he’s seemingly no longer a part of 2000 AD’s present. But I’m deeply grateful he was part of its past.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sheridan 04 June, 2020, 05:38:12 PM
Sweet baby Jovus, I got out at the right time. The latter part of this stage I've only partially read through horrified fingers.  Even the Luke Kirby isn't that strips' finest hour, and The Clown is probably the next best thing for the whole 880s. The rest... shudder.  How did the Prog survive this?  How?

Well, for me it was tough.  The progs had gone from (usually) five stories written well and with excellent art to two or three stories with excellent art (so from about 90% great elements to 25%) - so I guess some of it was habit.  So much so that by the time it had started getting better again I was still cursorily reading through the once and not re-reading - part of the reason I'm doing a prog slog now is to revisit the things I only ever read the once.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 04 June, 2020, 06:01:37 PM
This era comes close to including a nadir Prog: 883 is properly atrocious, with the risible Babe Race 2000, the crappy second book of The Clown, a McKenzie Dredd, Grudgefather, and a Millar Robo-Hunter.

It's pretty low. I think the best story in it is The Clown - it has the benefit of having some absurdist humour, helped along by Robert Bliss's art. And the Robo-Hunter also has some good art by Simon Jacob.

It didn't occur to me to stop reading it, though. It's 2000 AD.

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 04 June, 2020, 08:01:15 PM
Well this put me in mind to check back on my self absorbed re-read thread and yep I called it there. 890 - 888 are just about the worst the Prog ever go. Its the absolute nadir in thrill power. Things start to pick up in 889 but its a slow and very gradual recovery over not weeks, not months... but alas years.

Still at least the very, very worst is out the way!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 04 June, 2020, 08:12:05 PM
perhaps 883 really is the nadir.

ISTR we actually came to a consensus a while back that it very likely was. Literally the only thing you can say about it is that most of the art is pretty good, and some of it is excellent, but you can't carry a line-up that poor on some nice art.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 05 June, 2020, 05:32:40 AM
That is the strength of an anthology having multiple stories running but this can bite you in your ass if everything is sub-par. I bailed just as Grudgefather started as the prog spiraled into a trend of mediocrity.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 10 June, 2020, 05:29:33 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #31: The Collector
(Progs 889-900, 1994)

This stage launches with a new logo on the fattest prog to date (a 44-pager), and then ends with the special event prog 900: the first prog to feature just a single story with the Dredd/Fr1day crossover Casualties of War.

(https://i.imgur.com/2jCjHXh.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
In the '94 Sci-Fi Special, Mark Millar comes up with an amusing conceit whereby Mr Bennet Joins The Judges, but then has Dredd murder him in cold blood. Creative cruelty.

Meanwhile, Wagner returns to the prog with The Time Machine (a comedy of errors featuring a bumbling set of time-traveling Cambridge academics), Conspiracy Of Silence (see below), A Guide To Mega-Speak and the 28-page Fr1day crossover Casualties of War.

Conspiracy Of Silence is an important piece of canon that moves forward several plot strands about McGruder going insane, a nascent conspiracy to remove her and a secretive second Mechanismo program. It segues into the Meg's The Tenth Planet, itself a precursor to Wilderlands.

Newcomer Dan Abnett does their first prog work with Rad Blood (a Cursed Earth monster mash), followed by fellow newcomer Chris Standley who turns in Moving Violation (a butterfly effect tale of escalating disaster)  and TV Babies.

Wagner and Abnett are back with more in the next stage...


Mambo: The New Flesh *NEW THRILL*
Cybercop Rachel Verlaine investigates a corporate conspiracy (after an encounter with the droogs from A Clockwork Orange and a chat with her dad, who just happens to be a head in a jar). It's a cyber-punk body horror!
Returns in 1995 with Fleshworld...


Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Fr1day]
So, try to keep up:
 - Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons created Rogue Trooper and it ran with GFD from 1981 to 1985. It was set mostly on Nu Earth, but went on a short (but violent) vacation to Horst.
 - Once GFD was out, Simon Geller wrote "The Hit" sequence (which was set on any planet they wanted due to magic alien teleportation), but it was a damp squib.
 - Dave Gibbons rebooted things with The War Machine in 1989, featuring a new, grittier, biochipless Rogue: Fr1day. This was set on Earth, and ended when peace was declared! Huzzah! No more war. Wait...
 - Michael Fleisher nixed the peace & took Fr1day through various missions to defeat corporate warmongers. It was on Earth, then in space, then on ... a planet somewhere.
 - Fr1day was given back biochips in a transition tale: The Scavenger of Souls.
 
Summary - original :: dribble :: reboot :: retcon :: retcon. (There is no canon! George Martin will never complete The Winds of Winter. Jar-Jar Binks. The MCU. It's an existential nerdpocalypse!)

Anyway: Steve White (with Henry Flint on art duties) takes the new chipped-up Fr1day out for a spin in the 1994 Sci-Fi Special's Some Mother's Son, an action-soaked frying pan-to-fire tale heavy on the FWOOOM! but light on a dramatic question (or a location). 

In the prog: Mercy Killing let's us know for the first time since Apocalypse Dreadnought that we're now on Nu-Earth (which I don't think has ever been part of the Fr1day reboot until now). Despite lots of shouting "skev", a shit-ton of military jargon and some great action sequences the problem is outlined in the credit page of the first episode: that Fr1day and the chips "pursue an uncertain destiny". The Norts have been replaced with religious fanatics (the Kervanu) and the Southers with just anyone else we meet. It's like the perfect recipe for churning out story after story without really committing to anything - almost as if the purpose of the comic is just to endlessly repeat itself to generate money (https://youtu.be/XvuM3DjvYf0).

Mercenary Attitudes introduces the oft-repeated concept of "knifing", except with guns. Also, a super-ninja babe joins forces and exposits all over the place about the Clavell/Clavel Corporation before dusting off into space. Isn't that just like super-ninja babes, though? Wait: is that still the plot? How many times do we need to kill this Clavell/Clavel guy? It's almost as if the purpose of the comic is just to endlessly repeat itself to generate money (https://youtu.be/XvuM3DjvYf0).

Apart from the prog 900 Dredd crossover there's more requests to urgently knife in the next stage. It's almost as if...


Armoured Gideon (https://youtu.be/-Nbve6tK3ic) [The Collector]
Frank Weitz is dreaming of the good life when Bill Savage blows his door open with his trusty shoota: "Cock-a-doodle bleedin' do!" Thus begins the mother of all crossovers, making Mills' attempts to insert a T-Rex dynasty into every aspect of 2000 AD pale into insignificance.

The backstory is that Armoured Gideon has been chasing and attempting to eliminate Bill Savage (and Blackhawk, Sam Slade, the Neon Knights, Abelard Snazz, the Harlem Heroes & the Helltrekkers) but is being foiled by The Collector, who is "rescuing" them.

An inter-dimensional game of cat and mouse ensues, taking in Shako, Harry Angel, a Geek, MACH Zero, Wolfie Smith, the Mekon, Harry Twenty, Nick Stone, Max Normal, Artie Gruber, Dan Dare, the ants from Ant Wars, Ace Garp, Matt Tallon, Captain Klep, Tharg, GBH, Agent Rat, Robot Archie, Judge Dredd, Judge Death, Mean Machine Angel and Rick Random.  And those are just the ones I recognize.

Returns in 1995, minus the crossover cast...


Slaine (https://youtu.be/W64HGS638mQ): Queen of Witches
Quantum Salmon Leap, episode two. Slaine, mortally wounded by Elfric/Alia at the end of Demon Killer, is rescued by Boudica/Danu's hair and gets to continue his fight against the Roman invasion of Britain. Amusingly, the Roman standard bearer has to march along beside the testudo formation: brave guy, doomed. History will tell you that the Romans are ultimately victorious, so Slaine and Ukko time tunnel it back to their own time.
Slaine's back for more mystical blood-letting and deific rumpy pumpy in 1995's The Name of the Sword...


Brigand Doom: House of Games
The '85 Sci-Fi Special had Social Justice Warrior (aka Brigand Doom) take down The Beggar King: a low-life entrepreneur who'd made himself The Godfather of Grime (as in mucky living and behavior, not the modern music genre). In House of Games, Inspector Nine continues to pose and pout around her apartment while Doom (looking dapper but smelling danker) helps her root out rampant government corruption.
Personal Hygiene of Doom returns in the next Yearbook...


Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)s: Crossroads
Gronko & Ferals team up with Bullmoose, there's news that the S/D agency is back up and running and Durham Red's being hunted by agents of the Gothking. We've switched over from Ennis to Peter Hogan, so the plot is being updated to his world (or galactic) view. Red and Feral meet for the first time and he shows her his warp spasm.
Serves as a precursor to a short Red three-parter next stage, and more Dogs-labeled yarns in '95...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/891.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/896.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/897.jpg)
-------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 10 June, 2020, 05:49:47 PM
Out of all that lot (Conspiracy of Silence aside), only Mambo had any real potential.  Alas, even the great David Hine couldn't really get it off the starting blocks. See also: Tao de Moto.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 10 June, 2020, 07:50:02 PM
Mm. It’s still all a bit underwhelming, but I’d say at this point there’s at least nothing that’s outright shit. The problem is classic characters Sláine and Rogue are being mined well past their prime. I quite liked Strontium Dogs, but Hogan didn’t ever get the chance to play things out — and 2000 AD didn’t have patience for him back then. I need to re-read all of Armoured Gideon, but I recall this arc being quite the WTF? mis-step.

I liked Mambo (and Tao De Moto), and it’s a pity it never went any further.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 10 June, 2020, 08:18:56 PM
It was interesting to see The Collector again: it's incredibly meta(physical), perhaps positing the idea that the extra-dimensional beings that created Armoured Gideon are actually John Tomlinson and Simon Jacob (although it's not that explicit).

The Collector of the title is a being who saves what were, at the time, relegated characters, from being destroyed / forgotten by Armoured Gideon - a new character. Is The Collector an embodiment of fandom?

Like, you can't destroy Shako as long as I have copies of those progs and continue to talk about Shako, or think about Shako. There's a scene where Shako shreds Bill Savage, but then a frame or so later he's fine again: because these ideas aren't something you can destroy.

Sadly, Frank Weitz tells this to the characters, saying that they can't be destroyed as long as someone remembers them (the same idea that drives Gaiman's American Gods), but he's saying it, I think, to Rick Random.

As I age, I've started to think about my mortality, and how much 2000 AD means to me - and how much value I put in a resource like Barney. But Rebellion (quite rightly) are a company that to a necessary extent lives in the here and now. If it's not being published (or re-published) then is the information useful, or relevant? When I die, and others of my generation, some of these characters may be forgotten.

How old is Dredd, really?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 10 June, 2020, 09:01:38 PM
The Collector of the title is a being who saves what were, at the time, relegated characters, from being destroyed / forgotten by Armoured Gideon - a new character. Is The Collector an embodiment of fandom?

That was always my take. I really enjoyed this story, even if it was absolutely an indulgence.

I think this period has a lot to offer. Mambo was really ggod, just a shame it didn't last. I enjoy this period of Slaine. Dredd shows the green roots of recovery and there's much to enjoy in this era of Strontium Dog. So while its appeal if grearly enhanced by what it follows its also not that bad.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 10 June, 2020, 09:22:01 PM
I also recall prog 883 getting "World Beating" status when last we delved into the murky depths of this Era.

Didn't this coincide with the "change in distributors" that lost 30,000 readers overnight?  Perfect storm if so....
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 10 June, 2020, 09:27:49 PM
Apolgoes - 20,000 according to TPO.  And since the 889 relaunch with TV advertising was designed to try and put that right, presumably the change must ahve happened earlier in 1993, though again, anywhere in the 800s is not a good time to be actively shaking off readers
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 14 June, 2020, 11:00:25 PM
this was the period in time where 11 year old me ditched the prog for sonic the comic as i was that age when the blue hedgehog was at his biggest. I did manage to read this period in time a few years later when i was given a large chunk of post 800-999 back issues. Aside from wagners scant few dredd tales and armoured gideon i recall this period in time being very poor
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 15 June, 2020, 04:06:22 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #32: 3-Prog Mini-Series
(Progs 901-903, 1994)

This was a second attempt at that idea from progs 850-851 to do a super-tight run of thrills: this time a three-parter. I guess the idea never took off, as it never happens again.

(https://i.imgur.com/SQoksa0.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Judge Death: The True Story is a light, frothy two-parter with far too many gradient-fill backdrops in which Comedy Death briefly goes back in time to 20th century Bexhill. It sounds ripe, but is a damp squib and only manages to fill two of the three progs. The third prog gives us Part Exchange, where muggers and organ leggers have joined forces to optimize their business practices.
Tis inter-planetary mega-epic crossover time next stage as we quest into the Wilderlands...


Durham Red (https://youtu.be/kjncq39dvIc): Mirrors
Naval-gazing imagineering of what it means to be Durham Red, with a dream sequence that's not too far off the plot of 1998's The Scarlet Cantos. As with most dreams, ultimately nothing happens.
Durham has some one-offs in upcoming specials before another mini-series in '95, but this tells us to look out for her next in Strontium Dogs (also in '95)...


Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Fr1day Supper]: G.I. Blues
Retcon update: as with the return of the chips, now the Norts and Southers are suddenly back in the story, and Fr1day "knifes" his hair into a Rogue-hawk. The story is an intriguing three-parter (with gorgeous Chris Weston art) whereby Fr1day actually loses a fight and ends up in the OR. Then he gets better and a big fight starts.
Fr1day's back in '95...


Bradley (https://youtu.be/g47vAZwSD0k): Master Of Martial Arts
The Karate Kid, but with Bradley and dominoes.
Bradley ends his run in the 1995 Yearbook with Bradley & the Baby Sitter.


Nemesis (https://youtu.be/sPkWwlZ56GQ): Hammer of Warlocks
This is the history of Nemesis in three parts. Otherwise, it serves only as a precurser to a new book slated to begin in 1995...
...which doesn't get published until 1999...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/901.jpg)
After Shakespeare
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/902.jpg)
After Hicklenton
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/903.jpg)
After not enough fiber
-------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 15 June, 2020, 09:48:19 PM
Stage #1: Launch (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1009836#msg1009836)(progs 1-35)
Stage #2: Settling In (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1009917#msg1009917)(progs 36-85) Stage #2.5: Starlord (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011308#msg1011308)
Stage #3: Starlord Merger (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1009950#msg1009950)(progs 86-126) Stage #3.5: Tornado (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011318#msg1011318)
Stage #4: Tornado Merger (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011408#msg1011408)(progs 127-177) The Proto-Millsverse (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011476#msg1011476)
Stage #5: Going It Alone (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011526#msg1011526)(progs 178-221)
Stage #6: Key New Thrills (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011619#msg1011619)(progs 222-272)
Stage #7: Post-Apocalypse (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011781#msg1011781)(progs 273-307)
Stage #8: Mooreland (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1011889#msg1011889)(progs 308-334)
Stage #9: Golden Jump-On (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012040#msg1012040)(progs 335-386)
Stage #10: Golden Stutters (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012466#msg1012466)(progs 387-434)
Stage #11: Going Out (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012534#msg1012534)(progs 435-467)
Stage #12: Rage (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1012982#msg1012982)(progs 468-499)
Stage #13: Bad Company (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1013385#msg1013385)(progs 500-519)
Stage #14: Transmute! (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1013574#msg1013574)(progs 520-531)
Stage #15: Wizards of Oz (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1014007#msg1014007)(progs 532-570)
Stage #16: Summer Magic (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1014451#msg1014451)(progs 571-588)
Stage #17: Unstable Growth (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1014743#msg1014743)(progs 589-613)
Stage #18: Split Tales (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1015706#msg1015706)(progs 614-649)
Stage #19: The Dead Man (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1016170#msg1016170)(progs 650-670)
Stage #20: Necropolis (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1016642#msg1016642)(progs 671-699)
Stage #21: Rough in the Diamonds (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1017080#msg1017080)(progs 700-722)
Stage #22: Full Colour Potential (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1017709#msg1017709)(progs 723-749)
Stage #23: Khronic Ills of Tooth (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1018108#msg1018108)(progs 750-779)
    Megazine: Vol. 1 (America) (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1019785#msg1019785)(1.01-1.20)
Stage #24: Don't Believe the Hype... (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1020581#msg1020581)(progs 780-799)
    Meg: Vol. 2.1 (Swimming in Blood) (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1020581#msg1020581)(2.01-2.09)
Stage #25: ...It's a Sequel  (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1022364#msg1022364)(progs 800-827)
    Megazine: Vol. 2.2 (Mechanismo) (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1026129#msg1026129)(2.10-2.26)
Stage #26: Spring Fever  (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1026193#msg1026193)(progs 828-841)
Stage #27: Summer Offensive  (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1026466#msg1026466)(progs 842-849)
Stage #28: 2-Prog Mini-Series  (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1026526#msg1026526)(progs 850-851)
    Megazine: Vol. 2.3 (Childhood's End) (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1028721#msg1028721)(2.27-2.36)
Stage #29: Drums in the Deep  (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1029042#msg1029042)(progs 852-872)
    Megazine: Vol. 2.4 (Bury My Knee) (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1029271#msg1029271)(2.37-2.49)
Stage #30: Hopes of Growth  (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1029500#msg1029500)(progs 873-888)
Stage #31: The Collector  (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1030175#msg1030175)(progs 889-900)
Stage #32: 3-Prog Mini-Series (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=45960.msg1030651#msg1030651)(progs 901-903)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 June, 2020, 05:18:41 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Meg: Vol. 2.5 (Postcards...)
(Megs 2.50-2.62, 1994)

"2.50 sees another surge" (Bishop 2020), and serves as a mid-volume re-launch and jump-on as the page count goes up (44pp to 52pp), we get a new logo and even a free skin transfer! It is a strong launch, with a Dredd featuring then Cadet Giant, follow-up adventures for Shimura & Missionary Man, highlights of Anderson's backpacking trip around (interplanetary) Europe and the gauche goings-on of the Creep. Postcards from the edge, indeed.

(https://i.imgur.com/9y5NCqn.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Giant lets us ride along on (young) Giant's final rookie test, which involves a new robot mini-revolution lead by ... Walter the Wobot?

Howler proved controversial in its time because McMahon had the temerity to have changed his art style significantly to something more abstract than people remembered from the big-booted Dredd era or Slaine's glorious sky chariots. Plot: the titular alien howls: and must be stopped, for 36 pages.

The Tenth Planet is a bit of a historical oddity, positing the notion of Hestia, the tenth planet of the solar system that hadn't been noticed hiding behind the sun - and isn't mentioned prior to this story or afterwards. McGruder arrests Dredd and then takes him and some Mechanismos on vacation to Hestia, which is populated mainly by deadly, hostile fauna. It's Death Planet meets Dredd!

The Hestia safari seques into the Wilderlands prog/meg crossover...


Shimura (https://youtu.be/m1f9URnWZoM): Outcast
Shimura has turned ronin in order to take on the yakuza without needing to negotiate deep-rooted departmental corruption. Inaba is brought in (but shamed in the process) to investigate. There's a desperate bleakness here, with the heroes up against organized crime, corrupt Judges and underworld demons. Even when they succeed, they seem also to lose. 
After this, we get a lot of sporadic one-offs: the next one arrives in Meg 2.72, in the next stage...


Missionary Man (https://youtu.be/7NFZ8Q6p4vI)
Bad Moon Rising is a poetic and disturbing monster mash in which Preacher Cain goes up against what seems to be a genuine devil: a horned monster that takes a gila-munja pack in thrall and sets out to do evil.

The '94 Mega-Special's The Undertaker Cometh adds to the mystical, mythical qualities of the strip with another supernatural-seeming villain: The Undertaker (who throws down a challenge for Preacher Cain).

Season Of The Witch is a haunting redemption story in some ways reminiscent of High Plains Drifter. Sanctuary is perhaps more straightforward, where a wounded Cain is cornered by a violent gang.

The '95 Yearbook does a crossover with Judge Dredd in Truegrit, providing the revelation that Marshal Cain has some sort of Cursed Earth jurisdiction that Dredd grudgingly accepts. It's tempting to see Cain here as a precursor of sorts to Cursed Earth Koburn.

More Cain & sidekick in the next stage...


Creep (https://youtu.be/HNyNkLh3Tu8)
Creep's Day Out sees Creep creep-out the Dark Judges during Necropolis. True Love is a four-parter in which a psychotic Undercity Judge and Creep fight over the lost Psi-Judge Casey. Fun, if you like psychotic magical bastards fucking everyone over and getting away with it.
I think this is it for Creep, except for a Dredd crossover in Meg 2.70...


Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I): Postcards From the Edge
An unusual series in which Anderson has retired from being a Judge and is wandering the galaxy, like, looking for herself, man. Wo-man. And she's sending literal postcards through space. Probably in '94 that didn't seem totally odd. Five artists lend their skills, so it's a bit like an Anderson's Future Tales anthology (with a mid-stream Orlok team-up).
Anderson returns in 2.73, but will she ever return to the Big Meg? Nobody knows...


Harmony *NEW THRILL*
Blood & Snow, with great Trevor Hairsine art, introduces Harmony Krieg of Misery (north of Uranium City, in what was Alaska). She's a rogue, always on the make: but being tracked by bigger bastards. The 1995 JD Yearbook gives us Snow Blind, which suggests that Harmony always wins out in the end, but then Meg 2.62 throws that on its head with Homeward Bound, leaving us on a cliffhanger that makes it look like its curtains for Krieg.
Harmony returns in Meg 2.73...


Karyn: Skinner *NEW THRILL*
Psi-Judge Karyn first turned up in Raptaur (Megs 1.11-1.17), then there was Beautiful Evil (a quick "possessed object" action-thriller) in the '94 Mega-Special, just before this first solo series. Skinner is a serial killer jimp investigation.
Karyn's back in Meg 2.67...


Brit-Cit Brute: Trilogy
Super-heroic Judge Newt takes down super-villainous enemy and opera singer (with special sonic powers) Lucio Borgia. Wait: what are non-ironic superheroes doing in my 2000 AD spin-off comic? I would write to my MP to complain but this happened twenty-six years ago (and MPs are notoriously shit at editing comics because it involves actual work and at least occasionally telling the truth). In part two, the super-villain is a celebrity chef named Quentin Freud. In part three, it's an Elvis impersonator named Elvis Wincebottom (The Shocker Rocker).
Editorial must have realized that non-ironic superheroes and supervillains had sneaked into the comic through the back door and put a stop to these shady shenanigans. This is it for the Brit-Cit Brute. He even had a cape, FFS!


O'Rork *NEW THRILL*
O'Rork is a private eye located in Oz. He solves a case involving a psychotic psychic kid.
Tis a one and done (although for completists there's a text story in the '95 Mega-Special)...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.51.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.53.jpg)
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.55.jpg)
---------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 18 June, 2020, 11:09:05 AM
Brit cit brute will return....sort of in the next stage :lol:
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 24 June, 2020, 03:14:32 PM
The Tenth Planet needs a super convoluted story to explain its existence today, given that, since Wagner wrote this story, Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet, and at least 4 more dwarf planets have been spotted beyond Pluto's orbit. Making Hestia either the Ninth planet, or, more likely, the 5th Dwarf Planet (not including that one asteroid in the asteroid belt that's quite large).

No-prize solution: Various Mega Cities tested out planet-destroying missiles on Pluto, Eris, Haumea and Makemake (I'm not making these names up, honest) to establish a new form of mutually assured galactic destruction treaty, leaving Hestia as the 10th (biggish) rock from the Sun.

Meanwhile, back in the real world of 1994, this was the point when teen me was losing patience with the Megazine (Too pretentious! The stories are hard to follow! Gah!) but was not even slightly noticing that 2000AD was literally at its lowest ebb. If 1977 Tharg was aiming for 8 year olds, and 1995 Tharg wanted 16 year-olds, he was still doing it right as far as I'm concerned. I would've dropped the Megazine if it hadn't been for that pesky Wilderlands crossover. OOh, Bish-Op, your cunning editorial skills win again.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 26 June, 2020, 11:25:45 AM
At the end of 1994 I felt somewhat peeved with life, chucked my job and went travelling for a year. I never realised until now that it was because the Prog was in the doldrums.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 26 June, 2020, 02:50:24 PM
This was around the time I started buying the Megazine regularly, finally being able to afford it (kind of - my student account was ridiculously far into the red).  Though it didn't seem to have the energy of the first couple of years, it kept me riveted, and John Wagner was back writing the Dredds. 
I did prefer Tharg's sarky, bombastic editorial style to Bish-OP's self-confessedly po-faced one - I remember the latter scolding a reader for 'mixing his metaphors, to unsavoury effect' - but there were more than enough stories to keep my interest (even if the title page of Cal Hab justice said for the best part of the year that Schiellion's son must 'die to dave the future Scotland).  It was, I seem to remember, a better read than the prog of the time.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: davidbishop 26 June, 2020, 04:51:14 PM
dave the future Scotland!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 26 June, 2020, 06:06:23 PM
god i wish i had friends who read the meg at the time i would try to get that as my nickname in school
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 26 June, 2020, 06:13:21 PM
dave the future Scotland!

If you turn out to be the future of Scotland, I take it all back  :D
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Woolly 26 June, 2020, 11:44:27 PM
I did prefer Tharg's sarky, bombastic editorial style to Bish-OP's self-confessedly po-faced one - I remember the latter scolding a reader for 'mixing his metaphors, to unsavoury effect'...

I didn't.
Considering, in hindsight, some of the crap that the mighty Bish-op had to run in the Meg at the time, and the backlash from a certain two readers (Matt & Sloano if you were wondering) the fact that he didn't just call them out as King Canutes is commendable.
That he would keep printing their letter efforts, and keep responding to them, is a testament to his love and belief in the prog/meg at the time. Most editors would have simply not printed the letters.

And this is one of the reasons why I believe Bish-Op is one of the greatest editors 2000ad and the Megazine has ever seen. I honestly believe that without his sheer love of the property, Matt Smith would not have been given his time to shine.

Wish he'd have continued as editor when Alan Barnes took over, can't help but think we missed a trick there!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 27 June, 2020, 01:11:43 AM
Isn’t there something to be said for the Matt & El Sloano sequence providing a bit of frisson? I recall being more interested in a letters page that had a sense of continuity, regardless of whether the views on offer were reasonable or balanced. (It’s long enough ago that all I remember is their views being robust.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 27 June, 2020, 10:10:50 AM
Robust but also sometimes contrarian for the sake of it. Certain modern-day groups on Facebook remind me of their missives.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 27 June, 2020, 12:41:32 PM

And this is one of the reasons why I believe Bish-Op is one of the greatest editors 2000ad and the Megazine has ever seen. I honestly believe that without his sheer love of the property, Matt Smith would not have been given his time to shine.


I'm not disputing that - Bish-Op was the Tharg who turned the prog round, and it's been on a roll ever since. 

I was only talking about the funny smart-arse Tharg letter answers really, which I still kind of miss in the prog - the Damage Report still provides the same kind of laughs though.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 01 July, 2020, 11:18:39 PM
Didn't want to make a thread about it but since we just passed its stage completely I needed to get this off my chest.

Mark Millars robohunter was rougher than i remember it. God how did this tripe get commisoned and allowed to run as long as it was. Its sexist, violent, racist and just pretty much all in terrible. I genuinly cannot see something like this get past the editor of the current prog at all

what was tharg thinking?!? I am so sorry David Bishop you were one of the good ones at least the only dreck you let in were the garbage your predecessor paid for.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 01 July, 2020, 11:55:52 PM
I can think of two editorial decisions during Matt’s tenure that made me properly upset (one of which was claimed to have been his idea). But there are more decisions that are at least as bad in probably every episode of that Millar dreck. It’s relentlessly awful in every conceivable way.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 02 July, 2020, 12:08:33 AM
if its what i think it is i am in the same camp as you :(
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Aaron A Aardvark 02 July, 2020, 07:35:46 AM
Didn't want to make a thread about it but since we just passed its stage completely I needed to get this off my chest.

Mark Millars robohunter was rougher than i remember it. God how did this tripe get commisoned and allowed to run as long as it was. Its sexist, violent, racist and just pretty much all in terrible. I genuinly cannot see something like this get past the editor of the current prog at all

what was tharg thinking?!? I am so sorry David Bishop you were one of the good ones at least the only dreck you let in were the garbage your predecessor paid for.
Another one I missed during my 1990s Long Walk.

Unlike other infamous stories like Ball Bros I've never felt curious to see what it was actually like.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 02 July, 2020, 09:19:23 AM
if its what i think it is i am in the same camp as you :(
FWIW, the two are:


- That scene in Lenny Zero where everyone’s compelled to fuck each other (“haha—rape!”)
- Moloch raping and murdering Niamh (rape AND fridging!)


The second of those was suggested by Smith (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=3957.msg41607#msg41607). It’s a rare misstep on his part, but also very much a male gaze justification: “It was my suggestion that we give Niamh - a long-term supporting character - a death scene to remember, which would make Slaine's desire for vengeance all the more powerful.” So a women has to be raped to death by a demon, in order to make Sláine suitably angry. Just no.

I actually agree that cutting to Sláine finding his dying wife perhaps wouldn’t have had the right impact. But if you’re going to fridge Niamh, at least have her go down fighting in furious battle, like a Celt. Sláine would still have been mightily pissed off. She didn’t need to be killed off in such a repellant manner, not least in a comic that was at the time — and still is — pretty poor when it comes to gender balance.

Kudos at least to Matt back in 2003 for owning up to making that decision. But the decision itself is something that will never sit right with me, and that soured an otherwise high point for the strip.


Also, reading that original thread again is illuminating. It takes until the second page until Queen Fiery-Bou notes the real problem (https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=3957.msg41629#msg41629), which is the "portrayal of women as sexual objects to be taken or violated  according to the whim of the hero or anti-hero” and that “women are not just plot devices”. Prior to that, men had mostly been arguing about whether or not this scene was suitable for kids, and whether 2000 AD was for kids these days anyway. This is why we need more women in comics—and it’s good that 2000 AD is (slowly) heading in that direction.

EDIT: Bloody hell. Having read that entire thread, I feel the need for a shower. Horrible. I’d hope the board in general is a bit more thoughtful these days.

(Apologies for the thread derail. I’m sure it’ll be back on track with the next excellent instalment of In Stages.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 02 July, 2020, 11:30:33 AM
The really interesting thing about Niamh's, er, 'fate' (with apologies for the further derailment) is that it had already happened to her twice before - but I've never seen those other instances so much as mentioned.

In Name of the Sword she's gang-raped (as Marian) by the Norman guards after her trial, and in The Secret Commonwealth it's strongly implied she's been sexually assaulted (or worse) by Slaine's impostor. Which does rather put paid to any defences of what happened in Moloch, given it was the third occasion for the character.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tjm86 02 July, 2020, 12:07:08 PM
I’d hope the board in general is a bit more thoughtful these days.

Well, consider the response Dr Alt-8 got when she asked about her predatory encounter ...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 02 July, 2020, 02:18:51 PM
I don’t recall the board being dismissive of real-world experiences back in the day, but yeah. That was a good response to see. I do hope we’re aware of wider experiences, and the manner in which media still tends to very much gear itself around male gaze, and how that’s ultimately not that beneficial to anyone in the long run.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: davidbishop 02 July, 2020, 04:54:02 PM
Didn't want to make a thread about it but since we just passed its stage completely I needed to get this off my chest.

Mark Millars robohunter was rougher than i remember it. God how did this tripe get commisoned and allowed to run as long as it was. Its sexist, violent, racist and just pretty much all in terrible. I genuinly cannot see something like this get past the editor of the current prog at all

what was tharg thinking?!? I am so sorry David Bishop you were one of the good ones at least the only dreck you let in were the garbage your predecessor paid for.

Oh, I definitely commissioned some mis-steps! But thanks for the kind words...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 02 July, 2020, 06:24:15 PM
yup ip the niamh thing never sat well with me
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 02 July, 2020, 07:49:03 PM
The really interesting thing about Niamh's, er, 'fate' (with apologies for the further derailment) is that it had already happened to her twice before - but I've never seen those other instances so much as mentioned.

In Name of the Sword she's gang-raped (as Marian) by the Norman guards after her trial, and in The Secret Commonwealth it's strongly implied she's been sexually assaulted (or worse) by Slaine's impostor. Which does rather put paid to any defences of what happened in Moloch, given it was the third occasion for the character.


This never sat well with me either.  In the Secret Commonwealth, her encounter with Sláine directly after she is raped by something she believes is him is pretty much played for laughs.  And yeah, her ordeal in the Robin Goodfellow one isn't really treated as a huge deal. 

The Moloch scene was ugly but at least characters seemed to take it seriously.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 02 July, 2020, 09:15:45 PM
Aye, by comparison her encounter in Moloch is by far the 'best'* use of the ordeal - at least it has dramatic  consequences rather than just... happening.

*ugh
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 03 July, 2020, 08:40:05 AM
"least worst"
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 04 July, 2020, 07:45:45 PM
Stop discussing comics, you lot! It's time for another installment of...

(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #33: Wilderlands
and
Meg: Vol. 2.6 (Wilderlands)

The obvious big event here is the Wilderlands crossover, although the mash-up had been building up through a back and forth set of linked stories (the latest of which had been Conspiracy of Silence in the prog leading directly into The Tenth Planet in the meg).

Whilst that's the most obvious cross-pollination, there's also the less manifest (and probably less fondly remembered) move for Red Razors from meg to prog.

It's possible that Tharg goes through a shedding towards the end of the Wilderlands run, changing his earthly sobriquet from Alan McKenzie to John Tomlinson. The editor of the meg remains ... [checks notes] ... a Mr. D. Bishop.

The festive prog 920 is a page count landmark and, at 52 pages, the largest prog so far (against the standard 36pp). The Megazine joins in the seasonal page count extravaganza, giving us 68pp in meg 2.70 against the standard 52pp of the time. This idea of extra pages during the non-denominational winter gift-giving period will surely never catch on.

(https://i.imgur.com/o5ZfqzF.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0): Wilderlands
With this era's meg running fortnightly, Wilderlands' seventeen episodes run two in the prog then one in the meg throughout the extra-planetary epic. Ezquerra (with what seems to be some experimental computer-assisted art) is supported by Mick Austin on art duty in the prog sections, with Hairsine in the meg.  This provides a graphically disjointed tale that doubles down on the Death Planet vibe introduced in The Tenth Planet.

The wider arc story beat is that McGruder comes to realize her judgement is flawed and stands down as Chief Judge.

---

In The Prog...
The prog of this era, rather than being famous for launching new brands, is instead cleaning house with the final instalments of several series which in the longer term are not generally well thought of: we say farewell here to Big Gave, Pseudo-Hunter, Red Razors, Skizz-lite, Bix Barton, Timehouse and Soul Gun [Noun]. Surely this is a good sign of things to come.


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
The fall out from Wilderlands (The Candidates & Voting Day) see both Dredd and Hershey run for the position of Chief Judge, but it goes to Hadrian Volt. The Big Sleet sees Odin do battle with Hela in a Mega-City museum, and the 9-part The Exterminator has Dredd playing The Terminator as he travels back in time to stop something from the past destroying his future.
Wagner shelves himself and Millar, Morrison & Ennis return to Dredd duties in the next stage...

Big Dave (https://youtu.be/cucf5u7weAM): Wotta Lotta Balls
It really is just a lot of bollocks. Soccer features, and Nelson Mandela raises zombies. That's poorly researched, as the idea of voodoo and zombies is West African in origin rather than South African. But what was I expecting?
Gone, but not forgotten: this is the end of Big Dave's infamous performance in the prog. In an odd example of life imitating art, a posh version of him was recently voted in as the new prime minister of Great Britain.

A.B.C. Warriors (https://youtu.be/ZJqS0CmcTLI): Hellbringer
The ABC Warriors are brought back together to fight a new threat to the galaxy: the First Order has risen from the ashes of ... sorry, the Hellbringer battle station must be stopped! These first episodes are really just a comedy extravaganza, with the real mission yet to come. You get to enjoy Kevin Walker's lush full colour art and Mills on top form with his bickering bots schtick.
Returns for the second half in prog 964...

Robo-Hunter(*) [*REBOOT]
A robot kidnaps Manhatten by attaching an enormous pair of legs to it. Truth.
This marks the final series of the rebooted Robo-Hunter, but there's a one-off in prog 1023...

Button Man II (https://youtu.be/AckMAqZG88Y): The Confessions Of Harry Exton
Button Man in the USA! Harry still wants out of the game, but just when he thinks he's out, he gets pulled back in (https://youtu.be/UPw-3e_pzqU).
It's a long wait, but Harry and his penchant for collecting other people's fingers returns in late December 2000 for a third series...

Red Razors (https://youtu.be/VfdoyjoZgNs): The Hunt For Red Razors
Razors does an Alex (from A Clockwork Orange) and stops being nice (he wasn't), reverting back to his criminal psycophathy (but there's no difference). The gimmick here is that a defrosted Judge Dredd (recall this is set way in Dredd's future) is brought in to tackle RR. Add in a giant, unstoppable, murderous cyborg and you've got a three-way, multi-prog, city-spanning battle that ignores the laws of physics  - at the end of which, someone (anyone, really) wins.
As with the rekindled Robo-Hunter, this almost marks the end, but there's a pop-up one-off in prog 971 still to go...

Skizz III (https://youtu.be/27bRs1r_k8I): The Gunlords Of Omega Ceti *NOT BY ALAN*
Bazzer and Roxie are somehow eternally youthful, Skizz has a kid, Cornelius is dying and a couple of teddy boy Gunlords (like evil Skizzers) are up to no good on earth driving a submersible VW Beetle with a pop-up Brummie killbot. And then it gets confusing, for ninety-eight pages. The core concept of the first book (that Skizz is from an enlightened race) is not apparent here. The Dredd/Chopper crossover is ill-advised: another sign that this is rambling way out of its comfort zone.
This marks the final adventure for Skizz.

Bix Barton (https://youtu.be/-okDskhMLds): Nigel - The Napoleon Of East Finchley
A horrible man must be stopped ... by Bix cross-dressing. (Michael Cane dies, and is buried in a small coffin.)
Almost the end, but there's one more helping of Marmite to be had in the 1994 Winter Special's Violent Night, Holy Night...

The Corps (https://youtu.be/cvzFQ8BGYRE) *NEW THRILL*
Space Judges vs. a Sino-Klegg alliance! The deeper story is one of dealing with brutalized squad members who feel free to murder out of hand.
Tis a one and done, although the idea gets rekindled in Maelstrom starting (starting in meg 2.73) and can be seen as an early inspiration for the modern classic Insurrection.

Timehouse (https://youtu.be/Gt1Tmlz1IT0): Century Duty
A farce in which various times are visited and paradoxes encountered but for the life of me I can't find a plot: it just meanders from scene to scene entirely reliant on the value of its premise. I'd forgotten that at one point Tharg and Burt show up and there's a swipe at Revolver.
This is it for the eternal mansion dwellers.

Soul Gun Assassin
A sequel to Soul Gun Warrior, this sees a sentient moon that recruits a spectral assassin in order to take out a warmongering space bastard who's attempting to profit (in human souls) from an engineered middle eastern war.
The soul gun nouns are here put to rest.

Finn (https://youtu.be/OLF9HQOr0ww): The Origin
Telling the story of how Finn became an eco-terrorist. Basically, he started a sexual relationship with a woman he met in the woods, who persuaded him to drown his boss in a pool of chemicals for the crimes of sexual assault and wanton pollution. Then he joins a gang that kidnaps and tortures some chicken battery farmers. Beautiful art: childish morals.
Back next stage with Interventions...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/911.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/920.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/927.jpg)
-------------------------------------


In The Meg...
Meg 2.63 is a jump-on and offers an exciting ... scratch card. Oh well. The next issue is more interesting (and of its time), with perhaps the first floppy ever: the Femmes Fatale Supplment. This 16-pager deliberately sexualizes six female characters whilst also providing each with a full-page bio. The six are Cassandra Anderson (in yin yang panties), Becky Steel (in silver bikini, with pet lion), Psi-Judge Karyn (in lingerie as a pulp fiction femme fatale), Bolland's Brit-Cit Babes (no bio), Aiko Inaba (red bikini, reclining on her Judge bike), Harmony Krieg (pouty and reclining but the least overt) and Treasure Steel (in a Union Jack sex outfit).

Ironically, two of these characters at least (Becky and Inaba) have as part of their stories the objectification of women, and their struggles with sexism within their careers. The back cover of the supplement shows that the same treatment will never get meted out to the men: it's In Bed With Dredd by Frank Quitely. Dredd is cuddling his teddy and has a cute little nightcap over his helmet. His Judge helmet: behave! It's great art, but there's an obvious juxtaposition here with how the genders are treated.

The last meg in this sequence starts to throw up stills from the forthcoming Stallone Dredd movie (foreshadowing some design changes to come).


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Following Wilderlands there's a sequence of weaker one-offs in Farewell To The Chief, Crash Diner, the very atmospheric Fall Of The House Of Esher, the last Creep-outing of A Very Creepy Christmas, Addiction and the (then) current affairs commentary of The Strange Case Of Bill Clinton.
In a surprise twist, Dredd returns in the next stage...

Missionary Man (https://youtu.be/7NFZ8Q6p4vI): Treasure Of The Sierra Murder
Occult supervillain The Undertaker battles Preacher Cain in a stylish tomb raider style treasure hunt. There's that problem here that the enemy gets to be reused ad infinitum because they're possessed of otherwordly regenarative powers.
Yer next fixin' o' grit ain't due till meg 2.81...

Mean Machine: Son of Mean
This one's an oddity, as the first two parts (12pp) were already told in the Judge Dredd Yearbook ('95), with art by Chris Halls (but it looks like Simon Bisley). Those are then redrawn here in the meg, mostly panel for panel, by Carl Critchlow. Then we get another 48 pages to complete the series. Mean is broken out of a psychiatric institution by his very young, kind-hearted son (partly explained by the story The Mean Machine Gets Married from the 1983 Judge Dredd Annual) and there ensues a highly comedic battle of wills as each tries to mould the other in their respective image.
More solo dial-up action of the butt variety swings menacingly your way in meg 2.82...

Calhab Justice (https://youtu.be/dYxI6C4xjxk): Family Snapshot & False Dawn
The hero (MacBrayne) is sidelined as the focus switches to the evil super-empath Schiehallion, who is becoming unpredictably violent. Brit-Cit Brute cameos. Uhm ... I think maybe Schiehallion becomes Galactus at the end, or something.
This marks the end of Calhab Justice. Lang may yer lum reek!

Armitage (https://youtu.be/LZSPHPBZFDU): City of the Dead
A weird body horror action thriller, in which Armitage goes up against an army of bio-demons.
You must wait a mere five years for Armitage's return in meg 3.64...

Karyn, Psi: Concrete Sky
Karyn's up against a vampiric Psi-Judge which leads her to an Undercity coven. The denouement leaves some of the coven free to roam the Cursed Earth. Time for a sequel?
Karyn senses her own return in meg 3.08...

Wynter: Cold Justice
Judge Wynter of Mega-City One has been sent to the Antarctic Territories as part of a judicial punishment and must rescue an influenza vaccine that's been stolen by bandits. Great black and white art from Kevin Walker and a tight action thriller vibe from Morrison make this stand out from the crowd.
Criminally, I thought, tis a one and done. It might be limiting to have a hero named after their biome, though.

Shimura (https://youtu.be/m1f9URnWZoM): Fearful Symmetry
Two rich bitches kidnap Shimura to spice up their lives, only to regret their hubris. There's a sense here of the themes that strongly influence and inhabit the later Nikolai Dante, with the bio-weapons and the lone wolf characterization of the lead. Duke Mighten's art isn't a million miles from the style of Simon Fraser, either.
Shimura's singular adventures continue in the very next meg...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.64.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.70.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.72.jpg)
-------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 04 July, 2020, 09:06:41 PM
Fair play to you, Funt. Above and beyond.

Wilderlands for me was kind of a long, middle-of-the-road buildup to a short, much better story - the fate of Mechanismo and McGruder, and the election of a new Chief. 

Other than that, not the finest era of the prog's history. And I remember that Finn story being unusually full of nudity and sex for the time, but a bit light on story.  Wasn't it originally planned for publication in Crisis?  Hence the explicitness of it all, I suppose, and there was too much of it too realistically censor for the prog.

I thought Peter Hogan did a fairly decent job with Robohunter - the thing was, I didn't remember a whole lot about the original Robo-Hunter at the time and wasn't as pissed off as most about Millar's admittedly fairly awful job on it.  But the Hogan stuff was better, and Rian Hughes was a far better fit than Casanovas.

I always had a soft spot for Bix Barton - it was, for me, more in the tradition of Blackadder than anything else (without trying to be exactly like it - looking at you, Deathwatch).

 

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 04 July, 2020, 10:34:56 PM
While its hard to deny a word you type Funt Solo I look far more kindly on many of the thrills here. I love Hogan and Hughes' Robo-Hunter. Bix Barton has moments,  Soul Gun Warrior is good,  I like SkIIIzz and of course Button Man II is great...

... but again ever word you say is right...and this is a very curious period for the Prog.

...just goes to show the subjective nature of these things.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 04 July, 2020, 10:45:53 PM
I also love Button Man II - that probably didn't come across with my brief summation. I don't know that I'm doing a sterling job of maintaining a non-judgmental narrative, but I'm making something of an attempt!

Rian Hughes' art on Robo-Hunter is superlative - I can see why anyone who was introduced at this stage could easily fall in love with the lightness and humour. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed both Soul Gun Warrior and Soul Gun Assassin this time around. On original publication, I wasn't ready to enjoy the abstract art style or the surreal narrative, but (especially on Assassin) I thought it was opening up some really interesting avenues of thought.

SkIIIzz is (from my perspective) okay, but I'm not sure it's really of the same universe as the original, and I find it difficult to drop the comparison and just go with it. So, we'll need to agree to disagree on that.

I've always known Bix was loved by many - it's why I keep referring to the well known yeasty spread. No disrespect to the artist, but it just sits well outside of my comfort zone, visually.

Anyway: apologies if I inadvertently diss your favourite gig from the progs of yesteryear. (Even though, objectively...)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 04 July, 2020, 11:04:43 PM
I also love Button Man II - that probably didn't come across with my brief summation. I don't know that I'm doing a sterling job of maintaining a non-judgmental narrative, but I'm making something of an attempt!

Oh I assumed that - its a given isn't it? Just wanted to say it definitively since I was listing things I liked!

SkIIIzz is (from my perspective) okay, but I'm not sure it's really of the same universe as the original, and I find it difficult to drop the comparison and just go with it. So, we'll need to agree to disagree on that.

Again I absolutely agree its not close to the original and it a shambling mess of a story... but heaven help me I enjoy it... it seems I'll forgive much for the sake of Jim Baikie art!

Anyway: apologies if I inadvertently diss your favourite gig from the progs of yesteryear. (Even though, objectively...)

Never apologise for this - its what makes the comic fun, so many different options on so many different things... and your are funnier than mine!

Oh and there's nothing favourite here. I just wonder if the stories I enjoy from this time are elevated by comparison with what's around them!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 05 July, 2020, 11:57:07 AM
I've always known Bix was loved by many - it's why I keep referring to the well known yeasty spread. No disrespect to the artist, but it just sits well outside of my comfort zone, visually.

I always wanted to like Bix Barton more than I did. The art just never had any clear sense of place - where was any given adventure meant to be happening? And then the choice to have one adventure riff on cameos of the Carry On stars, when caricature is decidedly not Jim Mccarthy's forte...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stagesi liked
: JayzusB.Christ 05 July, 2020, 01:13:10 PM
 
I've always known Bix was loved by many - it's why I keep referring to the well known yeasty spread. No disrespect to the artist, but it just sits well outside of my comfort zone, visually.

I always wanted to like Bix Barton more than I did. The art just never had any clear sense of place - where was any given adventure meant to be happening? And then the choice to have one adventure riff on cameos of the Carry On stars, when caricature is decidedly not Jim Mccarthy's forte...

I liked it a lot more before it went colour.  Everything got very messy then.  And yeah, you're right about the caricatures - like Big Dave, it kind of needed a good caricature artist but all too often was a case of 'oh, ok, THAT'S who it's meant to be.' (King Carlos, on the other hand, effortlessly drew a perfect Reagan in a story that rarely needed caricatures of anyone.)

But I still enjoyed Bix.  Some really nice little jokes (it was about ten years before I got 'Steve Ditto') and a unique main character. 
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: The Monarch 06 July, 2020, 05:07:24 AM
yup if i recall the finn story was indeed planned for crisis thats why the pages are smaller with a weird panel border on them. this is def the beginning of the era of printing anything waating away in the coffers. The red razors and robohunter one offs mentioned were planned for a yearbook that was canned. Pretty sure whats left of Fleisher and Millar and Morrison are left overs too.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 06 July, 2020, 06:01:11 AM
Interesting insights.

---

I just noticed that the cover of prog 920 features Tharg, Dredd, Rogue, Hammerstein & Slaine, but inside the comic the stories are Dredd, Skizz, The Corps, Timehouse & Soul Gun Assassin. I want to read the comic that goes with the cover.

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/920.jpg)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: davidbishop 06 July, 2020, 08:03:55 AM
yup if i recall the finn story was indeed planned for crisis thats why the pages are smaller with a weird panel border on them. this is def the beginning of the era of printing anything waating away in the coffers. The red razors and robohunter one offs mentioned were planned for a yearbook that was canned. Pretty sure whats left of Fleisher and Millar and Morrison are left overs too.

All true.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 15 July, 2020, 10:55:49 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


2000 AD Stage #34: Bad Trip

The new Tharg has found himself with a poisoned chalice - on the one hand, he's shed his way into the position of editor of the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, but on the other, there's a drawer full of submissions which his previous incarnation had buried at the very bottom of the pile. Whilst your mileage may vary, there's an argument to be made for this stage marking the comic's nadir.

Hope lies in a Hollywood blockbuster version of Judge Dredd, with Sylvester Stallone in the starring role, and we see covers and features playing up to that event as we head towards a combined design relaunch of Tharg's stable of comics (but that's for next stage). I feel safe in avoiding controversy by reviewing the film like this: the city looked great.

As ever with 2000 AD, despite some arguably disappointing storylines, there's a lot of top notch art and design on offer. Dermot Power does a great rendition of Kirk and Picard on the promotional cover of prog 928 (see below), there's Chris Weston's Star Scan of Max Winwood on the back of prog 929, an Arthur Ranson Dredd back of prog 943 and great strip work from the likes of Simon Jacob (Gideon), Henry Flint & Steve Tappin (Fr1day), Dave D'Antiquis (Doom), Paul Johnson (Terror Tales), Nigel Dobbyn & Mark Harrison (Dogs) and Nick Percival (Dredd's Kiss).

(https://i.imgur.com/lF5ULbC.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Crusade is like Battle Royale on ice, with Judges! Vatican-Cit Judge Cesare has a cape: he's a caped crusader! Mix in Judges from Oz, the Emerald Isle, Brit-Cit, Hondo, East-Meg Two, Luxor, Indo-Cit & Pan-Africa and you've got your high concept all lined up waiting for the axe to fall (and the lava to flow).

Goodnight Kiss is the other long-form Dredd tale this stage, and features Ennis creations Jonni Kiss (superpower: being gorgeous!) and the Brotherhood of Marshals (superpower: capes & kick-assery). Actually, Jonni's big jacket is drawn like a cape as well. What's with all the fucking capes?

In an artistic aside, the Brit-Cit Brute's Judge badge is shown as one of Jonni's victims: suggesting that he was killed off-page at some point. Anyway: they're all ganging up on Dredd because they've got a death wish or something. Dredd is played as too tough to crucify and does that whole Western revenge thing.

Wagner's back full-time in the next stage as Dredd double's down...


Armoured Gideon (https://youtu.be/-Nbve6tK3ic): Trading Places
Some evil types murder Frank Weitz and then swap his consciousness with that of Armoured Gideon. So, Frank is a giant stompy robot, and AG becomes zombie Frank. Following the rule that more stompy robots is always better, there's also newcomer Armoured Maximilian to contend with before the plot gets down to trying to set things right again (which includes an extended Vietnam sequence).
And that's the final outing for the big stompy robot that likes to eat demons for breakfast. If there was any justice, he'd be back at some point, in the same way that there were resurrected characters of yesteryear during The Collector.

Rogue Trooper (https://youtu.be/Ry8KKQXkmb8) [Fr1day]
In Blue On Blue, Fr1day becomes a mediator for a potential ceasefire but then war breaks out (which is like "war squared" or something), but the big news here is that he then runs into the original gangsta, Mr. Rogue Trooper! Not only that, but the OG's got a gang made up of Venus Bluegenes, and the regened Gunnar, Bagman and Helm. There's never really been any suggestion prior to this that these characters actually exist in the same universe, so (if you're keeping count, and insanely I have been) this is a retcon of a retcon of a retcon of a retcon of a reboot! (There's also a female merc name of Midge that I don't remember, on the side of Fr1day.)

In Mindbombs we strap in for some VR exposition that explains that there are two Nu Earths (thus explaining the two Rogues), but the ending given by The Hit sequence is rewritten here so that we end up with the regened Bagman, Helm & Gunnar (who, in a nod to Blade Runner, have a built-in expiry date).

Ascent throws everyone at the olde Scavenger of Souls satellite, in a bid to stop the digitized personalities being used in an ongoing war. I think we're spoiler safe in here, but the end result is that Rogue, Bagman & Helm suffer permanent death, but Gunnar gets chipped into Rogue's gun, which is then gifted to Fr1day. It's like a future war version of Eastenders. Oi! Kath! Let's knife!

Returns in the very first issue of the next stage...


Finn (https://youtu.be/OLF9HQOr0ww): Interventions
I wasn't really paying attention to the setting of Finn as being near future, but the intro here lays it out as being set in 2005, where the UK is a presidency and there's an open civil war in ... Plymouth. Taking up almost the entire stage, this is a mighty book at 120 pages of Finn and his machine pistol vs. swathes of militarized security forces and the odd Shining One. Never less than interesting, this also features Eve from Third World War as a reporter.

Like a sort of pagan 007, Finn snogs and shags his way through every female he meets: Mandy the lying witch, Trisha the sadistic nympho cop and then Eve (who protests a desire for fidelity but then can't resist his machismo). Make of all that what you will.

More Finn next year starting in prog 991...


[The] Harlem Heroes: Cyborg Death Trip
Definite drawer fodder, this crops up almost exactly three years after the previous side story from the softly rebooted Heroes. The four remaining Heroes are on the lam from the law and trying to keep a low profile: by starting murderous bar brawls.

Because they're comic characters, they all have clear visual traits (like specific haircuts, HH t-shirts and even in one case a HH tattoo on the side of the head) which makes any attempt to blend in superfluous. The other built-in story problem is that they don't actually play aeroball anymore, so excuses to use jet packs (which they're magically wearing under their clothes whenever the plot requires it) have to be shoe-horned in.

Plot: the Heroes are forced to stop a drug gang who are pushing an economically terrible product that makes the user get really high but then their brain explodes. In a shock twist, the bad guy is Artie Gruber (from the prequel series Inferno).

This is it for the second generation Heroes. I think the next future sport story to get tried is maybe that one with the guy with the head of an ass ... Second City Blues (2006)? Although: the denouement has Artie Gruber's mind in an escape pod, so there's time for a sequel yet. Tharg? Hello?


Brigand Doom: Account Yorga-Vampire
Stretching the credulity of allegorical storytelling to breaking point and then beating us over the head with the remains, this has vampire accountants both drinking the blood of their victims and then magically absorbing metaphorical but also literal value from their bank cards. Brigand Doom turns out to be a friend of the economic system and so joins forces with Investigator Nine to foil the fiendish financiers. (I'm guessing this is at least partly inspired by the Count from Sesame Street.)
More a concept than a character, and having been with us since 1991, this marks the last of the zombie freedom fighter's malodorous musings.

Strontium Dog (https://youtu.be/DVOuyMhn07k)s:
The Alphabet Man sets up that the previous couple of odd villains (bald professors with letters tattooed on their foreheads) are actually part of a twenty-six strong gang who (for no apparent reason) have it in for Feral and the Gronk. They kidnap and then decide to murder the goblins from The Final Solution. This high concept leads us to High Moon, which is an eight-part sequence that brings in Bullmoose Jackson, Feral, the Gronk (as Rambo), Frinton Fuzz, Middenface McNulty and Durham Red. All of this just seems to be set-up, though, because the antagonists and the protagonists don't get to dance (as the professors never turn up in High Moon).
Perhaps the pay-off comes in prog 957's one-off, but otherwise we've got to wait till a final series starting next year in prog 993...

Mambo: Fleshworld
As it's been almost a year since the first book, this opens with a recap. The hero is a cyborg-ish cop (Rachel Verlaine) who's just discovered that she's also got an alien parasite in her head that gives her the power of mad, spikey, retractable tentacles. It's a body horror space opera, where she's some kind of chosen one on a squishy cyber-organic planet that's trying to find itself. This joins the likes of Fr1day's Apocalypse Dreadnought and Blackhawk in leaving the hero floating magically in a space bubble because there's nowhere else to put them at the end.
There's more Mambo next year starting in prog 1014...

The Grudge-Father: Skin Games
The titular G-F is an insane, megalomaniacal religious zealot in a skin mask. He's on a mission to stop some ugly bastich from doing even more evil and so body-swaps (and head-floats) his way out of trouble like an invincible idea (as opposed to a character in a story).
The Grudge-Father retires here.

Tracer: High-Wire Days
After a one-off six pager in the 1993 Winter Special, we get this two-parter where a grumpy, wise-cracking fixer in goggles and a bandana rescues people for money.
And that's it for Tracer.


It's all media tie-ins, these days...
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/928.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/940.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/943.jpg)
-------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 15 July, 2020, 11:22:28 PM
I don't believe I've ever read any of this, bar the Dredds, and thank Grud for that. Finn copped off with Trisha and Eve (again)?  What the actual feck? I knew I didn't enjoy Finn,  I never knew I hated it.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 16 July, 2020, 06:41:24 AM

[Dredd] - Crusade is like Battle Royale on ice, with Judges!


Stop it your making it sound good!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 16 July, 2020, 01:24:36 PM
the city looked great
Apart from that pipe that was in about 15 different scenes, thereby showing it up for being a repeatedly re-dressed soundstage. Sigh.

Agreed about Armoured Gideon. It’s not a tier-one thrill, but it was a lot of fun. Its omission from the Ultimate Collection is not a surprise, but nonetheless a shame.

As for the rest of this stage, I half the time eye-rolled so hard I thought my peepers would roll out of the room. Finn was dire. Harlem Heroes was pointless. Rogue Trooper was a painful attempt to merge continuities that precisely no-one asked for. And that wasn’t even the worst of it.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 July, 2020, 03:30:57 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)


Meg: Vol. 2.7 (Wicked)
(Megs 2.73-2.83, 1995)

Meg 2.73 jumps us on for the final eleven issues of volume #2. The switch from volume to volume doesn't follow consistent reasoning. From volume #1 to #2 it was the change from monthly to fortnightly (and 52pp to 44pp). But then it went back up to 52pp from meg 2.50. So, the switch over to volume #3 seems driven by the rebranding of the titles that was coincident with the Stallone movie.

Anyway: here we are, before all of that happened, still enjoying a relatively powerful line-up of thrills. There are lots of different art styles on offer and, whereas the prog of the time is feeling tired as it dredges the subs drawer, there's something much fresher going on here. Even in the case of something not quite making classic status, almost everything is at the least interesting.

(https://i.imgur.com/3NoIUeS.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
Towards the end of this stage we start to get a double dose of Dredd, and there's a danger of weakening the anthology strength of the comic. The odd editorial aspect is that the three extra Dredd stories don't have any title or sub-title: most stories at the time had a credit page, but these just don't.

Highlights: Skar is a 37-page monster of the week that's the same as but not as good as Raptaur. Terror With Mrs. Gunderson starts up the idea of her apartment being haunted (by Brian Skuter), and it's Dredd that suggests she run it as a paranormal experience. Repeat Offender explores the idea of the same scene playing out time and again: so it's Groundhog Dredd.

Next stage continues the double dose of Dredd...


Maelstrom *NEW THRILL*
Featuring an international group called the STAR Judges, who are attempting to root out planetary corruption, but end up fighting human/pterodactyl hybrids because of ... reasons.   
Tis a one and done. For completists, Extreme Edition #17 offers a reprint alongside some original designs by Chris Halls. There's an argument that this serves as partial inspiration (alongside Warhammer 40K) for 2008's Insurrection.


Shimura (https://youtu.be/m1f9URnWZoM)
Chambara sees Shimura escape a yakuza hit squad and the authorities by utilizing Hannibal Lector's infamous literal-face-mask technique. The Transcendental Assassin demonstrates Shimura's ability to deflect arrows and smash someone's face in. Heavy Metal sees Inaba try to talk a fellow officer down from committing ritual suicide (as she is also subjected to dishonourable behavior from her superiors). Finally, Assassins has Shimura hire hit-men to take him out so that he can learn their secrets (whilst it also tells a mirror story of an ancient ronin).
Shimura's back with a longer tale starting in meg 3.14...


Harmony: Transient 114
An amazing blend of the sci-fi tropes of the age, this has mind-altering drugs as societal balms (a la Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), minds having been altered (Total Recall), a facsimile of ED-209 (Robocop), but piloted (Mechwarrior), and a mass market gladitorial fight to the death (The Running Man).

Harmony Kreig (having been captured last time we saw her) has been brainwashed into a killer-ratings ... killer, as she pilots her mech against wannabe winners of a gory game show. She even has a banner line on local billboards: "Can You Survive The Blitzkrieg?"

What this does really well is broaden the story out from just being about a sassy bandit, and add in themes to do with societal control and corporate gangsterism.

Harmony's back with the launch of volume #3...


Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I)
Postcard To Myself brings Anderson back to MC-1 from her backpacking trip around the galaxy so that she can investigate Something Wicked, in her new guise as a pouting, nail-biting, lip-licking, glam, disco queen. A cult is moving some people off-world, and employs very powerful (and aggressive) psychic phenomena to get its way.
Cassandra predicts her return with the launch of volume #3, in a story billed as the direct sequel to this one...


Pandora: Mural Scream
Pandora actually launched with an eight-page story in the 1994 Mega-Special, showing off more of John Hicklenton's unique art style. She's a Wally Squad operative who goes deep cover into a metaphysical drug gang that's part of an SJS plot to psychically monitor the citizens (that, for some reason, involves passionate, leather-clad, psychedelic sex rituals).
This is it for Pandora. I don't know if it's ever been reprinted, but a John Hicklenton special wouldn't go amiss.


Plagues of Necropolis *NEW THRILL*
An interesting idea, this harks back to 1990's Necropolis mega-epic in the weekly prog and provides six standalone side-tales (set prior to Dredd's return to the city) from five artists.
That's all the plagues Si Spencer was willing to unleash. They get a reprint in meg 355's floppy.


Missionary Man (https://youtu.be/7NFZ8Q6p4vI)
Inspired by those scenes of confidence tricksters selling potions to credulous townsfolk of the old west, Medicine Show has Preacher Cain deliver some righteous fury.

The two-part Night Riders has some sketchy art but a powerful redemption story: a Texas City hotdog run where it's standard practice to murder muties gains the attention of Preacher Cain (who it turns out is a TC Judge who's taken the long walk as an Outlands Marshal).

Preacher Cain rides nonchalantly back into town with the launch of volume #3...


Mean Machine: Visiting Time
Another dose of Hicklenton magic, in which Mean's son (Junior) visits him. This riles Mean into an escape with unfortunate consequences - not least for Jay Angel, who happens to be first in the 'phone book when Pa tries to track down Junior.
Wagner passes the dial to Rennie and Mean's next few greasy spots are special-bound: he shows up in the '95 & '96 Sci-Fi Specials and the '96 Mega-Special before returning to the meg in issue 3.69...


Harke & Burr: Secret Origins
Inspired by those scenes of confidence tricksters selling potions to credulous townsfolk of the old west, this sees Harke & Burr trying to bring rain to a parched Cursed Earth settlement. 
The final series starts in meg 3.04...


(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.74.jpg)
Because men must be tough!
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.76.jpg)
Because women must be swexy!
---------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.81.jpg)
Because this shit is STRONG!
---------------------------------------


References:
 - Barney (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)
 - The 2000 AD ABC (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLQZ5Ykw_9ybUw49EPiuGlZXT7DhnzOcI)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sintec 18 July, 2020, 09:18:22 AM
Maelstrom also got a reprint in Volume 76 of the Mega Collection (Klegg Hai!). Which means I must have read it but I don't remember anything about it. Not a great sign tbh.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 18 July, 2020, 03:08:52 PM
Maelstrom also got a reprint in Volume 76 of the Mega Collection (Klegg Hai!). Which means I must have read it but I don't remember anything about it. Not a great sign tbh.

It's probably the greatest disappointment of this stage: the wonderful Colin MacNeil on art but quite a damp squib of a plot featuring too many thinly-drawn characters. The villains look silly (heads peeking out of the chests of giant monster suits) and their leader pontificates to the extent that his main threat is talking people to death (Star Trek: Nemesis - I'm looking at you).

It's like it has all the ingredients for a great story, but just misses. It might have been saved by more of a build up of why we care so much about the characters. And a different threat.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 20 July, 2020, 04:57:11 PM
I'm planning on collating the data from this thread into a fan site. I'm assuming I can do that under fair use without stepping on any toes, and I've noticed that other sites drop in a copyright notice for Rebellion.

Is there anything I'm not thinking of?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 22 July, 2020, 06:53:19 PM
Fan site version is up, currently covering the 70s: 2000 AD in Stages (https://2kstages.webnode.com/).

Feedback welcome, thanks.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 22 July, 2020, 07:20:23 PM
Looking good Funt  :thumbsup:
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 22 July, 2020, 07:21:32 PM
...and great that you have included Starlord and Tornado as well
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 22 July, 2020, 07:36:12 PM
That is looking fantastic! Good job sir.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: SmallBlueThing(Reborn) 22 July, 2020, 07:52:12 PM
That's fantastic. More please!

SBT
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 24 July, 2020, 03:06:01 PM
Nice work there Funt, it's great having all this stuff more easily accessible on a single site.

Meanwhile, from my own experience these last two stages were indeed my own nadir of fandom. On reflection The Megazine stuff was kinda interesting but it went WAY over my head when I read it at the time.

With all the context, it's reminding me why I thought Steve White's Rogue Trooper was a breath of fresh air - it doesn't hold up to much on a re-read. In case you didn't catch Chris Weston's appearance on Space Spinner 2000, he explains that it very much was editorial insistence, based on fan insistence, that they find some way to connect old Rogue and nu Rogue.

All that said, perhaps the very worst is yet to come, in terms of specific thrills...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 31 July, 2020, 03:40:04 AM
Update on 2000 AD in Stages (https://2kstages.webnode.com/) site:

New Content: I created a page dedicated to 2000 AD's Diceman (https://2kstages.webnode.com/diceman/), from 1986.

Progress Report:
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 09 August, 2020, 07:23:33 PM
Update on 2000 AD in Stages (https://2kstages.webnode.com/) site.

I never was happy with the way I'd split up stages 14 & 15, so I've reconfigured them slightly (& renamed them) in adding them to the site:

Stage 14 - 10 Years On (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage14/)
Stage 15 - Zenith & the Wizards of Oz (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage15/)

Like the Ministry of Truth, I've also been erasing some of the mistakes I made when I initially wrote the articles so it's as if I never made any mistakes. Almost as if I'm perfect in every way.  :)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Buttonman 09 August, 2020, 10:11:56 PM
Excellent - former best thread on the board now best fan site!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 11 August, 2020, 05:45:12 AM
I skipped it the first time around, but this time, when I got to Stage 17 - Unstable Growth (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage17/), I couldn't resist dealing with Crisis (phase I) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/crisis1/).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 17 August, 2020, 07:31:43 AM
Updates on the site:
  Stage 18 - Split Tales (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage18/)
  Crisis (phase II) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/crisis2/)


I realize my placing new content on the site somewhat stifles a right to reply, so here's the new Crisis content as mostly text only:


Crisis (phase II)
Issues 15-27: 1989

The second phase of Crisis switches from two to three series (plus a regular surreal art slot). The first phase featured US superheroes in New Statesmen (albeit from a sci-fi foundation rather than from pure fantasy) and a near future in Third World War. The second phase moves things much closer to the present as two of the stories are contemporary (and all are now UK-set).

(https://i.imgur.com/9H6BxNb.png)


Third World War: Book II
The characters from the first Book return home to the UK from their corporate hoolaganism in Central America, and find themselves in a near-future Britain that's oddly prescient. Privatized police assist a state that's highly racist and cozy with corporations that run themselves like indentured labor camps. There's a sense of familiarity with today's gig economy corporate culture and stories of Amazon employees being tracked in and out of toilets. On the other hand, it harks back in time to the open racism of the Met Police in the era of the Brixton riots. Through a 2020 lens, it's too knowingly aggressive, as racism has become more covert in its approach - more 1984 than Lord of the Flies.

Eve finds herself involved both with Paul/Finn's militant escapades and also that of BADS, an armed black group organizing resistance against an oppressive regime. A side-plot has the policeman in charge of investigating BADS as a murderous pervert lusting after Eve.

Continues into the next phase...


Sticky Fingers
Sometimes compared to Love & Rockets, this is a contemporary piece about Weeny, a young woman who's trying to reform from a life of petty theivery and make a go of an apprenticeship as a carpenter. Two things stand in her way: her past throws up complications, and her difficulty in dealing with emotional stress (and close relationships) usually leads her to revert to past patterns of destructive behavior.

Definitely scoring points for realism, there's no easy fix for the characters' tribulations: life is complicated and people don't always make the best choices - even when they say they want to.

This is one series and done.


Troubled Souls
In a pre-peace pact Northern Ireland, a young protestant (Tom Boyd) is intimidated into planting an IRA bomb, but then realizes that a loved one is in the area. In the aftermath, Tom struggles to come to terms not only with what he's done, but with living in such a highly sectarian region.

This manages the trick of walking a fine line through a highly charged narrative, and never lets itself get too far away from the humanity at the core of the characters. It's an incredible breakthrough piece for Garth Ennis (writer), with painted art by John McCrea.

A spin-off series starts in issue #40...


Artoons
Brendan McCarthy's surreal, often political, often obscure art pieces. As an example: there's one featuring three religious figures (from the three key Abrahamic religions) with gaping mouths all claiming to speak with the voice of God. Their mouths, though, lead through to the empty space behind them. A holy book dangles from a hook (from on high).
These come to an end in this phase.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Colin YNWA 17 August, 2020, 07:54:09 AM
Sticky Fingers is brilliant and the complexity emotional impact seen in apparantly simple and trivial things shows the blunt meladrama of Third World War into sharp contrast.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 20 August, 2020, 09:56:49 AM
I hate to disagree (or do I), but I remember Sticky Fingers being rather soapy and kind of empty. As someone who has spent a lot of time in Camden, though, I can confirm it had an excellent sense of place.

And while I'm being a downer, I think Crisis suffered a bit from having very new artists delivering early work that wasn't always up to it. Baikie and Ezquerra in the first few issues = AMAZING. But completely untried Phillips, McCrea and Hine to follow on were just not on that level. But if they hadn't got that start, perhaps they wouldn't be the top flight penmen they are today? See also Volumes 2 and 3 of the Megazine...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 20 August, 2020, 05:38:07 PM
It's been really interesting re-reading Crisis and Revolver: I was in my late teens / early twenties when they were first published - so, thirty years later, I'm a bit of a different person. So, reading them now, they're landing differently to then.

I'd say, then, my favorite (at Crisis launch) was Third World War, but now it's New Statesmen. With TWW, I used to just take Pat's world view and accept it without question, and now I have my own world view. I'd say I agree with the sentiment a lot of the time, but not Pat's solutions (which tend to "eye for an eye").

Sticky Fingers is far too subtle a tale to have raised my interest then, but now I appreciate the kitchen sink realism. Weeny's fairly irritating to try and deal with, but very realistic. I end up rooting for her because she is trying to be a better person, but only succeeding in moving the needle a fraction from the beginning to the end of the story.

I gave up with Crisis around the late 40s, which was a mixture of budgetary constraints and ennui with the title. It was The New Adventures of Hitler that defeated me - although I have more patience for it now, especially as now I have the Internet for research and I can get some idea of where it came from.

My over-arching curiosity with these titles (with hindsight) is how they expected them to succeed. Their main readership were 2000 AD readers who, at the time, were into Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen - but Crisis started to drift closer to appealing to a different generation, and Revolver launched aimed at folk who could appreciate the 60s. The name references the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix was big in the 60s, Dan Dare was from the 50s. I guess it felt like they were writing for themselves, not for the readership.

Now, thirty years later, I appreciate all the efforts a lot more than I was capable of then.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 20 August, 2020, 08:48:58 PM
Me, I'm delighted to see you're covering Crisis here.  I was in my early to mid teens when it launched, as far as I was concerned, and most likely wouldn't have appreciated it even if I could have afforded it.  It's a pity, as a lot of it seems a wee bit dated now.

As for the Revolver 60s thing, I don't think it was written for people who actually remembered much about the 60s.  It's just that 60s nostalgia was the in thing at the time.  We were all watching the Woodstock video and wishing we'd been around 25 years ago, and the Baggy scene was very much riffing on the psychedelic end of the Beatles stuff.  People were wearing Jim Morrison t-shirts, and Pete Milligan was going full Haight-Ashbury over at Shade The Changing Man, the only Vertigo* comic I read at the time.

*Although its snappy title at the time was the DC Suggested for Mature Readers line,
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 20 August, 2020, 09:26:39 PM
As for the Revolver 60s thing, I don't think it was written for people who actually remembered much about the 60s.  It's just that 60s nostalgia was the in thing at the time.  We were all watching the Woodstock video and wishing we'd been around 25 years ago, and the Baggy scene was very much riffing on the psychedelic end of the Beatles stuff.  People were wearing Jim Morrison t-shirts, and Pete Milligan was going full Haight-Ashbury over at Shade The Changing Man, the only Vertigo* comic I read at the time.

*Although its snappy title at the time was the DC Suggested for Mature Readers line,

Oh, right. I was very much way over on the periphery of appreciation for the Baggy scene, being more into house and techno and what have you. I mean, I couldn't help but love I Wanna Be Adored (https://youtu.be/4D2qcbu26gs), but that whole thing seemed to be happening to other people. Northern Scotland was never quite part of the zeitgeist.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 21 August, 2020, 10:08:27 AM
It kind of passed me by too, to be honest, living in small-town Ireland. Though, to be fair, my older brother and his mates wore the huge jeans, colouredy hoodies and pastel converse, I was still going round in Robert Smith cosplay.  I have since realised that The Stone Roses is one of the best albums ever made.

But I do remember the 60s revival thing. Even the prog got on the case, particularly with Zenith - and say what you like about Grant Morrison, but he knew what was cool back then.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 21 August, 2020, 10:09:07 AM
It kind of passed me by too, to be honest, living in small-town Ireland. Though, to be fair, my older brother and his mates wore the huge jeans, colouredy hoodies and pastel converse, I was still going round in Robert Smith cosplay.  I have since realised that The Stone Roses is one of the best albums ever made.

But I do remember the 60s revival thing. Even the prog got on the case, particularly with Zenith - and say what you like about Grant Morrison, he knew what was cool back then.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 22 August, 2020, 02:58:13 AM
I haven't put this up on the Stages site yet, so here's a first look...


Crisis, phase III (issues 28-38)

The third phase of Crisis is where it starts to lose cohesion, as a third long-form strip is replaced with a series of one-offs, thus hanging the hopes for readership continuity on just two strips.

The contemporary realism of two of the stories from the second phase (Troubled Souls & Sticky Fingers) is replaced by the nihilistic melodrama of True Faith.

(https://i.imgur.com/5mQODzL.png)


New Statesmen: Prologue
Created to serve as an opening chapter for a reprint, this narratively seems to be more of a post-script summary, and so doesn't work too well for its intended purpose (as the foreshadowing too often seems like an open spoiler).
This is the last we get of New Statesmen, which seems a shame as there was a rich vein of characters from which to tell stories.


[The one-off slot]
These one-offs tend towards the semi-autobiographical and often feature strong messages of social justice, although sometimes they're just memorable slices of life.

Continues into the next phase...


The Crooked Mile
A one-pager on the back cover in which an everyman angel passes comment on some aspect of contemporary society.
Ends in this phase.


Third World War: Book II (part 2)
Chief Inspector Ryan's dark obsession (and murderous impulses) aimed at black women focus strongly on Eve but (true to form) as she rebuffs his drooling advances (disturbingly wrought by Hicklenton) his rabid thoughts turn to vengeance and punishment. In that regard, the story here is less about black empowerment and more about a depraved individual - although it's clear that there's a lot of allegory at work here.

Eve decides to join the Black African Defence Squad rather than continue her government-sponsored international interdiction job, and there's some time spent fleshing out Liat, the leader of BADS (although he seems governed himself by a black verson of Mills' triple goddess from Slaine).

It all goes a little Mission Impossible (https://youtu.be/yn6FJ6BUXIE) towards the end before running four episodes of epilogues. Again there's a strong focus on Ryan, now giving him a somewhat valid reason for his hatred (his mother's murder), which dilutes the idea of racism being an evil in and of itself.

Continues into the next phase as Book III...


True Faith
A dark tale that tries to explore the mindset of nihilistic killers. Nigel's an outspoken aethiest loner at high school that fancies Angela from the Scripture Union - but his advances are taken by her as a desire to join. He crosses paths with a grieving widower who's decided to murder God (by torching churches and gunning down vicars), and who needs an assistant.

It's like Batman and Robin, if Batman were a deranged, murderous plumber hellbent on the elimination of Christianity and Robin were an inept young man with incel-like sexual anger issues coerced into being his assistant. Deciding that the Demented Duo aren't quite enough, things are turned up to eleventy-stupid when a far more organized supervillain with the same agenda (and an army of uniformed, highly armed goons) recruits them.

The disturbing denouement seems to glamorize perpetrators of mindless, murderous violence as a solution to assholes. Thing is: the punishment for assholes shouldn't be death, should it?

One series and done.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 25 August, 2020, 06:56:42 PM
Just dropped a major set of updates on the 2000 AD in Stages site:


Feedback welcome here, thanks.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Tiplodocus 26 August, 2020, 11:08:28 PM
I still remember THE CLICKING OF HIGH HEELS (though Cosh has the originals). It was great. Shame it's still relevant.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 06 September, 2020, 06:20:09 AM
Just updated the site with:

 - Stage 21 - Rough Diamonds (700-722) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage21/)
 - Stage 22 - Full Colour Potential (723-749) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage22/)
 - Stage 23 - Khronic Ills of Tooth (750-779) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage23/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 06 September, 2020, 06:37:32 AM
The problem during stage 21 - 23 it became a more regular case where I would only enjoy 2 (as low as 1) out of the strips running in the prog. The most of the strips in many cases I had a big dislike in.  I cannot remember since my return to the prog that I ever had a case where I even could have said I enjoyed only 3 strips.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Leigh S 06 September, 2020, 11:14:13 AM
You can throw in 20 and the next few stages with that broodblik - Spot on though - it isnt so much there are only one or two stories to really enjoy in these times - there are stages now when the Pog is firing on a simialr hit rate - it is the fact the other stuff is actively objectionable and that will only get worse before it gets better
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 06 September, 2020, 11:46:14 AM
For me the last 2 years has been great. The beginning of 2019 felt a little meh but it picked-up quickly.  Some of the regen progs were a letdown for me (but the last one was great).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 06 September, 2020, 09:06:30 PM
Also added the first prog/meg crossover:

Stage 24 - Don't Believe The Hype... (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage24/)
Meg: Vol. 2.1 (Swimming in Blood) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/meg21/)

(This appeared on this thread as a single post, but I've split it into separate pages on the site.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 08 September, 2020, 01:16:30 PM
I maintain that if you split the story and art into separate chunks (which you're not supposed to in comics but I can't help it...), the Prog becomes an x out of 10 proposition (well, there are usually 5 stories).

And with that split, I'd say even the darkest of the 90s managed to get 5 or 6 out of 10 as a minimum. I think it's really only parts of Volume 2 of the Meg that pushed we to actively dislike both story and art on occasion, although rare occasions.

I'm saying a little Kev Walker or John Burns goes a long way, y'know? Throw in a little Frank Quitely or Kevin Cullen and it's like waking up a tired chicken nugget with hot sauce.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 08 September, 2020, 01:38:23 PM
It depends if you value those things evenly. I don’t. Mediocre art can be saved by a really great script, as long as the art isn’t incomprehensible. A dreadful script is for me rarely saved by even the best artwork. To that end, some of the dark days were pretty, but even then I wouldn’t be giving those Progs anywhere near a 5/10.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: davidbishop 08 September, 2020, 01:52:55 PM
I maintain that if you split the story and art into separate chunks (which you're not supposed to in comics but I can't help it...), the Prog becomes an x out of 10 proposition (well, there are usually 5 stories).

And with that split, I'd say even the darkest of the 90s managed to get 5 or 6 out of 10 as a minimum. I think it's really only parts of Volume 2 of the Meg that pushed we to actively dislike both story and art on occasion, although rare occasions.

I'm saying a little Kev Walker or John Burns goes a long way, y'know? Throw in a little Frank Quitely or Kevin Cullen and it's like waking up a tired chicken nugget with hot sauce.

Alas, Frank Quitely never worked for the Prog! He worked on Missionary Man, Shimura and Inaba in the Megazine, plus the Meg reprinted his gorgeous Blackheart strip written by Robbie Morrison. But by the time I moved over to 2000AD Frank was busy working for US comics.

The bulk of Kevin Cullen's work was for the Meg as well, aside from one Terror Tale and a handful of V13s.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 09 September, 2020, 09:26:26 AM
Honestly, I'd say Quitely's work on both Shimura and Missionary Man are examples of great art saving a poor script - I either didn't follow or didn't care what was happening plotwise, but by gosh I loved looking at those pages. And credit to Dr Bishop for giving young Morrison and young Rennie the chance to get better at what they do. By the third of fourth series of those two strips they were actively intelligible, and eventually rather good.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 09 September, 2020, 09:59:14 AM
In a sense, that’s why the anthology format is so important. You get these young/new writers who quite often don’t click. Their scripts lack something. But over time, many of them grow, and then they can end up writing genuinely classic fare. (The same goes, to some extent, for artists as well.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 09 September, 2020, 10:13:30 AM
Definitely this ^^^^. There've been few enough writers in Tharg's stable that didn't get a good script in eventually coughfleischercough, even though there have been many rocky starts. Allowing new work to grow because it's supported by surrounding popular strips by established creators,  rather than trying to get by on its own while it finds its feet, is probably 2000AD's single greatest strength.

Same goes for strips - I would never, ever, have read more than a single issue of a Sinister Dexter comic, but after being exposed to it as 1 of 5 for what seemed like and may have been years, it became one of my all-time favourites. Dante, Grey Area and even Deadworld charted a similar path for me: there was no chance of me picking those up in a standalone 24 page monthly, now my bookshelf is full of the stuff.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 09 September, 2020, 09:01:07 PM
I maintain that if you split the story and art into separate chunks (which you're not supposed to in comics but I can't help it...), the Prog becomes an x out of 10 proposition (well, there are usually 5 stories).

And with that split, I'd say even the darkest of the 90s managed to get 5 or 6 out of 10 as a minimum. I think it's really only parts of Volume 2 of the Meg that pushed we to actively dislike both story and art on occasion, although rare occasions.

I'm saying a little Kev Walker or John Burns goes a long way, y'know? Throw in a little Frank Quitely or Kevin Cullen and it's like waking up a tired chicken nugget with hot sauce.

Alas, Frank Quitely never worked for the Prog! He worked on Missionary Man, Shimura and Inaba in the Megazine, plus the Meg reprinted his gorgeous Blackheart strip written by Robbie Morrison. But by the time I moved over to 2000AD Frank was busy working for US comics.

The bulk of Kevin Cullen's work was for the Meg as well, aside from one Terror Tale and a handful of V13s.

I seem to remember the Terror Tale was about a fallen angel who gave up on returning to heaven having found eternal ecstasy in gruesome masochism.  i don't often find horror in comics very scary, but some of those Terror Tales - shudder.

IP, that's a very good point, and one I hadn't thought of before.  Also explains how we lose so many good creators to the Americans - they wouldn't have stood a chance if they'd gone straight there before Tharg gave them a chance to get good.  Grant Morrison once copied a Future Shock almost word-for-word from a few paragraphs of Hitchhiker's Guide, and look where he is now.

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 10 September, 2020, 04:47:06 AM
Some strips take time to mature. As Tordel's said some of these strips like Deadworld and even Grey Area I would not even read if it was released as the American model. The anthology setup works for me better. The issue I have is more the long periods between series (but that is a debate for another time)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 10 September, 2020, 08:45:59 AM
The standalone model also requires (at least these days) solid early sales. So many series end well before their time. Spurrier’s latest is a case in point. But we’ve even had that with 2000 AD spin-offs—IDW’s Rogue Trooper has no chance (and yet was objectively the best take on the character to date).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: sintec 10 September, 2020, 10:41:54 AM
The standalone model also requires (at least these days) solid early sales. So many series end well before their time.

I guess one could argue the inverse is also occassionally true and that the anthology model encourages some strips to continue well beyond their time.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 11 September, 2020, 11:24:53 AM
Any examples?  I can only think of a couple - Fleischer stuff, for instance, or Millar's Robohunter.  Other than that there's a couple of standalone strips that were a bit longer than they could have been.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 11 September, 2020, 11:46:20 AM
Rogue Trooper had a natural end when the traitor general was found, after which the comic had no idea what to do with it. Ace Garp being brought back was an error. Some of the reboots haven’t worked. ABC Warriors has for years been like the looping background in a classic cartoon. Even so, the odd strip outstaying its welcome is easily countered by many superb strips existing that otherwise would not. I mean, can you imagine The Out rocking up as a standalone — especially in the current climate?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 11 September, 2020, 12:02:47 PM
As you said with Rogue Trooper they should have ended it with the traitor general. If they still wanted to do Rogue stories they could have  done it with stuff like Cinnabar. It is still Rogue but before he found the traitor.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Link Prime 11 September, 2020, 12:19:46 PM
As you said with Rogue Trooper they should have ended it with the traitor general. If they still wanted to do Rogue stories they could have  done it with stuff like Cinnabar. It is still Rogue but before he found the traitor.

A well worn discussion, but a Rogue re-calibration is long overdue.
Brian Ruckley's excellent Rogue Trooper reboot for IDW is long dead in the water, so why not try and make something of what we currently have on the table?

Surviving 'original' characters, if I recall correctly:

Friday
Top (Biochip)
Eightball (Biochip)
Lucky (Biochip)
Gunnar (Biochip)
Venus
Tor Cyan (Regened Rogue)

A talented writer from the current stable (along the lines of Abnett, Carroll, Hogan or Rennie) could surely consolidate that line-up and move the original (if convoluted) continuity forward with a compelling new hook.



: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 11 September, 2020, 12:26:36 PM
Gordon Rennie also had a stint where he did some Rogue stories in the vain of Cinnabar.  I enjoyed it but must say his Jaegir is excellent. I am all for a new take on Rogue but not the DC/Marvel thingy
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Link Prime 11 September, 2020, 12:33:28 PM
Gordon Rennie also had a stint where he did some Rogue stories in the vain of Cinnabar.  I enjoyed it but must say his Jaegir is excellent. I am all for a new take on Rogue but not the DC/Marvel thingy

Yeah, Rennie's Nu-Earth flashback stuff was solid enough, and Jaegir is fantastic.
I also enjoyed 'Hunted' quite a bit too a few years back.

None of that stuff pushed the (deservedly poorly regarded) original story forward though.
No harm in giving it a shot in my view, if only to put it to bed once and for all.

: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 11 September, 2020, 01:06:57 PM
No harm in giving it a shot in my view, if only to put it to bed once and for all.

At some point, Covid-19 permitting, Duncan Jones' Rogue movie will head into full production and it seems inconceivable that His Verdant Majesty won't revive the character in some form to take advantage of any promotion of the film around that time.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Link Prime 11 September, 2020, 01:26:30 PM
No harm in giving it a shot in my view, if only to put it to bed once and for all.

At some point, Covid-19 permitting, Duncan Jones' Rogue movie will head into full production and it seems inconceivable that His Verdant Majesty won't revive the character in some form to take advantage of any promotion of the film around that time.

We can only hope Jim.

Someone send Peter Hogan a Tweet and tell him we need him to spin that Strontium Dogs magic on the current dogs dinner of a continuity.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 11 September, 2020, 01:38:28 PM
Not sure I’d go down the continuity rabbit-hole with all the Fr1day stuff. You either do more stuff with ‘original Rogue’ in his Nu-Earth environment, or you do an IDW and reboot. Or, as a curveball, come to an arrangement with IDW where Ruckley’s strip is reprinted in the Prog (or 2000 AD takes ownership of it for trade purposes) and Ruckley picks up where he left off—assuming he wants to.

Personally, I never gave much of a shit about Rogue Trooper. It seemed dull, even when I was a kid. But very occasionally, it stood out: Cinnabar (of course); the very first Fr1day strip (after which point, it should have ended); Alan Moore’s Pray for War; some of Rennie’s flashback strips. But mostly, the world itself is more interesting than the lead (or at least, Rennie’s take in Jaegir), and Ruckley’s version was the one time Rogue Trooper was cut short and I wanted to read more.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Link Prime 11 September, 2020, 01:48:14 PM
Not sure I’d go down the continuity rabbit-hole with all the Fr1day stuff. You either do more stuff with ‘original Rogue’ in his Nu-Earth environment, or you do an IDW and reboot. Or, as a curveball, come to an arrangement with IDW where Ruckley’s strip is reprinted in the Prog (or 2000 AD takes ownership of it for trade purposes) and Ruckley picks up where he left off—assuming he wants to.

Not much of a Friday advocate myself, but why not kill him and his boys off and get it done with?
The 'original' Rogue lives on via Tor Cyan - give him some equipment (plenty of Biochips to choose from), a new direction and a talented new writer and away you go.
What kind of "new direction" you ask? Well, that's where the talented writer comes in.

The Ruckley continuation idea was mooted before a few years ago I think, so if Tharg hasn't extended the signet ring and / or BR hasn't kissed it at this stage, I don't see it happening now.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 11 September, 2020, 01:52:37 PM
We had a conversation a little while back about how Rogue is probably the most suited of all the 2000AD properties to an anthology-within-an-anthology approach — you could give a "Tales of Nu Earth" slot a semi-permanent residence in the prog for a big chunk of the year, with different teams delivering blazin' action stories, War Is Hell stories, quirky/poignant takes from the sidelines with civilian/non-combatant characters, all of varying lengths, and drop a couple of Rogue stories in there during the run to anchor the thing.

Possibly not the most amenable format for doing collected editions, which might be a big negative against the idea, but it would return Rogue to being a 'live' property again whilst side-stepping the fundamental problem of the strip, which is that Rogue just isn't very interesting.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 11 September, 2020, 01:55:50 PM
The 'original' Rogue lives on via Tor Cyan

He's dead, isn't he? My recall is very sketchy but didn't that whole thing wrap up with Cyan going in search of the original Rogue (after finding his biochip in Prog 2000)… something…something… another of the bio-beasties that was central to Cinnabar… something something… and then he basically falls to Nu Earth from a very great height.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 11 September, 2020, 02:04:37 PM
I would like to see Rogue return in the prog. I do not see Rogue as dull. I do not think we must look at Rogue as an individual but rather him and his bio-chips as one entity (that is how I see Rogue)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: davidbishop 11 September, 2020, 05:06:54 PM
I vaguely recall getting original Rogue despatched into a black hole during my Reign of Terror, but that may well have been retconned away in the 20 years hence...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Woolly 11 September, 2020, 05:16:58 PM
The 'original' Rogue lives on via Tor Cyan

He's dead, isn't he? My recall is very sketchy but didn't that whole thing wrap up with Cyan going in search of the original Rogue (after finding his biochip in Prog 2000)… something…something… another of the bio-beasties that was central to Cinnabar… something something… and then he basically falls to Nu Earth from a very great height.

My last memory of Tor Cyan is him taking the original Rogue's biochip back to Nu-Earth (which is now a grass covered planet of peace). Am I forgetting something?*


*(Probably!)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: GordonR 11 September, 2020, 05:32:11 PM
The Ruckley continuation idea was mooted before a few years ago I think, so if Tharg hasn't extended the signet ring and / or BR hasn't kissed it at this stage, I don't see it happening now.

I had a drink with Brian - who lived locally - when his IDW Rogue came out.  Tharg’s contact details, with Tharg’s blessing, were passed on and I suggested he get in touch if he wanted to do more comics work. AFAIK, he never did, so you’ve got to assume he’s not interested in continuing with Rogue or comics.

(He was principally an SF novelist, and that was his first comics work)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 11 September, 2020, 06:31:50 PM
My last memory of Tor Cyan is him taking the original Rogue's biochip back to Nu-Earth (which is now a grass covered planet of peace). Am I forgetting something?

That was the Prog 2000 story I mentioned upthread. It led into the final (?) Jock-illustrated Tor Cyan story (that I unsatisfactorily reprised) that ended with Cyan plummeting to his (seemingly inevitable) death.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 11 September, 2020, 07:10:26 PM
But in the classic Golden Fox Rebellion, Fr1day hotwires a cruise missile (https://youtu.be/lf3Kyv_iaNs) by jumping onto it whilst its in flight. Right there, precedent. I think we can assume that Toy Cyan survives that fall (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsQmtG1fnqc).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 11 September, 2020, 07:16:31 PM
Toy Cyan

Halo Jones / Rogue Trooper crossover.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 11 September, 2020, 07:23:30 PM
Some Jones Trooper or Halo Rogue
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Link Prime 11 September, 2020, 08:30:29 PM
The 'original' Rogue lives on via Tor Cyan

He's dead, isn't he? My recall is very sketchy but didn't that whole thing wrap up with Cyan going in search of the original Rogue (after finding his biochip in Prog 2000)… something…something… another of the bio-beasties that was central to Cinnabar… something something… and then he basically falls to Nu Earth from a very great height.

Yeah, that kinda happened ('No Such Place' part 3) but there is one page epilogue afterwards - a presumably badly damaged Tor Cyan visits the Nu Earth G.I. mass grave once more and retrieves the 'Rogue' / '4' Biochip.
Tor cyan could conceivably be regened again - this time with Rogue's memories fully intact.

I vaguely recall getting original Rogue despatched into a black hole during my Reign of Terror, but that may well have been retconned away in the 20 years hence...

Close, Mr. President; it was Friday, Venus and the surviving Biochips that took that fateful black hole ride to nowhere. Never to be seen again.

The Ruckley continuation idea was mooted before a few years ago I think, so if Tharg hasn't extended the signet ring and / or BR hasn't kissed it at this stage, I don't see it happening now.

I had a drink with Brian - who lived locally - when his IDW Rogue came out.  Tharg’s contact details, with Tharg’s blessing, were passed on and I suggested he get in touch if he wanted to do more comics work. AFAIK, he never did, so you’ve got to assume he’s not interested in continuing with Rogue or comics.

(He was principally an SF novelist, and that was his first comics work)

I do recall you mentioning that before Gordon, just didn't know if the offer was ever taken up or not.
Shame really, that IDW mini series was top notch.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 12 September, 2020, 04:39:49 AM
Just added to the site the 1992-1993 bridges (mostly as they appeared here):

Stage 25 - ...It's A Sequel (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage25/)
Meg: Vol. 2.2 (Mechanismo) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/meg22/)

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/805.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/810.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/817.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.10.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.12.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.15.jpg)
-------------------------------------
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: broodblik 12 September, 2020, 05:02:41 AM
At least we had some Zenith and Luke Kirby  in Stage 25. I enjoyed Brigand Doom as well. This was never collected? If not then this is an idea for the floppy. Can not recall anything about Kelly's Eyes.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: I, Cosh 12 September, 2020, 06:01:30 PM
Grant Morrison once copied a Future Shock almost word-for-word from a few paragraphs of Hitchhiker's Guide, and look where he is now.
Certainly not the only thing Grant has copied wholesale! On the other hand, I once shamelessly cribbed Candy and the Catchman for an English creative writing exercise and look where I am now...

Oh.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 12 September, 2020, 07:07:36 PM
Grant Morrison once copied a Future Shock almost word-for-word from a few paragraphs of Hitchhiker's Guide, and look where he is now.
Certainly not the only thing Grant has copied wholesale! On the other hand, I once shamelessly cribbed Candy and the Catchman for an English creative writing exercise and look where I am now...

Oh.

Heh - I did a few of them.  The carpark scene from Revere appeared in one of my essays once, as did the first appearance of the Black Sun from Zenith (and there's me slagging Grant for ripping stuff off).  My mate was more shameless - he borrowed the America GN from me and copied the whole story for an essay, leaving out the bits with Dredd and the body-swap.

Candy and the Catchman was brilliant, though; worth cribbing if you ask me.  And to be fair to Grant, he was fairly open about Zenith being a 'sampled' strip, and it's kind of fun to discover his influences - I remember reading Paul Auster's City of Glass and realising that one of the characters was essentially Maximan from Phase 3 without the superpowers.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 14 September, 2020, 10:24:58 PM
AFAIK, he never did, so you’ve got to assume he’s not interested in continuing with Rogue or comics.
Randomly, I just downloaded a Transformers preview from my HB archive. Looks like Ruckley is scripting that now.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 25 September, 2020, 05:59:37 AM
Just transferred over to the 2K Stages site a lot of 1993:

Meg: Vol. 2.3 (Childhood's End) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/meg23/)

Stage 26 - Spring Fever (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage26/)
Stage 27 - Summer Offensive (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage27/)
Stage 28 - 2-prog Mini-Series (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage28/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 27 September, 2020, 04:04:53 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)

Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future

The 1995 Judge Dredd movie (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Dredd_(film)) (featuring Sylvester "Double Whammy (https://youtu.be/6cNd0hbIoQk)" Stallone) spawned a spin-off comic aimed at younger readers: 2000 AD Regened Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future!

Something of a poisoned chalice (especially in hindsight given the poor box office takings and terrible reviews), this required that artists adopt the design aesthetic of the movie, which had mostly ignored the comic and ploughed its own furrow, in the same way as one might decide to pass up a plow and instead use a spoon. The writers couldn't sit inside the canon Dredd continuity so instead did a series of best-of cover versions (like an Abba tribute act (https://youtu.be/pn_59fAbCZw)), slightly hamstrung by a need for the villains not to die (just like in the A-Team). This lead to clumsy injected dialog explaining that even though there was a huge explosion that "the perp will be fine".

Given that every story featured Judge Dredd, it's tricky to provide a clean overview. Each issue (except the final issue #23 in 1996) has three strips (discounting the one-pager that run in issues #11-13). So, you could look at it as three slots of Judge Dredd, like so:

(https://i.imgur.com/NSYwaVe.png)

Alternatively, you might think of it as writer-driven, where John Wagner helps to launch things, but ultimately the majority of the strips are written by Ken Niemand and Robbie Morrison (with honourable mentions for Simon Furman):

(https://i.imgur.com/2KYQ82M.png)

Or, you might do a deep dive, and look at each individual story, but for a twenty-three issue run, (and depending how you count them) there were a hefty forty-five of those (with the longest linked set being Gordon Rennie's Mega-Mobs / Mega-Rackets sequence at nine episodes), leading to something of a deep-dive of data:

(https://i.imgur.com/PXZlE3W.png)

Apart from the movie-fied Judge uniform and the transforming Lawmaster (flying mode!), nothing from the screen version seems to be have been used. There's no movie-Fergee, for example. Instead, the comic introduces elements that would be easily familiar to most 2000 AD readers, with the first couple of episodes introducing face-change machines, hotshot homing bullets, Stookies, Fatties, muties, Cadet Judges, The Academy of Law, Apetown, weather control and Zoom trains.

The borrowing from the canon is clear with stories like "Dial Mean for Murder" (the only story featuring Mean Angel, with two arms), "Revolt of the Robots" (after 1977's Robot Wars), "Graveyard Shift" (after 1983's, erm, The Graveyard Shift), "Death Hunt" (after 1985's The Hunters Club), and so on. The other really obvious ones are a three-part Judge Death, a long-form "Mega-Rackets" sequence and Hotdog Run. The problem here is that these stories have been told before (https://youtu.be/QvR72DYtYHw), and better. There's arguably not much artistic value in making something that's "the same as but not as good as".

Of more interest are longer-form stories where the writers add their own elements to the milieu. Simon Furman gives us the reptilian mutant Coldblood, who features in Heatwave, In Cold Blood and Cold War. Robbie Morrison gets to play with his murderous mutant with magic tattoos, Dragon, in Illustrated Assassin and Dragon's Lair. And Gordon Rennie takes us out to the end of the publishing cycle with the linked six-part mini-epic featuring an alien invasion of Mega-City One (with First Strike and Invasion).

Perhaps cursed from the outset as the spin-off of a risible Hollywood travesty, and now destined to compare unfavorably with both the 2012 movie and the subsequent spin-off Dredd stories in the Megazine, this twenty-three issue Judge Dredd remix (https://youtu.be/L-d4J3YUQmU) will remain a curious footnote from the annals.

(https://i.imgur.com/2guY1sf.jpg)
Codpiece of Doom!
by Jim Murray
& Dondie Cox
-------------------------------------
(https://i.imgur.com/Wfxme5W.jpg)
A Dance with Death!
by Jim Murray
& Dondie Cox
-------------------------------------
(https://i.imgur.com/R4CRZPj.jpg)
Fang-tastic Action!
by Paul Peart
& Sean Barnes-Murphy
-------------------------------------
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: GordonR 27 September, 2020, 09:11:29 AM
The original plan for what became LotF was better and more ambitious; an anthology of different stories set in a modified Dreddverse. There was obviously going to be a Dredd strip, but I was co-writing a junior Chopper strip, Robbie Morrison was doing a Cursed Earth Dirty Dozen thing, and there was going to be a Space War strip, maybe an Anderson one etc.

First episode scripts were written for a pilot issue, but I’m not sure I ever saw any art for this. Anyway, that plan died for reasons I don’t know/can’t remember, and it became a 100% Dredd thing instead.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 27 September, 2020, 01:49:40 PM
I find it odd the comic is so disliked. Admittedly, it’s been a long while since I read it, but I thought it was quite good. It suffered by comparison to classic-era Dredd, but most of it was readable and quite entertaining and—crucially—a lot better than a lot of the crap large chunks of the Meg had to put up with. (I also found it a lot better than most of the DC and IDW Dredd comics.)

But that alternate plan does sound a lot more interesting. A pity it never made it, although I suspect the end result would have been much the same in terms of the comic’s longevity.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 27 September, 2020, 04:16:40 PM
I find it odd the comic is so disliked.

I reckon it's definitely one of those things that would be more appealing to newer readers, purely on the basis of not having already been exposed to a lot of the story elements.

At the time, I bought the first issue out of a feeling of loyal curiosity, but didn't bother with the rest - it's only recently that I got interested in finding out what had been in there.

It's interesting to compare some of today's negative attitudes towards the Regened progs with LotF: some people seem to take it as a personal insult that 2000 AD would ever try to appeal to a younger generation. I find that odd now, although I did sneer in the 90s at the idea.

The original plan for what became LotF was better and more ambitious; an anthology of different stories set in a modified Dreddverse. There was obviously going to be a Dredd strip, but I was co-writing a junior Chopper strip, Robbie Morrison was doing a Cursed Earth Dirty Dozen thing, and there was going to be a Space War strip, maybe an Anderson one etc.

First episode scripts were written for a pilot issue, but I’m not sure I ever saw any art for this. Anyway, that plan died for reasons I don’t know/can’t remember, and it became a 100% Dredd thing instead.

That's fascinating - and seems by far the wiser course of action. An obvious key strength of 2000AD (and the Megazine) is the anthology format. As I was reading LotF, I was struck that they had no real choice of what went on the cover - it had to be Dredd. You lose that "who's going to be on the cover this week?" thrill.

So, there are unpublished LotF scripts out there? Tharg! I've got this outlandish idea for a special...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: IndigoPrime 27 September, 2020, 09:10:14 PM
some people seem to take it as a personal insult that 2000 AD would ever try to appeal to a younger generation
There’s a certain kind of mostly lapsed reader that seems desperate to note 2000 AD isn’t as good as it was in the “old days” (when it was primarily written for children) and yet fucking furious at any attempt to make the modern product appeal to children.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: TordelBack 27 September, 2020, 09:35:46 PM
some people seem to take it as a personal insult that 2000 AD would ever try to appeal to a younger generation
There’s a certain kind of mostly lapsed reader that seems desperate to note 2000 AD isn’t as good as it was in the “old days” (when it was primarily written for children) and yet fucking furious at any attempt to make the modern product appeal to children.

Those people do exist, but I think there's a larger constituency that has a larger objection to the current project being part of our 50 prog annual allotment, especially for subbers.

I'm not one myself, I think it's an experiment that's already borne fruit, but I suppose I can understand that perspective.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 27 September, 2020, 10:49:13 PM
I could buy into that argument if I didn't enjoy the experiment so much. Like - you buy a sub and suddenly four issues are replaced by The Beano - that might be cause for upset.

I suppose there's just no mileage in the idea of launching a spin-off title because of the cost involved? (I've always just assumed that's a non-starter, and what Tharg would prefer to do if it were possible.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 27 September, 2020, 11:12:37 PM
I suppose there's just no mileage in the idea of launching a spin-off title because of the cost involved? (I've always just assumed that's a non-starter, and what Tharg would prefer to do if it were possible.)

You could chuck a million quid at a new title launch to do it properly, plus maybe another half million in running costs between launch and actually finding out if the launch was successful, due to the horrific cash flow of high street distribution. That would have been a hell of a gamble in pre-Covid times. Now, it would just be insanity… sadly.

I’m sure Rebellion would love to bolster the business with a stable of ongoing titles, but I don’t think the economics of it make any kind of sense.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: AlexF 28 September, 2020, 10:46:11 AM
I've never read any Dredd:LotF so am loathe to specualte too much - but I wonder if it was a really useful place for Rennie and Morrison to get out their inner Dredd fanboys, re-hashing old Wagner/Grant ideas. Garth Ennis had to do his cover-version work in the main Prog, and still gets a lot of flak for it (at least, he does on the Drokk! podcast). Whereas Rennie especially bt Morrison too already had their own Dredd voice going pretty early on in their days of writing Dredd for Meg and Prog.
(I suspect I've got some timings wrong, and Rennie had already written a bunch of Dredds before workin on LotF...)
Just a theory.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 28 September, 2020, 02:34:07 PM
Would I be right in saying that Gordon's first crack at Dredd was True Grit, the Missionary Man crossover in one of the yearbooks?  Probably not.

I do remember quite a few early Morrison Dredds in the Megazine of the early 90s, though I couldn't say for sure whether they came before or after LotF.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 28 September, 2020, 03:08:39 PM
A quick look at the Barney-Oracle says that Rennie did a DC Dredd published in late '95 / early '96.  There was that "truegrit" (sic) crossover in the 1995 Yearbook (so published in Autumn '94).

LotF was published in 1995-1996, then there's a Rennie-Dredd in the prog in May 2000:

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/mediumres/1194.jpg)

However, he has some Meg-Dredds starting in 1994.

---

Robbie Morrison's first prog-Dredd seems to be prog 1226 in 2001, but he has a first Meg-Dredd from 1993:

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/megazine/mediumres/2.44.jpg)

---

Conclusion: they'd both already proved themselves capable of doing Dredd before being passed the Chalice de Stallone (https://youtu.be/7a52uMkEg4g).
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: GordonR 28 September, 2020, 03:57:08 PM
Conclusion: they'd both already proved themselves capable of doing Dredd before being passed the Chalice de Stallo

Yeah, I don’t think that follows at all.

My first Dredds from that 90s period were all terrible, and I have every confidence Robbie’s probably were too.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 28 September, 2020, 05:30:01 PM
Conclusion: they'd both already proved themselves capable of doing Dredd before being passed the Chalice de Stallone (https://youtu.be/7a52uMkEg4g). Your theory seems sound, AlexF.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 03 October, 2020, 03:13:55 PM
Oh man - my 2K stages site got taken down by Webnode without any notification or explanation - now I'm left not knowing why.

It helpfully says that I should contact their "abuse" email, but I've no idea what wrong the site committed. Like, was it because I dropped the F-bomb? Or did Rebellion make a copyright complaint cos of the cover thumbnails? Or...?

Anyway - bums. I didn't think I was stepping on anyone's toes there.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Jim_Campbell 03 October, 2020, 03:20:19 PM
Or did Rebellion make a copyright complaint cos of the cover thumbnails? Or...?

I have the impression that Rebellion are pretty chilled out about fan-sites and even if they did think you were crossing a line with use of copyright material, I suspect you'd have got an email asking you to do something about it before they went to the lengths of getting your site yanked.

No inside info, here, just the impression I've got from involvement in fan projects over years gone by…
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 03 October, 2020, 04:18:15 PM
Yeah - I expect it's something weird like Webnode are super-touchy about swear words or something. It's odd that I didn't just get an email but I don't know how these corporate systems work things. Guess I'll just have to be patient and wait till they get back to me about it. I wonder if my linking out to imgur is bugging them?

---

Slightly on topic, Twitter have warned people that wishing death upon The Trumpet is a no-no, and a bunch of people have railed in and said "That's funny - when I complained about death threats made against me you said it wasn't against your terms & conditions".
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 05 October, 2020, 02:56:30 PM
Ah - puzzle (sort of) solved. The site is back up and I got a message explaining that an unruly A.I. was to blame.

(I've asked for detail so I can avoid triggering the A.I.'s mechanisms in the future, and suggested they could change their email support line from "abuse" to something more neutral.)

Feckin' Skynet.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 05 October, 2020, 05:14:35 PM
The 2K Stages site is now up to date with this thread (with a few edits):

Stage 29 - Drums in the Deep (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage29/)
Stage 30 - Nadir (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage30/)
Stage 31 - The Collector (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage31/)
Stage 32 - 3-Prog Mini-Series (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage32/)
Stage 33 - Wilderlands (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage33/)
Stage 34 - Bad Trip (https://2kstages.webnode.com/stage34/)

Meg: Vol. 2.4 (Bury My Knee) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/meg24/)
Meg: Vol. 2.5 (Postcards...) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/meg25/)
Meg: Vol. 2.6 (Wilderlands) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/meg26/)
Meg: Vol. 2.7 (Wicked) (https://2kstages.webnode.com/meg27/)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 11 October, 2020, 03:40:23 AM
The webnode service was starting to prove problematic for a few reasons* so I've switched the 2Kstages site over to github pages, at this link:

2000 AD in Stages (https://2kstages.github.io) [Currently this covers things up to 1995.]

The new site has allowed me a bit more freedom to practice my rusty CSS skillz and have a bit of fun with drop-shadows. I think the layout is better, and the comic stacks on the front page were interesting to build and turn into polygonal links.

* 1. Limited scope for layout alterations. 2. Clumsy access to CSS. 3. Even they didn't know why their AI shut down the site for three days but think it might have something to do with linking to an http page (as opposed to an https). 4. When they put the site back up it was missing key parts of pages.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 14 October, 2020, 03:30:47 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/RryXXpv.png)

Stage 35 - Double Whammy!
Progs 950-963: 1995

The much-maligned Stallone-starring Judge Dredd movie of 1995 was obviously something 2000 AD wouldn't want to ignore (except, perhaps, in hindsight), and so Tharg went all out in celebration and rebranded all the titles with similar banner logos (and renumbered everything but the prog as relaunch issue ones):

(https://i.imgur.com/ryWWlsl.png)

Stallone grunted his way onto the cover of prog 950, but inside Dredd remained with the original design, and the movie-version was instead launched into spin-off comic Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future, along with the transforming lawmaster (with new, improved hover mode) and an enormous silver codpiece strapped onto the uniform.

While Satan landed in the Megazine to bother Mega-City One, the prog became engorged on movie hype and grew to forty-four pages, with the extra room given over to a second Judge Dredd slot. Double-barreled Dredd must have seemed like a great idea, riding high on the back of a Hollywood blockbuster.

(https://i.imgur.com/ayBBCWz.png)

Judge Dredd
The Pat Mills scripted Flashback 2099: The Return Of Rico is a stylish, full colour, eighteen-page remake of the six-page original from prog 30, with the same incongruous ending riffing on The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" lyric. There may have been as assumption that the Titan penal colony was only for Judges, but this story has it that merely a portion of the inmates are Judges, and that they get treated particularly poorly. The body horror involved in operating on the prisoners to acclimatize them to working in a vacuum is here brought back to the originally horrific version, rather than the dialed down (but simpler to draw) "metal nose" that was used during the Purgatory / Inferno debacle.

In a sequence of one-offs from John Wagner, there's a sense that Dredd is being reintroduced for anyone who might be swinging into the comic on the Hollywood vine. In a bizarre demonstration of unwarranted machismo, Chief Judge Hadrian Volt challenges Dredd to a bout of no-holds barred day-stickery in order to negotiate a piece of departmental policy (in The Decision). The retconned Awakening of Angels is thrown out to resurrect Pa and Junior Angel so they can be used in the Megazine's The Three Amigos.

I'm fairly sure that Bad Frendz introduces the criminal organization of the Frendz, and has Vitus Dance use weird scorpion magic to assassinate otherwise untouchable witnesses. This is not the last we'll hear of the Frendz, or crime lord Nero Narcos. Alongside this introduction we also get The Cal Files, where Judge Jura Edgar (head of PSU) manipulates Dredd into uncovering what seem to be shocking revelations from the past. This story also serves to introduce an upcoming epic by having Dredd appointed as Chief of Sector 301: The Pit.

It's off to the Northwest Hab Zone in the next stage...


Rogue Trooper [Fr1day]: Angels
Following the new rule that you're not allowed to do a Rogue story unless you reboot or retcon part of it, now Nu Earth has no poisonous chem clouds - or, wait - which Nu Earth is this, anyway? Maybe this is the one without chem. But it does have Norts. Oh dear Grud...

Anyway - Fr1day makes friends with a jet pilot and they both squeeze into the same seat, but then crash-land in the desert, which involves one of the wings being ripped of the jet. A man in a jeep rescues them and they go and fetch a bunch of fuel and a handyman, with which they refuel the jet and glue back on its wing (true!) before taking out a Nort bogie.

More wt-actual-f action next stage...


Slaine
For season two of Quantum Salmon Leap we get The Name Of The Sword, which posits the idea that women from different moments in time are just a sort of shell into which a Niamh-like spirit is poured, and that Slaine's some kind of eternity-surfing rolling stone.

Slaine (with Ukko in tow) plays the part of Robin Goodfellow in the Norman era, where dark-god worshipping landowners have made the earth goddess ill. He chats up Maid Marion (a nunnified pseudo-Niamh) and takes a few Norman heads with Brain Biter, not thinking it too many.

The sequence continues directly in Lord of Misrule, where Slaine transmogrifies into a flying beastie to go hunting for Niamh/Marion. The moral of the story is that if you try to get nekkid and jiggy with Slaine then you're a free woman, but if you don't then you're the slave of a dark god that's trying to enslave humanity.

We have to wait 31 weeks for the final four episodes in the next stage...


Urban Strike [advertisement]
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, this was partly a joke, and partly a cynical marketing ploy for a classic helicopter gunship game (sequel). Whacking "TM" next to the title was either subversive or a legal requirement: it's not clear which. The heavily-armed "Mystery Machine" is crewed by a bunch of action movie stereotypes who use polite metaphors in place of swearing, whilst also providing the birthplace of the expletive portmanteau beloved of Sinister Dexter: funt. They take gung-ho to new heights (or depths) in their mission to ... blow stuff up. Usually innocent bystanders (like in Team America, but without the humour). The joke is over by the first episode, but this spins out of control for another five.
It's over and done with after one series. We can rest easy that at least you'd never catch Rebellion doing anything like this - I mean before you knew it, all the stories could be replaced by some kind of zombie army of mindless game tie-ins...

Vector 13: [Caseload #1] *NEW THRILL*
Clearly inspired by The X-Files, each of these standalone terror tales cases is introduced by the inhuman-seeming Men In Black, who act as a narrative cipher. This manages to drop the most effective thing about The X-Files, which was that Mulder & Scully tied the series together and made it more than just a sequence of Twilight Zone episodes. On an editorial level, there's a definite angle here: rather than serving as a new anthology alongside the existing Future Shocks, this series sets itself up as a replacement.
Lights up! Another caseload drops onto Tharg's desk next stage...

Janus Psi Division: House Of Sighs *SPIN-OFF*
An intriguing one-off in which Janus (the psi from Inferno) is invited to a secret inner circle of Psis.
She's back next stage in a longer tale...

The Journal of Luke Kirby: The Old Straight Track
A leyline-based mystical road trip in which Luke and his uncle Zeke visit various friendly green and pleasant hermit-wizards on their way to an important moot. They are stalked along the way by one of those evil 80s villains who watches the heroes' progress through a crystal ball and sends agents out to stop them (like in Krull or Hawk the Slayer). The villain calls himself Nathair Nathrach, which as far as I can divine means "Serpenty Serpent", although Zeke mentions a "winged serpent". The "ha ha - just kidding" ending marks this as the weakest of the Kirby adventures, so it's perhaps not surprising that this tails off.
We get a finale next stage...

Maniac 5: Maniac 6
In an unlikey cross between The Fugitive and Robocop, the one-armed Maniac 5 (a man's mind trapped inside a cyborg) is on the run from the forces of President ... Hilary Clinton (and a maniacal Ross Perot). As Frank (Maniac 5) is mostly invincible and tearing through regular troops like a hot knife through butter, and knows the sewer system really well, the only thing that they can use to hunt him down is the deranged and murderous Maniac 6. Cue nonsensical carnage!
Franks swims off into the sunset here, never to be heard of again.

Strontium Dogs: The Mutant Sleeps Tonight
Feral has transmuted into a weird, non-verbal cross between a butterly, a bat and a donkey. The blind lady is looking after him, socializing him. He then goes into a chrysalis.
The story says it continues in Durham Red's Deals (below), but it really doesn't. Instead, there's a new series of this in the next stage...

Durham Red: Deals
When Durham offed the a Gothlord in Island of the Damned (see stage #20 (https://2kstages.github.io/stages/progs/stage20.html)), she made an enemy of the Goth King, and here she sets up a contest to win his amnesty.
The stage is set for the Night of the Hunters, starting in prog 1000...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 14 October, 2020, 02:14:07 PM
Loving this as always - top work, Funtington.

For me, the Old Straight Track was the second best of the Kirby adventures - I really liked it; not much of a plot but a lovely, folksy pagan atmosphere, and I actually learned a bit about cairns (I've come across a few of them on hiking trips).   I'm a sucker for the old folk horror / rural magic stuff though; if I wasn't such a cynical, skeptical bugger I'd join the Wiccans.

I also thought Urban Strike was lots of fun, but that's just me.

I remember really enjoying the prog in its Sláine-and-Two-Dredd period; Wagner was back and Dredd was on form again, Sláine had picked up a lot, Ennis and Millar had left the building.  The film's awfulness hadn't spilled over into the prog; fair plays all round.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Dark Jimbo 14 October, 2020, 02:30:27 PM
I remember really enjoying the prog in its Sláine-and-Two-Dredd period; Wagner was back and Dredd was on form again, Sláine had picked up a lot, Ennis and Millar had left the building.  The film's awfulness hadn't spilled over into the prog; fair plays all round.

Slaine hadn't really had a chance to dip at this point - unless you really disliked Demon Killer. The worst was yet to come!
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 14 October, 2020, 03:49:37 PM
I remember liking this era of Slaine well enough - this was an interesting take on Robin Hood that I'd never encountered before.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Greg M. 14 October, 2020, 05:07:45 PM
For me, the Old Straight Track was the second best of the Kirby adventures - I really liked it; not much of a plot but a lovely, folksy pagan atmosphere, and I actually learned a bit about cairns (I've come across a few of them on hiking trips). 
I'd broadly agree - in part, that's because it follows the worst Kirby story, and subsequently feels like a return to form. The ending is rubbish though. Plus, Luke seems to have turned ten at least twice.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 14 October, 2020, 08:18:18 PM
I remember really enjoying the prog in its Sláine-and-Two-Dredd period; Wagner was back and Dredd was on form again, Sláine had picked up a lot, Ennis and Millar had left the building.  The film's awfulness hadn't spilled over into the prog; fair plays all round.

Slaine hadn't really had a chance to dip at this point - unless you really disliked Demon Killer. The worst was yet to come!

Fair point, though I wasn't too crazy about Demon Killer (Fabry's ridiculously good painted art aside). I much preferred these ones - more interesting subject matter for a Robin of Sherwood kid like me, and both Staples and Langley had really got into their stride.


I'd broadly agree - in part, that's because it follows the worst Kirby story, and subsequently feels like a return to form. The ending is rubbish though. Plus, Luke seems to have turned ten at least twice.

Can't quite remember - was that the one with the vampire and the old magician who wasn't Elias, or the one about the new age traveller Satan in a hell that consisted of Christmas shopping, techno music and broken johnny dispensers?
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Greg M. 14 October, 2020, 08:32:21 PM
Can't quite remember - was that the one with the vampire and the old magician who wasn't Elias, or the one about the new age traveller Satan in a hell that consisted of Christmas shopping, techno music and broken johnny dispensers?
The latter - a jarring betrayal of the carefully-wrought, rather bucolic atmosphere of the first two and final one. A couple of really atmospheric scenes in it, mind you, but the plot made absolutely no sense at all.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 14 October, 2020, 09:15:00 PM
Site updates:

 - Stage 35 - Double Whammy! (https://2kstages.github.io/stages/progs/stage35.html) (with added quotes, cover images, typo fixes, a corrected strike-through joke, a link to the other place I've heard nathraich and the cunning addition of the word "rodeo")
 - JD - LotF  (https://2kstages.github.io/stages/spinOffs/JDlotf.html)(with added quotes)


Coming soon: Meg: Vol. 3.1 (Satan)...
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: JayzusB.Christ 14 October, 2020, 11:15:26 PM
Can't quite remember - was that the one with the vampire and the old magician who wasn't Elias, or the one about the new age traveller Satan in a hell that consisted of Christmas shopping, techno music and broken johnny dispensers?
The latter - a jarring betrayal of the carefully-wrought, rather bucolic atmosphere of the first two and final one. A couple of really atmospheric scenes in it, mind you, but the plot made absolutely no sense at all.

Ah. Yeah, it was an odd one - not a terrible story but just woefully out of place. I had to look up 'bucolic' - exactly the word I needed for my earlier comments about The Old Straight Track. (I'd always assumed that the word had something to do with illness and infection - some English teacher I am.)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 15 October, 2020, 06:36:52 PM
Doctor : I'm sorry to tell you that you've got a restive case of the prosaic bucolics. We're going to have to proscribe a nugatory crepuscular.
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 21 October, 2020, 01:17:48 AM
New content on the site, having a look at the last hurrah of the fortnightly Meg, back in 1995...

Meg: Vol. 3.1 (Satan) (https://2kstages.github.io/stages/megs/meg3_1.html)
: Re: 2000 AD in Stages
: Funt Solo 21 October, 2020, 11:06:36 PM
Meg: Vol. 3.1 (Satan)
Megs 3.01-3.13: 1995


The Stallone-starring Dredd movie saw the House of Tharg re-launch the Megazine as volume #3, alongside a jump-on prog 950 and launch issues (for rebranded Best Ofs) of Classic 2000 AD and Classic Judge Dredd. The movie-Dredd himself (apart from promo-material) was relegated to the spin-off, yoof-targeted comic Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future.


(https://i.imgur.com/ryWWlsl.png)


A lot of the stories in this span suffer from introduction-itis, with far too many of them closing out with dangling threads of "THE END?" only to then not be resurrected. Despite a strong start with the comedy extravaganza of The Three Amigos alongside the beautiful nightmare of Satan, quality dips dramatically towards the end of the sequence with giant fishhooks capturing Judges in the risible Bloodsports, Pan-African Judges disappearing up their own overwrought pantheon and Deathwatch providing a gaudy rendition of Judge Blackadder.

Whilst the beginning of a new volume, this also marks the end of the Meg's fortnightly run, and it switches to monthly from issue 3.14 onwards as it enters the new year.


(https://i.imgur.com/uTv5TAW.png)


Judge Dredd (https://youtu.be/ktW-dcoj3y0)
With two slots through the early issues of this stage, Dredd runs a sequence of one-offs with a variety of writers. Chris Standley borrows Wally Squad Judge Lola Palmtree (from Ennis's 1992 Raider five-parter in the prog) for a comedic blood bath in Family Feud. In The Wall, Robbie Morrison allows Dredd to dispense just desserts rather than justice, in a tale that exposes departmental corruption hiding violence against a mutie township.

The big event is a six-parter that brings together the unlikely quest-fellows of Judge Dredd, Mean Angel and Judge Death in The Three Amigos. Clearly revelling in all-out spoofery, Wagner is enjoying the comedy aspects of his characters and turns the dial all the way to eleventy-silly as this surpasses even 1991's Judgement on Gotham in terms of self-parody. Much of the story is taken up by explaining away the central premise as Dredd goes up againt Clinton Box (a thinly-disguised Bill Clinton mutie) and his gang - the Arkansas Redpants (including at one point the entire cast of Star Trek TNG).

Things get mondo simpler in the next phase...


Harmony
Having dipped a toe into corporate hegemony in the previous story, Genocide sees the city go full cyberpunk dystopia as Tyrell Dreen takes over the local Justice Department and enacts martial law. Oddly, Harmony is only referenced in the first episode (not appearing in person til the second) so that we can focus more on the local hard-boiled cop. The story switches from grayscale to colour about mid-way through the run, so there's a sense of things feeling disjointed. The action-over-logic vibe ramps up to a bloody, overwrought finale.

Headcase is an odd fish in which a now city-free Harmony picks up a dangerous head in a jar, and has to battle said head's friends. Se7en meets Fargo?

Harmony returns in 1996...


Missionary Man (https://youtu.be/7NFZ8Q6p4vI): Mississippi Burning
An incredibly stylish costume drama with art by Simon Davis: Preacher Cain and Joe go undercover on a Big Sleazy riverboat that's hauling mutie slaves down to New Orleans. Given the timing, this is possibly inspired by the 1994 movie Maverick, in which a high stakes game of poker is played aboard a paddle steamer.
Preacher Cain cameos in Harke &amp; Burr, below...


Anderson, Psi-Division (https://youtu.be/kRsbo_1U_8I): Satan
A compelling drama leading on directly from Something Wicked, this has Dredd assessing Anderson to see if she's fit for return to active duty, whilst also dealing with the biblical threat of Satan's return to Earth after some time spent in an orbiting prison. Powerful character designs from Arthur Ranson and a deeply researched characterization of the biblical threat mark this out as something special.
Anderson returns in the next phase...


Harke & Burr: Satanic Farces
The occult antique dealers find themselves with access to a dangerous tome, and Preacher Cain cameos as part of the resolution.
More gritty shenanigans for Preacher Cain in the next stage but this marks the final escapade for Harke &amp; Burr...


Pan-African Judges: Fever Of The Gods
It was all a dream! Well, not quite ... all of our heroes end up in a battle with some temperamental gods, but at the end pretty much everything's fine except one of them has a bionic arm and they all need therapy. No small wonder, as people are zapped in half by lightning, sold into slavery by their friends and in many other ways fecked around with by a pantheon of diagnosible minor dieties. It's all a bit fraught, though: and (as with lots of mythology, to be fair) doesn't make much sense from moment to moment.
This is the final series of Pan-African Judges.


Cabal *NEW THRILL*
The Exorcists (a Psi-Div specialty team) go up against a demon with fairly dire consequences.
This hints at more, but is a one and done.


Deathwatch: Faust & Falsehood *NEW THRILL*
It's Judge Blackadder, as a Brit-Cit Judge is accidentally sent back in time to hang out at Mrs. Miggin's Pie shop, stage plays and combat time-traveling demonic entities. It sounds good, and there's some definite energy there, but the Blackadder riffing is too obvious and the forced bonhomie a little too hey nonny to work well. (Reminds me a bit of the The Order, in the sense that too many characters get introduced in a bundle, and it's in the past but breaks the rules.)
Tis a one and done.


Karyn, Psi: Visions
Uhm...it certainly is replete with visions, but perhaps to the extent that the reader is left none the wiser.
Karyn returns in the next issue's Hershey...


Judge Hershey
Karyn (Psi) works alongside Hershey in the two-part Spider in the Web, in which a surviving Mega-City Two Judge seeks revenge for the destruction of her city during the Judgement Day debacle. There are more international concerns in The Enemy, in which a splinter group of Judges resent peace negotiations being held between Chief Judge Volt and the Sovs.
Hershey returns later in the volume, and Karyn may cameo elswhere but definitely shows up in 2004's Judge Dredd adventure Gulag...


(https://i.imgur.com/uzd32TZ.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(https://i.imgur.com/AMZsUkm.jpg)
-------------------------------------
(https://i.imgur.com/uOde449.jpg)
-------------------------------------