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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 156201 times)

TordelBack

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #960 on: 20 July, 2020, 09:48:18 PM »
Occasional commentator, fiercely loyal reader. Love thiscserirs,  especially the Crises of Infinite Colins, where Colins from different time periods sit in judgement on each other's judgements. Introspectastic.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #961 on: 25 July, 2020, 12:48:20 PM »
Introspectastic.

I like to think more self-absorbed!

sheridan

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #962 on: 29 July, 2020, 12:35:38 PM »
I’ll second SBT’s sentiments here. I appreciate that a lack of replies/heated debate can make it feel like you’re launching your thoughts into an uncaring void...

Hey that's why this was always called Self Absorbed this is all about me having somewhere to off load my thoughts, you lot are always secondary!


Luckily as my own prog slog thread consists of links to the actual blog I get to see the stats page, and I know that people are reading it (plus where they're landing from and what country they're visiting from).

PsychoGoatee

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #963 on: 01 August, 2020, 01:10:07 AM »
Good stuff! Every time I read "Wagner Dredd", my blood pressure goes down and my vitamin levels go way up. It's better than antioxidants even.  :thumbsup:

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #964 on: 03 August, 2020, 09:26:26 PM »


Settling this expectations down - Early 2009

For whatever reasons, and I'll share them as we go on, I have 2009 as the start of the new Golden Age. Its all pretty arbitary and silly to try to pin down when the comic got quite so good, when its been quite so good for vast swathes of the last ten years. Yet there you are expectations are set and I'm bound to them. The only thing that will shake it is of course the reality of a re-read.

Well early 2009 does just that. Prog 2009 is the very definition of what the bumper Prog has become. A very good bunch of nice little one offs from ongoing popular series, wrapping around the new line-up. Its a bumper sized treat but a functional bumper sized treat rather than a special bumper sized treat.

So its all about that first line up 2009 then and it ain't bad, ain't bad at all.

We get a good Wagner Dredd in 'The Ecstacy'. With Paul Marshal on art this is an enjoyable romp as two punks luck out by coming out of witnessing a 'drugs' deal gone wrong with a green slug super-drug. Their luck has two sides as the reason that drug deal goes wrong is the big unkillable watching death dealer after the green slug delighter. Dredd is of course on the trail.

This is good solid Dredd, but its always remained a minor mystery to my why this one is 10 (or more) parts when so much of Wagner's craft is keeping things tight and so many of his Dredd's are so much shorter than you remember. This one I'm just not sure why its so long. It never drags. Its entertaining and exciting, but its just not special as so many others of his stories are.

The rest of the line up breaking us into 2009 is Greysuits, Marauder, The Red Seas and Stronium Dog - Blood Moon. Not bad, not nad at all.

The first of these to wrap up, all be it if not with a cliffhangers but with tied by your legs as giant lobsters come to chomp you hanger. Jack Dancer gets washed into the Tempest and talking sausage suppers aside - even The Mighty Yeowell can't make talking tea look good - its typically high seas hijinxs from this most pure of thrills. Its a shame it goes into hiatus.

Greysuits wraps up next - this one gets a lot of flack. As Blake goes out on a revenge mission to deal with his creators and masters he fights a Ginja Ninja... yeah that reads terribly put the name aside and this is super spy thriller at its finest. I enjoy Greysuits for all the cliched Millians preaching that I dislike and find tired elsewhere. Here it feels in place, in context and robust expansion of the story. Not forced and laboured. It too ends on... if not a cliff hanger then a shot while you find your mum sleeping with the enemy hanger.

Marauder is solid... but I'll come back to that and Strontium Dog Blood Moon is good, if not breath-taking yet, but again I'll come to that.

So yes the first line up is good, not great and these days with all the weight I have placed on this year that's almost disappointing. Except its helpful as it reminds me that I need to be realistic about what the year will bring and how it won't be a tidal wave of golden... but it also reminds me that when a line-up this good can feel a little disappointing that standards have been set so high pulling these starts of Golden eras out of thin air is a pointless reflection and exercise...

... won't stop me of course!

Tjm86

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #965 on: 04 August, 2020, 07:52:13 AM »

For whatever reasons, and I'll share them as we go on, I have 2009 as the start of the new Golden Age. Its all pretty arbitrary and silly to try to pin down when the comic got quite so good, ...

Fair point but there was a point around about here when Tooth was "really, really good .."  I think you can tell a lot about a year from the Bumper prog as it really sets the scene nicely for what is coming up.  Ironically enough, there is a response to a letter around Prog 2000 that suggests that these annual progs might not get much traction but 20 years on we'll let that one slide.

I'm currently about a year behind at the start of 2008.  It's interesting to compare the two years.  We have Stickleback, Kingdom, Strontium Dog and Shakara.  Artwork from Ezquerra, Flint, D'Israeli and Elson.  It's a hell of a start to the year.

Then we have Dredd with "Emphatically Evil".  Wagner and Macneil on fine form.  What I do find interesting though is looking back at this story from where we are today.  Comments have been made elsewhere about the lack of overt racism but when you read the subtext after a decade of immigration debates it is a none-too-subtle dig.

It's fair to say that from 2000 on the prog was definitely on something of an upward trajectory.  Like you, I've been trying to pin down a point at which it ratcheted it up a notch.  I would agree though that 2008/2009 make for strong contenders for that accolade.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #966 on: 04 August, 2020, 08:00:58 AM »
It's fair to say that from 2000 on the prog was definitely on something of an upward trajectory.  Like you, I've been trying to pin down a point at which it ratcheted it up a notch.  I would agree though that 2008/2009 make for strong contenders for that accolade.

There's a specific Prog that I always reference as the actual start of the NuGolden age (well in my mind) and that's a fun thing to have in mind, but it will be interesting to see how that fits into the wider context of the Progs around it and whether it does start something special, or if its just a nice little Prog / run which is a conveniant marker to represent something more nuanced.

I think 2007 and 8 have put the building blocks in place with new stories that you've mentioned. Now all Tharg has to do it land it...

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #967 on: 04 August, 2020, 09:24:00 PM »


Marauding Cockroaches

We have a new YNWA tonight, we have Not Quite self-absorbed YNWA. Not like other YNWA's he's time bound in 2010... I'm not quite sure I remember why Not Quite self-absorbed YNWA was re-reading Marauder already, just 1 year or so after it first appeared. I think I was catching up with things I'd read when first getting back into the Prog to get past the ITS ALL NEW AND EXCITINGness of it all. Anyway I'm not sure we can trust Not Quite self-absorbed YNWA we'll see if we need to visit him again, but since I can find no thoughts from actual Self Absorbed YNWA he'll have to do... and to be fair he's pretty spot on about Maruader. Though he does forget to mention is its by Robbie Morrison and Rich Elson.

Quote
Marauder is the tale of an ex-cadet trying to adjust to life in Mega City One outside the Academy in a dangerous and violent city he's been trained to control. Its a tale of a troubled teenager in Mega City One. If you had all those emotions and and hormones running around in a city like that quite how much trouble would you get yourself into, a little more than just getting barked at by the College librarian that's for sure. Its kinda Spiderman set in Dredd's world. Ok so Danny our hero isn't exactly filled with self doubt and teen angst but then being raised where he has that isn't going to be the problem. The city breeds an entirely different kind of 'hero' the complexities and layers of Lee and Ditko's favourite son transcribed to a 2000ad mentality and...

Arh damnit who am I kidding its just a wonderfully drawn action packed thriller and bloody great fun for that. Its been said my numerous people, myself amongst them, that there is a place for a simple high octane romp in 2000ad and in many ways 'Marauder' fits right into that camp. It might not have changed my life, or given me great insight but I sped through it with thrilling easy and enjoyed ever moment of it. Its not a classic but I'm glad this sort of story is still there. Just a shame this one didn't get the sequel it so called out for.

Clobberin' time (I know I know)

See he talks sense... this time... What he doesn't reflect on is the fact that while a 12 part superhero Year One is a fine thing to have it is rather exposed when as it reaches its 60th (well I've not counted) page over at Dredd Al Ewing packs more impact and emotion punch into 6 pages in 'Cockroaches' and there's a lot of punching in Maruader and quite a bit of EMOTION (caps and italics = shouting) but with the aid of Ben Oliver Al Ewing weaves a super strong story. Just wonderful as a Citi-Def veteran is rewarded for his Spectacular service and tries to tell Dredd of the Amazing cost to his humanity. Dredd is of course not the man to off load to, he's not open to the man and so Martin Bruznik goes back to dealing with the Astonishing way he deals with his guilt. Its not pretty.

Now I'm not saying this to belittle Marauder, I am saying it to laud 'Cockroaches' but more to flag once again the incredible diversity of story in 2000ad. Here the intent is utterly different and each seems to met its aims perfectly well. One has more fantastic ambition, but they sit happily side by side in utter contrast.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #968 on: 05 August, 2020, 09:23:04 PM »


Blood Moon and early twists and fuzzies

Strontium Dog Blood Moon was almost a great example of a discussion I had elsewhere (in the best thrills tourney results thread) I love good Strontium Dog, but I find some of it just pretty good and any particular story can out stay its welcome.

So it is with this one. Its starts wonderfully with some insights into early Alpha and the positioning in war of villains fighting on the side of angels. Then it turns into a standard crime caper. I good standard crime caper don't get me wrong. Then it has an episode as wonderful as Johnny at his best as Alpha takes the eponymous villain to the scene of his past crimes (against Johnny at least) and its blood curdling stuff. Johnny Alpha at his most chilling, even more so possibly than 'Because I hate you."

The final episode fantastically sums up the self sacrifice and lonely heroism that makes Alpha standout as a true Western hero, even when he has a partner. Its half brilliant, half good fun...

...so given my eulogising such a mix in the Prog as a whole - just last post - surely this makes it the perfect thrill? Well for many it would seem, but the mix in one thrill just dilutes the brilliance it would seem to me. Strontium Dog is a fantastic thrill, but can be a bit mixed. Blood Moon is a brilliant thrill, but is in fact a bit mixed.

Elsewhere in the Prog I'm starting to get the signs that maybe my plunking this era as the start of the new golden age is justified. As the first roster rolls out new thrills drop in. Low Life - Creation. More Wagner Dredd setting up one of my favourite Mega Epics and Necrophim. I thrill whose dark grey tones give folks very mixed opinions as I recall. And even as I riled at how early the twists in this twisty of thrill came about - after just 2 episodes, before we'd even really settled into what was what and who was who the tone was being set and things were sliding, I can't help but like this one. For... reasons I'm not quite sure about.

Oh and finally we get the return of Dante as the series enters an era that astonishingly will show us that Tsar Wars was just warming things up and its best was still to come.

So yeah even before we get to the specific moment I'm waiting for I'm already getting warm fuzzies for 2009.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #969 on: 08 August, 2020, 08:34:04 PM »


Low Life - Creation

Before I get two distracted by what comes next I just want to mention Low Life - Creation. It drops in for a delightful 8 weeks and is a fizzing joy. Its a sterotypical tale of town planning, reglious miracles, redemption, imagination, snow, nano-robots, fighting your demons, milk and I believe Rob Williams first horse metaphor (well the first I remember), as Dirty Frank investigates the newest drug Creation to infest Low Life.

Its just superb. So many ideas packed in, but it never feels weighted down by them. It briskly flies by, leaving you aghast from moment to moment with the brilliance of the imagination on display and the way D'Israeli brings it to life. For me this is the tale well Dirty Frank becomes so much more than a cool coemdy character. To be fair that's almost explicity the point and we get the glorious counter-point Judge Cameron whose role is to take us to that realisation, but its all done so bloody well.

While this story simply shines we also got a more controversial start as Necrophim starts to twist its way into the Prog. I really like this story. I know it has its detractors by its by far Tony Lee's best work in the Prog and once Lee Carter adjusts the contrast on his grey art so that things ping out more (mind as Lucifer has passion with a pig maybe a should be glad these early episodes are a bit washed out in grey) its visually very appealing. I'll talk more about the twists and turns here later I suspect but just wanted to flag the very mice start it makes in the Prog.

These two however are really the orderve. I smashing wonderful orderve, but starters just the same as both NuYNWA and self absorbed YNWA (I think) both agree we hit the main course, the Michelle Gold Starred meal of a lifetime.  We hit Progs 1632 and specifically 1633 which I'm be talking about in far me detail soon, as things get golden...

WhizzBang

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #970 on: 09 August, 2020, 03:22:52 PM »
+1 like for Necrophim. I read it when it was done as a Meg floppy and really enjoyed it. Great characters and a good twisty turny plot from them since they all have to betray each other all the time due to thier nature.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #971 on: 09 August, 2020, 04:51:46 PM »
+1 like for Necrophim. I read it when it was done as a Meg floppy and really enjoyed it. Great characters and a good twisty turny plot from them since they all have to betray each other all the time due to thier nature.

Yeah the fact that they are demons make all the twisty turning plot and counter plot really work in world. Looking forward to getting into it again not read it for ages.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #972 on: 11 August, 2020, 09:28:50 PM »


Cradlegrave and Zombo in these Golden Years - Prog 1633

Whop whop whop.

So here we have the Prog I always mark as the start of the modern Golden Age. As I've stated so many times here the Prog has been so good for so long, but here I use this Prog as a convient marker as to the start of a period where things find a way to get even better?

Why this one - well this is a pure gold five for five Prog for a start.

Dredd - Backlash part 6 by Wagner
Savage - at its peak
Dante - Army of thieves and whores - part 5

So such a solid spine, what mark this out however is we have these glorious strips but two new stories that both perfectly encapsulate the diversity and creativity of the Prog. Zombo Part 2 (which nicely features the leds first appearance) and Cradlegrave Part 1. Two utterly different strips, rounding off a comic of perfect balance.

I'll extol these strips later (though possibly I'll just copy and paste an article I wrote about the two years ago - cos ya know lazy) but its more what they represent I want to flag. Its also not just this issue and the things in here, but again what they so perfectly evidence.

See that Wagner Dredd is the start of possibly Wagner's greatest time (we can discuss this another day) but the period of 'Tour of Duty' which is very much in the final stages of set up here and 'Day of Chaos' sees two superb Mega Epics both very close together. Its prime stuff.

Then Dante which is just entering if final act and, as again I've said before its a series that just gets better as it goes on and this final art is some of the greatest comics ever written.

Then we have the Journey Man Savage. Strip its easy to over look and take for granted but for me Mills' best of this period. Its such a wonderfully classic 2000ad strip and shows when Uncle Pat finds an appropriate vehicle for his dogma it works so much the better. The Conservative Bill Savage is the perfect vehicle to add a fresh take to the Millsian view of the world and it never, ever forgets its a hard bitten, fun action comic at the same time. So much tidier in its ploting than many of this period from the old master.

Then Zombo and Cradlegrave. Two absolutely first class strips starting back to back and emphasizing, as have other new strips of the last two and three years, that while in the past a solid foundation of say Dredd, Dante and Sinister Dexter would have allowed for hit and miss experimentation here we have hit, after hit, after hit already lined up to roll back in, but Tharg is still harvesting new ideas. Ideas that are as diverse as the other worldly, high concept Zombo and the grimmy, gritty, creepy, earthed and unearthly Cradlegrave.

Damn this is a good period and this Prog is the very definition of why. So let's watch over the next 3 or 4 years if this is a flash in the pan. Or, as I suspect, the first nugget found in the pan what starts the gold rush. Ouch I dragged that one out!


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #973 on: 13 August, 2020, 09:12:32 PM »


Tainted Gold

Well I knew I'd be too lazy to write more about Zombo and Cradlegrave. They are both simply superb and at the end of this post I'm going to rehash (and edit slightly for context) the thought of another new YNWA, this one  2011 YNWA, seems a sensible chap, I trust him more than 2010 YNWA... damn I'm going through some sort of cross dimensional YNWA Crisis... anyway I'll introduce you to him in a bit.

See for now NuYNWA would like to reflect on the Golden Age (Whop whop whop) already its looking a little tarnished... well clearly that's silly as its just begun. So what was I expecting uninterrupted wonders for so long. Never going to happen and relatively quickly after Prog 1633 some problems start to creep in. Wagner moves on from Dredd, Ewing and Rennie step in and  are very good, just not Wagner good. Dante steps aside for Slaine and its not a great swop.

I'll spare you another Mills good, Mills bad post but this Slaine - Gong Beater is no Savage.

When Zombo finished we get Defoe back and you know I don't get on with Defoe...but Sinister Dexter and Red Seas are just around the corner and Wagner is revving for New Management. So nothing everything is for everyone. We must remember that, a Golden age is not about one Prog its about the long haul, so don't worry Tharg

I'll stick with you, baby, for a thousand Progs

Anyway some edited Zombo + Cradlegrave thoughts from this rougish and exciting 2011 YNWA

Quote
...Zombo is so wonderfully comic and enjoys [e]very minute of its story, yet managers to be chilling at the same time. Cradlegrave is altogether darker and more menacing, a truly well crafted horror story, that chills right to the bone. While it leaves little room for humour it retains a wonderful satire in it's reflections of the all too real world in which its set. Zombo's satire is on the whole more tongue in cheek and in your face, but still just as effective. Both however are riddled with horror and satire.

The biggest piece of common ground though is that they both have characters normally used as ‘da baddies’ and turns them on their head. Characters you dive into and get absorbed by. Both stories portray 'monsters' in such a way as to make them engaging, likable, while still a little scary. I say 'monsters' as while Zombo is a glorious classic monster its Cradlegrave's chiv that the UK media would have us believe are the plague that's taking over society. John Smith deserves great credit for giving such a frightening, vivid, representation of ‘scallys’ and ‘no marks’ as real people trapped into a world that drives them 'astray'. Not all of them are likable, but Shane the led is and the rest are placed so wonderfully in a real world you can at least (hopefully) understand why they have become as they are?

More common ground is the art. While very different styles in both stories it’s superb and so utterly appropriate to the story it depicts. On Cradlegrave Edward Bagwell's art is just brilliant, expressive and mundane, graphic and chilling in equal measure. The strips are a joy on the eyes... well the art at least.

....

Like the best horror Cradlegrave finds fear in the seemingly mundane. Like the best horror it leaves some of its most terrifying moments to the imagination of the reader. Who after reading the story can ever look at a tube of Superglue without getting a chill down their spine? Like the best horror (see what I’m trying to subliminally get across here?) for all the beasties and ghoulies it finds its real terrors in real people, people however different from us a great writer can make us sympathise with or at least understand.

This story is up there with Smith's finest works and really deserves a second go if you didn't enjoy it first time round. Heck even if John Smith’s other work isn’t your cup of tea this is one of the finest works of horror I can remember.

If you’re a fan of 2000ad (and if not well heck you should bloody well get that sorted as soon as possible) the fact it could support two seemingly contrasting strips so comfortably together is one of its greatest strengths. What holds the comic together is the fact that even with such contrasts there is a consistency in the stories it presents. Damn it forget the stretched attempt to thread a review together with a theme, read um both they’re both bloody brilliant.

As Maccie and Wonder said ‘Ebony and Ivory sit together in perfect harmony’!


broodblik

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #974 on: 14 August, 2020, 05:27:38 AM »
Almost everyone on this forum rave about these two stories Zombo and Cradlegrave but I just can not get into them. My problem with Zombo is that I find the premise (and the character) of Zombo ridiculous and over the top and normally I eat this type of stories up before lunch. With all of John Smith's creations I either loved it (Devlin and Indigo) or I just find it uninteresting (Revere). Cradlegrave falls in the later category. The other problem is that I do not always like Horror stories especially urban horror.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

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