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Spoilers => Other Reviews => Topic started by: Colin YNWA on 22 May, 2016, 02:30:29 pm

Title: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 May, 2016, 02:30:29 pm
When I first came to these parts 8 years ago (wow is it only 8 years, feels longer... bet it feels even longer for the poor saps that wrestle with my spelling, typos and grammar to find there was little sense in my intended meaning either) I was at the start(ish) of a re-read. Well my next Prog Slog (as these things are called now I believe) was scheduled on my all to long to read spread sheet over two years ago now AND FINALLY its here!

WAYHEY!!!!

It'll be a little different this time. See my to read list is grouped into blocks of 4 runs of comics, of which two are new things and two are re-read things. So for example my latest block of four (#88 if anyone wishes to know) includes:

New: From Hell (I know, I know I've never read it, it came out in my comic reading wilderness years)
New: Classic Star Wars (some stuff I've never read picked up dirt cheap digitally)
Reread: Absoloute Final Crisis
Reread:.... wait for it, wait for it 2000ad 1977

Yes in each block of four for the next... well God knows how long, I'm reading a year of 2000ad (well 1977 is a little different as my collection only starts from Prog 40 BUT I have pretty much all the stories, with the exception of the Future Shocks and a few parts of MACH 1 and Invasion, reprinted). I'm planning to reread Progs cover to cover, though if I'm not enjoying a story, or lose the will, I will happily start to skip stuff - I'm thinking of a few that will most likely be skipped already, but we'll come to that in a couple of 'Years' I suspect. ANYWAY...

So yeah, when I was first here and when I worked up the gander I was pestering the 'Other Reviews' thread like no ones business. Stinking the section up something rotten with my so called opinions. This time however I'll keep my mess tidy and just foul up this one corner of the precious 'Other Reviews' section.

I've no idea how long all this will last, each 'block' of 4 runs typically takes me a month to read, but less public transport due to lovely new job 'in town' might well see that pace fall back a litte, we'll see. God knows how much I'll bother to write. For all we know you might get lucky and this will be all you ever hear of this endeavour. But when something takes my fancy, or catches my imagination, when I fancy looking back and reflecting on comments I've made on certain stories before and how that's changed, or not, I'll post here. As a minimum, in my head at this point at least, I like the idea of reviewing each year in 2000ad's history, at least in story terms. Lets see how that goes hey.

So without any further ado, with no more pomp and ceremony I'll kick off now by... oh... sorry what was... go get Bethan from her Ballet practice... comics can WHAT.... COMICS CAN WAIT..... BLOODY HELL... well sorry this will kick off later today then it would seem...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 22 May, 2016, 06:26:42 pm
"If I start to lose the will I will start skiping titles"

Thats a slippery slope Colin, you watch yourself now or you'll find yourself just reading Dredd...and Flesh...man I need to get the Dino Files...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 22 May, 2016, 10:29:45 pm
So yeah, when I was first here and when I worked up the gander I was pestering the 'Other Reviews' thread like no ones business. Stinking the section up something rotten with my so called opinions. This time however I'll keep my mess tidy and just foul up this one corner of the precious 'Other Reviews' section.
I'm a big fan of the multi-thread approach but I look forward to this new series. I've probably read anything that's ever been reprinted but not the original Progs for the first five years or so.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 22 May, 2016, 11:31:28 pm
I didn't really follow your block method of reading, but happy to follow this thread.  Might also kick me into gear to continue my slog (still in the twenties, having started last year).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 23 May, 2016, 12:16:59 am
Look forward to it Colin  :)

Fully endorse your use of a system (and always good to hear about these). Would dearly like to embark on a slog, or revisit favourite runs, but it's clear I won't even clear the decks anytime soon  :( I do plan monthly (it really helps) but I'm aware that time spent per comic is way too high (if anecdotal comments on the forum is a guide to normality) ! Guess I spend too long on the pictures. Dunno.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 May, 2016, 10:01:28 pm
..and Flesh...man I need to get the Dino Files...

Yes you bloomin' well should.

Well that didn't take long did it. Lets see if this early burst of enthusism lasts. BUT the first thing I've read is the early Dan Dares and I'm specifically talking the Belardinelli stuff (yes I looked up the spelling). Now I'm nowhere near as big a fan as Mr B's (getting lazy already) art work as some. I definately stuggle with his anatomny and ability to make a hard man look a little limp. On the right strip he's great. So Slaine - nah don't like it at all (well except some lush backgrounds and warp spasms), Ace Trucking love it. Meltdown Man a little in the middle.

Early Dan Dare - BLOODY AMAZING! Its the perfect strip for him and his art is completely, gloriously mind melting. Its stunning. The fact that Dan Dare spends a lot of the time running around in a spacesuit by-passes one of my big problems with his art, the fact the D.D. (now you can stop calling him that anytime you like) isn't meant to be the traditional strong man led helps as well. What really works is EVERY OTHER BLOODY THING HE DRAWS. I mean I'm not being funny but in the first story he has organic spaceships throwing moons as a weapon... don't really need to say anything else do I... except in the second story THEY TRIED TO TOP THAT. Just think about that for a second. In the second Dan Dare story according to the notes from Pat Mills they tried to make the story more visually compelling than organic spaceships throwing moons as a weapon.

I know.

Amazing isn't it.

Now I'm not saying they actually suceed but damn it you have to love the ambition that they tried!

Its no surprise that even though I've not read any of these stories since my brothers early Progs fell victim to the Mum Monster all those years ago images from it are clearly burnt onto the back of my eyeballs. Flicking through the episodes so many images felt so familar. Just amazing stuff.

Oh there's a story or two thrown in for good measure. Stories that make very little sense, that have plot holes you could throw an orbiting planetoid through with ease but who gives a damn everyone is clearly having so much fun its an absolute riot. It really bloody is such fun. I adored these stories and every living axe, push me pull you villain, martian hero and Yujee protype warrior (christ Dan's relationship with Rok is played for so much fun). I've always firmly believed that Flesh was by far the best of the first 2000ad strips. I now wonder whether thats true. How the hell did Dredd survive!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 24 May, 2016, 08:55:17 am
Nice write up, early Dan Dare in the tooth never pretended to be anything more than it was, a cracking slce of space opear with some brilliant art and great characters. It was deffinetly a factor in the initial success of 2000AD.

And I just had to go and get Flesh the Dino Files now, goddamn it i'm poor damn you!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 24 May, 2016, 09:30:46 am
Early Dan Dare - BLOODY AMAZING! Its the perfect strip for him and his art is completely, gloriously mind melting.

See also: the back half of Blackhawk, particularly once they end up inside the black hole. Warped, fantastic landscapes, hideous beasties, very few humans. Just a perfect fit for Belardinelli — I can picture whole pages of it in my head, despite not having looked at the progs for years.

Cheers

Jim
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 24 May, 2016, 04:50:31 pm
My prog slog has just taken me past them.  Currently in the late hundreds.  Stainless Steel Rat, Judge Child, ...

The early eighties were definitely an amazing time.

Couldn't agree more on Belardinelli's BlackHawk work.  I think other than Dare, it is second only to Meltdown Man.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Albion on 24 May, 2016, 04:57:26 pm
I'm currently on a Prog Slog and my next Prog is 889, cover date 27 May 1994.
I'd forgotten a few stories from this era, I think my mind decided to forget them as there are some truly awful stories in the early 1990's.

I read a Prog a day and I skip nothing.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 May, 2016, 05:20:17 pm

Early Dan Dare - BLOODY AMAZING!.... I've always firmly believed that Flesh was by far the best of the first 2000ad strips. I now wonder whether thats true...

Arh Flesh Book 1, I will never doubt you again.

I've read it for the third time in maybe 5 years and it really is the Thrill that keeps giving... well okay not giving, its not as if it has any hidden depths or is anything other than its meant to be on the surface. BUT since on the surface its THE BLOODY COOLIST STORY EVER, dinosaurs, cowboys, blood, guts and a monster as villianous and terrible as any there has ever been, frankly who the hell cares. I think I've talked about this countless times before. Each time I've re-read it though it doesn't disappoint. Its well plotted has wonderfully engaging characters, in all their vivid two dimensions and if basically the joy of reading action and adventure comics boiled down into its puriest, undistilled form.

Its simply the best.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 31 May, 2016, 09:50:21 pm
1977

Well what can we say about 2000ad's first year. Well firstly its astonishly consistent in its line-up, only 8 ongoing thrills (Dredd, Dare, Flesh, M.A.C.H. 1, Invasion, Harlem Heroes, Shako and Inferno, 7 if you count Harlem Heroes and Inferno as the same thing, back to 8 if you count Bonjo). The care taken in the first issue and setting the opening lineup of stories up is there to see. A truly rich and diverse set of stories that will mark the comics during all its best periods is there. The art in those very first issues is quite staggeringly good.

What is a little varied is how the opening series hold their form. For me the longer form stories do best, both Dan Dare (first wave) and Flesh are quite brilliant beginning to end. What's a shame is that both don't last as long as the other stories. I've always wondered why Flesh was the first to go? Was it not as popular as the rest? It probably does it a service as after those 19 (almost all) perfect parts it gets a conclusion it almost desires (another thing I've always wondered is whether they tacked on that bit at the end with the three headed man-osaurus and the resurection of Reagan as Shako wasn't ready?). Soon after the Belardinelli Dare disappears to shortly be dragged back to life as the inferior Dave Gibbons/ Finley-Day version.

Both Savage and M.A.C.H 1 become weaker strips quite quickly, I think largely due to the chopping and changing of creative teams, though M.A.C.H 1 gets much better towards the end of the year. They lack the scope of other strips and while there is a narrative of sorts though the stories its not as strong as with the better strips.

Harlem Heroes and Dredd form a middle ground. HH due to its consistancy, but its just not as exhilarating as DD and Flesh, nice art aside. Dredd, possibly because of my affection of the strip to come I love watching it develop and pocking at the differences between what it was and what it became. Possibly because its just a better more varied concept that lets it do more than Savage and MACH 1. Probably a bit of both.

Shako is pretty good, but no Flesh. Inferno is only just getting going by the end of the year and is... something. Its a bit weird, we'll see how it goes. I've only got to read a few of the Future Shocks and they don't really hold up to well.

Overall though the comic gets off to an fantastic start. Its not perfect by any stretch but bloody hell its thrilling. I've loved reading it now and can only grasp at how mind bogglingly good I found it when I was 5 and first reading it. As I commented elsewhere its amazing what it gets away with. Not just the violence itself, but as I've discussed in more details on another thread so I'll not labour here, the joy and reveling it what its doing. It really is compelling stuff, NOW. So then you can multiple that by 1000. I mean as a 5 year old kid there was surely nothing, nothing as exciting 2000ad. The double page feature on Star Wars at the end of the year maybe suggests how that might change by years end.

Oh and the other thing I've learnt I LOVE reading the progs. Okay so its inconvenient. The art isn't well served by 40 year old bog paper, but christ having read most of this years stuff in trade or other reprint, getting to those last 5 issues (41-45) and the first annual made the experience all the more compelling. The gingerly held paper contained so much more than just the thrills themselves they are a time capsule of my youth. The letters, the drawings, the adverts all make the experience so much more than just reading the stories. So glad from here on in its progs all the way.

So 1977. B+ great start.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 July, 2016, 09:25:02 pm
So started reading 1978's Progs a few nights ago and have reached Prog 56 tonight. What's struck me early is that I think this year will have an almost opposite trajectory as 1977, a year which started well and tailed off as it went on.

As 1978 started the strips quality continues to struggle. Dan Dare so magnificent when the Prog first started continues to look great, but be a characterless generic sci-fi strip with no sense of self. Inferno is almost the opposite its a crazy, choatic mess, something I can often love, in this case I don't.

Even Dredd, though written largely by John Wagner is still to find its true form. I have to be honest I've never been a fan of the Luna One era, some lovely visuals aside and I can't for the life of me remember what inspired it (I'm sure its mentioned in Thrillpower Overload but I'm too lazy to dig my copy out to check).

So even as the weak Invasion is finally put to rest, the replacement strips aren't always the finest. I always want to like Colony Earth more than I do as the art, if a little confused, offers much eye appeal. The story however is nonsense and poppycock of the highest (lowest) order.

There are some bright spots. I've always been a fan of the wonderous nonsense that is The Visible Man, all to short - which actaully may be its strenght as honestly what else can you do with the concept? And M.A.C.H. 1 for me continues to go from strenght to strenght as it pulls together its more interesting ideas to forge what I seem to remember is a great conclusion. At this stage in the Galaxies Greatest however these highlights are few and far between.

I'm saying all this now, not as a pointless whine, more as a marker in the sand as I know things will be getting better and I'm really looking forward to seeing once again how and when this starts to develop.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 July, 2016, 08:12:44 pm
So last night I mentioned that I had fond memories of the end of M.A.C.H. 1 and today I've read it and while it wasn't as good as I remember it holds up. I'd forgotten how rushed the whole thing felt, how shallow the 'Fred' situation was and weak 'Fred' himself is. Shame as well they 'bottled' having John Probe have to decide what to do with his nemesis boss Sharpe as well after building the tension between them for so long.

Still I really enjoyed it and the proto Mills themes it carries as it does have the courage to butcher its led character (wish they'd done that in Flesh). Leaving Probe's origin a mystery was also a brave choice (or defined by space and time?). Overall though M.A.C.H. 1 was a strip that I wasn't enjoying too much after the first story but got better and better as it reached its finale.

Over at Inferno I was encouraged by the return of the brilliant Artie Gruber... only too remember he returns disguised as one of the Philadelphia Freaks in an exact copy of idea used in Harlem Heroes. Which basically boils down to getting the same plot using a once again less interesting look for the otherwise wonderfully grusome Artie... my encouragement didn't last...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 04 July, 2016, 04:17:30 pm
The real 1978 action was over in StarLord! Although I share your love for the Visible Man and the later stories for MACH 1.

I don't know if it was a specific editorial decision, but putting Dredd on the Moon definitely amped-up the Sci-Fi elements of a strip that was perhaps in danger of being a bit too earth-bound, especially for some of the artists.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 04 July, 2016, 04:54:07 pm
You know, sandwiched between The Robot War and The Cursed Earth, I completely forgot Luna-1 was a thing. It's a decidedly unremarkable story arch if I remember correctly.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: ZenArcade on 04 July, 2016, 05:12:51 pm
It did seem distraction, quite entertaining and it did introduce the Sov Judges. Z
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Echidna on 04 July, 2016, 05:21:51 pm
The Oxygen Board is pretty great too.

Also, didn't the Luna-1 arc introduce the Texas City Judges?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 04 July, 2016, 05:31:33 pm
It was in the early days of trying to figure out the character with a selection of villain of the week vignettes.  Some cracking Gibson and Bolland art though.  In some respects it was a bit like Tour of Duty; full of potential but never fully realised.

Think it was the first time we saw other Dredd world judges.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 04 July, 2016, 05:35:19 pm
The real 1978 action was over in StarLord! Although I share your love for the Visible Man and the later stories for MACH 1.

I don't know if it was a specific editorial decision, but putting Dredd on the Moon definitely amped-up the Sci-Fi elements of a strip that was perhaps in danger of being a bit too earth-bound, especially for some of the artists.
You might have a point there - could have been for balance, and not just for Dredd but for the whole comic.

In the first prog we had one story set in the distant past, one almost in the present (M.A.C.H.1 was set in the eighties), one in the near future (1999), one a century after that, another nearly a century after that (Dan Dare).  The strips themselves featured future war, space, aliens and robots / cyborgs.  One year later, what was the mix in the comic?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: ZenArcade on 04 July, 2016, 05:44:48 pm
Starlord was where it was in many ways. A tour de force in comics IMO. However if you randomly pick up a late 1978 prog, it is still mostly good stuff. Z
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 July, 2016, 06:17:29 pm
In some respects it was a bit like Tour of Duty; full of potential but never fully realised.


Now while I'm all for free speech and the wondeful diversity of opinions and perspectives that makes 2000ad fandom the best in the land, in this case....

HUSH YOUR MOUTH.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 July, 2016, 09:30:47 pm
Prog 71 is a game changer for me... and I emphasize FOR ME as I know what I'm about to say will leave many open mouthed BUT I really like Ant Wars, its probably the best thing Gerry Finley-Day did in the Prog (no, I'm not a fan of Rogue Trooper) and so Prog 71, featuring its first part is a real benchmark.

Since the opening Progs the Galaxies Greatest really struggled to find its groove. The quality of a number of the opening stories dipped. Flesh was never really replaced and yes there were some highlights, Visible Man, Shako later M.A.C.H. 1 amongst them. Dredd is getting there, but has struggled at times finding its feet and for me, a few stories aside, the Luna One episodes were a bit of a low.

Then you look at the line-up for Prog 71 and you can can smell the Prog starting to really become what it started as in those very first few Progs and what it would become for so many more years. Ant Wars starts with a magnificently, almost Millsesque anti-authoritorian veiw. The US soliders are so beautifully vile and ya know GIANT ANTS all gloriously rendered. This story has replaced Death Planet which replaced Colony Earth, so ya know, smell that improvement!

Elsewhere Dredd is in the middle of Cursed Earth a story that really defines Dredd as the best thing in the Prog. Its glorious stuff. M.A.C.H 0 is just an absolute gem. Again its anti establishment stance is a joy and the dark army of 'tramps and vagrants' lead by 'The Three' to release a monster is almost a proto-Nemesis, its that dark and brilliant. Inferno, while a little chaotic just adds to the feeling of anarchy. Dan Dare... well its adds balance and looks great.

So yeah Prog 71 the first (almost) perfect Prog since Flesh finished?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 15 July, 2016, 07:14:22 am
You mount a strong argument! I too love MACH 0. Watch for another quality hike when Mr Sam Slade arrives...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 July, 2016, 06:25:36 pm
So in Prog 74 while editorial eyes are turned to Inferno, cruelly chopped to 3 pages and off panel deaths to avoid complaints, a few pages away in Ant Wars a man is torn in half in anty mandibles of death in full glorious detail.

2000ad the comics they would never tame!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 17 July, 2016, 06:41:49 pm
Ant Wars...wasn't that the non-Dredd world stripper that got retconned into conti uity via Ciuded Baranquilla and Banzai Battalion? I'm kind of vague on none Judge Dredd strips of this period i'm afraid.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 July, 2016, 08:51:53 pm
Ant Wars...wasn't that the non-Dredd world stripper that got retconned into conti uity via Ciuded Baranquilla and Banzai Battalion? I'm kind of vague on none Judge Dredd strips of this period i'm afraid.

Not sure about that, can't remember it specifically being pulled in but no doubt that's just my memory. That said having just read Prog 85 gotta say I loved it and don't know quite why its got a rep for being a bad strip. Okay so it feels as though the last section set in Argentine was a little tacked on after what seemed like an aborted ending with the shelling of Rio, but its really fun strip.

It also marks a grimmly beautiful feature of 2000ad that issue 85 in particular highlights and that's its brutal endings. The fearless way it treats so many of its leds when a story has done its course. Please don't read on if you've not read these old strips and plan to as I'm going to spoil a few. In Prog 85 the happy go lucky ending is found in Cursed Earth, which even though it ends well is quite brutal in and of itself and damning of mankind at the same time. It also makes sure we don't rest on our laurels promising more to come. Elsewhere Dan Dare ends its run (for now) by blowing everything up, having Hitman make the nobel sacrifice and leaving DD spinning into space the solo survivor, even though that's not made clear.

Ant Wars is even worse. Our gloriously entertaining leds are both mandibled to death and a laughing General makes it clear that a lot more will follow. Its hardly the first time this sort of callus denouement has enlightened the Prog's reads to lifes more vicious ways, M.A.C.H 1, Shako, most of Harlem Heroes (and Inferno incarnation) and I'm sure others are keenly dispatched. M.A.C.H. 0, the surviving cast of Flesh and Visible Man are amongst those who might get out alive, but only just and their fates often seem worse.

We often praise Dredd as having a key strenght of bumping off his villians, meaning writers are forced into new and creative areas. What we seem to forget more readily is how harshly the comic as a whole used to treat its leading lights!

2000ad not afraid to underline and ending with death since 1977!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Grant Goggans on 21 July, 2016, 06:58:59 pm
Ant Wars...wasn't that the non-Dredd world stripper that got retconned into conti uity via Ciuded Baranquilla and Banzai Battalion? I'm kind of vague on none Judge Dredd strips of this period i'm afraid.

Via Zancudo, not Banzai Battalion, but yes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 25 July, 2016, 03:06:13 pm
You make a good point about how much hero death there was in early 2000AD! I suppose in those days it was all about creating a series that would just keep runnning unti the readership tired of it, then it'd have to end. And what clearer end can there be but death?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 July, 2016, 05:45:31 pm
You make a good point about how much hero death there was in early 2000AD! I suppose in those days it was all about creating a series that would just keep runnning unti the readership tired of it, then it'd have to end. And what clearer end can there be but death?

Yeah the funny thing is I don't remember it happening too much more after this, I might be wrong mind my memory isn't the best. Maybe after the Starlord merger they realised they might be around a bit longer than most and so had better take better care of their leds?

I don't remember (see above) 2000ad's peers being quite so ruthless?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 August, 2016, 08:07:26 pm
I'm going to catch up with the ups and downs of my favourite place on the Internet later tonight, but as the title says this is the self absorbed thread and as such I've been doing some reading while away and have been noting down my thoughts as I've done so... be warned there's more to come...

Starlord

I’ve made some notes while I’ve been away on holiday and want to add some very quick thoughts on some stuff I read  while away. Firstly I don’t own Starlord - which I’ve always thought is a shame and I always intended to get around to buying but never quite get to…

… then I read some. Specifically Ro-Busters and Strontium Dog in reprint. Now this isn’t a great deal BUT these strips are meant to be the cream of the crop right? (please correct that if I’m wrong). And half of um ain’t that good… gulp… I know that’s sacrilege BUT Ro-Busters Starlord era isn’t great is it. There’s some nice bits, some moments of lovely art but its just not that strong a strip and have to be honest I’m no fan of Pino’s art which makes up the bulk of its time here (Mind the all too brief moments of Ian Kennedy are wondrous!). The strip gets a bit repetitive and Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein have gelled as a double act yet. I remember the strip in Tharg’s hands being much stronger.

Strontium Dog fares much better. The strip feels almost fully formed from the off (though when does Wulf actually become a viking, not just like a viking?). Its very good…. well its is buuuutttt not as good as it will become under Tharg. The themes are there, the tone, the characters BUT again it doesn’t quite get into it grove plot wise for me in these early stories. A bit unfair that, given it took Dredd so long to really get for me.

I guess it's easy to judge these early stages in a strips development too harshly - their quality slightly diminished by a knowledge of what's to come. Unfair comparison to future glories that would never have been without these first slightly uneasy steps. But still compare these Starlord’s highs (see above) with 2000ad of this period, well certainly the issues from the 70s onwards when the Galaxies’ greatest really finds its form again and against commonly held and possibly romanitised opinion (and with my limited exposure to Starlord) looks to me for all you hear 2000ad was the stronger of the two?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 06 August, 2016, 09:28:53 pm
Strontium Dog fares much better. The strip feels almost fully formed from the off (though when does Wulf actually become a viking, not just like a viking?). Its very good…. well its is buuuutttt not as good as it will become under Tharg.
I actually don't like much the initial two stories which ran in 2000AD and Starlord from the Starlord side of the merger - Galaxy Killers and Death on the Orient Express - both series got better after those ones though.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 07 August, 2016, 11:09:52 am
I'd have to agree with that.  Starlord Stront was generally a much stronger beast than GC.  The Hell storyline that followed really showed Stront in a much stronger light.  Not least since it allowed Ezquerra to just go completely bonkers with the artwork.  TBH I can't think of anyone else who could have pulled off that story, much less from the tooth artist roster of the time.  Maybe Flint could today.

RoBusters always felt like a one joke strip that lasted long after the punch line had played out. Some of the Starlord stories really don't read that well today.  The meandering into Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein's back stories before simply killing everyone off was probably the only thing that kept it going. 

If there was anything I would love to see get a decent reprint treatment from the Lord, it would have to be Mind Wars.  Foreshadowing Return to Armageddon with gorgeous Redondo artwork, a galaxy spanning plot, and great big balls for ships!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 11 August, 2016, 09:29:51 pm
If there was anything I would love to see get a decent reprint treatment from the Lord, it would have to be Mind Wars.  Foreshadowing Return to Armageddon with gorgeous Redondo artwork, a galaxy spanning plot, and great big balls for ships!
Second vote for Mind Wars here - throw in the not-so-good annual story which appeared a year or two after the good Redondo stuff too.  Mind Wars is one that didn't make it away from Starlord though, didn't it?  Which (as far as my meagre knowledge of the Rebellion IP deal goes) means it isn't in Reb's catalogue unless they cut a new deal (like they did for Monster).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 August, 2016, 09:45:42 am
Whoops meant to have added a few more of these... and I know you'll all be missing me!

Anyway holiday thought number 2

2000ad and Starlord

As if to prove my point issue 86 is an absolute gem. It really is. Its like issue one all over again, as if real time and care has been taken to make each strip as strong as possible. The comic looks glorious and while there are only 4 strips (Dredd, Strontium Dog, Ro-Busters and Flesh 2) each has more room and really shines. The Starlord cross-overs (Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters) already show signs of improvement, though time will tell if this is as I remember it. Still Prog 86 is a joy to behold (this is why I got my cover of this issue signed by Dave Gibbons)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 August, 2016, 09:46:37 am
Which was quickly followed by Holiday thought number 3

End of 1978

Yep both Starlord strips feel much better for the move to 2000ad. Well okay Strontium Dog didn’t have that much room for improvement but the new story is for me the strongest so far. Ro-Busters after a fun two parter really kicks into gear with the fantastic Hammerstein War Memories story. Now again to be fair this is largely due to the fact that its completely changed format and the art is quite fantastic. The lose of the formula is what makes the future stories, by and large sing though. The odd rescue story that pops up (I’m remembering Northpool) therefore feels fresher. So yeah 2000ad and Starlord - better than the sum of its parts.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 13 August, 2016, 10:05:23 pm
And yet as a Starlord reader but not a 2000AD reader at the time I found the change in format of both Stontium Dog and Robusters to be not what I wanted. Johnny and Wulf forced into a war rather than apprending criminals?  Robusters not following the disaster of the week format?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 August, 2016, 10:53:14 pm
And yet as a Starlord reader but not a 2000AD reader at the time I found the change in format of both Stontium Dog and Robusters to be not what I wanted. Johnny and Wulf forced into a war rather than apprending criminals?  Robusters not following the disaster of the week format?

Have you reflected on it since? I often wonder how much my take on stuff from the first couple of years of 2000ad is influenced by my thoughts and affection for strips at the time? Its hard to unpick but for example can I really read Flesh as just a comic as it was so fundamental to forming me as a reader? I'd love to be able to read some of these stories for the first time, in the same way I am say Monster (when I get to it).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 14 August, 2016, 03:52:06 am
Yes I think there is a lot in that. I look back on the early stories with great affection but there is probably a lot of nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles going on.

As I wasn't a regular 2000AD reader until Prog 127 I missed out on a number of things first time round and have been recently reading some of the stuff I missed for the first time.

This includes:

(original) Harlem Heroes and Inferno - having owned the TPB for 2 years (?) I still haven't finished it and am forcing myself to finish it at present

Dan Dare (vol 1): having fairly quickly read the first story (the Belardinelli one) I have so far only read a couple of episodes of the Dave Gibbons one and haven't picked it up in months

Invasion - I found that to be totally formulaic, unsophisticated and repetitive

Death Planet - makes Invasion look like Shakespeare

Coloney Earth - makes Death Planet look like Shakespeare

The "banned episodes" of the Cursed Earth - let's be honest they're not great are they?

JD case files 1 ( anniversary edition)- let's be kind and say the step hadn't hit on the winning formula yet.

As it was available in the half price sale I bought Robusters Nuts and Bolts 1, but haven't read it yet - so it will be interesting to see how it holds up.

I did also read some of my old favourites as my local library happen to have the trades:

SD files 1 and 2 (including the Starlord stuff) - I think it holds up well apart from Journey to Hell, which even more than the first 2000 AD Strontium Dog story strays from the established pattern

VCs first series - I still like it but it is quite formulaic and the ensemble cast are in it way less than I remember ( a bit like Scotty , Sulu and Chekov in ST TOS).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 August, 2016, 07:52:22 am
The finale of my later than planned holiday thoughts:

2000ad 1978

Well what a year that’s been for the young Prog. Tharg started the year on his back foot. As I’ve said before Galaxies Greatest has been on an admitedly slow downward spiral since its early and glorious start. After some stunningly good stuff in the first 20 or so Progs 1977 was only smattered with real highlights, which I’ve mentioned previously, but lacked any real consistency and 1978 brought some real stinkers too. Yes Colony Earth and Death Planet (whatever you were called) I’m looking at you in particular. Not just not great, real chuffin’ rubbish.

To be honest as I’ve mentioned before for the first half of the year the Prog was struggling to entertain and I was skip reading great chunks. Funnily enough the form of the Prog has been echoing the form of Dredd (by and large and possibly the other way around). So when Cursed Earth comes along and unleashed some of the finest Dredd ever, it's no surprise the Prog soon follows form. Cursed Earth is absolutely classic Dredd and for me it's when the strip actually becomes the best thing in the Prog consistency and the series really takes off. The story really gets to the heart of the character, unfettered by the cruel, evil system that sharps him, the relentless hero fighting for justice is allowed to shine through. I find it fascinating that it’s a story by Pat Mills that so clearly demonstrates what Mr Wagner’s character is all about.

So anyway I digress Cursed Earth drags Dredd onto the very best form. Almost as soon as it does Ant Wars starts, which I know isn’t popular, but which I love and with some other nice stories added to the mix the Prog seems to have finally found its feet. Just in time to have them possibly kicked out from under it with the merger with Starlord…

… but as I’ve said over the last few posts no such thing. Prog 86 and the rest of 1978 find the Prog as good as it's ever been to this date. All the strips in the new line-up are fantastic, really thrill-powered, Flesh 2 being a surprise (again I think) as I never remember it as fondly as Book 1, but then I do very little in the Prog, BUT that means I seem to miss what absolute immense fun it is. It's like the comic is a new, refreshed as it's been in the second half of the year this last stretch in 1978 sees the Prog as good as I can remember it ever being in its 40 year (gulp) history. All this in a mysteriously short year, missing 3 or 4 Progs. I’d forgotten about the Journalists strike which wiped them out until Tharg reminded me in Nerve Centre in the years final Prog 93.

Can 2000ad sustain its wonderful second half of 1979… well my memory says no, but my re-read will very possibly give my wayward memory a good kicking. Let's see shall we…
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 14 August, 2016, 08:48:30 am
Hm, is Curs-ed Earth the "heart" of the character? (Possibly my favourite epic and hate  :) myself at picking it up yet again when there was no need). Mills did say recently it's an anomaly with the rest of Dredd, as he's the straight-ahead Hero, Saving the Day ("winning" wars and busting perps, he's usually a right Bastard, albeit-entertaining...).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 August, 2016, 09:06:04 am
Hm, is Curs-ed Earth the "heart" of the character? (Possibly my favourite epic and hate  :) myself at picking it up yet again when there was no need). Mills did say recently it's an anomaly with the rest of Dredd, as he's the straight-ahead Hero, Saving the Day ("winning" wars and busting perps, he's usually a right Bastard, albeit-entertaining...).

For me that's kinda the point. Dredd is a rigourous unrelenting hero, in many many ways, he's a determined fighter for justice. Its just that justice in his world has been defined by an evil fascistic system. Take him out of that and he becomes the hero that Pat Mills finds in Cursed Earth. This interestingly continues in 'The Day the Law Died' when Dredd returns to Mega City One, but here the systems has broken down so Dredd has to operate outside his norms and again the relentless fighter for Justice returns (though ok here he's fighting for the return of the less evil, but still evil, status quo). I'm really interested to see the strips after TDtLD feel like when he goes back to being a bastard, cos that what the system he loves makes him.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 14 August, 2016, 10:45:26 am
Prog 86 was the first Prog I bought. Looking back now it is a fantastic Prog, but at the time in addition to my comments above about the change in format of Strontium Dog and Robusters in the move to 2000AD, the other issue the 9 (?) year old me had with the Prog at the time was that the Day the Law Died just wasn't a great introduction to Dredd, even though it is an all time classic. The problem was it was yet another strip with a change of focus. The first part starting with the post Cursed Earth parade didn't help, only increasing the sense of coming in in the middle of a story (yes looking back now it didn't matter but it felt like it did then.)

Then it was straight into Dredd being outside the system. When you are not familiar with the system...well let's say it put me off - regardless of the wonderful Bolland and McCarthy / Ewins art. I would have much preferred a few standard procedurals first.

Add in a few missed Progs and I was out for over 6 months.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 August, 2016, 11:28:34 am
...blah blah... Dredd... I'm really interested to see the strips after TDtLD feel like when he goes back to being a bastard, cos that what the system he loves makes him.

Actually I want to change that 'system he loves' to 'system he is so immersed in and indoctrinated by'

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 August, 2016, 12:31:40 pm
Angel and end of Flesh 2 - does the dip start here?

Well I’m not giving 1979 much of a chance as very early my suspicions of slide start to bear fruit. Its not as if things are that bad, Dredd is still supreme, Ro-Busters wobbles but then springs back to form, the odd interesting Future Shock BUT as we approach Prog 100 things are slipping. Flesh Book 2 doesn’t end well, Carlos Pino takes over on art for the last two parts, the end (unlike Book 1 which felt a little over extended) is very rushed. Okay so what happens to Peters (another brutal 2000ad moment) isn’t significant, cos lets face it our ‘hero’ wasn’t either, such a bland character, it's the fate of our two monsters that we’re interested in. Big Hungry’s fate is cute, Carvers is dismissed. Bloody wonderfully villainous Claw Carver dismissed in a couple of panels, one of which is cut and pasted from an earlier episode interestingly - I do wonder what is under that pasted on reproduction, how vicious was his end originally? Terrible way for this excellent series to be wrapped up.

Worse still is Angel. When people talk about the worse 2000ad series ever this one this one rarely appears. Not because people have any affection for it I suspect, I guess it because it's so utterly pointless and bland. The fact that it's utterly ridiculous both in concept and plot is neither here nor there, after all I love Visible Man, it's the fact that… it’s so… well God knows I’ve almost forgotten it already. Even 2000ad’s other lows are something to talk about, have moments of so bad it's… well not good but worth comment at least. Angel is rubbish. Oh and the much maligned (by me) Pino’s art doesn’t help. Angel committed the worse of all 2000ad crimes of being utterly bland beyond words, even to the point of me not caring how utterly stupid it is. Its deft skill comes solely in being so forgettable other stories are far more reviled!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 15 August, 2016, 01:36:07 pm
And this is it for Flesh for awhile, right? Flicking through my new copy of Dino Files I see a few annual strips which I presume you won't be covering before jumping straight into the modern McKay stuff (which I seem to be a lone fan of). I know Shammana and Chronocide did get floppies eventually, which I own, but I do hope these get collected in another Dino Files anyway because I think they're kinda good.

Angel...i'm not familiar with, probably for the better. Did it ever see a reprint?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 15 August, 2016, 03:30:58 pm
Angel. I vaguely remember the title alone, but nothing else.

Puts Tharg's embarrassment of riches these days into context. No quick filling of pages now (it seems), plenty of droids eager to get published who need to wait in line. That's the perception anyway, from this spotty reader at least.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 August, 2016, 08:06:36 pm
And this is it for Flesh for awhile, right? Flicking through my new copy of Dino Files I see a few annual strips which I presume you won't be covering before jumping straight into the modern McKay stuff (which I seem to be a lone fan of). I know Shammana and Chronocide did get floppies eventually, which I own, but I do hope these get collected in another Dino Files anyway because I think they're kinda good.

Angel...i'm not familiar with, probably for the better. Did it ever see a reprint?

Oh interesting isn't the McKay stuff in the new printing? The copy I got (the one before this) had the first McKay story in it - and your not the only fan I really enjoyed it.

Shammana is rubbish fun and Chronocide is criminally short and was pretty good I thought. I'm thinking Angel was a filler in an Extreme or Floppie... hold on...yeah Meg 321 it would seem.

Angel. I vaguely remember the title alone, but nothing else.

Puts Tharg's embarrassment of riches these days into context. No quick filling of pages now (it seems), plenty of droids eager to get published who need to wait in line. That's the perception anyway, from this spotty reader at least.

Yeah hard to argue. Many stories were poorly served by the old school factory method of churning the story out until it flagged in popularity and is then wrapped up quickly to slot in whatevers in the wings. Makes decent endings few and far between.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 15 August, 2016, 08:14:05 pm
McKays first run, Texas, is in this book. The page count is why I reckon now is a good time for a vol 2, with Shamana (Book 1 and 2) and Chronocide, with 3000AD thrown in for good measure! Some nice Critchlow art on that story.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 15 August, 2016, 09:16:40 pm
You know Colin you are absolutely spot on about Angel. In my post above about early stuff I have read for the first time in the last year or so I completely forgot about Angel.

It is comfortably worse than Death Planet or Colony Earth in my opinion, but was so bland that I just totally forgot it.

To further prove your point there are definitely series I actively dislike more.


Revere for one.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dandontdare on 16 August, 2016, 09:23:21 am
Angel didn't make a lick of sense - I recall a scene where he falls from a building to almost certain death but the flight-computer melted onto his shoulder ('cos yeah, that'd work) ) allows him to flip over in mid-air and LAND SAFELY ON HIS FEET without shattering his leg bones to splinters.

I can't recall a single other thing about the plot or story.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 16 August, 2016, 12:49:26 pm
I'd mostly forgotten about Angel.  It seems to be a bit like M.A.C.H. 1, but it just happened by accident and makes even less sense, logically, than Probe did.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 August, 2016, 09:45:16 pm
A Great start to the 2nd Century AD

Well it would seem I shot my dip bolt a little prematurely. A good few wonderful things happen after Prog 100. So okay Dan Dare returns to what I recall is its weakest run, which I have to admit gets off to a pretty good start, starts to lose itself and by 111 the cosmic claw appears... I'm not holding out hope. Mind Robo-Hunter is also back for the early 100s and is great. As is Strontium Dog in Journey into Hell, which arrives only a few Progs later. Ro-Busters really hits its stride as it breaks free of its formula and runs beautifully wild in Fall & Rise (which is very interesting to read again after the recent re-telling).

Its Dredd that absolutely shines though. Amongst all these jewels, and it is a really rich spell, the end of The Day the Law Died (in Prog 108) is great, not Cursed Earth great but still a superb story. Whats really exciting though is on its conclusion we get something starting that I think will be really significant. For well over a year now, in fact since Prog 42, so well over half the lifetime of the Prog we've not been in Mega City One as we know it. First Luna 1, then Cursed Earth and finally Cal's lunatic take on the City for so long Dredd has been estranged from the centre of his strip the streets and high rises of Mega City One. Because of that, however good the strip has been, certianly for those first two Mega Epics, its been strangely detached from what we know the strip as. Dredd has been playing different roles in different environments (even if one was Mega City One).

 In  110, after missing 109 a point I will return to, I was really excited therefore to read 'Punks Rule' the archetype introducing Dredd to a new reader strip. Its a needed to as many readers won't have read much of whats to come for a good long run now (as I recall) Dredd on the streets exploring and busting up the crazy life of the cities citizens and punks. I think we get a years worth now (until Judge Child?) of short stories that will finally see Dredd fully formed and in 'normal' operation. A series of stories that will define 'typical' Dredd until Wagner starts to explore politics and the Democrary storyline changes the strip forever. Really looking to see if I'm right in this.

Oh and in Prog 109, not Dredd, but to be honest I barely noticed as we had one of those rarest of things up to this point a fantastic Future Shock. Most to date have been throw away and pretty weak 'Sacrifice' by Alan Hebden and Mike White is fantastic, a 7 page grim piece of delight. Simple, yet fantastically executed. What a short and wonderful surprise.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 August, 2016, 10:05:25 pm
New logo

So the first new logo for 2000ad comes along with Prog 119 and with it some nerves on my part. Rick Random has already been stinking up the Prog which aside from the continuing trudergy of Dan Dare getting less and less interesting as it goes on the Prog has been on fine form. Ro-Busters last 'epic' story is great and everything else has been great. Particularly Dredd which really is in a golden period of wonderful short stories (I always forget how early in the Prog's history Vienna appeared). So when Invasion prologue Disaster 1990 and Project Overload join in 119 along with a less than fondly remembered logo, I was a little worried we'd only have Dredd and the ABC Warriors to entertain. Well almost.

While Disaster 1990 might as well have been called Disaster 1979, Project Overload, a story I remember little of even though its only a few years since I read it, is great fun, at least at the start. It sets up a nice mystery and with great art has great fun as it unravels its secrets. Okay plot holes a plenty but I quickly got past that. So yeah we've still had a bit of a dip things aren't as bad as I feared and 1979's highs by Prog 123, about half way through by far out weigh any problems.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Andy B on 27 August, 2016, 06:46:18 pm
I think we get a years worth now (until Judge Child?) of short stories that will finally see Dredd fully formed and in 'normal' operation.

Absolutely this - the essence of Dredd isn't in the epics, it's in the short stories, and this period is when that formula really came together. Plus, McMahon, Bolland and Smith on rotation: wonderful stuff. I often see Case Files 5 recommended as a good entry point for new readers, but there's a strong case for vol 3. Damn it: I'm going to go read it right now!

I've got fond memories of this period. I got hooked from Prog 160, and then spent a couple of years scouring second hand book stores, jumble sales in church halls, and boxes in the back of newsagents for back issues. So I read all these stories in a totally random order, which somehow didn't matter at all. Made them even more intriguing.

I remember the extra buzz I got from finding a Prog with the quality paper, and a 'Journey into Hell' centre spread. (How about a hardback edition of that and the full-colour Starlord stuff?)

Great thread - look forward to reading more.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 August, 2016, 09:16:06 pm
2000ad and Tornado

So while merging with Starlord saw an already improving Prog launched into new heights it would seem that absorbing Tornados ejaculate will see a weaking Prog get itself into a bit of a sticky mess. I mean we're okay, Dredd and ABC Warriors are still on absolute fire and we have seen the last (I think) of the ever diminishing Dan Dare but other signs are more worrying, if my shoddy memory is to be trusted.

I'm not a big fan of Blackhawk in the Prog, though it starts off okay and as I recall Wolfie Smith takes some time to get going (two long weak stories?) but again early episodes are fine... so maybe I'm going to find myself pleasently surprised... I'm certainly surprised that Disaster 1979 is still in the Galaxies Greatest. I mean it is bloody awful and I don't remember it lasting that long at all... I've avoided Barney not wanting to spoil myself as to when it does, but 3 progs into the merger and its still seems to be going stro... well it's still going.

Which is a shame when you consider that given time to build on its intitual msyteries Project OverKill could have bloomed into a great thrill. As it is Redondo's glorious art aside it's short lifespan contributed to it not living up to its early promise. Still I like to image a world where Tharg, whose day I've just joyously shared, saw its potential and ran with it rather than poorly realised Bill Savage pap. Oh well lets see how things develop.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 28 August, 2016, 10:39:49 pm
2000ad and Tornado
I mean we're okay, Dredd and ABC Warriors are still on absolute fire and we have seen the last (I think) of the ever diminishing Dan Dare but other signs are more worrying, if my shoddy memory is to be trusted.
On the run, trying to clear his name?  Yep, that's the last we see of him in the prog.
Quote
I'm not a big fan of Blackhawk in the Prog, though it starts off okay and as I recall Wolfie Smith takes some time to get going (two long weak stories?) but again early episodes are fine... so maybe I'm going to find myself pleasently surprised...
Blackhawk plays host to some fantastic artwork from Massimo, before Ace Trucking Co had come along.  I liked the Wendigo storyline, but can't recall what other stories Earnest had in the Galaxy's Greatest...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 28 August, 2016, 11:51:22 pm
Prog 127 will always hold a special place in my heart, as it is the point at which my uninterrupted Prog reading started.

Regarding the stories over the weeks that followed, Dredd and ABC Warriors were just awesome - some of the best stuff ever in the Prog IMO.

I obviously must have liked the others at the time. I have re-read Blackhawk (TPB) and Disaster 1990 (floppies) recently.  I had never read the Tornado Blackhawk before and it is a very different beast to that in 2000 AD, which I think still holds up relatively well. It is helped massively by Belardnelli's art and the episodes he didn't draw stand out like a sore thumb.

I was surprised at how poor Disaster 1990 was - I definitely remember liking it at the time. On a re-read it comes across as very repetitive and cliched, full resolutions relying on conveniently placed items for Savage to use in that week's fight (a bit like Invasion before it really).

I have never re-read Wolfie Smith since, but remember thinking it was the weakest thing in the Prog at the time, both in terms of the story and the art.

I remember taking one of those Progs ( not sure if it was 130 or 132) to school when we were asking to bring something in we really liked to show our class mates and everyone being blown away by it. It felt like I had been reading 2000 AD for ages then but it was only my 4th (or 6th?) regular Prog,which just goes to show what an impression it made on me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 29 August, 2016, 12:52:02 am
Disaster 1990 is fine in my eyes.
Designed for weekly episodes read by children, it's great. Certainly not 'poor'.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 29 August, 2016, 07:33:30 am
Well I read Disaster 1990 in the floppies and thought it dreadful.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 31 August, 2016, 07:20:37 pm
Disaster is one of those tales that I don't think has aged particularly well.  I remember enjoying it as a child and even basically plagiarising it for an English essay in school but re-reading it as an adult ...

One of a series of stories that we've had over the years that probably sounded better originally in the writers' own mind than in execution.  Plenty of boys own adventure scrapes and one dimensional villains with a bit of a deus-ex resolution.

Let's face it, there have been worse <cough>Space Girls</cough>!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 September, 2016, 09:23:05 pm
Wow issue 138 before Disaster 1979 finishes. Alas it takes ABC Warriors with it. I'm sure I've read, but can't remember why it took so long for them to come back after what's been a glorious run... with one small bump.

What is it about Golgotha that doesn't quite work? I mean Old One Eye and Satanus are two of my all time favs but Golgotha? A Rex too far? Dare I say it is it that Ezquerra, using Long John Silver doesn't really suit ABC Warriors and makes his T-Rex slightly less magnificent. Is it the armour? I'm not sure about any of this I just don't think he's given the chance to grow as a character they way his ancestors are. Shame.

Anyway Blackhawk wonders on trying to find its direction (I think 139 might see that start) and Dredd continues to delight. Wolfie Smith is the surprise I'm enjoying this far more than I remember enjoying the early stories and it looks great. Two new strips to come and I know one of them I controvesially don't like so we'll see which way the balance swings at this late turning point in 1979's proggage.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 September, 2016, 09:33:17 pm
2000ad 1979

Well the year hasn't been quite so tumultuous as 1978, even though the still young Prog has gone through another merger it hasn't quite had the highs nor lows of the previous year. Well not overall, certain stories have hit those extremes.

For me 1979 is most significent for Dredd consistently being the best thing in the Prog for almost entire year. I'm sure there was the odd prog were Strontium Dog, Ro-Busters or ABC Warriors nipped in to grasp thrill of the week. The odd prog. Week in, week out though Dredd firmly establishes itselfs the best thing in Tharg's kingdom. Now this might seem an odd thing for me to say as I was raving about Dredd for the bulk of 1978, certainly during The Cursed Earth. I adore that story but lets be honest its a bit of an anomaly. While it might give clear vision of Dredd as a man removed from the system that shapes him, its the strips after the delightfully full on Day the Law Died that really see the strip defining itself fully. I've discussed that before so I'll say no more.

Elsewhere the real stars of the year are the robots. Ro-Busters and ABC Warriors really standing heads and tail above the other non Dredd strips, with Strontium Dog and Robo-Hunter being unsurprisingly in the following pack. There are no hidden gems in the less famous stories and while there are some stinkers, Angel, Rick Random, Disaster 1999 and most of Dan Dare they're normally balanced with some good stuff. Its always a balance though.

So 1979 sees the Galaxies Greatest steady itself and as the year ends and Blackhawk lurches from one choatic direction change to the next, Stainless Steel Rat promises much delight and the VCs... well I'll save my thoughts on that to next time I think... we beckon in a new decade and I think and interesting time for a Prog now finding its direction and balance as it totters on into its 4th year.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: chiefy2shoes on 09 September, 2016, 08:58:34 pm
For some reason I haven't visited this site for an absolute age. One of the first things that caught my eye was this thread Colin. At the start of the year, like you,  I decided to reread the Prog from the beginning but in a slight twist, to save time, I'm not rereading any Dredd stories. I hope you don't mind me clogging down the thread with my thoughts. As of today I'm up to Prog 520 but will stay in line with your reading Colin.

Flesh 1-19 - In the future when food stores run dry what is a citizenship to do? Travel back in time and slaughter dinosaurs to use as a food source of course. Whilst this is pretty great throughout, the first half is quite a bit superior to the second. Earl Reagan is a dino herder who ends up feuding with the evil Claw Carver but the main star is 'Old One Eye' the vicious Tyranosaur who just won't die. The art is fantastic and I'm looking forward to the next batch of stories.

Dan Dare 1-23 - The art is full of detail, strangeness and beautiful horror like images. Not surprising it's so good as the artist is Belardinelli. The story? Hhmm It starts off okay with DD doing some space exploring but then it gets weird and not in a good way. A race called the Biogs, who have a living spaceship, kidnap Dare and some other giant dude called Monday and do strange things with their minds. It's a confusing mess to be honest. Writer Kelvin Gosnell is the culprit but Steve Moore handles the script for the next arc so we'll see if it improves. I was in luck as the next arc is indeed much better. Okay, so it might still be a bit weird. DD flys into the heart of a giant red sun, his new partner is a talking man-dog, old school villain the Mekon returns and he has a two headed cronie at his disposal. The writing is better and we still have Belardinelli on art so it's win-win.

Invasion 1-26 - It's the near future of 1999, Prince Charles is now the King of England, the US has withdrawn from NATO and the former Russia is now the Volgan Republic which invades the UK. Pockets of resistance form and right on the front line is lorry driver Bill Savage. Pat Mills created this strip so of course the lead character Savage is an anti authoritarian figure. Aside from Bill there are hardly any recurring support characters except his right hand man Silk and so far we haven't seen any of the architects behind the invasion or leaders of the Volgan army. Writer Gerry Finley-Day doesn't offer up any motivation for the Volgs invasion so we don't find out exactly what's going on. The thing is, it doesn't really matter because the writing is top notch and each strip barrels along at such a break neck pace, all you need to know is that Savage hates the Volgs and always has a plan to dispatch as many as he can. Mike Dorey and Carlos Pino handle most of the art and it really hits the mark. More proof that black and white can be muchbetter than colour when done right. These are all single prog episodes but next issue features the first multi-part story. I can't wait.

M.A.C.H. 1 - 1-26 - Man Activated by Compu-puncture Hyperpower. What a mouthful. This is 2000 ad's answer to the six million dollar man and John Probe even looks like Lee Majors. Whereas Invasion stayed fairly grounded, due to the almost superhero nature of MACH 1, the stories are a bit more outlandish and most tend to be goofy. There are the occasional good episodes but overall it's a bit weak. Quite a few artists contribute and the best episodes are the ones drawn by the excellent Jose Redondo.

Dan Dare 28-51 - DD has been tasked to investigate the Lost Worlds, a place where none who have ventured there have ever returned. I'm not sure what made him think he'd be any different! He assembles a crew by bascially antagonising them into wanting to kill him but when they hear about the mission, for some reason they're all on board. The first and second arcs are not great with super cheesy dialogue and hokey plotting. The Starslayer story which kicks in with prog 36 is bit of an upturn. DD frees a bunch of slaves and they all unite to battle the evil space pirate that rules that sector of space. Dave Gibbons provides excellent art throughout all these progs. Also, as an interesting twist towards the end of the run the story begins on the front cover.

Invasion 27-51 - Like the first 26 progs that precede these, it's mainly just Bill Savage finding new ways to take out the invading Volgans. A slight change is that rather than just single episodes we get a few multi parters which gives a few characters a chance to develop a bit (mainly Prince John who is trying to get back to Canada). Things get a little silly with when Nessie, a female wrestler appears who tricks the Volgs by posing as the Loch Ness monster. Prog 36 is a real highlight as it's drawn by the sublime Ian Kennedy who was a regular on Commando. 51 progs is a lot to try and stay original and there is quite a lot of repetition and the main theme is that of supposed allies turning traitor. One double agent is a guy called 'Georgia' who bears a striking resemblance to 'The Russian' from the Ennis/Dillon Punisher run.

M.A.C.H. 1 27-46 - More great art but weak stories. There's one where Probe is sent to investigate a downed UFO and goes undercover as a lumberjack. The team leader of the lumberjacks tests him by punching him in the gut. wtf? We never find who is behind MACH 1's missions or what their organisational directive is. He takes part in some really varied stuff like the aforementioned UFO investigation, climbing Everest, foiling robberies and battling hyper-women, hyper-dogs and hyper-kiddies. It's readable but nothing special.
Harlem Heroes 1-27 - Hmm. I really wanted to like this. Dave Gibbons on art duties is a good start and the first few episodes are promising. It's a concept reminiscent of Rollerball in that it's a future sport (Aeroball) that appeals due to it's violent nature. Rather than ride motorbikes though, these guys fly around with jetpacks. In fact it's more like an extra violent version of Quidditch. Early on we see the Heroes team bus in a devastating crash that injures or kills half the team. What we then get is a recruitment drive with the standard formulaic additions of wily veteran, young punk kid and former team members brought back into the fold. It would have be cool to focus on these individual characters but instead we get pages and pages of Aeroball action that gets very repetitive quickly. The other main plot thread is that someone is suspected of sabotaging the initial bus crash. Helping the Heroes get to the bottom of this is the brain of former member Louis Mayer. That's right, his brain was the only thing that survived the crash and now he can speak. Future science is great! Overall it dragged on too long and the reveal at the end is a bit groan inducing.

Shako 20-35 - This repeats a lot of what happened in Flesh. Giant creature being hunted by two people who don't get along, fights them off, gets injured, presumed dead, not dead etc. It starts off well but for me gets too silly like when Shako is hiding in a school classroom with coats thrown over him. I preferred Flesh to be honest although this does have one of the greatest tag lines ever - Shako, the only bear on the C.I.A. deathlist!

Future Shocks 25-38, 40-42 - A lot of these are just 2 or 3 pages which is not an easy platform for a story. There is the usual mix of mistaken identities, time travel and alternate realities and my favourite one was a vampire take called Fangs in prog 34 drawn by King Carlos.

The Visible Man 47-52 - This is kind a frankenstein story with a guy on the run as he becomes something of a monster after getting drenched in sludge. It's really cheesy and poorly scripted with one of the opening panels proclaiming, 'Radio active waste turned him into an apparition so terrible even alley cats are frightened at sight of him!' It would be 24 years until TVM returned in prog 1771. This is a pretty cool image though.

M.A.C.H. 1 53-64 - The Dolphin Tapes kicks things off and it's a strange tale of Probe investigating a shady organisation that has stolen some government files with the goal of making a Fish man. It's silly. Pat Mills comes on board to script The Final Encounter and it's ufo, little green men, robot MACH men and double cross filled clustermuck. Art was great throughout the series but I was glad it was over...

M.A.C.H. 0 65-72 - ...Or was it. Probe's predecessor get's his own series and it a direct riff on Frankenstein's monster. The lumbering brute speaks in broken English and it's over the top bizarreness and not in a good way. Apparently he's searching for his son and accidentally upstages Cousin George , an American stuntman, during a daredevil show. George, who dresses like a superhero, tries hunting Zero, catches him and chains him up like a bond villain. The arcs that followed I glossed over without reading thoroughly.

Death Planet 62-70 - Great art by Lopez but below par writing from Alan Hebden. The potential is there. A space mission to colonise a new planet goes wrong and leaves the crew stranded. There's a fight for leadership, strange life forms and then out of nowhere a mystery villain crops up with about 4 episodes to go and then it all wraps up lickety-split for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Colony Earth 52-61 - This is War of the Worlds meets Independence Day with a splash of Invasion/Bill Savage and I enjoyed it. Naval captain James Hunter takes on the Bill Savage role of a man leading a resistance against an alien invasion. It all kicks off in the first few pages, as a lot of 2000 ad strips do, and we get a bit of archaeology, hidden mysteries and then the appearances of the all important UFO/aliens. Jim Watson, who had drawn Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, writes and draws this series and it looks fantastic. Loads of detail in each panel, clean lines and cracking action splashes. His script is also fast paced and keeps everything flowing. The only criticism is that it ends rather abruptly.

Harlem Heroes: Inferno 36-75 - 'Faster than Speedway! crazier than Ice Hockey! Tougher than Football! Deadlier than Aeroball! It's Inferno'. That's the tagline and in reality it's a cross between Rollerball and Aeroball (from the first series that I still don't really understand the rules of). Initially Giant proclaims it's organised mayhem with no skill and has no desire to get involved in the sport but 3 panels later he's agreed to play! By episode 3 we've terms like double-hitch hike, flick-pick and semi-score but real understanding of how the game is played. Story wise it's pretty much the same as last time. Loads of match stuff with a side plot involving the Heroes, who are now the Hellcats, being framed for match fixing. Half way through the series the actual game play takes a back seat as Artie Gruber returns from the grave and takes centre stage. I'm really on the fence here. At 40 episodes it's a bit too long and in parts the hokey scripting is too much but this could be some of the best art Belardinelli ever produced so it gets a pass from me.

Future Shocks 45-56, 58-60, 66, 70, 74 - As with the previous batch of FS's there are tales of mistaken identities, time travel and alternate realities. My favourite one was Fugitive from prog 66. It's only one and a half pages but has a nice little twist.

Walter the Wobot 50-68 - These one pagers aren't much to wrote home about and are mainly semi funny comedy strips. The best of the bunch is Walter's Brother from 52-56. It's an origin story of sorts and even features Mercury from The Metal Men.

Dan Dare 52-85 - Chris Lowder writes the bulk of these and most are not bad although there are some stinkers in there. The real star though is Dave Gibbons and for me his work here is easily the equal of something like Watchmen.

Ant Wars 71-85 - An unidentified military operation is taking place in a south American jungle and there just so happens to be a random scientist with them who just so happens to have an experimental insecticide with him. Of course when one of the soldiers complains about ant bites the super brain uses the insecticide and whammo! giant ants. Oh dear. It's silly stuff with a terrible plot and poor script but weirdly has a somewhat interesting story. The art is also pretty good. However, when certain things start happening such as, the ants gaining super intelligence, donning disguises (yes they disguise themselves as a Rio carnival float), playing dead and then sprouting wings, it just got too much for me.

Robo-Hunter: Verdus 76-84, 100-112 - This starts off well but for me descends into too much comedy and the robot versions of every house hold appliance start to get annoying quickly. Also, and I realise this might not be a popular opinion, I'm not really a fan of Ian Gibson's art.

Ro-Busters 86-101 - There's a real mixed bag of stories here and they'll worth a read. Amongst them the Ro-Busters help out a disaster area which is a good laugh, Ro-Jaws gets taken in like a rescued puppy by a little girl, there's a story with big robots fighting with yet more cracking Dave Gibbons art and a great story featuring Hammerstein's war tales.

Flesh: Book 2 86-99 - Having now been reminded of his work on Dan Dare, Harlem Heroes and now Flesh, I think Belardinelli should be considered one of the all time greats of 2000 ad (to be fair he probably already is). I've still got Mean Team and Ace Trucking to come and next up is Blackhawk which I've not read before. Anyway, Flesh Book 2 is a fun romp, this time through the triassic period and is based on farming sea based dinos. Claw Carver returns and is as mean and vile as ever and again he is matched up against a massive beast, this time Big Hungry! It's more consistent that the first series and the art, as you'd expect, is to die for.

Strontium Dog: The Galaxy Killers 86-94 - Didn't feel this at all. Sure, King Carlos' art is good but the story is rubbish and the characters don't come across very strongly.

Angel 95-99 - Fortunately this was the only extended strip written by Chris Stevens. A man crashes his jet fighter and has the flight computer molded onto his shoulder which lets him somehow controls machines. What the hell? It's a poor man's MACH 1. Avoid.

Future Shocks 76-78, 80-83, 85, 88-90, 93-98 - Nothing much to write about here.

Dan Dare: Servant of Evil 100-107, 109-126 - More brilliant Gibbons art, that's the first point. Secondly Tom Tully comes on board as writer and although the story begins a bit shakily, DD gets easily duped by The Mekon, it soon ramps up the action and tension and has the makings of true epic. I say makings as at the end of prog 126 there is a caption that says 'Dan Dare will return soon' but the strip never materialises again so the story stays unfinished.

Ro-Busters: Fall & Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein 103-115 - Big fan of this. Cracking art from O'Neill and McMahon and funny scripts from Mills make this a great read. The over the top droids make it even better. Dr Feeley Good is a highlight but Little Mo the super nice cleaning droid also gets some laughs. Also, I'd be amazed if Futurama's Bender wasn't based on Ro-Jaws.

Strontium Dog: Journey into Hell 104-118 - Starts off really strong with a tense chase scene as Johhny, Wulf and The Gronk are in hot pursuit of former Stront Fly-Eye Wagner. Things get a bit strange when they all get transported to Hell and then even weirder when they encounter Mr Sun and Mr Moon. Hhhmm, that's back to back misses for me as far as SD is concerned.

Rick Random: Riddle of the Astral Assassin 113-118 - This is a futuristic murder mystery set during some inter planetary trade negotiations. It's over plotted, over scripted and uninteresting. Nice clean art though from Ron turner.

A.B.C. Warriors 119-139 - This is a tale of two halves. The first part includes the standard 'team formation' episodes where all the warriors are gathered together. This was actually my favourite section as we get some key background info on Mongrol, Blackblood, Deadlock and Steelhorn. The next half sees the warriors journey to Mars to do something. I'm not quite sure what their actual mission was. It's okay but seems a bit of a hodge podge of ideas. The five brained Mad George is fun though. Art is by O'Neill, McMahon, Gibbons, Ezquerra and McCarthy so nuff said.

Invasion: Disaster 1990 119-139 - Remember all those great Bill Savage tales from Invasion? Well this is set 9 years prior to the Volgan invasion and features our erstwhile hero trying to survive an ecological disaster. The polar ice caps have melted due to a nuclear submarine explosion (it all happens on page 1) and the country is suddenly flooded. Finley-Day can't seem to recapture the magic of those earlier stories and instead we get Bill travelling the country via boat stopping crime and generally pissing people off. Missable.

Project Overkill 119-126 - Then editor Steve McManus wanted the comic to be more of an adventure comic than a sci-fi one so we get more guff like this. It's about secret government groups, murder, mistaken identities and other rubbish.
 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 September, 2016, 09:10:31 pm
For some reason I haven't visited this site for an absolute age...

Cos you were writing that exception, if long post!

I hope you don't mind me clogging down the thread with my thoughts.

Not at all, its always a pleasure to see you about Chief. The more people joining in chatting about the Prog the better I say.

Mind I hope that means we'll also get scans of more sketches you've collected elsewhere on the board?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: chiefy2shoes on 09 September, 2016, 09:21:12 pm
Quote
Mind I hope that means we'll also get scans of more sketches you've collected elsewhere on the board?

I have a few small ones that I'll stick up at the weekend.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 September, 2016, 09:30:15 pm
Okay so I'm quite a bit behind Chief so I'd better get a move on and with that I'm 6 progs into 1980 and onto...

The beauty of Prog 150 and the beast of my opinion.

Prog 150 marks a point where I think I'm going to diverge most significently with 'popular' 2000ad opinion and I know this will last for some time. Okay there will be common ground of course Dredd continues to be sublime, even when written by Mr Mills, the Prog is an artist delight... mind even there my divergance can be found. I run very much hot and cold with Belardinelli and while I should love the glorious crazy of his art here it just jars with me here. As does the story, pretty poor.

We probably all agree that Ian Gibson's return in Robo-hunter sees art of staggering beauty in this great opener, we probably don't when I reveal I really don't enjoy VCs. Its looks good, but given its (often) Cam Kennedy not as GREAT as I'd expect. The story is just cyclic and if I honest I find the crew a little annoying.

Fiends of the Eastern Front rounds off the Prog and a story of vampires helping nazi in 1941 on the Russian front should of course be glorious... but its G.F.D or Great (idea) Fumbled Delievery. Its not as bad as many GFDs but its just pretty poorly realised, so its a kids story but it feels so clunky.

So yeah for many I think this Prog could mark a real high point, for me its 50 - 50 at best and I know there's more of my nonsense down the 1980 pipe...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 10 September, 2016, 12:08:03 am
I have just finished reading my TPB of Harlem Heroes and Inferno and to be honest it has been hard going. I have had it for what 2, possibly 3 years and it has taken me that long to read it. ( Still I have had V for Vendetta for about 8 years and have still only read a third of it :lol:).

I had read some of Harlem Heroes before, mainly what had been reprinted in annuals, but not Inferno. ( I also have extreme edition 13 which covered only HH and was published in 2006 and hadn't read it all).

I guess that tells you everything you need to know...but I will make a few comments anyway.

As Chiefy points out it is a bit repetitive and the rules of either game are never fully explained. Some of the characters seem to die from fairly minor injuries, especially Conrad King and Hairy in the last episode of HH.

Tom Tully basically repeats the plot of Harlem Heroes in Inferno i.e. some-one trying to wipe out the team for extremely tenuous reasons. In HH there is a laughable panel showing the villain in silhouette but it is obvious who it is (as if we hadn't guessed anyway). In Inferno he doesn't even bother to hide who the culprits are - but we don't get to know their names till later.

He also seems to be not paying attention to his own script in Inferno. When the Wolves manager is first introduced he says his name is Don Wepner. Two weeks later his name is Charlie Vance.

In both Inferno and Harlem Heroes it seems you don't have to be a (current) professional player to get on a team. Just pulling some-one off the street will do. Nor does it seem you have to register players in advance or even name substitutes - team a player short (as one has just been killed)? No worries just promote a cheerleader to player. Doesn't matter that she has never played before or even practised.

In true Adam West Batman fashion, if you want to kill the hero, you need to come up with an elaborate scheme. Why shoot them when you can track down a presumed dead cyborg and implant a radio in their brain to control them?

Oh and watch out for the ball - throw it too hard and it goes into white heat, killing everyone in its path. hmmm not sure how that works.

The end of Inferno feels incredibly rushed. I am sure I have read some where they basically decided to wrap it up to make way for the merger with Starlord - but that doesn't quite make sense as that wasn't for another 11 weeks. Anyway most of the team are killed off in 3 pages - but given the lack of character development over the story, it has zero emotional impact anyway.

But, but, but...you do get great art from Dave Gibbons and Massimo Belardnelli, two totally bonkers future sports and at least an attempt at an ongoing story arc (which seemed to be missing from the mostly totally episodic Invasion and Mach 1.)

I do have a vague memory of Inferno being the strip that originally put me off buying 2000AD. As I have posted before I originally started by reading Starlord and was only vaguely aware of 2000AD. Starlord used to regularly feature ads for 2000AD and I had read the 1977 2000Ad Summer Special. Based on the ads in Starlord I remember flicking through 2000AD in the newsagents and seeing what a thought was an incredibly violent scene from Inferno featuring the bikes and thinking na that's not for me. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: maryanddavid on 10 September, 2016, 12:55:04 am
Inferno was wrapped up quickly because of the violence causing all sorts of trouble for editorial.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 September, 2016, 07:10:26 am
Inferno was wrapped up quickly because of the violence causing all sorts of trouble for editorial.

Yeah it course big problems coursed by the strip. Rushed endings are a major problem for stories in 2000ad's early history. Someone here explained (sorry I can't remember who) the old policy of keeping a strip going as long as it was popular. Then as soon as it slipped, or editorial decided for one reason or another than it needed wrap up the writer would be given a week or twos notice. Hence many great long running stories have pretty jarring endings. Just look at Flesh 2!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 10 September, 2016, 08:06:08 am
Right so you can just imagine the scene:

Setting Tharg's office -

Tharg: sorry Tom we are getting complaints that Inferno is just too violent. I am afraid you are going to have to wrap it up.

Tom Tully: oh ok.

Tharg: any ideas?

Tom Tully: sure thing, I'll just kill them all off except for Giant.

Tharg: that'd be fine.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 September, 2016, 09:41:48 pm
So 1980 is charging along (Prog 161) and what have we learnt? Well to my surprise, so far

Day of the Droids >> Verdus. Its bloomin' great, lovin' it.

Blackhawk never did find its way. It lurched and slumbled along never really having a purpose or focus. Much like Inferno then this meant that Belardinelli's art just doesn't work. It just adds to the chaos and confusion the story wallows in.

Both Fiends of the Eastern front and VCs show that Gerry Finley-Day can come up with a fantastic idea, be given the best artistd and still make a story read like a hack job. I'm going to say it now and I'll not apologise he really isn't a good writer at all. Now I admit this sweeping statement is based on a 44 year old reading kids stories. The thing other stories written by different writers have a real craft to them and hold up, even in the context in which they were created. For me GFD just lacks the craft and deft skill to take a kids comics and make it something great to read. Yes its my age, yes its my older eye but his stories just don't hold up...

... I know, I know, I'll get my coat and leave quietly by the back door.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 15 September, 2016, 10:17:16 pm
No… you're right. I don't get the push to rehabilitate GFD. Most of what he wrote was rubbish, mitigated by great art. I think Fiends is his best work in 2000AD possibly because it's the least like a 2K story… I exclude Harry 20, which is comfortably the best series with his name on it, because Alan Grant did a wholesale rewrite on it.

Rogue was a great character, but it's important to remember that GFD's original concept was for a soldier like the 'Euro-fighter' plane… his legs were made by one country, his arms by another… it took an editorial conference to whip the idea into shape, and it wasn't that long before we were getting Fort Neuro and disco dancing Rogue and even the twelve-year-old me was thinking "This needs to stop now…"
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 September, 2016, 11:32:24 am
No… you're right. I don't get the push to rehabilitate GFD. Most of what he wrote was rubbish, mitigated by great art. I think Fiends is his best work in 2000AD possibly because it's the least like a 2K story… I exclude Harry 20, which is comfortably the best series with his name on it, because Alan Grant did a wholesale rewrite on it.

Harry 20 looms on my re-read horizon and if I'm honest I'm not looking forward to it, I didn't enjoy it last time, but lets see how I get on with it this. I know how popular it is (mind then so is the original VCs). Given that I've not enjoyed Alan Grant's early work on Blackhawk that's not given me much hope!

I still stand by the fact that Ant Wars is the best thing he did for the Prog but I've found myself thinking about how that can be. Especially given the fact that unlike so many of his other stories this one is largely derided I think. For me though it works better with his writing as it has such a B movie set-up. To that end his awkward dialogue and clumsy, forced plotting feels at home. I think this allows me to set aside my normal misgivings and just roll with the immense fun of it all...

... or given that I'm a simple soul maybe I shouldn't be looking too far beyond COOL GIANT ANTS...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dandontdare on 16 September, 2016, 02:49:49 pm
I'm just rereading Robohunter:Verdus and there's a horribly racist sequence when Sam falls asleep and dreams about "how the world should be" - two robots with golliwog style negro fetaures kiss his feet while calling him "Master Sam, sure enough", whilst the asian company man who sent him to verdus starts speaking like an old Fu manchu film, addressing him as "the gleat lobohunter". It makes "Blakee Pentax" look positively PC!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 17 September, 2016, 09:15:27 am
I get that GFD's work isn't close to the level of sophistication as Wagner, Grant or Mills, let alone any of Tharg's more modern droids, but there's something about his work that zips along. When you're working with great artists, a fantastic idea can be enough to stretch a long way, although I've no doubt editorial input was pretty key for a lot of stuff (I think MacManus did quite a bit on VCs, for example).

On the racism in RoboHunter, specifically the Verdus bit. Now, of course it's indefensible, but here's a darker reading for you...

In the future, when people are busy constructing all these robots and imbuing them with bizarrely human personalities, imagine someone deliberately designs and creates golliwog robots so that lazy white masters can recapture dreams of the 'good old days'...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 17 September, 2016, 09:56:15 pm
I'm just rereading Robohunter:Verdus and there's a horribly racist sequence when Sam falls asleep and dreams about "how the world should be" - two robots with golliwog style negro fetaures kiss his feet while calling him "Master Sam, sure enough", whilst the asian company man who sent him to verdus starts speaking like an old Fu manchu film, addressing him as "the gleat lobohunter". It makes "Blakee Pentax" look positively PC!
I've never read classic Robo-Hunter, don't have time for shite like this!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 17 September, 2016, 11:40:53 pm
.
That's a pity. I've just reread Robo-Hunter from Verdus through to Play It Again, Sam, which confirmed those stories as some of the best work Wagner, Grant and Gibson ever did. I was crying with laughter during National Song Week.

I'm not urging you to read it*, but it's a pity Robo-Hunter's only ever mentioned here in this context. You'd be forgiven for forming the impression it's a vicious race hate tract that just happens to feature some comedy robots.

Without disputing the excellent Dan's reading of that dream sequence, "golliwog" might be reaching a little**, and the dialogue reads "mister Sam", rather than "master". There's a lot to be said about context, but that's a can of worms.


* I'm fairly certain the stuff mentioned above means you couldn't enjoy it

** One looks like Boushh and the other has the same big eyes and ooh-shaped mouth as Cutie and the other anthropomorphic droids
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 September, 2016, 10:37:08 pm
Over half way through 1980 and things have taken an interesting turn and not exactly for the better.

Two of the best things in the Prog are on a bit of a downward trajectory. Dredd which has been so good, for so long has bit a bit of a rough patch... what you cry, what am I talking about you demand... well I'm up to Prog 169 and while 'The Judge Child' started really well, once it blasted off and lurches off into space I've found it a little ... unrestrained. It still looks magnificent and while the strip is not as good as Dredd has been for a good long time its still pretty bloomin' good comics. Its just not great. Its lacks some of the grounding that has made previous run of shorts work... which okay sounds nonsense when you think of some of the stuff that has gone before, but for me the out and out space type sci-fi (please Butchy Frank lets not turn this into some what is sci-fi and what isn't discussion) just doesn't feel quite right.

Hard to justify and qualify why I feel like this and while Judge Child follows essentially the same formula as Cursed Earth for some reason its lost the rugged challenge, the desperate journey of the first epic so viseral and real as Dredd and crew get slowly more and more ragged. The quest for the spacey soothsayer spice feels a little forced and tacked on. The craziness lacks the harsh landscape that provides a counterpoint in the earlier epic... or maybe its the fact that it is just following the same structure as Cursed Earth, a story I regard so very highly... I don't know its just not working for me... well not as well as Dredd has of late. Its probably still absolutely brilliant and probably still the best comics out there in 1980, just not as good as the standard Dredd has set itself.

Similarly the second half of Day of the Droids has fallen from its very high peak. Its all got a bit chaotic and again unrestrained. Its becoming wacky. Ever since Sam hit Robo-Park or whatever its called its been all bets off, hell for leather crazy and for me that's just not work as well as the more measured (well again measured in the context of a comic like Robo-hunter!) stuff that's gone before. Again like Dredd its still really fun stuff, just its lost that absolute wow factor of the first half.

Elsewhere the Prog has proved richly varied, GFD stuff still kind stinks up the place and M.A.C.H 0 is cruelly and crudely cast aside after a wonderful first solo story some time ago. BUT Wolfie Smith is on absolute fire with his return ably abetted as he is driven down a road of crime by simply perfect Jesus Redondo art. Stainless Steel Rat has made a welcome and so far entertaining return, and we had our first taste of Nemesis. So the balance just about remains in the positive. Its a close run thing though.

On a side note the Prog as an artifact is on an absolute high. One of the joys of reading the progs rather than collections is the context and world reading the originals throws you back to. The adverts in these bog paper comics create the perfect nostagia time machine, which really aids the reading process and reading these stories in their orignal form is so evocative. Its making me want to get to eBay and track down some Pocketeers... though I suspect my memory of them is best left unfettered by reality!


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 24 September, 2016, 03:01:16 am
This is interesting, because I far prefer Judge Child to Cursed Earth.  There are a few different segmemnts (Limpopo Quince never did anything for me and biochip/wild alien stuff is a bit business as usual), but these are more than compensated for by Filmore Faro, Aggross, Murd,  Bedlam, the hungry planet, Dredd's new improved supporting cast, and the Angel Gang themselves: some of the greatest set pieces in the strip's history, and some of its most enduring characters.

Plus, Dredd actually dies, none of your modern cliffhanger fakery here.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 24 September, 2016, 03:02:38 am
That's 'a few duff segments', kids: don't drink and post.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 24 September, 2016, 04:45:09 pm
Butchy Frank

You post this now, after the deadline to change user names has passed?!

Agree with you and TordelBack: The Judge Child is clearly a very good eight to twelve part story [1] which has had a couple of month's worth of filler material shoved in the middle to make up the numbers.

Except the 'filler' includes some of the most beautifully illustrated, inventive, and funny one/two parters in the strip's history. It probably doesn't stand up to reading as a continuous narrative [2], but then it was meant to be read in weekly instalments.

Like The Apocalypse War, you can tell Wagner [3] was writing it to the required length, rather than with a specific ending in mind, but I like the way the old epics just suddenly wrap up because that's enough for now and it'll not be this in the morning.



[1] About the baldy kid being kidnapped by some truly brilliant original characters and Dredd searching Texas City and the Cursed Earth to find them.

[2] Although I can't remember ever trying to do so. For me, a Judge Child re-read entails starting with the Angel gang's hilarious cruelty when torturing Old Joe Blind and then picking out random episodes in no particular order.

[3] And, towards the very end, Grant
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 25 September, 2016, 10:20:50 am
I will limit my comments in this thread to stories I have actually re-read recently as I guess the whole point is how do we view them now years later as adults. So sadly that means I can't comment on Robo-Hunter or The Stainless Steel Rat or Wolfie Smith.

As to the Judge Child- it was the first Dredd mega epic I read and as such it will always be special to me. Maybe, Colin, how one views it against The Cursed Earth does very much depend on which one you read first. For me the Judge Child is far superior and The Cursed Earth is a less sophisticated trial run.

The Judge Child also features some of the best 1 or 2 partners and individual sequences in Dredd ever and some of the most memorable villains ever - it's Pa and Junior for me over Mean all day long.

(Being pedantic I have never actually read the Cursed Earth in its entirety in the correct order, given that I don't have the Progs and didn't have the banned episodes until recently. When I got my Uncensored edition all I did was read the banned episodes and then look at the colour spreads. So maybe only having read an incomplete tale in black and white and being a bit miffed about it has had an impact on how I view it. Glorious Bolland art though).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 September, 2016, 09:06:24 pm
Maybe, Colin, how one views it against The Cursed Earth does very much depend on which one you read first.

Yeah this is almost certainly the case. Its really hard for me to detach myself from how special Cursed Earth felt to me as a kid. That said trying to be objective I still feel it has a much stronger central thread AND the smaller story elements are superior to those in Judge Child. And ya know SATANUS!

Anyway some things we learnt on our way to the big Prog 178.

1. Stainless Steel Rat leaves us with a timey whiney cope out (which of course might have been very original when first told, but feels tied now. Thats very possibly unfair) and we were denied a climatic show down with He.

2. The cover to Prog 175 is the exception that proved the rule I whittered about elsewhere being that Dave Gibbons is just SOOOOoooooo Dave Gibbons. There's no way I'd say that cover was Mr Gibbons if he hadn't signed it. So unGibbons.

3. Wolfie Smith is wrapped up cruelly quickie, with a very odd comedic little ending... well okay somewhat saved by the mauling of baddie by a pack of rats.

4. No one, I mean NO ONE draws Wolfie Smith like Jesus Redondo. Its a strip that's perfect for him and he really elevates. Wish we'd got more...

5. Although hopefully if we had Wolfie would have got a little more imaginative than winning a teddy by cheating at bingo to pay for a fish supper....

6. Though yeah if he had it would have removed the charm of the series.

7. The Great Human Rip-off lets you know all you need to know about why Tharg stories always felt so special when I was a kid

8. I'm far to excited about the return of Strontium Dog, I always forget how long it was out the Prog after going to Hell.

9. I can never remember number 9.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 27 September, 2016, 10:36:45 pm
Prog 178 ...just one of the most important Progs of all time for me. But on the way up to it, there is surely one of the biggest moments ever in the Prog. Though I guess no-one would have realised it at the time. At the time it was merely a very cool story with amazing art.

What am I talking about?

Just Comic Rock - Terror Tube in Prog 167.

How I love that story both as a stand alone and as a lead into one of the most iconic 2000AD stories of them all.

I never tire of reading it , nor indeed Killer Watt in Progs 178 and 179.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: PsychoGoatee on 28 September, 2016, 05:09:33 am
Cursed Earth (and the double bill with The Day The Law Died) are what really sold me on Judge Dredd, and I read them for the first time in maybe 2006. I do like both of those better than Judge Child, which is also great, granted I read them in chronological order.

Just saying for the record, Cursed Earth still rocks if read for the first time these days too, or something like that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 September, 2016, 06:37:23 am
Prog 178 ...just one of the most important Progs of all time for me. But on the way up to it, there is surely one of the biggest moments ever in the Prog. Though I guess no-one would have realised it at the time. At the time it was merely a very cool story with amazing art.

What am I talking about?

Just Comic Rock - Terror Tube in Prog 167.

How I love that story both as a stand alone and as a lead into one of the most iconic 2000AD stories of them all.


You know I was desperately trying to think of something to write about Killer Watt but I just couldn't work out what to say. It kinda goes back to what you said before about personal perspective on stories. I just couldn't work out quite how special the story was in the context of the rest of the Prog. Was it was mind blowing or was it just what it meant to me knowing whats to come.

After all Ro-Busters had kinda done a warm up for it, yet its clearly more then just a good Future Shock or similar.

Ended up saying nowt, but very glad you did!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 28 September, 2016, 08:12:15 am
So totally agree about what it means personally. You see I hadn't read the 2000AD Robusters at the time, so it was Comic Rock that introduced the Termight Tube system to me.

Stuff from this era falls into 3 categories for me:

1) stuff that I read at the time in the Prog

2) stuff that I read in Titan editions a couple of years later: Cursed Earth, Day the Law Died, Robo-Hunter Verdus, 2000AD Ro-Busters.

3) Stuff that I read years later in Extreme Editions and Trades (Flesh books I and II, Invasion, Harlem Heroes, Dan Dare (er haven't actually read it all yet!!)

and it is pretty much that order in which I love them. There is just something about having read them weekly at the time.

Even with the stuff I read only a couple of years later in the Titan editions - I still have a feeling of having "missed out on them" even though I read them as a child, just not at the time they came out.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 01 October, 2016, 02:29:20 pm


9. I can never remember number 9.

That's because you forgot why 6 was afraid of 7.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: chiefy2shoes on 01 October, 2016, 03:55:50 pm
Ro-Jaws' Robo Tales Various progs between 144 and 196 - It's doubtful but I'm hoping these get collected in the second volume of the new Ro-Busters books. Great little one-off stories akin to future shocks but all robo centric with a very high hit percentage.

Blackhawk 127-128, 130-161 - Belardinelli art so it looks amazing and the story starts off okay as well. A Roman gladiator is whisked through time to fight in some futuristic games but soon turns on his captors. Unfortunately it's way too long and veers right off course into strange weird happenings that don't really fit the story.

Captain Klep 127-159 - These are one page superhero parody strips and after reading the first couple I skipped the rest.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith 127-134, 136-145 - I didn't get on with this at all. Wolfie is a young lad with some kind of psychic powers that are never really explained. He battles an evil sorcerer then stumbles onto a film set, gets a job and discovers a wendigo creature. It's a shame the great art by Redondo is wasted on the rubbish story.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith Book 2 162-77 - Skim read it and again it appeared poor.

The Stainless Steel Rat 140-151 - Really enjoyed this. I've not liked any of Kelvin Gosnell's strips prior to this but it was a cracking fast paced adventure story.

Timequake 148-151 - This strip is a loose version of Chrononauts except it's better.

The V.C.s 140-143, 145-165, 168-169, 171-175 - Smith is a newly recruited V.C (Vacuum Cleaner) and he joins the standard host of varied misfits as they struggle to push back the alien Geek invasion. Hmm, on the one hand we have art by Cam Kennedy and Mike MacMahon and on the other we have a series of sci-fi war stories that are sometimes good and sometimes poor.

Robo-Hunter: Day of the Droids 152-174 - Having not really liked the first Sam Slade outing I found this much better.

Fiends of the Eastern Front 152-161 - Ezquerr'a art seems to have gone up a notch here, if that's even possible, and this tale of vampire soldiers in a WWII setting has plenty of intrigue. It's by Gerry Finlay-Day so that means we get great action scenes with quite a bit of clunky exposition and overall I'd say it's somewhere between hit and miss.

M.A.C.H. 0 162-165 - Spinoff from an earlier series, this can't hold it's own and I largely skim read it.
The Stainless Rat Saves The  World 166-177 - Following on from his previous appearance, James now works for the good guys but that doesn't mean he's all good. It's a time travel caper and again I really enjoyed it. Ezquerra art always helps.

Dash Decent 178-198 - One page parody strips that are best avoided.
The Mean Arena: The Southampton Sharks 178-180, 182-187, 191-194, 197-202 - This is a Mean Team light tale and isn't very good. That is all.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 October, 2016, 04:31:36 pm
Yeah have to be honest I've not been getting on with the 'comedy' strips at all. Even Kev O'Neill's Madesque artwork on Dash Decent feels lost in The Prog and Captain Klep was just woeful. There's been the odd thing that felt really out of place in the Prog but which services as a reminder of the comics target audience at the time. These short humour strips and things like the 'Space Olympics' guide which just jarred with the edgier stuff in the comic, BUT may well have been very welcome to younger readers at the time coming from Buster, Whizzer and Chips and the like.

All feels a bit like the comedy ending to Wolfie Smith, just not in context.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 October, 2016, 09:18:41 pm
Oh what interesting times we have in the Prog. Dredd is back from his space travels (and I have to say I'm very happy with that) and I think we're about to enter another years worth of shorts that I'm very much looking forward to.

Strontium Dog is back with us in a series of shorter stories too as I recall, though actually Portrait of a Mutant can't be too far off.

Elsewhere we have three long term stories starting, or freshly started, one of which I adore, Return to Armageddon, one I run hot and cold on, so very much looking forward to getting into. Meltdown Man has made an okay start. Finally Mean Arena, which as I recall goes a bit wayward quickly losing sight of any potential it might have had.

Put the thing I want to talk about is Dredd's return to Mega City One in Block War in Prog 182. What an absolute cracker. A beautifully rendered story which fantastically captures Dredd's character. It also felt like it started something that would be a reoccuring theme in Dredd, that being him being at odds with large chunks of the Judicial System and though he's a hero he's also a thorn in the side of many. For a variety of reasons. This theme may have been dealt with before (?) but it really stands out here and this is one of the best Dredd's to date and still one of my all time favourites. Truely brilliant stuff.

Anyway I'll be back soon as I've a big question to ask you all...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 05 October, 2016, 11:00:02 am
Yeah have to be honest I've not been getting on with the 'comedy' strips at all. Even Kev O'Neill's Madesque artwork on Dash Decent feels lost in The Prog and Captain Klep was just woeful. There's been the odd thing that felt really out of place in the Prog but which services as a reminder of the comics target audience at the time. These short humour strips and things like the 'Space Olympics' guide which just jarred with the edgier stuff in the comic, BUT may well have been very welcome to younger readers at the time coming from Buster, Whizzer and Chips and the like.

Better stay away from this month's art competition then! ;)
Quote
All feels a bit like the comedy ending to Wolfie Smith, just not in context.

Can't say I remember there being a comedy ending to The Mind of Wolfie Smith?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 October, 2016, 10:02:47 pm
2000ad 1980

Quote
...we beckon in a new decade and I think and interesting time for a Prog now finding its direction and balance as it totters on into its 4th year.

This is what I said after having read the Progs from 1979. Half right, not bad. See in 1980 2000ad did indeed start to find its balance. The trouble is it was all that interesting. Its not that its been a bad year, its just lacked the extremes of the first three years. Nothing was terrible... though much was pretty poor. Not much was stella.

There were absolute highlights but not that many. First half of Day of the Droids, start of Return to Armegeddon. Strontium Dogs return is a real high and the new shorter stories are really working. The absolute peak was three short episodes of what would become Nemesis. Tharg knew what he was onto here with 'Comic Rocks', even with only 15 odd pages, all of a sudden posters of the characters started springing up. Oh and I guess we should also mention some block call Alan rocks up. We might come back to him.

So yeah I've discussed the highlights without mentioning Dredd. Which is wonky. Cos Dredd is still of course great, its just so... so... not as GREAT as what had gone before. Well the start of the year was still exceptional but as I've already discussed I'm not a big fan of Judge Child and while 'Block War' is an absolute classic some of the shorts after his return to Earth aren't as strong as I'd expected. Notable by some I simply don't remember at all. Loonie Moon escapes my memory. The Maze story I only remember cos I think The Maze was a location in the Dredd boardgame. So yeah Dredd, by its own standards... well those of the previous 2 years just ain't that good.

There's a lot of rot as well, often by the GFD but I've already lambasted much of that so I'll not retread that old ground. So yeah in finding its feet 2000ad has lost a bit of its excitment. Oh there's still the moments of course but they aren't as frequent. We head into 1981 with a very steady line-up of hit and miss strips so when will this steady streak end... well actually that's a question I will be returning to soon. A question for you lot. But first I've got a couple of annuals to read and I know at least one of ums a blinder...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 October, 2016, 09:23:52 pm
A little epilogue to 1980 and that's

A Tale of Two Annuals - 1981 Annuals

Well bloody hell I knew this was the case but the distance between the two Annuals of 1980 (labeled 1981 of course) is staggering. Lets do the tale of the tape.

2000 ad Annual 1981

Length: 128 pages
Cost: £1.50
Apparent value: 1.17 pence per page

Judge Dredd Annual 1981

Length: 96 pages
Cost: £1.80
Apparent value: 1.86 pence per page

So its clear right, the Dredd Annual is an over-priced rip off. None of it, not a piece. Its interesting I've no idea anymore how these would have been recieved as a kid, but I strongly suspect that even then the 2000ad Annual may have pleased parents with it size and cost, but by God it all filler no thriller. 8 pages of decent but not great Dredd, a couple of barely passible Future Shocks and a fantastic Brendan McCarthy splash page for the Strontium Dog text story - the rest, including almost all of the text features is utter codswallop. This took me (admittedly a 44 year old man) about 20 minutes to read... well call it 25, adding five to account for the various bits I started and decided I had better things to do with my time and skipped. Now to its intended audience there's probably more to appeal and better value to be had. But I reckon even as a kid I'd have seen through most of this. Some really dull reprint, soft text pieces and so much recycled art.

Now over at the shorter, more costly Dredd annual - well it took me of an hour half to read and its an absolute masterclass. Even G P Rice, normally pretty hit and miss, turns in a nice Eisner pastiche in his Walter The Wobot strip. Elsewhere we have a lovely Dredd history including the first unused story, Shok which while not a great story is a delight on the eye and of course a wonderful curiosity since 1990. A fantastic Max Normal tale, even if I'm not Casanovas' biggest fan. Okay there's a little filler after that but... BUT

There is also 30 pages of some of the most beautiful (well until next year as I recall) Dredd you will ever see. Now don't get me wrong the stories by Mr Wagner are simply fantastic, particularly 'Compulsory Purchase' which is quiessential Dredd. Its the art however that rules the day. Now in 1980 I'm pretty sure the 30p difference in price between the Dredd and the 2000ad annual would have bought you a decent family car, but it, even to my 8 year old mind, would surely have been worth it for the Mike McMahon art over those 30 pages. Simple devine.

Jesus the 1981 2000ad Annual must have broken kids hearts while the 1981 Dredd Annual must have elevate Christmas' across the land to levels of excitment impossible to equal unless you got a Big Track (I never did, always wanted one).


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 09 October, 2016, 08:18:00 am
Great Sunday morning read there Colin, keep it up. Completely agree about the 1981 Dredd annual, which I only came by some years later in a parish sale: an absolute gem.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 09 October, 2016, 08:53:39 am
Much repeated here, but the first Dredd annual is a thing of wonder and I adored it. 1982's, almost as much.

Steve MacManus's book is a revelation on how it came about, too.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 11 October, 2016, 02:34:49 pm
I'm loving this thread, but am curious to know other readers' thinking on one question:
When you look back over 2000AD, do you break it up into chunks by year of publication (as Colin is doing here), or by sets of 100 Progs (my instinctive way of thinking) - even though that usually means lumping two years' worth of stuff together)?

I suppose this might be a function of me not being a Prog one-r, and indeed being so young when reading my first progs that I didn't have much of a sense of real-world dates.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 11 October, 2016, 03:06:37 pm

Eras of 2000ad are determined by how many issues stack comfortably on my shelves. More than 50, less than 100 per stack.


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 October, 2016, 03:30:41 pm
The way I think about it just isn't all that neat.

Roughly it goes like this:

1)Stuff before I started reading it and before it merged with Starlord (pre Prog 86) - not as mad as it sounds as I have collected editions of most it of it and have subsequently bought the odd Prog.

2) my this is being forced on me and I don't like it period, Progs 86 to 92 when I bought it only as a transferring Starlord reader, missed a couple of weeks and gave up.

3) the "lost period" upto Prog 126 when I didn't buy it (apart from 2)

4) Prog 127 to Mid 200s. The really getting into it phase, loving it all, knowing what story was in what Prog instaneously from memory (then not now)

- Judge Child, great Dredd one offs, Pirates of Black Atlantic, Judge Death, Return to Armageddon, Melt Down Man.

5) Golden Age. Mid 200s to 519 (last newspaper paper Prog).


Nemesis, Slaine even Rogue Trooper.

6) 520 to 699

University days.

Zenith.

7) 700 to when ever Rebellion took over.

Read it but don't really remember it

8) Rebellion years - not sure what Prog to present. New golden era.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 11 October, 2016, 05:09:51 pm
I probably think of eras mainly by the logo. It's only a title but it does set the tone and evokes a time. And almost as much, the paper stock.

As Magnetica says, before-and-after your First Prog feel like different times, which is odd indeed.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 11 October, 2016, 05:11:50 pm
6) 520 to 699

University days.

Zenith.

7) 700 to when ever Rebellion took over.

Read it but don't really remember it

That's pretty much my own mental model*. 520-700 - the odd interregnum where painted colour cautiously, uncertainly replaced line art - is my own golden age, with the run of progs containing the finales of Horned God, Final Solution, Zenith: phase three, War Machine, and Necropolis** representing a mini-golden age within a golden age.

It's terrifying how quickly the quality threshold vanishes after prog 700.

To continue the spooky, 127-200 is the only significant run of back issues I ever purchased***. I bought some to plug the gap between 500 and my first prog (511), but they never really felt like they were mine.


* Although I wasn't at uni, grandad

** And, for the sake of balance, Chronos Carnival and Dry Run

*** ... from another kid at school, who hit puberty and decided White Lightning and Rave records represented more pressing demands on his pocket money than a prog where Simon Harrison had replaced Carlos Ezquerra
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 11 October, 2016, 05:21:47 pm
they never really felt like they were mine.

Hah! It is true that once those early-prog gaps are filled, they never quite feel genuine, with their defaced cover declaring 'Ferguson' in newsagent biro...   :)

Suppose some must have a stray 'Bobby Bolland' or 'Eric Ezquerra' just to confuse the droids at signings  :|
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 October, 2016, 08:40:10 pm
* Although I wasn't at uni, grandad
Ho-ho-ho. I may be older than some on here*, but I have always considered there are advantages to having been born when I was. e.g.

 - witnessing Liverpool's years of domination first hand**
 - listening to 80's music first hand**
 - watching 80's telly first hand**


but most importantly being of the right age to have read early 2000AD when it came out. ***

And I totally agree about Progs you didn't get at the time not feeling "yours"

* and I am sure there are "plenty" older than me. Well some anyway...by a couple of years at least
** yes I know if I was born at another time I would have been into something else or shock horror a different team
*** even though I missed the first couple of years, but that wasn't because I was the right age, just because I hadn't been introduced to it yet.




That's pretty much my own mental model*. 520-700 - the odd interregnum where painted colour cautiously, uncertainly replaced line art - is my own golden age

Yes I did toy with defining an era at Prog 589 when they introduced more colour, but if you do that then really you have to consider that the phoney war and that it really starts with Prog 626 and the first episode of the Horned God. A friend of mine at university also read 2000AD and I always remember his comment that he had never seen anything like it.****

But that then lead to the era of the Bisley clones, which wasn't necessary the best idea ever.


**** if a bit murky if we are being totally honest
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 October, 2016, 09:02:48 pm
Well this era thing is making fine reading. While this time I'm dividing by years I'm typically an 'in groups of 100' man myself. I do diverge in quieter moments to periods that are defined by my reading of the comic (though oddly my golden ages are normally defined by the times I've not read the comic regularly, which get an almost mythical presence in my mind... well until I've read them all).

So the early issues (up to around issue 100) are the defining age, when my brother first got the comic and its influence on the way I think and I things I enjoy can't be underestimeted. Then the early 200s until around 300, the second stint of our reading. Finally 416 - 1000 my longest stretch but there's too much change in that run to think of it as a consistent thing. So my thought processes normally default to 100s.

I'm currently only reading in years as its a more practical chunk to read in my 'reading / re-reading list' and makes for a nice way to reflect on the comic as I re-read and the times it fits into.

ANYWAY all this chat and this first comment

5) Golden Age. Mid 200s to 519 (last newspaper paper Prog).

has nicely segued into the question I've had lingering. My question is therefore... one which you must all answer damnit

When does the first Golden Age of 2000ad start?

My understanding is that commonly held opinion is that the first golden age of 2000ad starts some time in 1981. So as I approach by re-read of that year I'm intrigued to learn when people think this time (the golden age, not 1981 I can answer that one myself) started. What marked this period, can people pin it to a particular Prog? Maybe 222 or 224. Is it 228 or would some people even wait as late as 245? I'm particularly interested as I strongly suspect I won't agree ... which will make the whole reading of 1981 all the more interesting.

Its possibly the year I'm most looking forward to reading, even if I'm not sure it will be close to as good as one might hope? We'll see.

So yeah if you were there at the time, or not, when does the golden stuff get goin'?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 11 October, 2016, 09:24:05 pm
I don't think I've even asked myself that exact question, but... 178 (though I narrowly missed it at the time). The chrome logo appeared and the quality leapt accordingly. 222 and 224 are great but things were already cooking by then I'd say.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 11 October, 2016, 09:29:59 pm
You can't not include the 220s in any classic 2000AD definition. A ten prog slot that has the Gibbons-illustrated debut of Rogue Trooper and Bolland on Judge Death Lives? And you have Portrait of a Mutant running, plus Nemesis Bk1 kicking off. Add in Bellardinelli on Meltdown Man, some great Dredd shorts, and even the fairly lacklustre Mean Arena enlivened by some top-of-his-game work from Dillon.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 11 October, 2016, 10:21:23 pm
The First Golden Age starts with Prog 197.

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/197.jpg)

The temptation to go for the low-hanging fruit of 222 must be resisted, lest you miss Portrait of Mutant and Return to Armageddon by entirely. Yes, you get a lot of Mean Arena in those 6 months, but Dredd has Pirates of the Black Atlantic and the Crime Files running to compensate.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 11 October, 2016, 10:27:25 pm
And of course Unamerican Graffiti... Basically after 197 it's impossible to find a Prog that is less than great.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 October, 2016, 11:29:34 pm
You can't not include the 220s in any classic 2000AD definition. A ten prog slot that has the Gibbons-illustrated debut of Rogue Trooper and Bolland on Judge Death Lives? And you have Portrait of a Mutant running, plus Nemesis Bk1 kicking off. Add in Bellardinelli on Meltdown Man, some great Dredd shorts, and even the fairly lacklustre Mean Arena enlivened by some top-of-his-game work from Dillon.

The temptation to go for the low-hanging fruit of 222 must be resisted, lest you miss Portrait of Mutant and Return to Armageddon by entirely. Yes, you get a lot of Mean Arena in those 6 months, but Dredd has Pirates of the Black Atlantic and the Crime Files running to compensate.

Basically after 197 it's impossible to find a Prog that is less than great.

You know you are right..I was going to say 222 and I am pretty sure I have previously called out the 220's as the single greatest set of ten Progs of all time, but as you say prior to that there is just a load of totally amazing stuff and I guess your naming of 197 as the starting point ...well you could well be right.

But actually I am going to go with Fungus's call of 178... (at the risk of slightly contradicting my earlier post ) - total Judge Child awesomeness, Killer Watt, Death's Head leading into what I consider the golden age of Strontium Dog. Even before 197 we get stone cold classic Dredd's: Block War (probably the single best episode following a mega epic), Aggro Dome, Monkey Business at the Charles Darwin Block, Otto Sump's Ugly Clinic...Pirates of the Black Atlantic...before hitting the 200s and  UnAmerica Graffiti and then into the Crime Files as you call them ( I always thought they were called the Mega City Rackets)..then Judge Death Lives. Surely the strongest period of Dredd ever...well until we hit Tour of Duty and on into Day of Chaos.

As for other stuff in the early 200s, well surely there are the greatest future shocks of all time around this period - all by Alan Moore e.g. "The English/Phlondrutian Phrasebook" and The Last Rumble of the Platinum Horde - stories that have gone beyond the normal throw away nature of the future shock.

I have a question of my own - is it just me or do others find the Progs of this era more memorable than any others? I am not sure if it is just because they were relatively at the start of my 2000AD reading "career" and so my memory was less full of other Progs*, or because they were just the best Progs of all time.

(*It is a bit like when I owned only a handful of Albums, I could name every single track on every album I owned. Now I have far more I can't.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 12 October, 2016, 05:27:45 am

I have a question of my own - is it just me or do others find the Progs of this era more memorable than any others? I am not sure if it is just because they were relatively at the start of my 2000AD reading "career" and so my memory was less full of other Progs*, or because they were just the best Progs of all time.


I'm the same, the early 200's for me are some of the best and most memorable.  That said, I do have a strong recollection of the majority of the 200's.  Perhaps it was because of the time / age I was reading them.  I do agree though that it contained some of the strongest writing and artwork.  The Apocalypse War era was, for my money, marred by the overly comedic Robo Hunter run.

It's also been interesting following some of the comments about era's.  These largely mirror my own and for similar reasons.  The late 80's / early 90's saw a drop off during my RAF days with a brief dalliance down the Falklands during Judgement Day.  It wasn't really until the Pit that I returned fully and never looked back as the prog went from strength to strength, particularly under Rebellion's ownership.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 12 October, 2016, 12:51:41 pm
I wasn't reading at the time, but from re-reads and obsessing over Barney, I'd plump for Prog 178, too. Mean Arena is the weak link, but to be honest I don't know if there has ever been a seriously long stretch of Progs (the odd 5-10 Prog mini-streaks, maybe) that didn't have one less-then-superlative strip. And everything else was SO GOOD.

Picking the end Prog for this era is harder for me. 520? 600? 660, when we start getting Harlem Heroes, Dry Run and so on?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 12 October, 2016, 12:59:41 pm
Picking the end Prog for this era is harder for me. 520? 600? 660, when we start getting Harlem Heroes, Dry Run and so on?

Just out of interest, I skipped forward on Barney by 100 progs, or roughly two years, and the 320s into the 330s is just as strong, with top quality Dredd, great Moore shorts, Skizz, Cam Kennedy Rogues, Gibson Robo-Hunter, then Skizz giving way to Slaine, Dredd serving up Cry of the Werewolf, then Nemesis and Strontium Dog coming back into the line-up just as McMahon makes his Slaine debut.

Surely, Prog 335 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=335) has to be a contender for strongest prog in the title's history?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 12 October, 2016, 01:56:44 pm
Good shout. Dredd, Slaine, Nemesis, Stront at or near their peaks ( My Top 4 all time thrills).

When the weakest strip is Rogue Trooper you know it's a good Prog. But those others elevate it to the stratosphere.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 12 October, 2016, 02:54:35 pm
Last time the Best Prog Ever subject came up I think 335 took the honours. In an unscientific, no votes cast as such, wandering thread, kind of a way. Can't think of a better prog, offhand.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 October, 2016, 05:57:35 pm
Surely, Prog 335 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=335) has to be a contender for strongest prog in the title's history?

Okay, I'm not sure about either of these but just to add to the mix how about

Prog 626
http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=626 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=626)

or

Prog 1634
http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 12 October, 2016, 06:05:49 pm


Prog 1634
http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634)
Oh my WORD that is a rather magnificent line up. It's saying something when Savage back when I gave a damn about it, was the poorest thing in the prog.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: SuperSurfer on 12 October, 2016, 10:08:56 pm
Surely, Prog 335 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=335) has to be a contender for strongest prog in the title's history?

Features The Moses Incident – in my opinion the finest Strontium Dog story that graced the pages of 2000AD. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 13 October, 2016, 01:21:30 am
I have a question of my own - is it just me or do others find the Progs of this era more memorable than any others? I am not sure if it is just because they were relatively at the start of my 2000AD reading "career" and so my memory was less full of other Progs*, or because they were just the best Progs of all time.

(*It is a bit like when I owned only a handful of Albums, I could name every single track on every album I owned. Now I have far more I can't.)


A good deal of that is just because it's when you started reading it.  I feel exactly the same about the era about two and a half years later (I'd have been a bit young to read Tooth in the time period you describe).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 13 October, 2016, 01:31:45 am
Last time the Best Prog Ever subject came up I think 335 took the honours. In an unscientific, no votes cast as such, wandering thread, kind of a way. Can't think of a better prog, offhand.


About the third or fourth prog I ever bought (the first one I bought was 330 and for some reason I missed a few weeks - perhaps I'd only ever got non-sequential comics* before then and wasn't in the habit of having to buy them every week).  No wonder I was hooked and am still reading thirty-three years later!


*Beano / Dandy / Whizzer and Chips / etc - they have issue numbers but you don't miss anything if you don't read every issue in order.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 October, 2016, 09:33:16 pm
So Steve Dillons' passing is dominating my thoughts and since I'm reading the Progs around the time he started working on the  Galaxies Greatest I wondered if I'd stumble into one of those funny things and stumble across the issues he first appeared in tonight.

I didn't.

But he was still in my thoughts and it made me reflect on a post I was going to write the other day and didn't get around to and that being about John Richardson. Tonight it seems strangly fitting so here I go. See reading the start of Mean Arena it has real ups and downs, the story has such potential but doesn't really fulfil it, washing around all over the place and lacking direction and focus. The one thing that is constant and positive and very surprising is the art. I'm really, really enjoying John Richardson's art on the strip. Its superb.

The thing is even though I've read this series before, back in the day and a few years ago on re-read I still don't expect his art, nor for it to be around for so long. Now that's no slight on Mr Richardson. He's good, he's really good. Rather its testament to Steve Dillon. Who though on the strip for far less time leaves his mark on it in such a way that I can't think beyond his work on the series. Steve Dillon's work is so great on it it drowns out John Richardsons.

The aim of this post when first conceived was to redemn Richardson's art and highlight its brilliance. Now alas that's changed and regardless of how great his art is all I'm thinking about again is that Steve Dillon's was so supreme that still it dominates my idea of the strip.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 October, 2016, 09:16:17 pm
So early 206 and for some the Golden age is here. I have to disagree... just. Certainly up to issue 200 the Prog has some real highs and the lows are getting smoothed out. Nothing is unreadably bad. Dredd with some stone old classics starting 1981 with The Fink and Return to Armegeddon is great. When Strontium Dog is in the Prog things are top notch too, The Bad Boys Bust a superb short and one of my favourite Johnny Alpha stories, so much squeezed into 4 short parts. But Mean Arena is, art aside, just all over the place and I don't warm to Meltdown Man as much as others (I'll be returning to this and Armageddon next time as I've been trying to work out why I love one so much and the other not at all). Some cute Tharg shorts too. Nothing is terrible, but its not quite golden

So we get to Prog 200 and I start to see why people think that might mark the Golden Age. While the shorts that run up to 200 are great and one, one of my all time favourites (mnetioned above) Portrait of the Mutant starting in 200 is probably my favourite Strontium Dog story ever. Its wonderful stuff. Dredd continues to be at an absolute peak and Return to Armgeddon just gets better and better. Okay so Meltdown Man continues on its aimless way so its down to a run of one offs which I thought might be better, but is pretty hit and miss. See I thought this was when Alan Moore really started to turn in the Future Shocks, but not quite and the one's not by him have been quite week.

So yeah I can certainly see why some might mark these early 200 issues as the start of the Golden Age, but for me 3 solid golld strips just ain't enough and since Meltdown man ain't working for me we're not there yet. But we're getting close...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 October, 2016, 10:17:15 pm
Return to Armageddon vs. Meltdown Man

Okay so best to set my stall out early... well in case anyone has missed my whittering to this point.

Return to Armageddon > Meltdown Man

in fact

Return to Armageddon >>>>>>>>> Meltdown Man

But what's intriguing me is why? Clearly these things a quite subjective and so I'm not sure why I'm worrying about this. The answer is probably just - I really prefer RtA - why over analysis... thing is we're fanboys over analysisings what we love... well some more than others and I hope I'm not as bad as... well okay I'll not go there, but for some reason this particular fanboy worry is really bugging me.

Why these two cases, well I see so much in common with the two. Both are long rambling epics, often lurching from one thing to the next. Both are written by writers deep in IPC's ranks from the 70s, but not ever reaching the heights of star (I'd suggest). Both are drawn by artists with incredibly strong, distinct, individual styles. Both have action plots but with a thread of humour running underneath. Finally both have a strong following with those that know them. So why do I love one and not the other?

Cos I do... nah I think its more than that. I think the stories feel like they are both of the old skool, a tradition that 2000ad is moving kids comics away from and while they have that I feel one absorbs the DNA of a 2000ad story better. Its darker and while chaotic, it holds itself together far more successfully. MMan feels like its strongly planted in the stories of old. Its villians are slight and pantomine. In RtA the villian is delicous, if straightforward, but also pushed back so other rotters flow up and take there place allowing 'the Dark One' to remain infallible - while Leeshar and his crew in MMan are allowed to fail time and again and thus lose their credibility.

Our heroes are both fun. Nick Stone of MMan is the gruff hardman 2000ad has used well so often, but I'll come back later to why I don't think he works too well. Amtrak in fantastically atypical a lot of the time. For the first section absent (or a baby), for the mid section a melting mess and only in the final act finally a blonde haired, blue eyed (I assume) hero... though even then he spends lots of his time being rescued by his rich and varied supporting task.

As for the stories I think RtA works while MMan fails as its made of a wonderful, diverse selection of short stories craftily weaved together and thus the story, while spralling at all times feels fresh and interesting. It never gets tired. Its always offering something new and compelling and somehow, miraculously coherant. MMan follows one story seemingly endlessly, wobbling from one idea to the next, its long time in the Prog being made to feel like a burden, obliging the creators to cram another idea into the single sized pot.

RtA also feels more 2000ad to me, its genuinely dark at times, different and gripping, the humour is jet back. MMan has clearly been filtered through the 2000ad template but doesn't seem to have been able to shake off its it IPC children's comics origins and the humour is more slapstick and clumsy.

Finally I think my prefence is rooted in the art. Jesus Redondo is a real favourite of mine and he suits the strips tone perfectly. Delievering fantastic panels of grim black lines, scratching out the dark world the story is creating. Yet when he needs to he delivers beauty and clarity. His storytelling and characters acting is perfect. Belardinelli I'm a lot less keen on and while he too is a perfect choice for the strip (almost) there lies the problem. He creates a wonderful world and allows the natural environment within it pulse with chaotic energy. The problem is his central human characters feel two dimensional and the acting stiff and lifeless. Nick Stone, as mentioned above, therefore doesn't work as well as he might and looks gruff, but actually not that hard, whatever we are told about him. I appreciate that many disagree.

So yeah I'm fascinated as to why I have such vastly different opinions about these two peers. I can think of many reason why Return to Armageddon is better than Meltdown Man. In the end though is it just subjective? I do wonder if I look at the art and judge from there? I don't think so, but its possible. I do wonder however if the artists were swapped on the stories would my opinion change also? We'll never know... but its fun to over analysis isn't it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 01 November, 2016, 11:48:02 am
First of all I am surprised no-one has commented on this - I would have thought there would be a lot of discussion on this. For me they were two of the formative 2000AD stories but as with my views on when the golden age was that is probably because of when I started reading the Prog.

In order to put forward my views I will need to slightly break my own rule as I have only the-read RtA and not MM ( I bought it in the half price sale but haven't got round to it yet).

So anyway...

I always preferred Meltdown Man to RtA. As with Colin I think that the art was a lot to do with that but the other way round.

Redondo's art I felt always had a scrathy feel to it, that I don't like, where as Belardinelli was always nice and clean and he is great and this sort of fantasy setting.

On re-reading RtA I was struck by now little the Destroyer actually appears. That was not what I remembered. I always found him a deeply horrifying villan. That is probably another reason I preferred Meltdown Man as I prefer fantasy (and sci-if) to horror.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 01 November, 2016, 12:07:44 pm
I came to both stories in weird, small chunks in Quality COmics reprints (2000AD Showcase, I think it was called). Meaning I read random epsiodes and not always in order, and certainly not from the beginning. I was hooked by both, but at the time I inherently warmed to Meltdown Man more because it was a LOT easier to follow in any given episode. I found it much easier to understand who each character was and their motivations, while RtA was mega confusing.

When I finally amassed the relevant progs to read both serials through properly, I initially stuck with MM as the better, more asatisfying story, whil RtA just had an annoying cop-out ending. On later re-reads, though, I'm all over RtA, mostly for the reasons Colin suggests. It's just more classically 2000AD, full of weird ideas, twists and truns, and a host of characters with more layers than just good and evil (although the animals with stereotypical traits is well done by Hebden in MM). I've even grown to like the ending, which works better the more I read it, what with the theme of the endless cycle of birth, death and the whole Universe.

MM, meanwhile, becomes just a bit too long. I actually enjoy it more just reading random episodes rather than slogging through the whole thing. Dare I say it, it's a wee bit childish. The art on both is superb, and there's some great dialogue in both, too, so I wouldn't write MM off. Pretty sure I'd have loved it had I read it as it came out, it's certianly one of those series where you invest in the characters and just want to see the story through, even though you know it can only really have one ending. The mid-story reveal is a blinder, I'll give it that, too.

Just recently I had hoped that Brink would be a series that dared to follow the model of just going on and on forever, with a long unfolding plot but I guess that's not how it works these days, and instead we'll get 2-3 books over a few years. Honestly, these 21st century artists and their need for a reasonable work/life balance.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 01 November, 2016, 12:28:53 pm
One of these days I'll finally re-read these stories and I remain curious which will work better. What I do remember is that missing the absolute start of MM, and intricate art of Belardinelli made it slightly incomprehensible. While RTA possibly had a richer plot, so week on week needed more attention paid. RTA wins, but To Be Confirmed.

At the time, Dredd, Alpha and even Mean Arena felt like the heart of the prog. As we know, a re-read now could change all that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 01 November, 2016, 01:34:44 pm
I always loved Meltdown Man, from when I had the odd prog with an episode her and there to when I had the complete run and could read it in one sitting, which I've done a few times.  In fact, I found my copies of 2000AD Extreme with the Cliff Robinson covers and had to stop myself from reading past the fifth episode, as I had other things to do (like my prog slog which is still in the twenties!)
I've read all of Return to Armageddon in the progs, but not sure I've ever dug out the progs and only read that story - something I had done with Meltdown Man before I had the story collected in reprint form.

What do I like about it?  The artwork is some of Belardinelli's best; the concept of eugenically modified lifeforms based on animals being oppressed; names like 'Caleb the Camelman'; the human buildings; the yujee buildings that reveal (plus the clue given to readers a few progs earlier).

Not enough maps in stories these days - not even in Judge Dredd, which used to be the most likely to feature a map!

I'll reserve judgement on Armageddon until I've re-read the story - love Redondo's artwork, though not to the extent I do Belardinelli's - sorry, Jesus!*  I'm not religious but like use of Genesis and Revelations imagery** as plot-fodder as much as the next person.

*great to see he's still working in British and American comics - prefer his black and white stuff though, even now.

**other books do exist, but page for page, G&R get the highest STN ratio :)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 November, 2016, 09:15:49 pm
 Just read the conclusion of RtA and its MUCH more satisfying than I remember. Okay the its all a game played by little children is all a bit Star Trek cliche but somehow The Dark Evilly One's final fate is very satisfying. Amtrak's heroic find battle seems utterly fitting and his sense of futlity at the end even more so. Its all really rather good and to be honest RtA really is an unheralded classic. I mean its well regarded but its not normally regarded as being up there.

In other news Colin Wilson really is in my top 5 Dredd artists. His work is stunning.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Grant Goggans on 05 November, 2016, 07:23:12 am
Now in 1980 I'm pretty sure the 30p difference in price between the Dredd and the 2000ad annual would have bought you a decent family car, but it, even to my 8 year old mind, would surely have been worth it for the Mike McMahon art over those 30 pages.

I just wanted to say that I bought the complete Sweeney on DVD earlier this year and a few episodes have some scenes at dodgy used car dealers.  I'm fascinated by the prices of cars in the 1970s.  Colin's statement may read like hyperbole, but it's actually true.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 November, 2016, 08:29:58 am
I just wanted to say that I bought the complete Sweeney on DVD earlier this year and a few episodes have some scenes at dodgy used car dealers.  I'm fascinated by the prices of cars in the 1970s.  Colin's statement may read like hyperbole, but it's actually true.

Now Mr Goggans could you please stop suggesting I talk sense, we know that way leds to maddess!

Anyway I reach Prog 222 and a very significent Prog as it sees the start of Nemesis the Warlock. Looking back almost 40 years its hard to get a proper perspective on quite how astonishing this must have been. I was there, its lodged in my mind but I'm not going to pretend my memories of the impact of this story haven't been filter through the 36 years its influenced. Beyond the astonishing visiuals, glorious, sharp and ugly in all the right places, its so dark. 2000ad is of course dark, we've just finished Return to Armageddon, but surely Nemesis takes it to a whole new level? Its the perfect summation of the way 2000ad has been developing, so very anti-authoritarian, so darkly funny, so densely packed yet easy to read, so superbly realised and yes so thrilling in just the 4 pages we have a very clear vision of why The Galaxy's Greatest has survived so long while so many others - an entire industry - as fallen away. Just wonderful.

It does all this with the confidence that the comic as a whole shows at this point. Its achieves all with ownly the bariest mention the two main characters so loved from the stories short (in terms of pages) development.

Even comparing it to the rest of the Prog, a great Tharg story full of dark comedy, a neat, beautiful Future Shock, a Dredd ending a great run of stories with an admitedly slightly lousey ending and the comparitively childish Mean Arena and Meltdown Man - though again both at least having something of the comics potential in the art - good though some of this stuff is none of it can stand close to Mills and O'Neill's masterpiece. Yes even the Wagner and Grant Dredd seems to take a dip as if to add special emphasis on this!

For this reason, while the start of Nemesis marks a line in the sand, clearly shows what the previous 221 progs have been building towards, surely what surrounds it and how much it stands out demonstrate that we're not quite there yet, we're not quite golden? But we can see very clearly where we're going.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 06 November, 2016, 12:03:48 pm
Yes I have been waiting for you to reach this point. Prog 222, the first episode of Nemesis proper.

Surely the single greatest opening episode of any 2000AD story. Ever.*

37 years on, it is still awesome.

I can't imagine it ever being bettered.

* except when you reach the mid 300s I might have to qualify this a bit. It's a bit like my favourite band - it depends on who I am listening to at the time.

BTW I have started my Meltdown Man re-read. 5 episodes in and I am enjoying it immensely - some overly clunky explanatory dialogue notwithstanding. But so far I still maintain MM >> RtA & MB >>>>JR.  :lol:
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 November, 2016, 12:19:37 pm

Surely the single greatest opening episode of any 2000AD story...

It's bold, it's brash but that statement might just be right. I'll try to bare it in mind as the reread continues. Off the top of my head I can't think of a challenger.

Might even forgive the herasary for as Torque himself said

Be Pure
BE VIGIANT
Be a bigger fan of JR than MB
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 November, 2016, 08:20:59 pm
Okay so Prog 224 then...

Well Wagner and Grant weren't going to be held in check for long were they. 224 sees them and Dredd back on truly scintillating form as Brian Bolland produced some eye meltingly detailed art as 'Judge Death Lives!'. Add to that Strontium Dog returning and while its no  Portrait of a Mutant, The Gronk Affair is fun and I've always had haunted memories of the glutonous villians swallowing the cooked gronk. Nemesis of course continues to be devine and add to that a lovely Future Shock and we're there aren't we?

Okay Meltdown Man thrashes towards its increasingly chaotic conclusion, but even that serves as a reminder of the simpler time's that 2000ad came from and how twisted that's become.

So yeah maybe I'd go for this as the single issue to signify the age we're entering. Even the Nerve Centre is on the inside cover where I always expect to find it and hadn't been for quite some time.

What's left now of course is to see how golden I think this age is. Something I have lingering doubts about.

Oh and in other news since last Prog (223) the Prog has doubled in price in its 4 years history to this point. Gosh you forget how hard these times were. Mind Raiders featured in 224, Time Bandit adverts running in the Prog alongside Clash of the Titan cartoon trialers (used to love those things) I reckon my 9 year old brain was too distracted by these economic challenges! Thank heavens my parents could find the 16p.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 06 November, 2016, 08:54:57 pm
Nemesis of course continues to be devine

The Arches (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Devine) deviant:


(http://treesureisland.co.uk/acatalog/cw227.gif)(http://ma.cdnmonster.com/files/al/4L4/2u5INay7ZV.jpg)
(https://img.discogs.com/fSWtSloxowPjcEEyJ1pyyWv-C0w=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-3814662-1345750490-1544.jpeg.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51QN8FCME3L.jpg)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 November, 2016, 08:19:04 pm
Okay two things from Prog 228.

First though I'm no Rogue Trooper fan I was plesently surprised how strong the first episode was. Wonderful art aside which I knew it was full of violent mystery. Really enjoyed it.

Secondly while I know 'Fist of Dredd' is widely regarded as the single greatest panel in the comics history how great is 'I am the nemesis - I am the warlock - I am the shape of things to come.' It's a folly to pretend it's better than 'Fist of Dredd' but it's damned close isn't it... damned, damned close.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 November, 2016, 09:28:23 pm
So by Prog 234 I've realised that the slow and steady build up to the Golden Age has dulled my senses. My Thrillnodes have been slowly bloated to the point of not realising how good the comic has become.

Prog 234 really hammers this home. See its far form the perfect Prog, Nemesis is having its break to allow Kev O'Neill to stun the Galaxy with his frankly unparalleled art. Strontium Dog has left us for the time being, while Mean Arena has found an entirely unsuitable artist in Eric Bradbury, whose work I normally love, here I just don't get on with it. Rogue's back and its already getting grating and formulaic. There is of course treasure. A fun Future Shock by one A. Moore, some great Dredd and Ace Trucking is really finding its stride in its third episode.

Its the weaker stuff that reveals quite how good the Prog is though. Rogue Trooper is simple but looks great and at least has some great ideas. Mean Arena is tough, its just a bit drifty and lacks any kind of focus, its characters offering you little. But this poor stuff is no Angel, no Disaster 1990, in earlier Progs, surrounded by weaker great material would I have embraced their weaknesses more? I think so, I think I've read and enjoyed weaker materials than this in earlier issues.

The comics has created a new context for its stories, over the last 50 or so issues the Galaxies Greatest has proved its no mere  inflated claim and so reading it is changing as well. Even in this condensed reading I'm being pulled up as a reader, without realising and my expectations are changing and the standards I'm judging things by changing... I probably should have saved this for my end of year summary, but I think this incredible shift worth mentioning now as its taken the weakest issue for a while to make the quality so clear.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 November, 2016, 08:11:27 pm
2000ad 1981

So if 1980 saw the Prog find its balance, if it didn't quite find it heights 1981 put that to bed. If 1980 saw the Galaxies Greatest become far more consistant than it had been in past - well since its opening line-up anyway -  it was was consistant where as 1981 has had the solid baseline AND had some quite astonishing peaks.

So yeah in 1981 2000ad truly becomes the Galaxies Greatest Comic.

Its a commonly held belief and almost a cliche amongst fans but I must admit I was a little surprised quite how taken I've been. I mean I knew the highs were there I mean 1981 had the very best strips (beyond Dredd) the comics every had. Consider.

Return to Armageddon
Portrait of a Mutant
Ace Trucking's fantastic start (and I emphasize start there I suspect I might be back to this point next 'year'
Nemesis the chuffin' mind blowing Warlock
Perfect Dredd

So yeah the the highs are clear and obvious. The thing that's made this year more special is the lows are so much better than I expected. They are still lows but they all say so much about where the Prog has risen to. Meltdown Man was doing my head in by the end but it was wonderfully chaotic and had much to enjoy, Mean Arena is a weak thrill but again its classicly 2000ad for that. Nicely grim and dirty, if not always executed too well. Rogue Trooper, a strip I really don't enjoy that much actually gets off to a much better start than I remember. There are some episodes, particularly the first, that I actively liked. The strip is already creaking a bit and the blandness of Rogue himself shines through from the off. Still though it almost always looks stunning and the world of Nu Earth is delightfully crazy and thrilling.

So yeah the comic comes of golden age. The question is now can 1982 sustain it?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 November, 2016, 10:10:11 pm
1982 Annuals

Well 2000ad is getting better and the Dredd one ain't as good as the 1981 one but its still pretty stella... not much else to say is there really!

Okay a little. The 1982 2000ad annual is at least making an effort and has some pretty nice strips. A great Steve Parkhouse Future Shock, a brill Bolland Dredd and more besides. Its still got a lot a filler. It was BRILLIANT filler in the day. I was so excited about having the early Flesh and MACH 1 again when I first has this as a kid and our original Progs had gone. Now though its filler. So the 2000ad annual is beginning to realise that quality can pay but its still not in the league of the Dredd annual.

As for the Dredd annual there is once again three magnificent McMahon stories (lower page count alas) and they are stunning. The rest though, while not bad, ain't as good as the simply glorious stuff in the king of annuals the year before. Still its a bit wonderful.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 23 November, 2016, 11:05:38 pm
There was always this odd disconnect with the annuals after the Dredd ones were introduced… the 2000AD ones were 128 (?) pages and felt padded, whilst the Dredd ones at 96 (?) felt lean and focussed. Having three full colour Dredds by the same artist really tied those Dredd annuals together, obviously helped by the fact that the contributions by McMahon, then Ezquerra, were quite brilliant.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 December, 2016, 09:22:16 pm
Well early steps into 1982 and I'm plesently surprised. Oh sure some things are as you'd expect. Dredd is quite superb as the Apocolypse War hits the invasion of Mega City 1, things have been quite supremely grim for Dredd and co. Nemesis Book 2 still remains an undervalued gem of a story. Mean Arena is still a bit (lot) rubbish).A little surprise with ACE Trucking as it remains immense fun and I'm enjoying it more than I remember. Always had fond memories of the series, but remember on my last read finding it disappointing at times.

The big surprise is I'm not hating Rogue Trooper though. Its relatively early days on the strip and it does have considerable problems. Any story doesn't really survive any close examination. Rogue is still a rubbish, flat led BUT last time the read the series I found it an absolute chore and skip vast chunks, before skipping it all together. This time I find I'm better able to ignore its problems and enjoy it for what it is, while gloring in its visuals.

I think the main reason is my current re-read is being done Prog to Prog, rather than story to story and the break in reading a poor story to read the rest of a Prog rather than slogging through helps diminish the impact of problems. In the past when I've read one strip in one go, issues are magnified as they build over episode to episode. Read 'properly' the opposite seems to happen and my concerns are diluted.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 05 December, 2016, 12:21:14 pm
I remember the really early Rogue Troper stories as being genuinely poignant in their treatment of the horrors of war; more horrifynig because we never really know what either side is fighting for, if anything, although we do know that Nu-Earth is just one battleground - not even teh home planet of most of the soldiers. Later, longer storylines get more caught up in action narratives but for me this basic facet of the strip managed to hold all the way through until Re-Gene, by which point it really was all about rogue himself, who, as you say, is a little flat.

They never did explain how Rogue is so well-adjusted, despite being, in a way, about 5 years old and with no experience of life outside a military training camp or a war world. Gibbons 'War Machine' did attempt to look at this; Fleisher's Friday series did not.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 December, 2016, 08:59:51 pm
A couple of snappy questions.

Firstly why the hell isn't Nemesis Book 2 hailed as the classic it is? Sure it doesn't have Kev O'Neill art but damnit Jesus Redondo is as good a replacement as you could hope for  and double damnit its a bloody fantastic story.

Secondly, how many times does Joe Black appear? I don't really remember the character, which would seem odd given I must have read these stories numerous times  by now... well okay not so odd given they are pretty flat BUT bloomin' heck he's on his fourth or fifth story, all with great John Higgins art, you'd have thought he'd have made more of an impression?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 09 December, 2016, 10:19:20 pm
Firstly why the hell isn't Nemesis Book 2 hailed as the classic it is? Sure it doesn't have Kev O'Neill art but damnit Jesus Redondo is as good a replacement as you could hope for  and double damnit its a bloody fantastic story.

I'm with you on this. I thought Redondo's rendition of all the major characters was fantastic (Purity… oh, those cheekbones!) and the story was smart and affecting. Redondo also draws great giant spiders and Steve Potter's lettering manages to be innovative whilst still being clean and legible.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 10 December, 2016, 08:50:56 am
Firstly why the hell isn't Nemesis Book 2 hailed as the classic it is? Sure it doesn't have Kev O'Neill art but damnit Jesus Redondo is as good a replacement as you could hope for  and double damnit its a bloody fantastic story.

I'm with you on this. I thought Redondo's rendition of all the major characters was fantastic (Purity… oh, those cheekbones!) and the story was smart and affecting. Redondo also draws great giant spiders and Steve Potter's lettering manages to be innovative whilst still being clean and legible.
I loved Redondo's depiction of Novala as well (the would-be human colony planet which had become overgrown and first featured in Olric's Great Quest).  Not to mention Sister Alvit and the Vestal Vampires playing charades :-)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 10 December, 2016, 09:44:47 am
For me it is all relative. Book 2 is merely a solid adventure story, whereas book 1 was a true wow moment. Book 3 was a continuation of book 1 really. Books 3,4, 5 and 6 took it into a whole other gothic nightmare direction. After that I'm not so sure.

Book 2 feels like a inessential detour on the route from Book 1 to Book 3.

So nothing wrong with book 2, it just suffers in comparison, in my opinion, when matched against stuff which is some of the very best 2000AD has ever published.

Redondo and Talbot always drew a better Torquemada for me than O'Neill, managing to get expressions out of his helmet in a way that O'Neill never did. But the look of Nemesis, Termight, the Terminators and the Aliens created by O'Neill, well there were just amazing.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 December, 2016, 08:59:00 pm
Redondo and Talbot always drew a better Torquemada for me than O'Neill, managing to get expressions out of his helmet in a way that O'Neill never did. But the look of Nemesis, Termight, the Terminators and the Aliens created by O'Neill, well there were just amazing.

Ha - that's interesting cos one of the many reasons I really like O'Neill's Nemesis is the cold emotionless face that he gives The Warlock more often than not. It makes him feel unreadable and adds to his intrigue. I love much about the work Redondo and Talbot add to the series but this specific is one of their weaker elements for me!

Anyway to other matters, read 259 and aside from the shock that I'm already 5 years into my re-read (based on issue numbers as the comc is at this time) its really interesting that this issue starts with two comedy strips, Robo-Hunter, followed by ACE Trucking. Both not bad one off epsisodes, but their placing felt really off, especially when you are thrown straight from them into the gloriously grim Apocalypse War. Its not the best Prog as its an early example of a fuller issue before a 'Jumping On Prog' but this is slightly exaggerated by this curious strip placement. Goes to show, just like the tracks on an album, the order of strips in the comics can play into how good a piece of work it is regardless of the individual elements that make it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 December, 2016, 09:19:36 pm
Couple more quick points of note:

Prog 261 - Greatest cliffhanger EVER right. I remember how long it felt between Progs very specifically due to this one. A week of my 10 year old mind trying to thing... how, how, HOW does Dredd survivie that one!

Hpw great is the run of Brit Cit Robo-Hunter, having read The Beast of Blackheart Manor and start of Filby Case its clear that the strip works better in short doses (see start of Day of the Driods)

A story I'd completely forgotten 'Alec Trench - Zombie' 263 + 4, I think see Ron Smith being Jack Kirby'd, Jack famously has this drawing of Superman's face replaced when drawing Jimmy Olsen. Does the same happen to Ron Smith's Tharg here. All the images of Tharg in the intros and end panels just don't fit and I reckon they are Robin Smith's (Art Editor at the time). I wonder what was wrong with Ron's Tharg?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 11 December, 2016, 11:31:38 pm
Ooo, I wonder is this potential sleight the secret origin of the 'Rob Smith' nose Ron draws in Citizen Snork?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 December, 2016, 09:41:09 pm
Ooo, I wonder is this potential sleight the secret origin of the 'Rob Smith' nose Ron draws in Citizen Snork?

Well bless uou for wading through my unreadable nonsense BUT heavens to Betsy my inability to type coherantly annoys me at times.

A story I'd completely forgotten 'Alec Trench - Zombie' 263 + 4, I think I CAN see Ron Smith being Jack Kirby'd, Jack famously has HAD this HIS drawingS of Superman's face replaced when drawing the comic Jimmy Olsen. Does the same THING happen to Ron Smith's Tharg here. ? All the images of Tharg in the intros and end panels just don't fit and I reckon they are Robin Smith's (Art Editor at the time). I wonder what was wrong with Ron's Tharg?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 December, 2016, 09:42:07 pm
Fuckin' hell - bless YOU - 3/10 Taylor please re-read what you scribble!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 15 December, 2016, 11:24:12 am
Those early Robo Hunter in Brit Cit stories are some of my favourite ever comics ever. Shame it lost its way with the longer runs. I have read these Progs on a re-read once in the past, but really my exposure to a lot of this golden age stuff - Ace Trucking, Robo Hunter, Nemesis, various Future Shocks - was all through the Best of 2000AD Monthly. So I never had a problem with the pacing / story sequence you've observed. I do remember the interminable wait between episodes of Necropolis, when I first became a weekly-Prog devourer. I can image your Apocalypse cliffhanger agony!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 December, 2016, 09:07:30 pm
Those early Robo Hunter in Brit Cit stories are some of my favourite ever comics ever.

Have to say you're not wrong. Just finished 'The Filby Case' and its probably my favourite Robo-hunter story to date (I suspected it would be going in) and it really is glorious comics. Quite a superb, well timed, supremely executed short. Devine.

If it wasn't for Mean Arena's seemingly endless run, I always remember it being a chore after the first few stories, but by gosh i didn't remember it going on quite as relentlessly as this and Rogue Trooper starting to show its true colours in 'All Hell on the Dix-I Front' (mind still not as bad as I remember it fair to say) the Prog would be knocking it out the park. With ACE Trucking and Dredd Wagner and Grant are on fine comic form. The others, while weak, at least give balance in tone and there's alwasy a nice future shock or two to give the comic balance.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 January, 2017, 09:14:07 pm
So the X-mas holidays slowed me up some but I'm getting to the end if 1982... or was it Mean Arena that was slowing me. I mean it went on FOREVER, for-bloody-ever. By the end it was just hideous... but its over... at last.

One problem out the way but next I land full into the racist sterotypes in 'Football Crazy' and the terrible thing is I don't mind them. Sam Slade has been absolutely fantastic, this run of stories has been even better this time around, and yes the representation of the Japanese in the latest story is pretty shocking... by todays standards. I'm not going to excuse them by suggesting its okay cos the parody is savage on all fronts. That really doesn't work as the way the Japanese characters are presented is based on pretty pathetic racial slurs. The thing is however I'm completely unaffected by that as I've read them some many times during a time when we didn't care and to that end I'm immune to it all. In the same way I am to Mammy Two Shoes in Tom and Jerry. They have become wallpaper. The same thing done now I'd be appalled (that Strontium Dog story recently got very close to the bone) but here they wash over me.

I'm not sure what that says about me but there you go.

The 1982 Special ain't too good either.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 January, 2017, 04:00:59 pm
All the talk of Strontium Dog elsewhere has reminded me of something I meant to say a while back and ever since BUT the strip always surprises me with its lack of regularity. I always think of it as such a mainstay that I'm always surprised when it is disappears for so long, so often. Clearly Carlos was very busy in 1982 with Dredd and that explains its absense... doesn't stop it surprising me...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 10 January, 2017, 10:39:50 am
Ezquerra, Belardinelli and Gibson were just staggeringly prodigious during this time. Between the three of them it's as if they were juggling strips and very rarely missing a week. I think all of them had something in either 2000AD, Starlord or Tornado practically every issue from the beginning til around Prog 500. Mental. Makes me wonder if they really were droids, it's an inhuman combination of craft and work ethic!

(You won't see any more Stront for a while, but when it comes back, you'll see it nearly every week for years to come!)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 January, 2017, 09:26:39 pm
2000ad 1982

So the byword for 1982 is consistency. Bloody hell the Prog has been consistant. For the vast majority of the year the Prog has consisted of just 6 thrills being:

Dredd (of course)
Rogue Trooper
Mean Arena
Robo Hunter
Ace Trucking
Future Shocks (or associated shorts that might not have exactly been Future Shocks but fall into that wheel house)

At the start we has a glorious Nemesis story and by the end Harry 20 on High Rock has joined in, but that aside that's pretty much it. That's pretty incredible when you think about it, certainly compared to say the last ten years, when we've had many stories that feel like they've had many one 10-12 part story per year. Even things like Sinister Dexter and Nikolai Dante the last stories that spring to mind, with anything like that sort of regularly are either gone or on a go slow.

So yeah its interesting and makes the decision on whether you think 1982 has been a golden year pretty straight forward, do you like those strips? Well do you?

For me is been okay, not Golden. See Dredd has been superb, Robo-Hunter has been glorious (until... we'll get to that), Future Shocks have been by and large fun and provide at least some variation, ACE Trucking is not up there but consistently fun and entertaining. I've found Rogue Trooper more tolerable than I have before... tolerable being the word though (until... we'll get to that) and Mean Arena was a bloody chore, an endless chore at that.

So on paper not too bad you'd think, I mean this reading of Rogue still exposes the strips real, deep weaknesses but its looked great and I've almost enjoyed it at times. So one middling at best and one poor strip aside its been pretty good right... well no see its missed one of the Galaxy's Greatest's key strengths the variety. Its lacked that quick step, that bounce. The bad strips are better, or more engaging when they don't hang around, the good strip more thrilling when they leave you gasping for their return, its all so much fresher.

By the end of 1982 this is really showing. ACE has been pushed aside and probably just it time, it was begining to lose it lustre, Rogue Trooper is becoming the almost unreadable mess I remember with Neuropia following on from the weak Dix-i or whatever they were all called. Even the glorious Robo-Hunter is singing its way to a bit of a low. Mean Arena finally crawled away and dies in a corner... so yeah 1982 had a real consistancy, which I have called for in the past (the past of the current reflection on the past if you follow) but maybe I didn't mean quite like this.

Still the changes are clearly coming and to be honest I'm more than ready for them... as I recall they're going to be pretty bloody exciting too... can't wait for 1983.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 14 January, 2017, 02:17:20 pm
Well 1982 was the year of the Apocalypse War. When you have a Dredd story like that everything else is going to seem somewhat pedestrian afterwards.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 January, 2017, 08:27:47 pm
Annuals 1983

So the convergence in quality continues. The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

The Dredd annual is still comfortably ahead, but that gap is closing. Swap Carlos for Mike McMahon as the artist on three Dredd's and you'd think they'd be little drop in quality. Trouble is the stories aren't as strong, I'd forgotten all about the proto Helter Skelter in here, which is pretty surprising. The rest of the book is dropping in quality too. There's more filler and the text and 'back up ' stories are quite as good.

Really intrigued to see if the 2000ad ever catch the Dredds... I just can't remember... we'll see 'next year'

Happy 1983 fellow boarders, I'll see you in the New Year.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 January, 2017, 09:12:48 pm
Annuals 1983

...The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

Well my perennial dumb assedness meant I forgot to mention the glorious origin of Blitzspear... dumbass its bloody fantastic!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 January, 2017, 09:05:11 pm
Well 1983 starts pretty slowly. Dredd shines, but Robo-hunter sings itself into a bit of a corner with a sluggish and stumbling story. There's nothing sluggish about Harry 20 which loves great but really is a bit of a farce. Rogue Trooper is currently terrible and I'm burly reading it... the Future Shocks have even lost some sheen...

...things will pick up I know.

The one thing that stands out to me is Abelard Snazz gets another showing. Its not that its particularly good, in fact its fairly pedestrian, its just that I'd forgotten quite how much he showed up.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 January, 2017, 09:32:32 pm
So Prog 308 is just what 1983 needed. The year has taken until mid March to kick into gear BUT this Prog sure shows signs of what's to come (as I recall). Last Prog we shed Harry 20 on High Rock a series I can't excuse GFD for, regardless of Alan Davis' developing art. Sam Slade stopped all the silly singing nonsense, which had really been a shame after a run of quite superb stories... okay so Rogue Trooper is still trudging through Neuro a new low for the series, but even there this Prog builds hope, after all its part 17, this has GOT to be over soon... right.... surely...

Anyway elsewhere things are fine... well okay we have a particularly weak Dredd in 'The Prankster' a story that I have to say had completely slipped my oh so slippy memory. Nice mind... anyway a weak Dredd is hardly anything to worry about is it. You can be pretty sure the that next Prog things will be back up to top, top form...

Okay so the next up we have a fun but not astonishing Tharg story... well Thrillsuckers, fun nowt more...

...so yeah so far it doesn't really sound like 308 is much to herald... but then you get to one A. Moore. By george he earns his chops this prog. In The Reversible Man we have a Time Twister that sets the standard by which his Future Shocks are remembered by. Up to now many have been good, very good. But not as astonishing as their reputation if you ask me. They've tended to be good fun.  The Reversible Man is a really wonderful, powerful story though and really raises the bar.

The fantastic thing is though Mr A Moore has already leapt over that bar in this very Prog. In the opening episode of Skizz Mr A Moore has already reminded me why this is probably my favourite Mr A Moore story (more to come as I read on of course). But fuckin' hell this is a way to introduce a strip. Quite brilliant. In an episode he crafts humour, excitment, AND an entire world I want to know more about, drawn wide with some simple dialogue between alien and ships computer. While doing that Mr A Moore makes me care about said alien and exciting predicament his crashing on Earth casts him into. Being crashed on Earth is the least of his immediate problems however and that makes the episode a little micro-story full of tension. Mind Mr A Moore ALSO manages to make it quite clear why being crashed on Earth is going to be such a problem for a creature from a hi-tech race and interstellar technology. He deftly sets the creature adrift and helpless. In 6 chuffing pages.

And that my friends is why Prog 308 sends the Prog back into oribit. Well done Mr A Moore.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 25 January, 2017, 10:22:58 pm
we have a particularly weak Dredd in 'The Prankster' a story that I have to say had completely slipped my oh so slippy memory

You might have been reminded of The Prankster (http://i.imgur.com/DkjBFtm.png) (308) when you read Ladykiller (http://i.imgur.com/eWeqtGg.png) (1995) - note the two robot butlers. The detail of staging an event on a significant date to entrap the perp recalls Maybe's penultimate outing, Serial Serial (http://i.imgur.com/03ULzNN.png) (1953).

Also, Moore and White's Reversible Man predates Martin Amis's Booker prize-nominated Time's Arrow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time's_Arrow_(novel)) by some 8 years. Borag Thungg, Earthlet Amis!


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: JOE SOAP on 25 January, 2017, 10:33:49 pm
Also, Moore and White's Reversible Man predates Martin Amis's Booker prize-nominated Time's Arrow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time's_Arrow_(novel)) by some 8 years.


And Philip K. Dick's Counter-Clock World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Clock_World) goes all the way back to 1967.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 28 January, 2017, 11:21:09 am
Also, Moore and White's Reversible Man predates Martin Amis's Booker prize-nominated Time's Arrow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time's_Arrow_(novel)) by some 8 years.

And Philip K. Dick's Counter-Clock World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Clock_World) goes all the way back to 1967.

If I write something in a decade's time, does that mean I'll have got there first?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 28 January, 2017, 11:22:32 am
So the convergence in quality continues. The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

Was that the rogue story with the Waldos?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 February, 2017, 09:00:26 pm
So the convergence in quality continues. The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

Was that the rogue story with the Waldos?

That's the fella.

Anyway a quick note to say I love the Dredd 'classic'* Starborn Thing (Progs 309 - 314) great story but such a weak end.Such a shame.

Elsewhere Robohunter new 'epic' start well, but they always do and as Sam floats out his body I wonder if we're on the downward already? Rogue gets out of Nu...whatever it was I've forgotten it already but remains pretty damned poor with Major Magnum. Some good Future Twister buoy thing and Skizz... well Skizz is just perfect.

*It is considered a classic isn't it?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 February, 2017, 07:53:41 pm
So the Prog has been on a bit of a downer lately. After a poor end to Starborn thing even Dredd has a mini dip (these things are all relative of course), with 'King of the Road', 'Condo' both being pretty forgettable and Stupid Gun not living up to my memories of the story. Rogue Trooper... well I'll not go over that ground again and the Future Timey Shoisters have been a little up and down. Skizz is the one consistent highlight being absolutely perfect. But things look up in Prog 324. Dredd has Cry of the Werewolf which is just the classic its regardles as and Robohunter has been true to form the longer form stories in starting well then going down hill. In this case very quickly and very badly as Sam's soul swans around BUT tie him in a chair on the side of a road in the body of his clone (no really, don't ask) and you have a simply fantastic episode. Quite superb and up to the standard of the strip at its best (which was the shorter stories in the 200s).

So yeah not sure how long this will last but its amazing the difference a solid Sammy makes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 February, 2017, 07:59:10 pm
Well that and an astonishingly good, frighteningly good Time Twister.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 09 February, 2017, 08:02:32 pm
Hhhmmm, maybe you can help me Colin seeing as you're in the mists of your reread right now. Can you recall a one page Future Shock where A UFO lands in front of an Average Joe, only for the alien to be a hideously mutated human from the future? I don't think it was a Moore FS...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 February, 2017, 08:42:10 pm
Sorry no springing to my mind. But then my mind ain't the best!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 09 February, 2017, 08:49:03 pm
Bugger, it's really annoying me because I could swear I read it in a Meg reprint but which one has so far escaped me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 09 February, 2017, 10:25:01 pm
Hhhmmm, maybe you can help me Colin seeing as you're in the mists of your reread right now. Can you recall a one page Future Shock where A UFO lands in front of an Average Joe, only for the alien to be a hideously mutated human from the future? I don't think it was a Moore FS...

Evolved, not mutated.  Artwork by John Higgins, I think - and I'm pretty sure it was two or three pages long.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 February, 2017, 08:49:43 pm
Prog 330

Endings and beginnings huh, endings and beginnings.

Skizz has an ending that I always felt let the story down a little. Its so built into the story, its there right from the start. Its worked well and done with some flare, but I always wanted this story I like so much to have bolder ending.

Slaine starts and its a beginning I've never been overly fond of and I'm not sure why... well actually I think I do, but it shouldn't be the reason. I struggle to get on with the art, its feels adrift from what I know and expect of the series. It also jars with the grim bitter world that the story holds. Its wonderful, crafted, precise art and it doesn't work for the series.

There I've said it now I'll duck for cover.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 19 February, 2017, 10:18:21 pm
So I have agreed with you in two post today (Prog and Meg reviews)...but this....no sorry....not for me.

I love Angie Kincaid / Mills' art on this.

Also given that it is the first episode it doesn't seem quite right to me to say one doesn't like it because it doesn't fit with what comes later. And you know what, it had never occurred to me that was the case; as I am sure you know there has been a huge variation in art styles on Slaine over the years.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 20 February, 2017, 10:39:50 am
I'm with Magnetica on this one.  All three early Slaine artists are perfect at what they do. Angie Kincaid's rather stiff Gal-homage does the heavy lifting of establishing Slaine's world: it's a masterclass in creating a unique visual identity that parallels the genius of the first script, together setting out almost all the elements that have sustained the strip for 30 years.  Bellardinelli gives the strip its authentic European Celtic trappings, panels that look like the contents of a natural history museum and a La Tene archaeology exhibit have collided in the garden of Eden. Then McMahon arrives to render everything in kinetic sinew and bark scratchings, somehow continually suggesting that it was actually drawn by an eye-witness. It's just a perfect mix, and not one of those first three artists so much as tug a single forelock in the direction of mainstream fantasy art.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 20 February, 2017, 10:53:29 am
I'm with Magnetica on this one.  All three early Slaine artists are perfect at what they do.

I think it's also worth noting the Frame droid's eschewing of the standard, rounded balloon in favour of those straight lines, which instantly set the strip apart visually from everything else in the prog.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 20 February, 2017, 11:10:19 am
I'm with Magnetica on this one.  All three early Slaine artists are perfect at what they do.

I think it's also worth noting the Frame droid's eschewing of the standard, rounded balloon in favour of those straight lines, which instantly set the strip apart visually from everything else in the prog.

Ouch, never even noticed this! A re-read is mandated!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 20 February, 2017, 11:24:41 am
Ouch, never even noticed this! A re-read is mandated!

I'm wondering if Tom lettered Mick's early episodes first — ISTR reading that Angie Kincaid's episode took so long to get whipped into shape that a lot of other episodes were already complete before the first one was ready to go. Those rough-hewn, straight-edged balloons really come into their own on the McMahon episodes, so I kind of feel Tom might have settled on the style as a complement to Mick's angular, scratchy art.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 20 February, 2017, 11:32:32 am
Prog 330. Endings and beginnings huh, endings and beginnings.

Skizz has an ending that I always felt let the story down a little. Its so built into the story, its there right from the start. Its worked well and done with some flare, but I always wanted this story I like so much to have bolder ending.

Slaine starts and its a beginning I've never been overly fond of and I'm not sure why... well actually I think I do, but it shouldn't be the reason. I struggle to get on with the art, its feels adrift from what I know and expect of the series. It also jars with the grim bitter world that the story holds. Its wonderful, crafted, precise art and it doesn't work for the series.

There I've said it now I'll duck for cover.
This was my second first Prog, as the shoddy stocking policies of my remote village newsagent led to an enforced gap of around six months before I found a more reliable dealer. Partly because of this, Slaine long held a special place in my heart and was arguably my favourite strip until Zenith arrived. Conversely, Skizz didn't interest me at all until I eventually read the full story in reprint many years later.

Not sure what point I'm trying to make other than sharing some misty-eyed reminiscence. I think it was probably the upcoming Prog 335 which really got me hooked so I'll be interested to see what you make of that one.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 20 February, 2017, 12:47:02 pm
I think the point is how absolutely amazing those opening episodes of Slaine were (are?).

For me the greatest ever opening epidodes to any 2000AD series are:

- Nemesis on Prog 222 (if you want to count Prog 167's Comic Rock instead I won't argue) and
- Slaine in Prog 330.

Next up would be Zenith on Prog 535 ( but it will be a while before Colin gets that far.)

And indeed all three had incredible first series to back up those opening episodes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 20 February, 2017, 12:53:14 pm
And indeed all three had incredible first series to back up those opening episodes.

No arguments there. Rogue Trooper (Prog 228?) also has an astonishingly compelling opener - but Slaine and Zenith are the ones to beat (Zenith losing half a point to Slaine because it doesn't get to define the title character - although his irrelevance to larger events may be the point!).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 20 February, 2017, 12:55:34 pm
Prog 330. Endings and beginnings huh, endings and beginnings.
This was my second first Prog, as the shoddy stocking policies of my remote village newsagent led to an enforced gap of around six months before I found a more reliable dealer. Partly because of this, Slaine long held a special place in my heart and was arguably my favourite strip until Zenith arrived. Conversely, Skizz didn't interest me at all until I eventually read the full story in reprint many years later.

Not sure what point I'm trying to make other than sharing some misty-eyed reminiscence. I think it was probably the upcoming Prog 335 which really got me hooked so I'll be interested to see what you make of that one.


330 was the first prog I ever bought (as I've mentioned in other threads, I was handed about ten, partly-consecutive progs from 308 up to 322 or so).  I must have had similar distribution problems as I had a second run starting in 335, and then finally a third in 350, which I've kept up to this day.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 February, 2017, 08:16:06 am
So I have agreed with you in two post today (Prog and Meg reviews)...but this....no sorry....not for me.

I love Angie Kincaid / Mills' art on this.

Also given that it is the first episode it doesn't seem quite right to me to say one doesn't like it because it doesn't fit with what comes later. And you know what, it had never occurred to me that was the case; as I am sure you know there has been a huge variation in art styles on Slaine over the years.

Well at least you know that you've not entirely broken and finding sense in everything I say.

To be honest you are entirely right of course. Its just... well so it goes with the vagaries of art, I know this is a popular episode, and Angie's art is popular with many, but for me it just jars.

You are of course right that over the course of the series its been blessed (and cursed) by many artists and styles, but I have to say those early episodes really set out a stall and while I'm not Belardinelli's biggest fan around here, he and McMahon really set out a template that for me Angie then Mills didn't sit well with.

Not something I can explain or justify, but also something I just have to accept!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 21 February, 2017, 08:40:29 am
Last night I read the bits about the start of Slaine in Thrill Power Overload. According to that, it took Angie Mills 18 months to do her episode (and art Editor Robin Smith thought it wasn't very good) and in the meantime McMahon had completed his episodes. It was only after that, that Masimo's episodes were commissioned. Apparently Pat didn't want to run the McMahon episodes straight away as that would have defined the look of the character and put McMahon in the readers' mind as the person who did the definitive Slaine. It says that "Pat didn't want that".

(BTW I never really liked Robin Smith's art....so what does he know, eh?   :lol: :lol: :lol: )
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 February, 2017, 10:00:53 am
You are of course right that over the course of the series its been blessed (and cursed) by many artists and styles, but I have to say those early episodes really set out a stall and while I'm not Belardinelli's biggest fan around here, he and McMahon really set out a template that for me Angie then Mills didn't sit well with.

I think what's important about the first episode is that it creates a visual identity without really defining a style... Despite Angie's style deliberately following Gal (and very definitely not Frazetta, Windsor Smith, Vallejo, the Hildebrandts or even Pini, the then-definitive sword-and-sorcery fantasy artists), the content itself does not, and so you get a sort of 'neutral' but distinctive image of Slaine and his world.

When we got the heavily styled Bellardinelli and astonishingly different McMahon in short order it didn't really matter because these were obviously versions of Default Slaine... more interesting versions at that. And that's a pattern that has served the strip well... There is no definitive style for Slaine (although Fabry, Bisley and Langley all had tenures that could make that claim), but behind it all there is the bare bones idea of what the elements of Slaine and his world look like.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 21 February, 2017, 01:00:07 pm
I'm always struck by the sequence at the very start of Kincaid-Mills's Slaine that has Slaine and Ukko jumping into a boat full of dung to escape. That sets the tone for years to come of Slaine being a hero, but one who is literally not above getting in the muck with everyone else. The first panel of the skull-swords with their breathing tubes were fantastic, too, kind of like that opening Rogue Trooper episode with its poison gas-clouds everywhere.

Other superlative episode 1s:
Nemesis for sure, either way you count episode 1!
The Visible Man (so good it demanded a series to follow, but it's pretty much limited to one visual gag and maybe a hint of an emotional gag that lasts for about 3 episodes)
Kola Kommandoes (shame about episodes 2-12)
Shimura (mostly for the art)
Canon Fodder
Shakara
Leviathan
Brass Sun
The Order
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 February, 2017, 01:41:05 pm
Oh yeah, I'd forgotten Brass Sun!  That was an amazing opener, not a line wasted.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 21 February, 2017, 03:05:18 pm
There is no definitive style for Slaine

Definitive versions - well there is a can of worms right there.

Basically there are three categories as far as I can see.

Stories with multiple artists and no one definitive version, examples include: Dredd, Sinister Dexter,Slaine

Stories with a single definitive artist( or with more than one artist but where one artist has so dominated it as to claim definitive status and relegate all others: Strontium Dog, Ace Trucking, Robo Hunter, Kingdom, Brass Sun, Jaegir, Zenith, Halo Jones, Harry 20, DR and Quinch

Stories with Multiple artist but which none the less seem to still have a defined look ( i.e the artists managed to make the look of the characters consistent): Rogue Trooper, Bad Company, the VCs. I would even put ABC Warriors in here, which seems to pull off the remarkable feat of having loads of different artists whilst still leaving me with a single consistent idea of what each character (apart from Col Lash) looks like.

And to buck the trend we Nemesis and Nikolai Dante which despite having had many artists have TWO definitive, equally valid versions.

Anyway I am sure this is all subjective and others will have different views(especially on ABC Warriors - Pat Mills canned it after series 1 due to frustration at lack of a consistent artist ).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 21 February, 2017, 04:24:48 pm
Don't know you can say Nemesis has "TWO" "definitive" artists...
Presumably you mean O'Neill & Talbot, but maybe you don't  :o
It's a minefield.

Could be wrong, but in the Slaine stuff did no-one mention Simon Davis?
He's made it worth reading again, if you ask me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 21 February, 2017, 04:39:01 pm
Yup O'Neill and Talbot.

So much so I have pretty much wiped all other versions from my mind...apologies to Redondo, Hickleton, Roach, Langley, Flint etc.

Strange how you knew who I meant! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 21 February, 2017, 04:53:59 pm

Could be wrong, but in the Slaine stuff did no-one mention Simon Davis?
He's made it worth reading again, if you ask me.

Not sure I'd go that far.  Perhaps, made it tolerable?  Granted his art work is the best thing about it and certainly far superior (personal opinion mind) to Mr Langley.  Sorry, for causing offence.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 February, 2017, 08:40:54 pm
Surely Simon Davis is the definitive Sinister Dexter artist...

Anyway to other matters I was thinking I'd be back here when I'd read 335 to see what Cosh had found so interesting. But bloomin' heck this not peaking a head (combined with my shockin' memory) means I'm of course back for that issue, but with not a care in the world for Mr Cosh but just to say CHUFF ME THAT'S WHAT I CALL THRILLPOWER.

Just what the Doctor ordered. With a number of key stories ending, some of them badly losing steam as they did so, sorry Sam but it was turning into latter day Hemingway that meant you needed locking away for a while, the Prog was feeling a little tired for chunks of 83. Then 335 comes along and you remember why it's the Galaxies Greatest.

Okay so ACE Truckung was long gone, Skizz was over, Rob Hunter was missing firing so what does Tharg do? Why simply look in the draw and pull out the long missing Johnny Alpha, slip Nemesis back in, introduce us to McMahon on Slaine and trot out a simply supreme Dredd. Bloody hell. Okay so Rogue won't bugger off but heck at least it looks grand.

So yeah Prog 335 huh... that was turning all the heads not just McCosh's.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 22 February, 2017, 09:13:16 pm
Though I don't check in as much as I like, i'm utterly loving your trip through both nostalgia land and thrill power fashioning. Cracking write ups lad!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 February, 2017, 08:43:51 pm
With so much going on in the Prog late 1983, brilliant Strontium Dog, blistering Nemesis, fresh and earthly Slaine its might be easy to lose sight of how great the Dredd story that runs alongside them but 'Graveyard Shift' was a fantastic tale.

I love the way it seems to be using up slightly lesser ideas that Wagner and Grant had left over, may not have felt they'd hold on their own but by weaving them together with a slight and simple premise it galvanises them to become greater than the sum of its parts. The running navative of the single nights and the events that swarm Mega City One really works and combined with some glorious Ron Smith art, arguably at his peak here, its just a beaut.

Funny isn't it, even with such other stunning thrills in the Prog left over* Wagner and Grant still stands shoulder to shoulder.

*Utter speculation on my part, I have no idea if this is the case at all! But I like to imagine that was the case!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 27 February, 2017, 12:35:51 am
You're reading 'my' 2000AD now Colin. This was well into my first year of fulltime squaxxdom, and EVERYTHING was great. The was when my long-running D&D campaign slowly morphed into a halfway house between Slaine and Nemesis, where art class was spent marvelling with mates over single panels of O'Neill or Bellardinelli, and into all this came The Graveyard Shift - still my favourite Dredd story, and a complete eye-opener of what that strip (hitherto a bit of an also-ran for me) could be.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 March, 2017, 08:43:31 pm
1983

Pretty simple year to sum up really. Started slowly with a few real highlights (Skizz in particular) but mainly marked by the passing of once great strips loosing ground and Rogue Trooper going from bad to worse. As the year progresses however things are getting better and better.

By Prog 335 (in September of 1983) the Prog has raised to heights, possibly better than its ever been. Sure Rogue is still stinking the place up, even if it looks fine, but everything else is simply brilliant. Slaine starts really well, Strontium Dog as good, or even possibly better than its ever been, Nemesis Book 3 which is just brilliant and Dredd continuing a real peak.

Staggered endings mean that as the year tails out a few weaknesses creep back in. Alan Moore has moved onto longer form stories so there a few weakish Future Shocks hangin' round BUT that hopefully is a harbinger of the burst to come in the new year. We'll see.

Over all Skizz is an absolute highlight, the slow demise of Sam Slade the low point ... though I'm very much looking forward to his return in a couple (or more) years but over all the year just about sneaks into the positive simply cos the last 3 months or so are just so very, very good.

This view is curiously backed up by the review of the year in the last Prog of the year 349. Tharg seems to skip quickly through the first half and has to cram in the highlights of the second half.

He's to a suitable Orwellian (I hope) 1984...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 03 March, 2017, 09:08:47 am
Yeowch! You really aren't a Rogue fan are ya, Colin?

And yeah, it kind of goes without saying Nemesis BK III is just about a top 5 thrill for me. It's just about the purest essence of Thrill Power, IMHO.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 03 March, 2017, 10:38:16 am
If you're struggling to get through Rogue in this period, wait til you hit the interminable Horst segment in the 400s! (Amazing art from Jose Ortiz notwithstanding, it's pretty tedious).
On the plus side, this is without question the golden age of the puntastic cover straplines.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 March, 2017, 01:46:00 pm
Yeah I remember when I got into 2000ad again after a break with Prog 431 I was wondering what the hell was going on with Rogue (and Slaine come to that!) which was bang in the middle if the Horst stuff. Then I was too young and ignorant to appreciate Ortiz's fantastic art... mind he wasn't a barbarian running around with lasers which while much better was equally messed up!

ANYWAY no more skipping ahead 2 years, how can I know about that stuff, the Traitor General is still around. The 2000ad Sci-Fi special of 1983 reminds us of an important lesson, one which isn't really 2000ad related but one which I will relate here anyway. That being that John Byrne's greatest Hubris has always been his love of inking his own work. John stop it will ya. Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against John Byrne's inking, it fine, and actually often very good when its done on top of someone else's pencils. Its just John Byrne's inks on top of John Byrne's art is kinda suckie to my eye. Don't ask me why, or too explain. After all I'm on the internet and so I feel empowered to spout my ill informed opinion without  recourse to logic or reason and so can state as fact that John Byrne is John Byrne's worst inker (well after Joe Sinnott and Al Migrom).

It also highlights another thing. After all in 1983 John Byrne is pretty much at the heights of his powers and one of the US's greatest comic book artists. He's not long off his seminal (if very hard to read these days) run with Chris Claremont on the X-Men, I think he's mid Fantastic Four and about to start Alpha Flight (my timeline might be a bit wonky here, he's so prolific its hard to keep track). He's cream of the crop over the other side of the pond. So what does his Dredd show us... well it shows us that 2000ad is really blessed with astonishing artistic talent. If that's the best the US has to off make mine FOOT (as opposed to FOOM for those in the know) Fans Of Old Tharg.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 04 March, 2017, 02:36:49 pm
True. I can remember nothing of that John Byrne tale itself, just that it felt exciting to see his take on Dredd. But that it felt wrong, and made you appreciate the regulars all the more. I'm guessing no mention of this is made in letters pages of the time?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 March, 2017, 08:54:27 am
1984 Annuals

Think I've mentioned this before when discussing the annual last time I read them a few years back. Around this time the quality of the annuals begins to converge. Alas its not because the 2000ad annuals are catching up with the Dredd Annuals, well they are, but not that alone, the quality of the Dredd Annuals is slowly dropping.

We still get a chunk of excellent Ezquerra art but the stories aren't quite as strong and the other material is starting to really drop off the boil. Shame. The 2000ad annuals are getting better, but still riff with filler and while that is certainly getting better, after all they are able to reprint old 2000ad material and if I was reading this in the day those Flesh reprints would have been gold.

Still I'm really looking forward to next years annuals when as I recall quality collides and I'm curious to see which will trimpuh.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 March, 2017, 08:56:30 am
Oh and meant to say soon to do one of my favourite parts of this whole re-read process. Digging out the next year of materials from my nerd cave. Its so much fun (well now my bog paper issues are bagged and boarded so they don't flop about everywhere. It doesn't half fire up the thrillpower digestive juices as I flick throught the covers of what's to come.

Yummy thrillpower.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 March, 2017, 08:22:12 pm
So 1984 gets off to a fine start. DR and Quinch while not the classic some think it as is great fun. Some wonderful Dredd, some wonderful Strontium Dog, some... pretty lookin' Rogue.

BUT

The thing I want to talk about most is Slaine, not cos its anything other than brilliant, cos it is. Rather the printing. Now I'm not sure if its just my copies, it could be, but from issue 351 Tharg seems to have found the contrast button and cranked it up leaving the subtly of McMahon work too grimmy and dark. It looses so much of its glorious earthy quality. By 354 things seem to be sorted and while the contrast is still turned up it seems the balance is about right and the detail scratches are back to their very best.

When the Progs on this sort of form its in the detail we find things to discuss.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 14 March, 2017, 08:24:33 pm
Correct me if i'm wrong, but was 1984 well out of the bog roll era? So an printing "errors" over a long period have to be down to editorial misjudgment?...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 14 March, 2017, 08:42:55 pm
Correct me if i'm wrong, but was 1984 well out of the bog roll era? So an printing "errors" over a long period have to be down to editorial misjudgment?...

No… we had the bog roll for a lot longer than that. There was a minor improvement in paper stock and limited extra colour from the 10th anniversary prog onwards, if memory serves (which it probably doesn't).

But all the McMahon Slaine's were on newsprint.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 March, 2017, 09:12:18 pm
So in just two Progs we see what's great and what's terrible about Belardinelli art.

Prog 361 in the opening scene of Dragonheist. Three pages of a man being chased down by a dragon. Watched by glorious nature, seen through his spectral eyes. Its quite the most stunning stuff. His rendition of the forest is stunning, better by the animals watching and then counter by the atypical yet terrifying dragon. Just top class.

Next Prog 362 Slaine fights few chaps, its just... so stilted and static. No movement, no sense of the power of Slaine or the violence he inflicts.

There you go Belardinelli a right old mixed bag of an artist!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 March, 2017, 10:11:54 pm
Interesting little phase just creeping up but after a really really nice start to the year we seem to have hit a mini filler phase. As Slaine and DR and Quinch slip out a host of one off and short stories come in. Always like one off in the Prog but seems to be a little too much in the mix at the moment. I wonder if something was delayed?

Couple of big hitter can't be far off and I wonder of one took longer than hoped, or was Slaine meant to be around longer? Who knows.

Oh and just how brilliant is Portrait of a Politician. Among many greats one of my all time favourite Dredd stories. So much packed into just 4 episodes. Ron Smith humanity in Dave is staggering. Its daft funny, sharp funny and satire funny all in one great action strip. An absolute classic Dredd.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 22 March, 2017, 10:45:44 pm
Oh and just how brilliant is Portrait of a Politician.

Very much so. It remains one of my major 2000AD guilt trips that I really didn't appreciate how good Ron Smith was when I was reading this stuff at the time.