2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, September 14, 2007

Prog 221

Sectioned off inside a little box in this prog's Nerve Centre is an advertisement for the very first Titan Books collection of Judge Dredd. It boasts that it reprints classic Dredd stories illustrated by Brian Bolland, including Judge Death, behind an all new cover by said artist. Available using mail order or direct from Forbidden Planet, Denmark Street (which is in London).

It seems like a modest start considering this is one of Titan Book's first publications and the beginning of a series of 2000 AD collections that probably number in the hundreds by 2007. Around eighteen months later, I am flicking through a copy in my local book shop amazed not only that it is stocked there but also that it exists at all. The Judge Dredd Chronicles Book One felt like a comic for grown ups with its full-colour cover, higher quality paper and the creators being credited using their real names. Thinking about it (but not properly, obviously), there probably wasn't much work involved in putting the book together. All Titan did really was commission a new cover, an introduction and write a bit of editorial. Easy. I'm surprised no one else had thought to do it before.

Since then, Titan became the principle repackager of DC Comics trade paper backs for the UK. I say "repackager" but really all they did, it looks to me, was arrange with DC for them to run off a few extra copies inside slightly altered covers to accommodate for the different currency. After that, they stopped with the printed UK prices altogether and slapped super-gummy stickers over the dollar price instead. Slap, bang, wallop; job done.

These days, collecting the material for the book trade is handled by current 2000 AD owners, Rebellion. Meanwhile, the number of comics available via the UK newsagent would probably be half of what it is if it wasn't for Titan, and some of what they publish is even originated, although franchised. So, hooray for Titan, for helping to keep the UK comic industry alive (just) and for starting the whole 2000 AD printed collection thing in the first place.

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  • As a particularly miserly youth, I remember being baffled why anyone would be foolish enough to buy those Titan books which cost about five pounds a throw when you could get the same story, (and in COLOUR!) for about a quarter of the price in the American reprints or The Best of 2000 AD...

    By Blogger Tam, at 10:06 pm  

  • Tam, as you'll see as the slog progresses, I'm with you a bit. I think Titan successfully spotted a collectors market.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:01 am  

  • I collected loads of Titan books, mainly of reprints of stories I hadn't read. Boy, they were, as tam says, really pricey, especially for a teenage schooboy.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 3:23 pm  

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