2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sci-Fi Special 1982

There’s something about the weight and the production quality of the Sci-fi Special that makes an appearance of a new one each year feel like a genuine event. Gone are the half inch thick cover borders and the ragged edges that we associate with the weekly; the sci-fi special is an altogether more classy affair with its full colour cover (this time by Ian Gibson), flat trimming and greater mass.

There’s a good percentage of new material this year and, even though it’s drawn principally by artists that I think of as fill-ins, there isn’t a sense of the special having been banged out on the cheap. It’s even good to see the non-strip pieces, like the Ro-Jaws book reviews and the Robo-Hunter board game. It feels as if there has been some proper thought gone into it which hasn’t always been the case with the specials and, particularly, the annuals of the past. 2000 AD has now been running long enough for it to reprint its own thrills to pad out its specials rather than use the barely appropriate strips from elsewhere like in previous years.

Interestingly, American comic artist Joe Staton, best known to me for his work on direct sales favourite E-Man, draws the Blackhawk story. It feels like an old strip with it set shortly after the character was abducted by aliens. This happened in the weekly over two years ago. It’s curious to see the cross pollination between the American and British comic industries occurring so early and in such a low key way.

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  • Staton on Blackhawk. Yup, 'twas a bit wierd. I noticed it was his work straight-away as at the time I was scooping up his DC Green Lantern stuff as fast as my newsagent stocked it. Those were the days - my local provincial newsagent actually used to sell around 30 different US Marvel and DC titles (not the Brit reprints) alongside all of the UK stuff, it seemed to happen overnight. One minute I was having to cadge lifts into Edinburgh to get a comics fix, or send Postal Orders to Gez Kelly, then all of a sudden the distributors must've had a marketing splurge. Great stuff.

    Is this the special where X-Men's John Byrne draws Dredd, or am I getting ahead of the game?

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:06 am  

  • i think thats later(maybe), i remember thinking that it was really weird and horrible. Then years later when i was a massive Byrne fan i twigged. It was still really nasty though. Dredd was all skinny and the drawing looked rushed.

    By Blogger mr wheatley, at 8:55 pm  

  • 'looked rushed' = Byrne without a decent inker!

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:51 pm  

  • Ken, a few months before this special, the distributor of American comics to British newsagents had changed and suddenly we pretty much started to get everything for a while. Even then I knew that it was sad that I know this.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:50 pm  

  • Mr Wheatly, I was already a Byrne fan at this time and I remember thinking that he'd done better work before.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:51 pm  

  • Ken, R=rushed Byrne meant that he was probably already writing The Thing and writing and drawing the FF and Alpha Flight every month at the time. Anyway, this is a conversation for a few weeks time :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:52 pm  

  • Ooh, I don't remember this 'un - I must have missed it (off to Ebay I go).

    I do remember the Byrne one though. I liked it (but at the time I did think the sun shone out of his ar*e.

    By Blogger Mark, at 11:36 pm  

  • I'm reading David Mitchell's novel 'Black Swan Green' at the moment where the main character, Jason Taylor, buys this particular special whilst on holiday! Except that, according to Mitchell, it costs 40p. Research, David, research. Still, pretty impressive to see a 2000AD Sci Fi Special turn up in a critically acclaimed novel :)

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 5:00 pm  

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