2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, November 26, 2007

Prog 302

Previously when I blogged about Alan Davis drawing Harry Twenty on the High Rock, I talked as if the strip was being drawn for people into sadomasochism. Elsewhere in 2000 AD, the Judge Dredd thrill is filled with bullies waving happy sticks around and wearing skin tight leather gear but I’ve never once implied that, for example, Carlos Ezquerra might be sexually predisposed to this sort of thing. The only reason I implied it about Davis on this occasion was for comic affect.

In case you don’t know, The High Rock is a huge, diamond shaped prison which hangs in Earth’s orbit like an ugly, metal cancer. Harry has been sent there for something that he did do; the heinous crime of smuggling food to the starving. For the last year (this is in thrill time, not slog time), Harry, with the help of his cell mates Genghis Eighteen and old Ben Ninety, has been planning their escape and, recently, succeeded. But as soon as they reach Earth, Ben reveals himself to be an android infiltrator and a group of slugs (High Rock slang for prison guards) step out of the bushes. Genghis is killed while Harry is hauled back to the space jail for execution.

Script robot Gerry Finley-Day seems to have created a thrill that deliberately reacts against the relative cosiness of popular BBC sit-com Porridge and avoids the grimmer clichés of prison life (2000 AD is still a comic for boys, after all). However, it’s Davis’ art which makes it a success. His work here is dynamic and full of movement. Davis doesn’t use a template to draw the guards or the prisoners; instead everyone has their own personalities and distinctive features. It means that when the “slugs” are vicious towards the prisoners, or the inmates are cruel to each other, the act has a greater potency. Basically, I’m emotionally engaged in this thrill and Alan Davis has to take some of the responsibility for it.

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  • Yeah, my nostalgia for this thrill is largely due to the great art.

    I remember reading in some extracts from THRILL POWER OVERLOAD a while back that lots of the script was heavily rewritten by an uncredited Alan Grant.

    By Blogger Mark, at 10:24 pm  

  • Don't tell me that, Mark - I've just posted a thing about how great Gerry Finley-Day is.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:35 pm  

  • I think I first read this in a "Best of 2000AD Monthly" and remember being surprised at how hooked I became on it since it's ostensibly really stupid and very long. I think it's because it's a real character piece with credit to both writer and artist for that.

    By Blogger Pete Ashton, at 7:07 pm  

  • Huh, that's interesting. I think I've said earlier that I was no huge fan of Finley-Day, and I was just about to qualify that by saying that High Rock was his, erm, high point...

    By Blogger mat_tait, at 10:07 pm  

  • Pete, one of the secrets to 2000 AD's best thrills is that they are ostensibly stupid :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:58 pm  

  • Mat, turns out it might not be entirely Gerry's work. I don't know what to think now.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:59 pm  

  • Yeah, that's what I mean. Now I'm unable to rehabilitate him without reservation. I dunno why, but I'm slightly disappointed now...

    By Blogger mat_tait, at 4:31 am  

  • "one of the secrets to 2000 AD's best thrills is that they are ostensibly stupid"

    Yeah, but the rillybest ones make you believe they're eminently sensible.

    By Blogger Pete Ashton, at 6:58 pm  

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