2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, December 03, 2007

Prog 312

The longest running Tharg story that I remember seeing so far, Invasion of the Thrill-Snatchers, ends this prog. Normally, tales starring The Mighty One are self contained or run for two parts and function, on the whole, as fillers but this four-parter probably required some scheduling.

In it, The Dictators of Zrag set The Greater Spotted Thrill Suckers on Tharg who, with military precision, successfully penetrate his body, attack his heart and send him into a deep sleep. With Tharg out of the way, it’s only a matter of panels before the rest of the world follows him leaving only the terminally dull Burt awake thanks to being too tedious to bother sucking off.

I like a good Tharg story but this one was less appealing initially because the opening episodes were, on the whole, told from the point of view of the Thrill Suckers. It isn’t until the final part, where Burt wakes Tharg up with an injection of concentrated thrill power (in the form of liquidised back progs) that the classic craziness returns. Tharg grows to giant size, radiates raw thrill power just by thinking about it, attracts all the thrill suckers to him and then, in the yogic cross-legged position, flies into the heart of the sun. The story ends with Tharg crediting Burt with saving the world. You might think that this is magnanimous of him seeing as how he did all the growing and the flying around and stuff and all Burt did was be very dull. However, by extension, what Tharg is doing here is implying that when he tells the reader that 2000 AD is the galaxy’s greatest comic that he’s not exaggerating and might, in fact, be understating how good his publication is.

Art robot Belardinelli, who has a variety of tones but a highly distinctive style, starts drawing this yarn in a more sober style, making Tharg seem slightly more aloof and eerie than usual. By the end of the story though, touches of his ACE Trucking Co goofiness starts to take place but not so that Tharg doesn’t manage to maintain his dignity.

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