2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Prog 319

Apparently, the story goes like this; In anticipation of the arrival of hit movie, ET, Tharg commissioned script robot Alan Moore, whose star was in the ascension but a way from its peak just yet, to write a thrill using its known themes, baring in mind that no one in the UK had seen it yet. By the time the movie was released here and Skizz started to be serialised in 2000 AD, the similarities were, how can I put this, many. Interestingly since then, I have read accusations by some of Moore’s peers (if, indeed, he has any) that some of his more known work, such as V for Vendetta for example, is similar to fiction published before it but, when accusing him of plagiarism, they never seem to mention the most obvious example of all; Skizz.

Although I was far from being a regular reader of 2000 AD at this time, I have read Skizz once before, many years ago. This was a number of episodes at a time but, for The Slog, this is the first occasion that I’ve read them properly as single parts, although, admittedly, not a week apart from each other. I’m impressed at how natural they read and tightly written they are. At this point, Moore is drip feeding us episodes of Marvel Man and V for Vendetta and there is sometimes a sense that he is conscious of having to pack a little more in each time but Skizz, because he can be assured that it will appear every week, allows him the space to pace the story more ideally. Reading it this way, I notice that it contrasts well against the dystopian Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper.

Jim Baikie’s art is brilliant. I had almost forgotten how good he is. It’s all perfect figure work, perfect environment and perfect emotion. There’s something about looking at a drawing of a kangaroo shaped alien scuttling past the Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham or breaking into a garden shed that works for me. I have found myself staring in awe at Barkie’s line work and wishing I had that much ability and confidence.

For me, Skizz sits more in the old tradition of 2000 AD and its ancestor, Action, where a film currently on release is re-spun through the gauze of British working class perspective. In this case, it’s ET written by Alan Bleasdale. The human cast are compelling, particularly Cornelius (this thrill’s equivalent of Yosser Hughes) who, on meeting Skizz for the first time, asks him if they need pipe fitters where he comes from. Although I found it disconcerting to read in a recent episode that this character, who is traumatised by unemployment, is supposed to be three years younger than me.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  • I remember sensing the Bleasdale echoes even though I was just twelve at the time. I thought Skizz was (like Bleasdale) entertaining, but a bit preachy. The politics are impeccable, but it felt a bit bolted-on, like so much of what was to come (Crisis et al.)

    I know I'm risking a flaming, but I've never really understood the Alan Moore thing. Sure the characters are strong, but they're invariably cyphers for Moore himself. I half-expected Skizz to take his helmet off and reveal a bearded chippy northener.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 7:12 pm  

  • Cyphers for himself? That's interesting. Have you read From Hell? That might change you mind.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 8:38 pm  

  • Oh I LOVE 'From Hell'. Absolutely amazing - a story told in a way only possible with graphic novels. I just think that, in common with many novelists, Alan Moore sometimes muscles in as an invisible character.

    I'll agree though, that your mentioning of 'From Hell' does somewhat undermine my whole argument...;)

    By Blogger Stavros, at 5:09 pm  

  • I was just surprised to hear that said about Moore as it's not something I've heard said about him before. I guess that there might be a consistancy of themes, attitude and approach...

    Hmm... (strokes chin)...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:15 pm  

  • Oooh, I do love Jim Baikie's art. I remember enjoying Skizz though I didn't read them in the original progs - and so I already had a very strong view of E.T. in mind at the time of reading Skizz.

    In fact I think Skizz is the thing that made me link up 'that artist from those Jinty stories I liked' with the name Jim Baikie.

    By Blogger Jenni, at 2:57 pm  

  • Just simply, great post, Paul, about Moore, Skizz and the working class ethos of comics that Mills and Wagner helped usher in.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 5:38 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home