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2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, December 31, 2007

Prog Slog Blog Year in Review 2007

Happy Birthday to you!

On February 28th, 2000 AD celebrated its thirtieth birthday. I covered this event by writing a review of the anniversary issue based upon the line up of thrills and creators I had read about on the website and refusing to buy a copy. I hadn’t even read the comic itself in the newsagents as it shipped shrink-wrapped, that week.

There was some broader media coverage of the birthday, including a piece in The Independent newspaper where the journalist speculated on how much longer the comic can be expected to run for. Phil Jupitus hosted a half hour long documentary on Radio 4. In it, ex-2000 AD editor, David Bishop, who resided over the comic during a period where many long term readers broke their weekly habit, was described as the comic’s biographer.

The Slog is launched

Although I started to blog my slog through the first 1188 progs of 2000 AD towards the end of 2006, I don’t think of it as having been launched officially until March 17th 2007. I was trying to find my Slog voice prior to that, PLUS I spent the first two months of 2007 wading through the huge pile of books and graphic novels I had received for Christmas and so barely made an entry. Besides, I hadn’t bothered to tell anyone that it even existed before then. Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed doing The Slog so far. Thanks to everyone for reading it, especially those of you who have commented.

It’s “Mick” not “Mike”!

The only new issue of 2000 AD I bought in 2007 was prog 1539 dated 30th May. In it, one of comics’ greatest artists, Mick McMahon, returned to the character he helped to make so memorable, Judge Dredd, for a single episode.

McMahon seems to be entering a new phase with his art style here sitting somewhere between the simple one I associate with his time at Sonic the Comic and his older Judge Dredd work from around the Block Mania period. My only disappointments with this return are that that the artwork seems to have been scanned in and coloured from the pencils (I would have preferred it inked) and the story itself wasn’t written by John Wagner.

1539 is currently unread but at the bottom of my huge pile of progs for The Slog to be looked at later for possible inclusion as a sort of post-Slog tidy up. The good news for McMahon fans is that he is currently working on a six part Tank Girl comic written by the character’s co-creator Alan Martin and to be published by Titan.

2000 AD Village

November saw the launch of new comic website http://www.comicsvillage.com/ for whom I produce an omnibus edition of the last two weeks worth of Slog entries. I don’t really know why I mentioned it as it’s still early days and there really isn’t much more to say other than that.

I Dare ya!

November saw the return of Dan Dare in his own comic published by Virgin. When we last saw the character in 2000 AD, he was clinging to a rock floating aimlessly in space. Since then, he returned in the re-launched Eagle, in a grown up story serialised in Revolver and Crisis and, more recently, in a CGIed children’s TV show but still, no one has told me how he got off that damned rock!

Months before the announcement of the latest incarnation of the character, writer Garth Ennis stated publicly that his dream was to write Dan Dare and, lo, a bearded pickle millionaire did appear before him and did make his wish come true. If you’re reading this, Mister Branson, my dream is to leave work and live off of the interest to a million pounds. No two million. Actually, better make it three.


The Digital Switch Over

In December, the comics’ blog-sphere was alight with the news that publishers Rebellion are to make 2000 AD available for download one week after the release of the hard copy version to newsagents. The general opinion seemed to be that this is a bold move that other publishers will be watching the developments of with interest.

Personally, I was delighted to see 2000 AD receive this sort of coverage for a change. I’ve felt for a long time that higher profile comic book websites and blogs under play the impact that 2000 AD has had on modern main stream comics. This thought is one of the reasons why I started blogging The Slog in the first place.

Best of luck with the digital download, Tharg. Here’s hoping that television’s switch to digital isn’t being used as the template for this method of distribution otherwise we might be seeing the analogue version 2000 AD being switched off by 2012.

Next…

This time last year, The Slog (then a secret) took a two month long break after it had barely began so that I could read all of the books that I got for Christmas 2006. As you should know, new comics and graphic novels take priority over 2000 AD. This Christmas, I received significantly fewer graphic novels, most of which I have already finished.

Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds: I deliberately didn’t read this when it was serialised in The Guardian and I’m glad that I didn’t as, in one sitting, it’s great. Often, I wonder why I can’t find a publisher for my comic work but after finishing this I wonder how most other comics manage to get published at all.
Silverfish by David Lapham: I’ve been reading Stray Bullets from the beginning but this is the first time that I’ve read what is probably the equivalent to a story arc in one sitting and, man, is it good. By the end, my heart was pounding and I couldn’t read the pages fast enough.
Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan: I knew nothing about this book before opening it and, initially, I found the art and pacing a touch clinical but, actually, it turns out that I was just adjusting to a strong and individual style. This is really, really good. Moving and possibly profound.
Poison Candy by David Hine and Hans Steinbach: I asked for this because I thought that ex-creator robot Hine was also drawing it. I haven’t read it yet but, having had a quick flick through, the art does look pretty good. Tomorrow’s read, I think.

In 2007 I read 295 weekly progs, all twenty two issues of Star Lord plus the Summer Special, fourteen annuals including Judge Dredd and Dan Dare, and seven specials, six Sci-Fi and one Summer. According to my calculations, based entirely on my current reading rate and the presumption that The Slog will include the first two volumes of Judge Dredd The Megazine (still to be confirmed), I should complete it early 2010.

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9 Comments:

  • Ah, prog 1526, or as I like to call it, "the prog I appear in, twice".

    By Blogger Mark, at 9:02 pm  

  • wait, stranded on a rock? was that before or after he and his Venusian friend were on the run trying to clear their names and waving a Cosmic Claw around?

    By Blogger Drhoz, at 4:00 am  

  • Mark, I have a copy in front of me and I don't understand what you mean. Please help.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:25 pm  

  • drhoz, now that you've asked, I don't know. I'm certain that Dare ended on a cliff hanger in 2000 AD, however. I'll dig out the prog and let you know for certain.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:39 pm  

  • Tharg appealed for people to ask him questions a month or two earlier on the website, and I e-mailed in three, two of which he used in that prog's "ASK THARG" feature.

    No-one has yet drawn me into a strip, but I reckon a cash bribe to PJ Holden might speed that process up. I think I'd look great in a Nort uniform.

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:14 pm  

  • I'm pretty sure that Dare left 2000ad for good as drhoz suggests - on the run, whilst brandishing his claw.

    PS: Richard Branson isn't connected to the BransTon company. It's a common misconception.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 10:52 pm  

  • Sorry Mark, I went number blind and I only had a copy of 1539 in front of me. I don't know what's up with me recently :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:14 pm  

  • Stavros, it was an unresolved story, that's for sure.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:15 pm  

  • Tamara Drewe was a mighty fine read on a weekly basis too, FWIW.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 5:16 pm  

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