2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Prog 354

A recent entry in the Forbidden Planet International blog commented on how strips that Alan Grant had a hand in, such as Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, remain relevant today. Currently, The Slog is at the beginning of 1984, and the stories, particularly Strontium Dog, continue to resonate. Normally, nothing dates faster than science fiction, but many 2000 AD stories from twenty three years ago remain fresh and relevant today.

In Strontium Dog The Killing, Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer take part in a murder competition. All entrants have to kill each other. The winner is the last man (or blob) standing (or sliding). Johnny and Wulf use The Killing as an opportunity to collect bounties but as one of the Despots of Zed asks at the end of this prog’s episode, what will happen when the last two standing is this pair of close friends?

Fundamentally, Strontium Dog is bound to have a connection with young working class boys in Thatcher’s Britain because it’s about the limited options available to you due to the circumstances of your birth. The Killing, like all good Strontium Dog stories, features many of the themes which spin out of the thrill’s core. There are the Despots of Zen, the top of the social pile, watching The Killing, a competition created for their amusement, making ill considered decrees, and there are the competitors, slaughtering each other rather than uniting and opting out of the game altogether. What could be more timeless than that?

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  • Yeah. As I was killing some goons just the other day, I thought, "Can't we all just get along?"

    By Blogger Mark, at 9:29 pm  

  • During the eighties in Milton Keynes, the only jobs available were killing goons and temp work.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:05 pm  

  • The Killing is brilliant. Easily one of the best 2000AD stories ever.

    I'm afraid all the metaphors for Thatcher's Britain passed me by as a lad, I was just hooked by all those superb alien desperados killing each other.


    They made a computer game out of it which (as far as I remember) was rubbish.

    I seem to remember hearing Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg saying the story was a big favourite of theirs. Pegg played Johnny Alpha in a Big Finish audio play I think.

    By Blogger Dom Sutton, at 9:47 am  

  • A short bit of googling later and...


    Hey Presto Simon Pegg as Johnny Alpha!

    By Blogger Dom Sutton, at 10:59 am  

  • Yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing Alan's talk at the end of the month. I need to expand on that on the FPI blog sometime with a proper review of a couple of the Stronty Dog Files volumes - been reading those along with the JD Case Files and some of John and Alan's stories, especially the flashbacks to the fascist state after the war and the camps for mutants were still pretty hardcore now - amazing they had it in a comic back then when it was mostly read by 12 year olds. Still stands up well now, but that's the nature of good writing, isn't it? Its why some works become classics and re-read and re-read, because they still say something to the modern reader

    By Blogger Joe, at 11:05 pm  

  • Dom, I don't remember the computer game.

    Yeah, the metaphor is rubbish. I'm haviing a difficult time at work at the moment and I was in a bad mood when I wrote that entry.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:26 pm  

  • Joe, I nearly made a commitment to the Case Files, SD files etc, except the reproduction looks a bit poor. Then the oppetunity to get the first 1188 progs came along and I got carried away...

    You're right, those stories still work today.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:29 pm  

  • I do remember liking the Killing but also thinking, from page one, what is the point? I mean, we all know Johnny Alpha or Wulf weren't going to die (though, to be fair, the writers did save those shockers for a little later). I suspect the Despot of Zod line was to try to stoke tension. It was still a good story though.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 5:32 pm  

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