2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Prog 377

It’s 1984, and Titan Books seem to be reprinting everything from 2000 AD that is half decent; everything, that is, except for Strontium Dog. Admittedly, one volume exists but that seems to be about all. In their American colour line, all that we see, despite the quantity of good material that exists, is a four issue limited series. Admittedly, Eagle Comics’ successors, QC, go on to reprint the majority of Strontium Dog stories but they do such a poor job on reproduction that I find that it’s best not to think about it. I mention this because it’s a mystery to me that Strontium Dog stories have only been reprinted in an ad hoc, casual manner at a time when everything else of quality is being made available in all comic formats. It’s only now, in the twenty-first centaury, it is being treated with a gravitas that it deserves thanks entirely to the strict chronological reprinting of the stories in the “Agency Files” series of books.

In Strontium Dog Outlaws, currently up to part 15, Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer have been framed for the murders of a group of residents of the planet Jock’s Landing. Since then, they’ve been on the run from their colleagues at The Dog House, keen to cash in their bounty. It’s not all bad news for the fugitives though, helping them out are Johnny’s old friends from The Mutant War; the Torso from Newcastle, Frinton Fuzz, Evans the Fist and Middenface McNulty.

Although Outlaws isn’t Middenface McNulty’s first appearance, it is the story in which the character comes into his own. This is, in part, thanks to Alan Grant and John Wagner’s authentic reading accents and affectionate portrayal of the Scottish. Jock’s Landing, for example, is the only place in the galaxy that we see Johnny visit where he’s not on the receiving end of hostility because of his mutation. Admittedly, he is with McNulty and the surviving residents did all sign statements before saying that he committed terrible acts of murder that they know the brothers Stix did but, you know, they did say sorry.

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  • The story I always heard was that Nick Landau at Titan didn't like Carlos Ezquerra's art, which is why Stainless Steel Rat and Fiends and most of Stronty was never reprinted. No accounting for taste, I suppose.

    I love Outlaw, but those endless recaps about Norman Bunker King get awfully old...

    By Blogger Grant, at 8:47 pm  

  • I always used to wonder why Strontium Dog was never collected. I suspect it was because almost all of the stories were too long to fit into a single album.

    By Blogger Tam, at 5:30 pm  

  • Grant, thanks for the Landau fact. I didn't know that. What a fool.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:43 pm  

  • Tam, see Grant's comment above.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:44 pm  

  • Hey, how come no review of Prog 376? It contains the first part of Halo Jones. Pretty important, as that story represents a new, more adult, direction for 2000AD. I guess maybe a lot has been written about it already. I missed it first time round but have read it a couple fo times since. Right from the start, i realised it was special with dialogue like this:
    "Will you save the ESS Clara Pandy?"
    "Probably not"
    "Sounds like a 'wait and see'"
    The first part is in the centre colour pages. Look at that pic of Halo in the lower right side - had 2000AD ever shown such a beautiful drawing of a contemplative, melancholy woman before? I doubt it. There's lots of futuristic language in the episode, kind of like the words that Anthony Burgess created for Clockwork Orange or George Orwell for 1984. I seem to recall that this language was lessened as the series went on. Maybe some readers complained.

    Prog 377: man, that future shock is bad. I mean, if you never read one before, it'd be ok, but that theme of creating a time machine and then changing history in some ironic way has been done so many times! As soon as that guy uses the time machine to find out what happened to the town that disappeared 50 years earlier, you know he's going to be responsible somehow.

    By Blogger Simon C, at 3:42 am  

  • Always loved Middenface McNulty :)

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 3:42 pm  

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