2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Prog 434

Slaine's big adventure as a time warrior ends this prog. I say "ends" but the final panel of this episode has Myrddin announcing that Grimnismal, the worst of The Dark Gods, is awakening from his slumber. Thanks for ruining the party, Myrddin.

Previously, when I wrote about this epic, I confessed to finding it difficult to follow but, in the end, I would say that I caught up with it pretty well. At the beginning, script robot Pat Mills spends a lot of time throwing new, brain bending concepts at us but, later, he seems to have lightened up a bit, letting his ideas leak into the story in the concise but accessable way that I normally associate with his writing style.

This Slaine saga is drawn by two art robots, David Pugh and Glen Fabry, who alternate runs between them. History tells us that Fabry is the star here, but his work in early episodes looks like enthusiastic fan art to me. It seems like he's drawing the Celtic warrior as a superhero who spends hours doing his hear before going into battle. But by the final episodes, his work looks amazing. The characters ooze personality and emotion, his ink work is considered and his overall style radiates confidence. Fabry seems to be the spiritual successor to the already legendary Brian Bolland. More so than Cliff Robinson, anyway.

However, the moment I saw David Pugh's first warp spasm I realised that, of the two on this story, he is the art robot for me. Slaine, almost bursting out of his own skin, snaps a chariot shaft in half and cuts his way through an army of Vikings with its sickle blades. More recently, Pugh draws two full pages of ancient, claustrophobic architecture which, we learn, are the buildings that imprison The Dark Gods. These pages are stunning. As good as Fabry is by the end, it's Pugh's work that, first time around, eroded my resistance to the new boys because they weren't Mike McMahon.

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  • I'm with you most of the way with Pugh and Fabry. I find I can't compare them though, they're so dissimilar. Isn't the case that Fabry's early (fan) work was heavily influenced by Jean Giraud's Moebius persona? (I believe Colin Wilson is also 'guilty' of this).

    To my mind, their cloning of Giraud's work has always been more laudable than Robinson's cloning of Bolland. It would be interesting to strip away all the style and finish of these three artists, and compare their anatomy drawing and page layout skills.

    I was initially turned off by Pugh's bulbous and pudgy rendering of Slaine. In my eyes he redeemed himself by turning in some solid work on Dan Dare for the new Eagle in the 90s.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 7:21 pm  

  • Pugh really improved over the course of his work in this story. Look at, say prog 415. Totally ugly, out-of-proportion faces and figures. But by the later episodes, its looking good, much more detail and those amazing warp-spasms.

    Both Pugh and Fabry give Slaine ridiculous hair. It looks like a member of Duran Duran's.

    By Blogger Simon C, at 11:32 am  

  • Is David Pugh related to Steve Pugh?

    By Blogger Mark, at 11:08 pm  

  • Ken, there's something else for the dream re-print collection - Eighties Dan Dare, if only because I missed them first time around.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:40 pm  

  • I liked that ugly look of Pugh's work, myself, Simon.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:41 pm  

  • Mark, I have no idea, mate. I thought David was Steve until I double checked the credits :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:42 pm  

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