2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, May 19, 2008

Prog 486

Currently being serialised in 2000 AD is Metalzoic, the graphic novel by Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill originally published by DC just the once a year or so earlier. Metalzoic is typical of strips created by the pair and, more specifically, Mills at the time in that the reader is exposed to the fully conceived idea for the thrill in the midst of it, not from the beginning, and left to work it out as the story unfolds. Robots have evolved to the point where they function like animals; herding together, hunting for fuel and defending their territory.

I was old enough in 1986 to think that 2000 AD reprinting material originally commissioned and published by an American company was untypical and surprising. As far as I am aware, this is a practice I have only seen occur in recent years for the tiny budgeted Judge Dredd The Megazine with Garth Ennis' and Steve Dillon's Preacher (but not for long) and the John Wagner, Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra Bob the Galactic Bum. I'm fascinated to know the circumstances that led to Metalzoic being reprinted in such a way during the more affluent 1980s. My guess is that the talent drain to America became increasingly noticeable to the editorial team and although new script and art droids were coming through it was thought that creators such as Mills and O'Neill are more intrinsic to the definition and success of 2000 AD.

Why this practice started and pretty much ended with Metalzoic, I don't know either, but I do find myself wondering how differently things might have turned out had 2000 AD gone on to serialise strips such as Outcasts, Marshal Law and Watchmen. Personally, I was glad that it didn't catch on; I had a little bit of disposable income at the time and it irked me that 2000 AD was reprinting a graphic novel I already had no matter how much better O'Neill's artwork looks in black and white on newsprint than it did on glossy paper in colour.

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  • Do you have a copy of the original? I occasionally scour Ebay and the big mail-order back issue sites, but I've never managed to get one.

    That said - it is pure laziness. I could just go up the stepladder into the loft and dig out the back issues.

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:57 pm  

  • Mark, yeah. I got it when it came out and never got rid of it unlike my original 2000 AD collection. I wonder who owns the rights to it now. Have they reverted to Mills and O'Neill seeing as how it's not been reprinted in over twenty years? If this is the case maybe someone like Top Shelf could be persuaded to reprint it.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:00 pm  

  • I've thought that myself. Lots of creator owned stuff from that period has reverted and been returned to print from other publishers (lots of First Comics stuff, Eclipse stuff, Epic stuff).

    By Blogger Mark, at 10:41 pm  

  • Could be a nice little earner for any wannabe publishers out there... Hmm...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:29 pm  

  • what do people think of the story itself? some interesting ideas, but i never got into it.
    Interesting that you say that O'Neill's art looks better in black and white than colour. Re-reading it now, I found it difficult to look at - very little contrast or depth and i wondered if that was due to absence of colour.

    By Blogger Simon C, at 7:11 am  

  • I never realised that Metalzoic was a reprint of a DC comic though it explains a lot - i.e. how it was reprinted in larger than normal page length episodes. I must confess that I never liked it and in particular really disliked Kevin O'Neill's art at the time.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 3:55 pm  

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