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2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, June 27, 2008

Annual 1988

It’s a great cover by Brendan McCarthy but I’m interested by the absence of Judge Dredd on it. Is everyone now thinking yes, we all like Dredd but 2000 AD has other great characters too such as this sexy, full lipped lady and these two green guys next to her? I sense that this period during the eighties is where some people involved in the comic feel that Dredd’s popularity has, in part, been to the detriment of other great thrills like Anderson PSI Division and Strontium Dog. And yet inside, inappropriately, this year’s Dredd story occupies sixteen pages instead of the usual eight.

Inside, the new material there is the cream of the crop. There’s Torquemada painted by Kevin O’Neill, Dredd by McCarthy with Riot and Brett Ewins and Strontium Dog by Carlos Ezquerra. There’s no doubt now that everyone involved sees the annual as the showcase for the weekly, even if there are still budget constraints.

Also reprinted herein are a handful of Judge Dredd strips from The Daily Star. Still by John Wagner, Alan Grant and Ron Smith the focus seems to have drifted from a disciplined glimpse of Mega City life to isn’t-Judge-Dredd-a-big-bully gag strip. The average number of panels has dropped from nine to six, the dialogue more sparse and the art work less detailed. However, it still continues to be very entertaining and, if anything, now contributes to the world of Judge Dredd rather than settles on sampling from the lengthier stories in 2000 AD.

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4 Comments:

  • I actually dug out the annual so I could re-read it and maybe see if I agree or disagree with your comments.

    On the whole I agree, the cover is amusing and nicely drawn.

    The Torquemada story is pretty good, nice art as always even if the colouring is a bit murky at times.

    The Dredd Case files - I love Ron Smiths art on Dredd but reading them sideways is a pain, some are quite fun though.

    Robusters - Hammersteins War Memoirs. I don't think I'd even heard of the Robusters at this stage so this was completely new to me. Overall I enjoyed it at the time even though the art seemed a bit odd. Nowadays I can see that Kev O'Neill did parts 1 and 4, Mike Dorey (I think) did part 2 and Dave Gibbons did part 3. The standout art is O'Neills, I just loved his vehicle designs...tanks with huge missles and guns pointing at odd angles....huge tanks like aircraft carriers with big jets and bigger missles and even bigger lasers...genius! completely impractical but pure artistic genius.

    The Anderson text story...I hated it then and hated it now.

    At the time I liked the article "60 things you didn't know about 2000AD"...I was so hungry for backround info then that this was great...that was a long time before the interweb...

    Strontium Dogs complaint - kind of slight but packs a nice amusing story into 7 pages.

    and finally the piece de resistance
    Judge Dredd - She Devils. A good story but this one is all about the art...at the time what struck me is he was drawing girls in their underwear...and you don't do that in comics!

    Looking at it now Mccarthys art is fantastic. The layouts are innovative, he's able to do both kinetic action and also livens up potentially dull talky scenes with intelligent panel placement kind of like how Michael Avon Oeming does on Powers nowadays.

    The colouring job on this is way ahead of anything in mainstream american or british comics of the time...it looks like its been influenced by european artists like Salvatore Liberatore. Even the sound effects are typically Mcarthyite...VAM!...GROANK...SKRUNK!!!

    People talk about how big a loss the likes of Bolland and Mcmahon were to 2000AD but I think the same could be said about Mccarthy...he was way ahead of his time imo.

    By Blogger Derek, at 1:31 am  

  • Thanks Derek. That was great. I don't re-read the reprints manily because I will have read them only a few months ago earlier in The Slog. I usually skip the text stories too (it's a comic, man; not a novel!). McCarthy was and continues to be stunning. Wow.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:16 pm  

  • I hadn't read the annual in at least 10 years I'd say and I was impressed at just how good it is.

    Totally agree about text stories, even as a kid I knew they were cheap filler and faintly insulted by their presence.

    In the main slog the Mccarthy Judda episodes should be coming up soon which really kicks the oz story line into gear.

    Are you going to be reviewing the 1988 Judge Dredd annual? The main Dredd story in that is an under-rated classic imo. Unfortunately my copy had a jack daniels related accident around 94 which makes the pages sound like 13th century vellum parchments when the pages are turned now Lol

    By Blogger Derek, at 10:57 pm  

  • Derek, I did read both annuals for 1988 but only talked about the 2000 AD one this time.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:44 pm  

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