2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Prog 529

The upcoming arrival of Zenith, forewarned by Tharg in the Nerve Centre last prog, seems to have inspired John Wagner and Alan Grant to make clear their feelings about superheroes; that they're stupid and there is no place for them here in 2000 AD. In the current Judge Dredd story, Mega City One's new superhero, Fairly Hyper Man, introduces himself to old stony face, casually explaining how law and order will be administered locally from now on now that he's here.

Despite the influence of American comics, superheroes have pretty much had an absence from 2000 AD, apart from Captain Klep and Super Bean, both of which were short-lived farces. At this time, Marvel's grown up imprint, Epic Comics, is just about to release Marshal Law by creator robots Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill, in which thinly disguised versions of superheroes we know are portrayed as drug addicts and bed wetters. The opinion in UK publishing has always been that British comic readers' preferences lie elsewhere. The constant presence of Marvel UK titles in the newsagents doesn't seem to prove a thing because to us, superheroes could only happen in America and not here in dreary old Blighty.

Dredd's encounter with Fairly Hyper Man is pencilled and inked by the art robot team of Mike Collins and Mark Farmer. Wagner and Grant might have misgivings about a superhero themed thrill appearing in the galaxy's greatest comic soon but the artists don't necessarily feel the same way. Collins and Farmer, although accepting the tone of the script that they're working with, seem to enjoy drawing FHM, perhaps secretly hoping that the arrival of Zenith will enable them to produce straight superhero work for the comic in the future.

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  • This was the first prog I bought the first time I visited England. I went straight to a newsagent in Heathrow and, since the prog took about six weeks to show up in the US, was completely stunned to see the Mean Team back - I thought for sure that was gone for good after its first series.

    That's a very good catch about the hidden subtext within "Fairlyhyperman." I'd never thought about it before, but you could certainly be right!

    By Blogger Grant, the Hipster Dad, at 8:33 pm  

  • Grant, I seem to remember the UK fan press talking about Zenith for a while before it began and Wagner's bafflement regarding the superhero genre has, I thought, always been common knowledge.

    I must write about the return of the Mean Team :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:26 pm  

  • Paul, as the Prog Slog progresses, you seem to be concentrating less on individual issues and more on the 'sweep' of the comic throughout its publishing history. This, I feel, is ground that has been more than adequately covered by other sources.

    I miss your commentary on the weird and exotic stories that could almost always be found each week in the comic's pages.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 5:58 am  

  • Stavros, I try not to over analyse what I'm doing in the Slog but I think, in general, each entry tends to focus on recent episodes of a single strip. I suppose that there is a lot happening at the moment so maybe I'm trying to capture that. I'll try harder to comment on the odd and the curious more often in future.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:31 pm  

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