2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Prog 552

In this prog, Simon Harrison’s Bradley returns for its third outing. I don’t want to give you the impression that I was, at this time, resistant to absolutely every new art robot that appeared in 2000 AD after my comments about John Hicklenton the other day but I did have a hard time getting to grips with Simon Harrison’s work. My memory is that I was baffled by the apparent popularity of Bradley (after all, the thrill must have been popular because it kept reappearing). Now for The Slog, I find that fragments of that bafflement still remain.

Twenty years ago, I couldn’t understand why Bradley was even in 2000 AD as it doesn’t appear to have any science fiction or fantasy tendencies. It’s just about a hyperactive child, albeit drawn to look less than human but that hardly qualifies its presence. Is it because now that Tharg has allowed a superhero strip to appear the next logical step is for a thrill inspired by the tearaways that feature every week in The Beano? Bradley does have spiky hair like Dennis the Menace and a sweater that rolls up to conceal the lower part of his face sometimes like that character from The Bash Street Kids. But Bradley isn’t pushing against authority like those Beano characters. Instead, each episode seems to end with his parents sharing a humorous observation about his personality as if script robot Alan McKenzie is writing it for other young parents like he might be.

But it’s Harrison’s art I found most difficult to come to terms with. Characters are drawn with no eyes or big eys. No nose or a fat nose. They have three fingers and a thumb. Tharg might argue that this is because the characters are aliens. Sometimes I thought that this is because Harrison was influenced by artwork from The Beano before discovering The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission while on other occasions I thought his work came from the skateboard and graffiti art culture of the time (two things I knew little about). Whatever, I find I still have no idea.

Encountering Bradley again this time for The Slog, I find I’m enjoying the strip more although I totally understand why I thought its appearance was inappropriate. Other thrills at this time seem to be working hard to provide some substance other than what the surface tells us it to be about. Bradley is just about an annoying little kid. I’m okay with Harrison’s art this time too. I remember he goes on to replace Ezquerra as regular artist on Strontium Dog but I can’t recall how I felt about that so maybe I did grow fond of his work… Or maybe I was just pleased that this meant he didn’t have time to draw more Bradley.

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  • I was mystified as to how Bradley kept getting recommissioned at the time, too.

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:50 pm  

  • I think Bradley was there to fill some comedy relief quota.

    I didn't particularly care for Harrisons art at the time but I was knocked out by his art on Revere a couple of years later

    By Blogger Derek, at 1:51 am  

  • Wasn't McKenzie on the editorial staff by this point? Not editor, but deputy or somesuch to Richard Burton?

    By Blogger Leigh, at 8:21 am  

  • Mark, I'm still mystified a bit but I must be in a good mood be cause, as you will see from my entry today, I quite enjoyed the story in prog 554.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:06 pm  

  • Derek, Revere, yes, I can just about remember that...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:07 pm  

  • Leigh, you might be right although I've lost track a bit at this point.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:07 pm  

  • Hey! Don;t knock Bradley. He was for the littl'uns like me who weren't old enough to cope with the meta-textual business in Zenith.

    By Blogger alexf, at 12:29 pm  

  • Alex, mystery solved! :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 8:08 pm  

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