2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Prog 568

The thing about The Slog at the moment is that I am encountering strips again that first time around left me a little lost. This time, it’s the Tyranny Rex starter for three by John Smith and Steve Dillon.

If you’re creating a new character for 2000 AD at this time then you probably want Steve Dillon as your artist given his popularity. Over the last three weeks, he’s drawn six strips; three Tyranny Rex, two Rogue Troopers and a Hap Hazzard. Man, can Dillon get the work done when he wants to. As you would expect, the job’s a good ‘un even if the cover paints her with white flesh tones. Even before we all learned she was green I could swear it looked wrong to me.
The plot has Tyranny as a music pirate who doesn’t just settle for recording albums from tape to tape and making her own little covers for the box but cloning the actual pop stars themselves. She’s after DNA from the actual Prince (rather than the Prince/Michael Jackson mash-up from Judge Dredd last year) at the same time that Detective Inspector Stalin is on her trail.

Sounds like not just a good idea for a story in 1988 but one with legs given the whingeing the music industry makes over illegal downloads in 2008. However, I had difficulty with this Tyranny Rex opener first time around and now, for The Slog, I find myself trying to justify it. Smith is a tight story teller but there are moments of brevity here where we are supposed to accept that something has happened. For example, we have to accept that Tyranny escaped execution by switching herself with a clone; how she did this isn’t the point. Smith also uses a lot of jargon, invented or otherwise, which I think I may have found distancing at the time.

However, there’s no denying that there are at least two longer Tyranny Rex runs coming up that I really enjoy nor that I had fun reading this tale this time around. Smith is a writer whose apparent contentment at 2000 AD and lack of success in America compared with his more obvious peers Morrison and Milligan is what really confuses me now. Whatever, I’m looking forward to encountering more of his work for The Slog.

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  • Anybody else notice this as being the start of a wearisome trend for pun-tastic character names?

    By Blogger Stavros, at 12:59 am  

  • Now that you mention it, Stavros...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

  • Heyyyyyyyyy I liked Hap Hazzard! I thought it was a fun little strip and was definitely better than another bloody future shock. Its just a pity there was only ever 3 or 4 of them.

    By Blogger Derek, at 11:35 pm  

  • Almost forgot to mention John Smith as well. I think he was/is just a bit too weird for American comics. Even Grant Morrisons weird stuff like Doom Patrol and the Invisibles was just the right side of acceptable for the yanks.

    At least he was saved for our enjoyment and has provided many more thrills than dogs over the years.

    I did take a look for any american appearances and they are few indeed, I did find some nice covers of Vampirella with his name on though...wouldn't mind searching ebay for those :)

    By Blogger Derek, at 11:42 pm  

  • John Smith is a writer who can be great or dreadful depending on the prevailing wind. I always bracket him with Milligan and Morrison but, unlike them, his big try-out for Vertigo - Scarab - was pretty poor.

    By Blogger Peter, at 10:44 pm  

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