2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, July 21, 2008

Prog 575

I don’t know about you but I’m as embarrassed now by this ad for The Best of 2000 AD Monthly as I was back then in 1988. If I thought that the guy writing Tharg’s speech was being ironic then I could appreciate it but I’m not convinced that this is the case. Tharg has never displayed a vocal style like this in the Nerve Centre before, there’s been no copy like this elsewhere in 2000 AD to give what he is saying any sort of consistency and the fact that Slaine is the star of the comic he is pushing makes it all the more inappropriate. I couldn’t be more embarrassed if it was my dad rapping the theme to The Fresh Price of Bel-Air at me and my friends in the pub.

Eleven years before, Tharg didn’t walk around the Command Module expressing anti royalist sentiments and gobbin’ on creator robots so why, despite the emerging dance culture at the time, is he talking like this? I’m looking forward to seeing him attempting suicide in 1993 and shouting “Girl Power!” in 1997.

By all means create a new editorial side kick to talk and pose like this but Tharg is a superior being who has always been above this sort of thing and often mystified by trends no matter how exciting and period defining they might be.

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  • I think the 80s malaise of 'cool' is being expressed here - it's not just a 2000AD thing, I can remember the whole cultural shift that took place in mid to late 80s, where everything had to be cool, polished, sparkly, preened and PRed. If it was home-made or a bit ramshackle or 'local' it was ther to be ridiculed. It was 'Cool' was the death of many a noble enterprise, and, being an old fogey, I'd argue the beginning of societies obsessional fear of the humiliation of being rejected and disrespected. A shift that swiftly (for example) killed Doctor Who and is responsible for its new incarnations oddities.
    Which is why I (Robo-stogie style!) speet on the 80s!

    By Blogger Leigh, at 9:13 am  

  • Paul - did you mean to post a scan of the advert you refer to?

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 1:51 pm  

  • Leigh, you might be right, I don't know... It feels somehow needy/desperate for a comic to resort to that sort of thing.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:22 pm  

  • Hi Ken. Yeah, that's it there, in the entry. I guess Tharg's dialogie might be too small to read...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:23 pm  

  • Sorry Paul - there's no pic at all for prog 575 if viewed in Firefox. If I use IE7 there it is! Very odd: this hasn't happened before.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 6:54 pm  

  • I think whats going on here is 2000AD desperately trying to shift itself to appealing to an older market. To put it into perspective by this time the british boys comic market had almost completely died, Battle, Warlord and Victor were gone, Eagle and Roy of the Rovers were dying. 2000AD was the only comic left with decent sales and the editors were probably being told from on high that they'd better get the sales up or they'd be fired.

    As for the ad itself, like you said Paul its terribly cringeworthy, like your uncle trying to be cool. Even in the late 80's this ad would have failed because its referencing things like the early New York Rap scene and breakdancing which exploded circa 1981-84 culminating when the RockSteady Crew toured the uk...remember them? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6DJrZEUjjo

    By Blogger Derek, at 11:17 pm  

  • Didn't Public Enemy make a bit of a splash in the UK around then? Beastie Boys maybe?

    By Blogger mat_tait, at 10:47 pm  

  • "I'm looking forward to him attempting suicide in 1993..."

    Ah, that'll be the Summer Offensive then!

    By Blogger Leigh, at 10:49 am  

  • Ken, you've reminded me - must download Firefox!

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:12 pm  

  • Derek, i think Tharg was using middle class, white boy house speak popular at the time :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:13 pm  

  • Mat, Public Enemy headlined at Reading a couple of years later, so yeah. The Beastie Boys may have been a about then, can't say for certain. I'm not sure that they ever talked how Tharg is speaking like here :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:16 pm  

  • Leigh, The Summer Offensive is for a later entry :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:17 pm  

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