2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Prog 611

We may have had strips like Zenith and Nemesis feature recently but 2000 AD is going through its most thrilless period in its history so far. Prog 520’s format upgrade seemed to signify a change in editorial attitude towards its content but since the arrival of the glossy cover and four extra pages with prog 591 the approach seems to have changed again to, well, not trying very hard.

For example, the majority of progs since 591 have featured a reprint of some sort; either a run of Daily Star strips or, in this issue, a Walter the Wobot one off from one of the annuals. Cross promotion ads seem more common and less amusing. Next prog, The Best of 2000 AD, reservation coupons; they’re the same every week; Tharg looking at you from over his Ray Ban sunglasses and saying exactly the same words that he did last time and the time before that.

Future Shocks seem to lack the same pop pizzazz that they once had. This prog’s, by Mike Collins and Simon Jacob, features a prospective writer trying to come up with ideas for stories. I mention this because the writer is a human being and not a robot. Newer strips, examples this prog being Night Zero and Zippy Couriers, are at best straight and often bland.

Why I continued to buy 2000 AD during this period is probably the subject for a Slog entry itself but this prog’s Judge Dredd, Our Man in Hondo part 4, is probably part of the explanation. John Wagner’s solo Dredd might have a more dour tone to it but it remains excellent whilst artist Colin MacNeil seems to have been born to draw the character. Although, those chin-off covers are a bit of a cliché by 1989.

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  • I remember really enjoying 2000 ad at around that period but when you remind me of some of the dreck like moon runners that was in there at around that time, stories I didn't like at the time and haven't thought about at all since, I'm not sure why.
    Like you say, it must've been things like that excellent Dredd story. I was really intrigued about all the other judges in all those various parts of the world and stories like this were heaven. Unfortunately the idea quickly lost its appeal once the Irish Judges turned up...

    By Blogger Tam, at 9:24 pm  

  • This was the first prog I owned think I was about 10 at the time, (actually I do remember convincing my grandad to buy me one earlier issue with a terrifying Kevin O'Neil Nemesis cover, I was about 5 at the time and it had to be taken away as it was giving me nightmares) I can confirm it was purely down to Colin MacNeil's excellent art work that I stuck with it.

    By Blogger horace goes skiing, at 8:39 am  

  • Tam, I seem to remember the international judges thing became a bit irritating after a while :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 10:02 am  

  • Horace, you're so young :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 10:03 am  

  • Agreed Paul, when it got as far as egyptian judges written by Mark Millar is when it got ludicrous

    By Blogger Derek, at 12:11 pm  

  • I did some research last night on why the content of 2000AD was so scrappy at the time your looking at now paul. The research being to go up the attic and pull out some issues of the Meg from 2002 when an abridged version of Thrill Power Overload was published in multiple issues.

    It mentions that Robert Maxwell bought Fleetway in 1987 and by 1989 there were still no creators rights on anything published in 2000ad. Steve Mcmanus, (tharg at the time) said "by that stage 2000ad was a pariah, no-one would create new characters for us and the old creators were leaving in droves, it was a mess"

    It was only later in 1989 when Jon Davidge came in as managing editor for the group and brought in creators rights and royalties for reprints, merchandise etc. He's quoted as saying he did this after John Wagner walked in his office and dumped a duffel bag full of judge dredd merchandise on his desk that he never got a penny for.

    By Blogger Derek, at 12:21 pm  

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