2000 AD Prog Slog

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Prog 715

Junker reaches Grud knows what episode this prog as they’re not numbered for some reason. Whatever, it’s been running long enough for me to feel able to say that despite it being written by Michael Fleisher I don’t dislike it as much as I expected to. In fact, I would say I’m indifferent to it. Whether this is because my expectations have been lowered by Fleisher’s recent run on Harlem Heroes, I cannot say.

Dennehy is a Junker; a guy who salvages space wrecks for money. In this story, he and his lizard like partner, Raz, have been lumbered with escorting an alien woman to her home planet. The woman, whose name Donnehy has trouble pronouncing so calls Veejay, is carrying something in her handbag that makes anyone exposed to it delirious and sick. The twist, if it can really be described as one, is that Donnehy is a misogynist due, we learn this prog, to his ex-wife throwing her hairbrush at him once. I can understand why he feels this way about women. Yeah, the hairbrush missed him, but those things are heavy and it could have really hurt.

The best thing about Junker is the wonderful art by John Ridgway and Tim Perkins. I’m presuming that Ridgway does the black and white work and Perkins provides the paint. The result is lavish and wouldn’t look out of place running alongside The Trigon Empire in Look and Learn just as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the words.

EXTRA: In this prog’s Future Shock story, Bone Shaker, the protagonist travels by hover car to an extravagant futuristic dome-like city. The thing is, the story is set in the year 2000. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was made in 1921 but this is 1991. Surely, if the hover car is to be in such wide use by 2000 they would have been invented by 1991. And that city; wouldn’t it already exist?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Prog 713

This prog’s Future Shock isn’t necessarily a memorable one but does seem typical of those we’ve seen in general recently. It’s drawn by Ron Smith for starters who isn’t by any means the regular artist but does seem to have done a number of them over the last few months. The Shocks seem to be being given over to new writers, in this case Jim Clements, but established artists at the moment.

In Treasured Companions, Fogherty holds an extravagant dinner party in his vast mansion for some old school friends. He recounts to them the story of how he amassed his vast fortune. It involves him bravely leading an expedition to a planet where he discovers a river that turns whatever is dropped into it to diamond. In good old fashioned Future Shock style, the pictures tell a different story. Fogherty is held hostage by a pair of criminals on the run and stumbles across the river by chance. The story ends with him walking his guests down to the basement where he shows them his kidnappers, now turned to diamond but still alive and having tiny chunks of their bodies sawed away.

It doesn’t make sense that Fogherty on one hand would lie about the circumstances under which he amassed his fortune but on the other show his friends that, basically, he’s torturing two men in the basement for it. This however, is the thing about the Future Shock; a little internal logic can be dispensed with for the sake of an entertaining twist at the end. And of course, Ron Smith’s over acting always helps. At a time when 2000 AD is reworking its established strips so that they have a greater reality to various degrees of success, it’s fun to see that the Future Shock remains non-precious about its ideas and fundamentally silly.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

There's No Time Like The Present Part 8

About twice a year I like to abuse my position as trustee to The Slog to make you of my own comic, There’s No Time Like The Present. Well, part 8 is now available for sale and can be ordered using Paypal from my website or directly from me by mail (contact me here for details).

There’s No Time Like The present is my long comic or “graphic novel” that I have been working on since 2004. When I finish 24 pages of the story (or thereabouts) I collect them together and publish them. So far, 8 parts have been produced (obviously) and I expect to have finished the story by part ten. Maybe part eleven. Definitely by part twelve.

For the new issue, I have had to use a new printer after my last one essentially doubled their price. The bad news is that I have had to put the price up for Part 8 to £3.00. The good news, however, is that the reproduction quality has improved significantly.

The previous seven parts are also still available in the original “hand produced” method for £2.50 each as well as the sexy new production method for £3.00. These can also be ordered from my website using Paypal or directly from me.

Thank you for your time. Normal Slog service will return next time.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter Special 3

The problem for me with anything that describes itself as “laugh out loud funny”, “the biggest comedy of the year” or, in this case, a “laff-o-rama” is I find myself folding my arms, tapping my foot and saying, “go on then; make me laugh” metaphorically and, usually, literally.

Mark Millar writes his first Judge Dredd story called Christmas is Cancelled! It’s set amongst Mega City One’s Scottish community and sees him write the accent comparatively favourably with his predecessors Wagner and Grant. It’s a fun story helped by Brett Ewins’ art but it’s not funny.

This is what all the stories in the third Winter Special are; fun. The Tharg the Mighty story might contain a scene where Tharg does some stand up but it’s not funny, it’s fun. Fervent and Lobe might chase a demon through a funeral wake but it’s not funny, it’s fun. Bix Barton might rub up against The Disproportionate Man as his toe nails grow at an alarming rate but it’s not funny, it’s fun. Well, okay, that one is funny. In fact, this is exactly the tone 2000 AD should have all of the time except never, never tell me it’s funny.

There is one exception; the Bradley story. Simon Harrison scrawls notes all over his artwork again so that it rubs up against Alan McKenzie’s thin script. That’s not much fun. Also, while I’m here, I want to give a special mention to the untitled Future Shock dawn by Eric Bradbury. In it, a talking rabbit is sent back through time with amusing consequences (see fun) for the present. The script is credited to TMO (The Mighty One) which frustrates me slightly as it’s a particularly strong if silly Future Shock and I am interested to know who actually wrote it.

That is all.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prog 711

I remember thinking writer Garth Ennis’ 2000 AD work as often being off target and never matching the hope that Tharg and others seemed to place in him. It’s going to be interesting to see, thanks to the benefit of The Slog, how right or wrong my first impressions were. It doesn’t make sense in my mind that a writer who made such a strong start in Crisis, who later goes on to write the excellent Preacher and Punisher Max and who is now established as being a firm appreciator of early 2000 AD stories could get it wrong here.

Ennis’ and Philip Bond’s big premier for 2000 AD, Time Flies, ends this prog. In it, World War Two pilot, Squadron Leader Bertie Sharp, is shanghaied by a team of time-travellers who are trying to track down Hermann Goring who has been kidnapped by pirates. That’s the story in a nut shell although it’s a lot goofier and zanier than that.

The problem with Time Flies for me is that I can’t tell what it is. It’s goofy and zany one minute, then satirical the next. Sometimes it has an Alice in Wonderland quality to it (running alongside Hewligan’s Haircut can’t have helped). Just when I think I’m settling into the strip, a character makes an ironic statement about how the story is going, the fourth wall is broken and I’m back where I started. Because Time Flies is zipping all over the place, story and tonal wise, it’s been difficult to get a grip on it. Undeniably, Bond’s artwork is lively and warm while Ennis has a great ear for dialect and dialogue but maybe these two strong talents are tripping each other up rather than making beautiful comics together. It’s as if Ennis is writing one genre but Bond is drawing another.

Also finishing this prog is Silo by Mark Millar and Dave D’Antiquis. It’s interesting to see that Millar’s big premier for 2000 AD (I’m excluding the couple of Future Shocks that he’s written so far) is such a success considering the lack of profile under which it appeared and the controversy his time here goes on to cause. Silo is an affective little horror tale atmospherically illustrated by D’Antiquis. Another strip for Rebellion to think about reprinting, perhaps.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Prog 709

While Mega City One collectively tries to recover from the occupation by the Four Dark Judges and The Sisters of Death, Judge Anderson is swanning around a city ruin in Tibet with her new friends from East Meg One. It’s as if Necropolis never happened. Oh, wait a minute, it didn’t. It says here, “Shamballa, A Pre-Necropolis Story”.

I think that The Slog is beginning to affect me. Although I continue to enjoy Judge Dredd, I find myself being indifferent to strips such as Time Flies and Anderson PSI Division Shamballa. I think I am finding it difficult to engage with the idea of a Judge looking for something meaningful in her life when really she should be out on the streets cracking heads open. Alan Grant’s story is a little too reflective in tone for me right now.

How does Arthur Ranson draw his strips? Does he take a photograph of, say, Judge Death, and then trace over it? Of all the Andersons drawn over the years, his is the version I’ve always had a little crush on. Maybe the model for her actually exists and she’s walking around out there right now. Ranson’s artwork is perfect. Is it wrong to sometimes think it’s a little too perfect and want him to draw something ugly and wrong instead?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prog 707

As soon as it begins it seems, Hewligan’s Haircut comes to an end. Even in real time it must have felt that it was over too quickly. Eight weeks of Pete Milligan and Jamie Hewlett’s self referencing titled version of Alice in Wonderland just isn’t enough.

In it, Hewligan is a mental patient who one day wanders out of the asylum in which he lives and learns that the outside world is crazier than the one inside his head. Further still, he discovers during the course of the story that his improbable haircut, a giant quiff with a perfect circle shaped hole in the middle, is the cause of the madness.

Milligan is on form here, having fun with the words and pushing the story along at a worthy pace. Hewlett’s artwork is excellent. It’s animated, vibrant and exuberant. On one hand, his characters look cool, even aloof, but on the other vulnerable. At this time, Hewlett is known best for his black and white work but in Hewligan’s Haircut, amazingly, the fully painted pages maintain the same energy.

As far as I am concerned, Hewlett was built for 2000 AD. Prog 707 is the last one he draws for, however, after producing a relatively small amount of work there. It’s been enjoyable to encounter Hewligan’s Haircut again if only because the creator that goes on to design The Gorillaz was such a very obvious talent even back then. In fact, I find it amazing to think that he spent time in the company of likes of Tharg and Michael Fleisher: Harlem Heroes Killer at all.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Prog 705

At last, after twenty eight weeks of testosterone driven nonsense, The Harlem Heroes reboot comes to an end. Like most re-imaginings, see Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes for example, the new Harlem Heroes had all that was good about it removed and the remaining slab of greasy lard thrown back at us. Hopefully, this is the last we see of them. My memory of 2000 AD becomes increasingly flaky from prog 700 onwards and I don’t recall seeing it again but, you know, who knows?

I blame everything on writer Michael Fleisher, even the artwork. Most of the series was pencilled by comics’ greatest actor Steve Dillon with inks by Kevin Walker. By rights, this team-up should have resulted in some stunning artwork but, instead, it generally looked, well, drab. Towards the end, either or both of them seemed to try and bail out of the series altogether so that Dillon was inked by someone else at one point and at another time Walker provided the entire artwork himself. The final episode is by Kev Hopgood, drafted in at the last minute, whose faster, looser style is very dynamic here. Maybe he should have drawn the entire series but perhaps he would have ended up looking jaded just as quickly as his predecessors did.

To be fair, this run of The Harlem Heroes wasn’t any worse than, say, The Mean Arena. My issue with it is that it is a version of a previous thrill that I have very fond feelings for. On top of that, it originally arrived amidst a disproportionate amount of fanfare for its high profile new writer signing. In these circumstances, even if it was actually any good, it would almost certainly have still been a disappointment.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Prog 703

ITEM: We might be experiencing the warm glow of a recent re-launch but my favourite strip is still Judge Dredd. Currently, in a story called Nightmares, Yassa Povy, the boy who found Dredd’s burned up body at the start of The Dead Man, has been brought to Mega City One to have an eye transplant. It’s good to know that Dredd, who can sometimes be a touch dismissive, is appreciative of the role Yassa played in the eventual saving of the Big Meg from the Dark Judges. It’s just a bit depressing to see him walking around with a blindfold on and talking about how he’s too afraid to sleep because of the nightmares. I want a happy ending for the kid.

ITEM: It’s interesting to remember that compared to 2000 AD in 2008, November 1990’s is bigger, dimension wise. Thanks to this and the new whiter paper, some of the artwork looks amazing, particularly Arthur Ranson’s work on Anderson PSI Division Shamballa. On the one hand it looks detailed but on the other there isn’t a single unnecessary line in there. Prefacing each new episode is a full paged blown up reproduction of one of the panels from the strip. I need to tell you that even at ten times the size of its intended reproduction, his art looks flawless.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prog 700

There’s nothing quite like a re-launch prog as an opportunity to raise the price and this week it goes up by 5p. Unlike the last price rise of the same amount the colour page count doesn’t triple this time but the paper is whiter. Consequently, Ron Smith’s colour epilogue to Judge Dredd Necropolis looks fantastic while Carl Critchlow’s painted Nemesis and Deadlock one-off looks a lot less muddy than it might have been had it appeared last week.

The Nerve Centre has been reformatted and doubled in size too. Reader’s art and letters have been separated out to the Input section which appears on the inside back cover. The inside front is given over to Tharg’s editorials and IG-Roid’s promotion of the rest of the 2000 AD line. IG-Roid (I had the IG-Roids once, by the way. I was terrified. I thought I had bum cancer), in real life Igor Goldkind, came over from Titan Books to help promote the new expanding line of comics and albums coming out of the Command Module. I guess if you’re Tharg looking for a PR man at this time then you might as well hire the Titan Books guy as he would have been effectively promoting 2000 AD as his job already.

I’m not knocking PR, my friend owns a PR company and she deserves every bit of success she gets, but don’t English language comics have a history of successfully promoting themselves on a nonexistent budget? Look at Marvel Comics during the sixties, for example. Stan Lee did exactly the same thing in their letters pages as IG-Roid seems to be doing now in the Nerve Centre except Lee also wrote all of Marvel’s books, answered all of the letters and edited them as well. He didn’t get a special guy in.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Annuals 1991

Over the years, due to financial difficulty, I sold my collection of 2000 AD to greedy dealers and yet, curiously, I kept my copy of the Rogue Trooper Annual. I guess I’ve always been surprised by its existence. Is Rogue Trooper at this time so popular that he deserves his own annual or is Tharg intending to use the character to jump start a big, new franchise? I don’t know but still, eighteen years later, I rub my eyes at the sight of it.

I’ve always liked that Will Simpson cover; all bright and vibrant. The artwork inside is impressive too. Chris Weston paints a story, Steve Dillon draws another in his loose style and even John Hicklenton does a coherent and colourful job on his one. The biggest surprise to me then, and again now, is how successfully in the old school style of 2000 AD and, more specifically Rogue Trooper, Michael Fleisher writes. They are all great little yarns filled with character and ideas. It’s hard to believe that this is the same guy who is currently sicking out Harlem Heroes for the weekly.

The coolest story in the annuals this year, however, is the one that occupies all of the colour pages in Judge Dredd. In Top Dogs, the late Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer travel through time to Mega City One after a bounty where, inevitably, they encounter Dredd himself. (Well, it is his annual after all). It’s a satisfying story by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil which demonstrates to all of those cross-over obsessed American comics how a proper team-up should be done. It also demonstrates so soon after the death of Alpha what a mistake killing off these characters is.

Finally, this years 2000 AD Annual; Don’t bother. It’s not very good.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prog 699

Judge Dredd Necropolis finishes this prog. Three of the four Dark Judges are captured in one form or other, the bearded McGruder, who now refers to herself in the plural, is Chief Judge and Dredd is again the official Judge Dredd after Kraken did such a disastrous job of it. Like Slaine The Horned God, this saga has been completely satisfying from the beginning of The Dead Man to the end here today. Of course, reading it this time around, I’ve benefited from being exposed to Necropolis in a contracted period of time but I’m not going to hold that against it.

The real hero of the entire saga is artist Carlos Ezquerra, who provided sometimes six but usually seven pages of painted artwork for the last thirty one weeks. Sometimes his work drifted into the abstract but, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been looking for flaws and the truth is that he pretty much kept the standard up throughout. I hope Tharg lets him lie down for a while and rest his aching wrists. He deserves it.

I think I might have been a touch premature in thinking that Necropolis is John Wagner’s big farewell to Judge Dredd before his return a little later. I recall that he writes many of the stories in volume one of the Megazine which has just started and, for the purposes of research, I did a quick flick through 2000 AD’s for the next few months and he seems to still be contributing to Dredd there for a while. Despite this, I think that approaching Necropolis for The Slog as if it were Wagner’s last Dredd story was a wise approach as I was able to give myself to the twists and turns more fully and with the tiniest amount of cynicism.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Prog 697

Slaine The Horned God Book III reaches part ten this prog and still it isn’t quite over. It’s nice to be surprised with an unexpected extra episode. Having said all I feel there is to say about the saga in earlier Slog entries I find myself with little to add now that it’s drawing to a close other than it’s maintained its high quality throughout. Simon Bisley’s art has been relentlessly stunning and Pat Mills seems to be having a good time too. The Horned God is the definitive Slaine story. The only one you need to read, really. Utterly satisfying.

In this prog’s Flix column, 2000 AD’s current movie feature, John Brosnan writes abut Hardware, the low budget science fiction film that bares an uncanny resemblance to the one-off Shok first published in the 1981 Judge Dredd Annual. My understanding is that the makers eventually credited 2000 AD as the source for the movie’s story but it’s interesting to read the comic’s take on the situation during what seems to be before the issue got settled. Personally, I find myself surprised that anyone from 2000 AD’s current regime noticed the similarity given the number of strips that have now been printed over the last thirteen and a half years and the overall differences in editorial attitude between 1990 and a decade earlier. In fact, I wonder if it would even have been noticed had Shok not been reprinted in prog 612 last year.

Finally, Tharg’s droids are working hard on ensuring all of the strips conclude in time for the re-launch in prog 700. The only story to continue across the anniversary issue is, according to his editorial, Harlem Heroes. Tharg, you great big, stupid, green idiot!

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Prog 695

Dry Run reaches part 8 this prog. Set in a world where a sun flare has burnt away its seas, water has become the most valuable commodity for the survivors who scrabble for it along the dry ocean floors. Dry Run follows a small group of survivors, led by a guy called Zale, who inexplicably can communicate psychically with each other.

I’m sure that there are all sorts of logical flaws to the strip. How can anyone survive an event that burns off the planet’s seas? Wouldn’t such a flare burn away the atmosphere as well? What are the odds of groups of survivors encountering each other given the amount of fatalities that must have occurred and the dramatic increase in the landmass? However, I can accept that the radiation in The Cursed Earth causes entertaining mutations instead of cancer so I’m not too troubled by the shaky premise.

Kev Hopgood’s art is okay. He’s a solid story teller whose work is enlivened by his use of colour here. The problem with Dry Run is that it is dull. All of the characters in Zale’s group seem the same. When the group encounter other posses, they don’t seem particularly unique either. Scripter Tise Vahimagi writes in a matter of fact way. Often the captions state exactly what we can see happening in the panel. If there was at least the occasional joke then that would help to engage me a bit more but there isn’t. I guess this pragmatic approach to telling the story, its lack of humour and its very obvious absence of thrills are the real reason why it’s called Dry Run.

EXTRA: If you’ve ever wondered what the man from the double glazing adverts did before shouting, "You know the one!! You buy one, you get one free! You buy one, you get one free!" then take a look at the cover to this prog.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Prog 693

The meathead quota in Harlem Heroes has dipped slightly with the arrival of Kathleen, an innocent young woman who has a message for the gang from her dead father. Unfortunately, although she’s managed to hook up with the gang of idiots, they’re still too busy running around and blowin’ fings up to pay any attention to her. If they just stopped for a moment and took stock of the situation they could listen to the message and hopefully put an end to this whole sorry mess.

The art has a slightly more energetic feel to it this prog. This is because Simon Jacob has taken over the inking of Steve Dillon’s pencils from Kevin Walker. This is how much I dislike this strip; I’m looking for anything to distract me from what is supposed to be passing for characterisation, dialogue and story. There have been seventeen sorry episodes so far. How many do there have to be before Tharg decides, “This Michael Fleisher… He’s not very good, is he?”

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Prog 691

At one end of the quality spectrum there’s Judge Dredd Necropolis and Slaine The Horned God and at the other there’s Harlem Heroes and Dry Run but sitting somewhere in the middle is Medivac 318 Arcturus. In it, locals on Arcturus riot driving all Terran residents off world and leaving one of the diplomat’s rabbit looking employees to be arrested for collaboration. Perry, a psychic from the Medivac 318 station and originally from Arcturus goes there to rescue the rabbit guy only to be captured himself. Now, in part 9, Perry’s psychic partner, Jay, seeks the help from characters we recognise from the first story in rescuing Perry… and mister rabbit I presume.

I’ve mentioned before how much I like Nigel Dobbyn’s artwork on this strip. He seems to be focused on telling the story, strong character design and effective page composition. Hilary Robinson, however, is a writer whose work I have perhaps been unfairly critical of in the past. I think that maybe I’ve treated her as symbolic of the dip in the standard of writing that 2000 AD has experienced in recent years when, in fact, she’s okay and might have got a lot better had she stuck at it for a bit longer. This is certainly better than the work Michael Fleisher is churning out at the moment and he’s been earning money from comics for years.

In Arcturus, Robinson demonstrates a confidence in story pacing that seems to match that which John Wagner is using in Necropolis at the moment. However, because we know the characters in Necropolis, Wagner’s slower story telling is atmospheric and engaging. In Arcturus, it’s a mistake for Robinson to assume that we remember who is who from the relatively large cast or that we can recall the subtle political tensions that underpin the strip. This might not be the fault of Robinson, however. Tharg’s policy at the moment that writers compose their serialised stories to be read in album collections (even though, ironically, many of these strips never prove popular enough to be collected) might account for it. Arcturus and many of Robinson’s other stories might have been improved had there been a recap at the start of each new episode, a reminder of who’s who every time a character reappeared after an absence and a slight increase in the pacing. It does seem a shame to me that circumstance and bad luck rather than ability might be why she doesn’t write comics anymore.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Judge Dredd Mega-Special 3

Before I begin and for the record, I have read the previous two Mega-Specials for The Slog. It’s just that I also read that years Sci-Fi specials on the same days and chose to write about them instead. In case you’re unaware of the Mega-Special, these are like the Sci-Fi specials only focused specifically on Judge Dredd’s world and, originally, slightly glossier.

Firstly, there are no Daily Star reprints in the third special. Previously, I’ve criticised them for taking up space which originated strips could have filled but this time I missed them, particularly as in their place there seems to be pages and pages of list of cold data instead. What remains is about twenty six pages of original comic strip and artwork which, when you think that this cost over twice as much as a weekly edition of 2000 AD, isn’t particularly good value for money.

Because in the weekly Dredd is in the midst of the Necropolis super epic, the stories here seem a little quaint in comparison. Alan Grant writes all three of them and I’m disappointed to see how similar they all seem in tone. Carry On Judging is a Carry On film set in Legover (Mega) City One. It’s pretty much like any Carry On film until the story stops with Dredd storming the showing and arresting the audience for watching what turns out to be an illegal movie. In Beyond The Valley of The Ultra-Vixens, an all female, anti-grav fight takes place until Dredd appears and arrests everyone in the arena because the sport is illegal. In Computer Warrior, a child plays a Judge Dredd computer game until Dredd himself bursts in and… well, you get the idea. Grant is the go to man if John Wagner is busy but here his stories seem samey and uninspired.

It should be noted that the artwork is excellent throughout from the mock-Bolland strip by Cliff Robinson to David Roach’s lush full colour six pager. Special mention should be given to Ron Smith who provides an eight paged colour story at the back. As you know, Smith’s black and white stuff is always good but his colour work, so rarely seen in comparison, is utterly satisfying. I look forward to seeing more of it, hopefully.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Prog 689

ITEM: Tell me which, if any, of the following music acts you’ve heard of. Amina. Rhythm King. E-Z Posse. Tricky Disco. Soft House. Many Faces. Diana Brown and Barrie K Sharpe. I think I may have heard of Rhythm King but, I’ll be honest with you, even then I’m straining. First time around, I found Roxilla’s Record review column Mix so alienating that I thought it would have been more appropriately placed in a music magazine better known for being elitist such as the NME or Mixmag. Mix isn’t entirely baffling however as she also reviews “Where Are You Babay” by Betty Boo, the new Cold Cut album and the 1990 remix of Fame by David Bowie. However, I prefer the original 2000 AD music column where a robot DJ only wrote about top twenty acts and even then only if they had a science fiction association.

ITEM: The latest is an occasional series of pin-ups by Mick Austin called Things To Look Forward To appears on the back of this prog. This time, what we have to look forward to are heart attacks at fifteen. It’s interesting to note that 2000 AD has always been concerned for the health of its young readers long before it became a hot topic in the mainstream press. (Please refer to the numerous Judge Dredd Fatty adventures).

Years earlier, when I was a tall, awkward, lanky fifteen year old, I attended one of the notorious London Comic Marts. In a tiny room away from the main hall, there was a discussion panel held for Warrior on which, amongst others, sat Alan Moore and editor Dez Skinn. The room was absolutely jammed so Skinn suggested that the people at the front kneel down so that those at the back could see. Being at the front and a prideful teenager, there was no way I was going to kneel down in front of these people no matter how much I admired them, so I went to wriggle my way back through the throng. However, some guy behind me was pushing forward and refused to let me move. In my attempt to take control of the situation I resorted to an old school dinner queue move and elbowed whoever it was in the ribs. At this point, Dez Skinn pointed over and said, “There’s Mick Austin. Could you let him through?” I turned to see a purple faced man who was smaller than me with bulging eyes clutching his stomach. I was so mortified that I immediately wriggled out of the room, found a corner and wailed.

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