2000 AD Prog Slog

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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  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Dan Turner, at 9:00 pm  

  • I feel you are being unduly harsh on Time Flies. It may not be the best thing ever, it spends alot of time next to the fantastic Hewligans Haircut which does it no favours, but it's a huge step up from a lot of stuff that came previously (I'm looking at you Medivac, Dry Run, and, of course, those Heroes from Harlem). It floats along with a skip in its step and a sternly moustached song in its heart which, if nothing else, is a relief after months of breath exhaling drabness.

    Of course I could be wrong and it's just saved by the blessed Bond.

    By Blogger Dan Turner, at 9:02 pm  

  • TPO reference time :)
    Garth Ennis has said that Time Flies is not something he's overly proud of as a piece of work.

    Personally I quite liked it, the Bond artwork is charming and the reference in it reminded me of the war comics I used to read.

    Both Time Flies and Silo were reprinted in Extreme Editions recently and should be cheap as chips on Ebay.

    Silo was one of my favourite thrills of the time, it boded well for millar... the D'antiquis art I loved, he's one of the great "lost" artists of 2000AD in my opinion.

    By Blogger Derek, at 3:39 pm  

  • You might be right, Dan. I have been feeling the affects of The Slog recently :-).

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:20 pm  

  • Cheers derek. I don't feel quite so bad for not gushing over Time Flies now.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:22 pm  

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