If your exposure to this prog consists only of seeing it listed on eBay
as a "souvenir edition; extremely rare" (which, of course, it isn't; no more so than the prog before or after it, anyway) and reading about the creator robot jam strip, Tharg’s Head Revisited
, then you can be forgiven for thinking that it has a notoriety amongst long term Squaxx dek Thargo
. In Tharg’s Head Revisited, each page is written and drawn by a different team of creator robots expressing their irritation at how they feel their 2000 AD
work has been treated.
All I can remember about reading this strip the first time around is finding it a little baffling and, seeing it again, I don't feel any more enlightened. I find it interesting to note that both John Wagner, Alan Grant and, even, Gerry Finley-Day are all missing from the contributor list. GFD might be absent due to no longer having any ties with the comic, but Wagner and Grant must have made a deliberate decision not to involve themselves in what often reads like an in joke. All I can say is that they probably made the right decision. Unless you're Morrissey, nothing dates faster than a bunch of professionals being encouraged to engage in a group moan-in in print.
Most notorious of all the pages is the one drawn by Mike McMahon. His original page, where he talked about other 2000 AD artists plagiarising his style, was pulled, probably because Cam Kennedy's followed his immediately, and replaced by a new one featuring Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein moaning about this. Interestingly, his new page is the easiest to penetrate and, therefore, the most enjoyable. Following this in the top five pages from Tharg’s Head Revisited is Kevin O'Neill's but only because it features another display of the artist’s breath taking craftsmanship. The page by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson looks and reads like they don't understand the remit. Pat Mills is the writer with the most to say who scripts three of the pages. To be fair, Mills is representing the artists that he's working with, but as the fourth page is written by current editorial team Steve McManus and Simon Geller, Tharg’s Head Revisited seems to actually be about what 2000 AD was when it began compared with what it is soon to become.
Tharg’s Head Revisited isn't just about letting long standing creators let off steam but also a declaration that attitudes behind the scenes are changing. It includes an acknowledgement that the readers are now growing up and 2000 AD needs to adapt to stay with them. If it was just a novelty then we could laugh and then forget about it but, actually, I feel as if it contains early indications of what I think of as the slide in quality.
Labels: Alan Grant, Alan Moore, Cam Kennedy, eBay, Gerry Finley-Day, Hammer-stein, Ian Gibson, John Wagner, Kevin O'Neill, Mike McMahon, Morrissey, Ro-Jaws, Simon Geller, Steve McManus, Tharg's Head Revisted