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2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, January 02, 2009

Prog Slog Blog Year in Review 2008

A Right ol’ Barney!

The official 2000 AD website went offline May/June/July time (I can’t remember when exactly). I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not been going there to download cover images for use in The Prog Slog Blog. When it returned, they had dispensed with the whole archive section which I would have found very irritating had my personal circumstances not changed providing me with the time to scan the images myself. Since then, a regular commentator on The Slog directed me to the “Barney” website where all of the old archive material is now kept. Thanks for that.

The Spit

Sitting pretty much at the centre of The Slog, around which the rest of it turns, is prog 506. When I began blogging the experience of re-reading 2000 AD from the start I knew that the Judge Dredd story, They Shoot Deejays, Don’t You Know, lay ahead. This was the tale I believe to have been influenced by a cruelly rejected unsolicited Future Shock submission I had sent in a few months before prog 506 was published. I was convinced that my revelation would go off like a bomb angering loyal readers of The Slog and, perhaps, even those directly involved in the strip itself. Instead, my entry for that day received only a single comment, from Horace Goes Skiing, who was very supportive suggesting that an earlier unsolicited script I had sent in bore a similarity to another strip published later. This must be how homosexuals feel when they come out to their family and friends and they all just shrug their shoulders and say, “Yeah? So?”

Extras

The Slog also reached the age of the sister publication which I covered with, let’s face it, inadequacy. Dice Man, Crisis and Revolver were all publications associated with 2000 AD that came and went experiencing varying degrees of failure. With the benefit of hindsight, all I feel able to say on the matter now is it’s a shame that Rebellion and other British publishers haven’t been this brave since…




And lo, there shall come The Slide

Also covered by The Slog during 2008 was “The Slide”. This is where the quality of 2000 AD’s content dipped in direct collation to its improvement in reproduction. It was hinted at in the souvenir prog 500, started with the reformatted 520 and was in full swing by the start of the 600s. There are many Squaxx Dek Thargo who think that “The Slide” is due to the improvement in printing and increased colour content. Personally, I see that as a coincidence and believe “The Slide” is due to a combination of talent drain to America, the remaining creators being spread too thin thanks to increased content, a muddled editorial tone and a misunderstanding as to who their audience is and the size of their disposable income. 2000 AD and the British comic industry never really recovered…

The DFC

New children’s weekly comic The DFC started publication at the very end of May 2008. The DFC ignores the current trend in kid comics for a low stripage to photo-led-articles ratio by running 100 % strip content. The result reminds me very much of early 2000 AD insofar as it is a highly creative environment where positivity seems to radiate from the finished product. The business model for The DFC is interesting as it is a subscription only comic. It means that the publishers don’t have to worry about paying for distribution and most of the cover price goes to them. Seeing as the comic is now 31 weeks old and still going, is it fair to say that the experiment is a success? If so, is the subscription only model a route that perhaps Rebellion should consider for both 2000 AD and Judge Dredd The Megazine?


USA! USA! USA!

During June 2008, American publishers Dynamite announced that they had secured the rights from Rebellion to publish original Judge Dredd material in America. Furthermore, it looks likely that it will feature the involvement of Garth Ennis and Dredd creator John Wagner. This is indeed good news. So good in fact that I might even break my boycott of modern 2000 AD and associated product and buy it (presuming that it will be available to us in the UK). The last time originated material was produced by the USA was back when the film was released in 1996 and, overall, it wasn’t very good despite the talent involved. Dynamite also has access to other 2000 AD properties but, at this time, has no plans to produce any comics using them. A shame really because the idea of a line of comics featuring classic 2000 AD characters in their own titles overseen in some way by the original creators really turns me on. The bad news is that it been over six months since the announcement and still nothing has been scheduled.

Megazine Re-launch; How Much?!

Many regular readers of Judge Dredd Megazine got annoyed earlier this year when it was announced that the reprint title, 2000 AD Extreme, was being amalgamated into it, resulting in a price increase to a shocking £4.95. Personally, because I haven’t bought a new issue for over ten years, I wasn’t bothered, until I popped into the newsagent to read it for free and found that it was now sold shrink-wrapped. So, with obvious limitations on my ability to comment accurately, I would say that featuring a new Tank Girl strip is a good thing although the “free graphic novel” looks through the cellophane to be more like a US sized comic to me.
New Movie

2008 ended with the announcement that DNA Films have bought the rights to make a new Judge Dredd film. On one hand I am a little excited by this news but on the other very dubious. DNA Films are the UK based company who made Sunshine and 28 Days Later so there’s a possibility that they will be more successful at capturing the British-ness of the strip. However, Danny Cannon, director of the film from 1995, is British who even had fan art appear in the comic when he was younger and that version was very disappointing. Personally, I think a film version of Strontium Dog or Robo-Hunter would be more appropriate first. Whatever, I hope the movie is far enough away for Rebellion to get their act together and regenerate their properties in time for its release.
And next…

In 2008 I read 357 weekly progs, fifteen annuals and thirteen seasonal specials. My reading rate for 2008 seems to have matched my rate for 2007 so, baring in mind my plan to include the first two volumes of Judge Dredd The Megazine in The Slog, my projected completion date of the start of 2010 is still on target. Whether I will continue to have stuff to write about the experience; well, that’s another matter.

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9 Comments:

  • Phew! Thanks for that Barney link - I used to refer to all that information more than a lot, too. Bloody handy for a dude who has lost more than his fair share of brain cells through substance abuse. Hell, it got me through more than a couple of interviews with British comickers, keeping timelines straight and sh!t. Paul, I could kiss you!

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:28 pm  

  • Happy New Year Paul! I hope other resolutions won't encourage you to falter in your mighty slog.

    By Blogger alexf, at 4:32 pm  

  • Best of luck for another year!
    Yours is one of my favourite weblogs and it reinvigorates the Squaxx Dek Thargo withing me.
    Splundigg vur Thrigg!

    By Blogger benmoor, at 5:18 pm  

  • Mark, if we ever meet I might take you up on that offer ;-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:39 pm  

  • Same to you, Alex.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:41 pm  

  • Cheers, Benmoor.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:41 pm  

  • Nice little recap. It's tremendous fun following the Slog and it saves me the time and effort of having to get to my mum's house and actually read them all myself. You're venturing into uncharted territory for me with the decision to cover the Meg, so I look forward to that.

    What's the reason for the boycott of current 2000AD? I'm hoping the latter stages of the Slog and the appearance of Dante in particular, will have you picking up another five hundred Progs.

    By Blogger Peter, at 11:54 pm  

  • Peter, the "boycott" is me trying to be more ironic than sincere. I just don't own any/enough copies of 2000 AD after prog 1188, so that's when I will stop. Thanks for the kind comments, mate.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:35 pm  

  • Experts have talked about this before. How many times have you read about the importance of ‘adding value’ for your audience? How many times have you read about ‘building trust’ with your readers/prospects?
    Many, many times. You know it well. Every marketing guru has spoken about this topic. I’m sick of hearing it. But it STILL bears repeating.

    www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    By Blogger davidbaer, at 10:58 am  

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