2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prog 789

Sometimes in your comic reading life you encounter a strip that is a union of creators at the peak of their craft and anything you say about it fails to represent it anywhere near accurately enough. One of those strips is Button Man by John Wagner and Arthur Ranson.

Harry Exton used to be a mercenary. Now he’s a Button Man; a hired killer paid to take part in “the game” where people like him come up against each other. That round of “The Game” is only over when you’ve collected your opponent’s token, usually by causing their death. Now Harry wants out but his “voice”, the mysterious man of privilege who hires him, doesn’t want him to leave. Now Harry is up against four other players, with only three bullets left.

Wagner’s writing is pitched so perfectly. I imagine him composing the dialogue and then going through it again with a pot of Tip-Ex stripping it down to its absolute minimum. Ranson’s art is perfectly detailed, insightfully spaced and rich with atmosphere. The whole thing feels like a BBC drama from the seventies, classically acted and shown after my bedtime so I never got to see it. I half expect to see it repeated on BBC 4 soon and all ten thousand viewers marvelling at how good it is.

There, see? Very word I wrote took something away from how good it is. I’ll shut up now.

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  • In my own re-read of 2000ad (which is a completely different process to your as I'm cherry picking the best stories, or ones that I'm at least intrigued by and reading them in one go. Oh and I'm not interesting enough to write a blog about it either!) I've caught up with you and have just read Buttonman this weekend. Absolutely glorious. Not normally like to leave a comment that just says. Yep ya right but Buttonman is so great it deserves inane head nodding. Wonderful comics and even better read in one sitting as I did.

    By Blogger Colin, at 10:14 am  

  • I'm pleased we agree, Colin. :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:41 pm  

  • I'd love to see Button Man reprinted in one of those hugely oversized hardbacks that the french put Phillipe Druillet BD albums in.

    By Blogger Derek, at 11:17 pm  

  • Yeah, a nice lavish treatment...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:39 pm  

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