2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prog 793

ITEM: Last prog, Tharg writes in the Nerve Centre about the problem with nostalgia, particularly in regards to Squaxx dek Thargo who say that 2000 AD isn’t as good as it used to be. “They are forgetting that for every classic Rogue Trooper story there were Return to Armageddon and Angel. For every original Robo-Hunter there were Fiends of the Eastern Front and Colony Earth”. Ignoring the fact that Tharg seems to be saying, “Yes, some of the strips we run now aren’t very good but there have always been thrills that don’t cut the mustard”, I actually liked Fiends of the Eastern Front and thought that Return to Armageddon got quite good by the end.

Tharg is missing an important point, however. The creators who wrote and drew those listed strips worked in an uncertain environment. There was no reason to believe that the thrills they were starting would ever finish given that comics were beginning and ending all the time in the UK back then. They could never have envisaged their stories being collected in expensive albums and being kept in print. They couldn’t imagine their careers taking them to American publishers let alone to Hollywood. And yet they still defied expectations and rattled against the boundaries. To the reader encountering these thrills in this altogether more fragile environment there’s an added potency.

ITEM: You’ve heard of Future Shocks. You’ve heard of Time Twisters. Well, now there’s Tharg’s Dragon Tales. Short, sharp, tales with a twist at the end featuring (sigh) dragons. Is it just me or do the possibilities of such a strip seem limited? I guess it is 1992 and a generation of roll game players are growing up, having to earn a living somehow and are afraid by the thought of engaging with the real world.

ITEM: Current Judge Dredd epic, Judgement Day, reaches part eleven. As you might remember, this is Dredd’s first cross over story with every third episode appearing in The Megazine. At the time, I seem to recall someone involved in it trying to claw back some credibility from this gross commercialism by commenting on how, because the two comics were a different shape to each other, publishing a collection later would be impossible. Tell that to Rebellion who have since published said collection and got around the page shape problem in classic Quality Comics manner by stretching the artwork to fit. Why not just publish the collection and leave a wider border around The Megazine chapters? At least then the Dean Ormston painted zombies marching on Mega City One wouldn’t all look like they have fat arses.

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  • Fiends of the eastern front is now considered a mad classic. As for stretch to fit... I honestly thought that they had more respect for the material then that. That's a slap in the face for the artist and the readers. I for one would be far more happy with a larger border. It's fair to say 2000ad was on the slide around this time and when it to free-fall in the vector 13 era but had a bit of a come back in the really late 90's and early 2000's

    By Blogger Steve Denton, at 8:35 pm  

  • Funny then how much of Bishop's later career as an editor AND as a freelancer would involve resusitating FIENDS.

    One feels a "fer fuxache" coming on...

    By Blogger Mark, at 10:39 pm  

  • "Tell that to Rebellion who have since published said collection and got around the page shape problem in classic Quality Comics manner by stretching the artwork to fit. Why not just publish the collection and leave a wider border around The Megazine chapters?"

    Wow they really did that, stretch the art to fit I mean. I remember it in the Quality reprints but lets be honest they were less than quality productions, ouch those covers! It just seems bonkers to do that still. I never understood why reshaping material to either American format or mixing Megazine stuff with 2000ad stuff wasn't done with just some nice design work and a bit of a boarder here and there.

    The biggest problem I envisage is thereduction in text size this would require to reformat to American sizes?

    The Strontium Dog story that ran in 2000ad during the 700s might go some way to explaining why boarders aren't used BUT I think that was because that was done badly! The logo that ran down the boarders was a bit in your face and unnecessarily bold for my tastes. Maybe that left a bad taste in everyones mouth for the whole boarder experiment BUT done properly I don't see the problem?

    By Blogger Colin, at 8:32 am  

  • To be fair, Mark, thats not David Bishop making those comments as Tharg - that's more likely Alan McKenzie.

    "The memory cheats" is such a woeful excuse - at least with Dr Who the producer John Nathan Turner (his quote above) could claim that in an era before DVD and video sales, and with 100s of episodes missing forever! I could reach into my back prog pile and disprove it immediately

    I too loved Return to Armageddon (Redondo!) and Fiends, then and now

    A great point about the actual environment these thrills were created in too!

    By Blogger Leigh, at 11:07 am  

  • Hi Steve. Yeah, I'm surprised that the srt got stretched in this day and age too.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:39 pm  

  • Mark, in David Bishop's defence, I don't think he was Tharg at this time.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:40 pm  

  • Colin, the Strontium Dogs border you're speaking of I got blind to very quickly. It's less offensive than the stretch.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:42 pm  

  • Cheers Leigh. I think Tharg's comments are a little insulting to that early wave of creators and worryingly representative of the current regime's arrogance.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:44 pm  

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