2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prog 845 24/07/93

The first Big Dave story ends with him and Big Terry Waite tearing Saddam Hussein to shreds, sending the aliens that aided the Beast of Baghdad back where they came from and being hailed as heroes by a liberated Iraq. Sound familiar? Like all commentators on wars in The Middle East say about this sort of thing, the story could have been rerun ten years later and no one would have noticed the difference.

The Slog is demonstrating to me that the perception I have of the inappropriate aging of 2000 AD started a lot further back than just the last few years. At this stage, it hasn’t featured semi-erect penises, although a recent John Hicklenton drawn Heavy Metal Dredd strip in The Megazine featured a giant schlong painted against Judge Dredd’s thigh, nor either category a (such as “fuck” and “cunt”) or b (“wanker” and “shit”) swear words but there’s much in Big Dave that makes Tharg’s recent moaning about the racking of 2000 AD on the top shelf in some thrill merchants seem a bit stupid. Big Dave is xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic and anti Muslim or, at least, is a satire of these things. Perhaps a comic for kids, whose senses of irony and satire aren’t fully developed yet, isn’t the place for this sort of thing. Up until Big Dave, 2000 AD’s satire had always not been so obvious.

As a satire of tabloid newspaper attitudes, I’m not sure that the logic is consistent. The Sun might advocate setting your dogs on Saddam Hussein rather than having him stand trial or glassing an otherwise proud Brit compelled to be affectionate towards another man in direct contradiction to his usual sexual inclinations but I find it hard to believe that a shell suit wearing, violent, benefit cheat would automatically be perceived as a hero. Perhaps Dave should have been a pipe fitter or white van driver; someone with a good ol’ fashioned job who paid his own way and only set his dogs on homosexuals after work in his free time.

However, I’m just expressing my reservations here. I’m old enough to understand the context of this thrill and because I remember Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Steve Parkhouse knowing exactly when enough Big Dave was enough and ending the strip then I’m allowed to find it very entertaining.

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  • I remember seeing this issue being left on loads of newsagents' shelves for literally YEARS afterwards!

    I suppose they were confused by the logo and didn't realise it was 2000 AD when it was time to return it to the wholesalers the following week...

    By Blogger Tam, at 6:05 pm  

  • Out of interest, what age do you think 2000 AD was being pitched to at this time? I was 14, and it was apparent to me that Big Dave was ironic, but I'm not sure I would've got the strip at all when I was 12 (the age I started reading the comic).

    By Blogger Joe, at 6:34 pm  

  • I always liked this cover and, like Tam suggested, wondered if some regulars readers or newsagents would be confused by it. But wasn't there a similar stunt pulled with a Nemesis cover back in the 100s?

    By Blogger Robert, at 7:14 pm  

  • Ant Wars cover - circa prog 70 - 80?

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:02 pm  

  • Now that you mention it Tam, I seem to remember that happening around here.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:54 pm  

  • Joe, you're probably correct about Big Dave although I was older than you when I first encountered it. What age group 2000 AD is aimed at at this time is a complicated one. on one hand, the content is teen appropriate but on the other, as far as I am aware, they still want to be racked on the news agents shelves with The beano and all the rest. I found it confusing, although i am also an old school reader who remembers when it was for ten year olds...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:58 pm  

  • Robert, are you refering to the one designed to look like a record sleeve?

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:59 pm  

  • You're completely right Ken. Another newspaper themed cover.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:59 pm  

  • Ah, yeah, I remember the cover Ken recalls - that was very good too. But, yes, Paul, I'm thinking about the one that looked like a record sleeve - which again would have been confusing for regular readers and retailers.

    By Blogger Robert, at 10:56 am  

  • Does me getting the comic you were refering to right make me the champ?

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:38 pm  

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