2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Prog 876 09/02/94

Happy seventeenth birthday, 2000 AD. Once again, current Tharg throws a clanger into his editorial with the line, “The 2000 AD of 1977 was light years away from the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic it was to become.” Let’s make one thing clear, Tharg baby; currently, 2000 AD might be better than it’s been in recent years but it’s still a long way from the raw vitality of that first decade. Stop implying that the early progs were quaint and harmless because they were far from it.

Alan McKenzie is main contributor to the birthday prog writing, or co-writing, three of the thrills. This must make him the current tone setter, I suppose. For Judge Dredd The Sugar Beat, he uses, with John Tomlinson, the pseudonym Sonny Steelgrave. The pacing and humour of the strip is pretty spot on, if a little xenophobic, helped significantly by Ron Smith’s always fresh looking colour work.

With Michael Fleisher he uses Sydney Falco to co-write Rogue Trooper Scavenger of Souls. Already his influence is undoing the general disinterest and occasional hatred that a full Fleisher penned thrill can inspire. It looks like Rogue’s bio-chip buddies could be coming back after this episode ends with Friday uncovering a room full of them.

I don’t know why, during this age of creative openness, McKenzie is choosing to use aliases for some of his work. In Journal of Luke Kirby Sympathy for the Devil, Kirby travels to hell to save his father’s soul. Perhaps McKenzie is most proud of his Luke Kirby stories because he is credited with his real name here. Whatever, as current tone setter, I’m pleased that we’re being exposed to the positive influence of his work rather than episodes of Bradley and articles about rave culture.

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  • About McKenzie's use of pseudonyms, he commented in the older, LJ-version of Thrillpowered Thursday back in September '07, and said:

    "John and I used that name [Steelgrave] when we wrote Dredd stories either together or separately, as the comic traditionally had a policy of not having a writer credited more than once in any single Prog. Which why in older Progs you'd have found John Wagner credited as "T.B.Grover" on Dredd but as "John Wagner" on Strontium Dog in the same issue."

    (See: http://hipsterdad.livejournal.com/184225.html )

    By Blogger Grant, the Hipster Dad, at 9:13 pm  

  • Thats pretty much spot on Grant.

    Wagner & Grant would use the T.B. Grover psuedonyn whereas I think Wagner on his own used "John Howard"

    If I remember correctly from TPO 2000ad was going through a phase of burning off unused scripts that had been paid for and mckenzie had to be an emergency script doctor for the likes of fleisher

    By Blogger Derek, at 11:16 am  

  • Yes, "Scavenger of Souls" seems to be particularly doctored. I believe the original submission was a 12-parter like the other Fleisher ones, but it was printed as an 8-part story with the 2-part prologue which ran the previous August.

    By Blogger Grant, the Hipster Dad, at 1:13 pm  

  • Thanks Grant. I'm aware of that policy but thought it was well over by this time as we've seen Wagner, Grant, Mills etc credited for multiple strips in a single issue on several occasions by this point.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:05 pm  

  • Hi Derek. I thought this policy was an IPC one, not a Fleetway one. It's a selective policy if it's being quoted in 1994.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:07 pm  

  • That's a big plus point to Scavenger of Souls - It being eight parts long instead of twelve.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:08 pm  

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