2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, August 10, 2009

Prog 880

It started out so well, but the second and concluding book to Tyranny Rex, Deus Ex Machina finished in a bewildering mess. The first book was engaging what with a group of alien nuns under siege in their nunnery. The line between who to support and who to want see loose was clear but once Tyranny got transmitted to the city to find the God Skin I lost interest. When all the nuns got wiped out, in what seemed like a brief footnote, I couldn’t even be bothered to try and understand what was going on anymore.

Another disappointment is Dinosty which is a shame as I really wanted this one to work. Created by Pat Mills and Clint Langley, Dinosty has all the triggers of a classic 2000 AD thrill; a dinosaur royal family, oppressed humans and the promise of a grotesque sense of humour. How could it not work and yet, somehow, it fails.

Part of the problem might be Langley’s art which, although undoubtedly spectacular, is busy often making it difficult to tell characters apart and to follow the flow of the story. However, that Pat Mills magic also seems to be missing. One of his writing strengths is usually the conception of a strip but Dinosty seems like his version of the Jim Henson sitcom Dinosaurs only not as funny (which, if you remember the show, is quite an achievement).

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  • Hey! I remember the show Dinosaurs rather fondly. I'm not sure which came first, but it's remarkably similar to another enormously succesful animated show, namely the Simpsons. Of course that show had better joke writers which is probably why it lasted longer, but it could have gone the other way.

    Back in 2000AD land, Langley's art is a lot better these days, although it can still be a bit murky.

    By Blogger alexf, at 12:08 pm  

  • I seem to recall that Dinosty was developed for an aborted sister comic aimed at a younger audience which may well explain some of what you think about?

    Certainly the art doesn't help and I find Langley's work around this time pretty impenetrable.

    Have to be honest loved this Tyranny Rex story. Some thoughts from myself posted on the 2000ad forum about it

    "Ok so the art suffered from the numerous changes and however good the replacements were nothing was going to top the Mark Buckingham art on the first 4 or so parts. I'd say this is the best stuff I've ever seen from him. Just beautiful, with a wonderful sense of design. The art after that was always going to be disappointing. That didn't however detract from a brillant story. I was worried at the start of the second 'book' that the change in location and Tyranny herself, was accompanied by a change in writing style that lacked the refinement of the first book. As the story progressed however and the depth to the prose returned. Its simply exquisite. All the more wonderful as even though it was so much more complex and rewarding than the previous Tyranny Rex stories (from which I guess I should exclude Soft Bodies which baffles me to this day!) it was such a fitting end to her tail (excuse the pun) and themes that were started in the early stories saw rebirth in this modern creation myth."

    By Blogger Colin, at 4:38 pm  

  • Hi alex. Actually, Dinosaurs was okay but it did like beeing cheesy. Incidentally, it pre-date Dinosty by a few months at least.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:12 pm  

  • Colin, thanks for that. I think your view of Tyranny bk 2 is valid. Personally, I wasn't in the mood to work for it, I guess.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:14 pm  

  • Tyranny Rex didn't work for me since the Steve Dillon days so I doubt this story would have interested me.

    Langly seems to be the epitome of a post-bisley murky painted art droid. He seems to have gotten a lot better since discovering computer based art although excessive use of photoshopping real peoples faces onto characters heads is a bugbear.

    By Blogger Derek, at 3:55 pm  

  • I'm not over famiilier with Langley's modern work although I've seen it. His work on Dinosty does have a cartoonist influance I would say.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:36 pm  

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