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2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2000 AD and Judge Dredd Yearbooks 2005

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve found it hard to resist a newsagent. During the seventies, I used to run into every one I saw in the hope that I would find a pile of US Marvel imports. These days, I run to the back of WH Smith’s hoping to see 2010 2000 AD annuals, transported there from a dimension where things went differently for Tharg.

The 1995 yearbooks are the last to be published and it’s not really hard to see why. The content of both books is lacking that something that used to make the annuals feel special. 2000 AD opens with a great looking Judge Dredd drawn by Jim Baikie who takes full advantage of the book’s format to create a visual spectacular. After that, there’s not much to get excited about. The rest of the book is filled with B list thrills such as Bradley and Babe Race 2000. The Judge Dredd Yearbook begins with an entertaining team-up between Dredd and Missionary Man but after that, most of the goodness slips away. The problem is with the art, provided mainly by unknowns.

There are some curiosities. Both books, for example, choose to run in their reprint sections strips from annuals published during recent years. Apart from them seeming quite recent, there are many readers who can be only relied upon to buy the annuals every year. The Judge Dredd Yearbook prints Chris Halls painted artwork for Son of Mean Machine, a project the artist bailed out off twelve pages in. Why would a casual reader be interested in an incomplete story like this? Furthermore, the cover, both inside and out, once again, fails to take advantage of the full panorama provided by the gatefold.

To be fair, there’s nothing specific about the 2005 yearbooks that make them worse that last years. My guess is that the switch over from being annuals to yearbooks eventually confused the market. Everyone understands that the purpose of an annual is for it to be opened Christmas morning and to keep the kids quiet for a couple of hours but a big, floppy, expensive yearbook… What’s that all about? Still, I miss the annuals, and it would be nice to see something return.

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2 Comments:

  • I've said it before (hopefully not here can't remember) and I don't doubt I'll say it again the Yearbook is a beautiful format. I just wish it had been better served as with good content that justified the format it would be a thing to behold.

    The only thing that would concern about bringing them back is quite how much one of these would cost these days?

    By Blogger Colin, at 9:20 pm  

  • Well, if they published it in the old format, that would make it more affordable for a start :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 9:05 pm  

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