2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prog 926 10/02/95

Item: Take a look at this prog’s cover. It’s not just a tribute to the film The Specialist but, if you look at the bottom right hand corner, is a declaration that the target age group for 2000 AD is older than a passer-by might otherwise think. A couple of years back for The Slog, I criticised that week’s issue of 2000 AD for featuring a character walking around naked with a semi-erection in full few of Squaxx dek Thargo. Gratuitous nudity, however, isn’t a recent addition to 2000 AD. Last prog’s episode of Finn features at least two sets of naked breasts drawn full frontal. Perfectly rounded, pert breasts with the nipples exposed.

I’m not a prude. Okay, I am a bit, and I am aware that in a comic that features people exploding like sacks of blood due to alien parasitic infestation that something as natural and normal as a lovely pair of naked boobies appearing as well shouldn’t make me uncomfortable. I just think it’s a shame when 2000 AD drifts into the same realm of old fashioned comics like Heavy Metal and Epic Illustrated and doesn’t continue to focus on subverting the imaginations and developing the sense of humours of eleven year olds like it used to.

Item: I’m really enjoying Judge Dredd The Exterminator. In it, Dredd travels back in time to 2001 New York to execute the innocent incubators of an alien disease that goes on to become the blight of Mega City One. The Extermintor, told from the point of view of a New York cop investigating the killings, is a great example John Wagner’s utterly engaging story telling. At first I was unsure about Emilio Frejo’s loose artwork as he replaces John Burns a couple of episodes in but his figure work and story telling is confident and it would be mean spirited of me not to like it just because he’s someone else.

Item: Previously, I described Peter Hogan and Tim Bollard’s Timehouse as twee. I would like to withdraw that statement as I’m enjoying the current story Centaury Duty. It’s not safe and quaint just because it doesn’t feature lovely, lovely naked knockers and people popping like meat-balloons, it’s just an extremely well executed thrill. Please accept my apology.

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  • If my memory serves me well JD Exterminator was a story wagner had done for dark horse without Dredd in. when that fell through he shoe horned Dredd into the story and sold it to 2000ad.

    Have you come across the return of the angel gang yet? Or has the movie not come out? I think that is Wagner's lowest point and I hope you enjoy it.

    Has the slide finished now?

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 3:39 pm  

  • The slide is far from finished yet as far as I recall anyway. I stopped buying (just read sometimes at the newsagent) not long after Soul gun warrior finished up.

    I remember seeing some computer game tie-in called Urban Strike or something which was the absolute nadir as far as I was concerned.

    By Blogger Derek, at 4:01 pm  

  • I think this is about the point I stopped reading. I'm a bit sad I won't be able to fully enjoy The Slog any more! Cheers Paul, it's brought back a lot of memories.

    By Blogger Joe, at 6:42 pm  

  • I started reading officially at about Prog 950 but I got a lot of back issues from a friend from about 750 onwards so this is an era that I remember quite well.

    I enjoyed the Exterminator quite a lot as it was a great, gritty story. I remember feeling particularly sorry for the old man in Harlem, and it was great that Dredd did too.

    I loved Peter Hogan's stuff on Timehouse and Robohunter. Timehouse was great fun and his and Rian Hughes' Robohunter was the first version I read. Reading the Mark Millar stuff afterwards made me feel empty inside but, of course, nothing compares to the original Wagner-Gibson stories (I'm particularly fond of the episode where Sam is strapped into a chair on a seat in Brit Cit)

    There was a lot of dross around this time and far too many artists trying to be Simon Bisley, which is probably why I liked Rian Hughes and Tim Bolland's work so much.

    Still, it's all a nice trip down memory lane, even if it is a period that nearly caused the editor to have a nervous breakdown.


    By Blogger Chris, at 7:25 pm  

  • The Bisley clones! I had almost forgotten that Bisley nearly destroyed 2000ad by making a shadow so big that most artists fell into it. Painting comics is ovely but far too slow and does not even reproduce that well.

    I am glad black and white has made a comeback.

    The Urban Strike series was actually pretty funny and had lovey art but the completely underrated Mick Austin (who I thing is a brilliant artist).

    I kept going a long timeafter this. I switchd to piing up the odd issue around th time of Witch world, and stopped completely at the Nero Narcos mega epic because it was just really really pants!

    My absolute lowest point however was the city of the damned one issue sequal!!!!!Actual that is Wagner's belly scraper!

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 8:43 pm  

  • I loved the Urban Strike series. It was such an overblown parody and quite a cheeky thing to do with a license for a game really.

    I also liked Big Dave because even then I could see that it was blatantly satire of tabloid culture.

    I liked the City of the Damned sequel, although it probably didn't need to be 24 pages long. It was such a big thing in the original story (even if Wagner & Grant did lose interest halfway through) that to not deal with it when the date came some squaxx would probably have grumbled. I'm glad that the full prog epsiodes and the large sized fortnightly experiments weren't repeated. I think 50 progs a year is the right amiunt.


    By Blogger Chris, at 9:05 pm  

  • I've just taken delivery of a consignment of Progs in the 900s and 1000s. Material I'd never read before and I was a bit peeved to discover there was some real quality stuff (Button Man 2, Wagner back on Dredd) just 2 two or three months after I'd given up on the Prog.

    Crusade (coming soon Paul) was a good idea for a story done badly, but I really liked Mick Austin's version of Dredd in that.

    By Blogger Peter, at 11:24 pm  

  • Victor, the movie is due out this year (1995) which I've just started. I haven't encountered the return of The Angel Gang yet although, now that you mention it, it does ring a bell from first time around...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:06 pm  

  • Derek, I can just about remember Urban Strike as well. I think there was a lot of poor stuff happening around that time. I'll confirm when I get to it.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:07 pm  

  • Hopefully this isn't goodbye, Joe. It doesn't seem fair that I have to endure the upcoming difficult period without dragging you through it as well.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:08 pm  

  • Hi Chris. I really enjoyed The Exterminator story even if time trevel stories where characters change the past is a pet peeve of mine. Why does this period of 2000 AD drive the editor to a near break down?

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:11 pm  

  • i'm like you Victor in as far as I stuck around for a while longer after this. I think I was hoping that once the film came out that things would pick up...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:12 pm  

  • Chris, I can't even remember the City of the Damned sequel.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:13 pm  

  • Peter, Crusade is about to start once I return to 2000 AD from The less good Megazine.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:14 pm  

  • Hi Paul,

    I'm pretty sure that this is the period where Dave Bishop was running the shop, editing both 2000 AD and the Megazine, which would be difficult enough under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, after the Dredd movie failed to be the massive franchise that Fleetway was hoping for, the management basically tried to kill them both slowly by cutting the budget more and more each year. They also tried insane things like the "2000 AD women just don't understand" ad campaign. Obviously this was more towards 96-99 so it's slightly after the upcoming issues that this takes place, but Bishop said in TPO that he was nearly in tears at his desk at some point because he realised that the management were becoming less and less supportive even as he was working more and more.


    By Blogger Chris, at 5:19 pm  

  • Well, Paul technically there were actually two City of the Damned sequels. The first was John Smith and Paul Marshall's Darkside (i think) where Dredd goes to the moon and does battle with the 2020 Zombie Dredd and then there was Prog 1077 which featured the full issue story "In the Year 2020" where Dredd is attacked by the psychic remnants of the alternate timeline (or something).


    By Blogger Chris, at 5:24 pm  

  • say what you will about bishop but he shepherded 2000ad through its darkest times, Egmont did indeed seem to be trying to kill off 2000ad by the death of 1000 cuts.

    It was during 96 that Alan Mckenzie was let go I think, which left bishop on his own and also lost a decent writer(and rewriter) from the title.

    By Blogger Derek, at 1:47 pm  

  • Chris and Derek, you're making me feel ashamed and sorry for David Bishop now. Anyone who has a lot of work to do and no support from their management has my utter sympathy. However, at this time I'm covering, as far as I can tell, he's just editing The Megazine with full management support and the result is still disappointing.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 9:01 am  

  • Well now I don't want to make Bishop sound like a saint or anything, he made mistakes but it did seem like he cared about comics and by this time 2000ad and the Meg were last men standing when it came to non-kiddie comics (i think deadline when to the wall by this time)

    The descriptions in TPO of these era are constant budget reductions from Egmont and if you can't pay for established talent it means having to use lesser or rawer talents.

    Also Egmont would come up with an advertising budget and then blow it on a tv ad at the dead of night or buy advertising in inappropriate magazines instead of letting bishop spend the money on getting decent artists.

    By Blogger Derek, at 12:24 am  

  • That misguided TV ad you speak of has been and gone by this time. There's one big Bishop driven change coming up, Derek, that left me scratching my head at the time. You'll know when The Slog gets there, i'm sure.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:23 pm  

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