2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, November 27, 2009

Prog 939 12/05/95

In Harlem Heroes Cyborg Death Trap, the team are hired by a corrupt corporation of drug dealers for some baffling reason who must know, if they had bothered to do any research at all, that they would scupper their plans to hook the world on Cerebrex, a made up drug. The team, as is often the case in a Michael Fleisher written story, roll from one catastrophe to another until Tharg has a quiet word and says, “I think it’s time this story ended now, don’t you?” And it does, with the Heroes bathing the satellite with all the Cerebrex on with microwaves, thus stimulating the nannites in the drug and making everything explode. Duh, this was all foreshadowed in an earlier episode, you idiots, we’re told in a ‘thargnote’.

The art for the entire twelve part run has been pretty good. Kev Hopgood has what are I presume are his pencils painted over by Siku, the result being both colourful and, mainly, good comics. And as for the story by Michael Fleisher? Well, I appreciate being able to follow it which, after a lot of the other stuff I’ve read recently, is a big plus, and although the characters spurt some shockingly cheesy lines of dialogue from time to time, I find myself softening to some of them.

Cyborg Death Trap also sees the return of Artie Gruber, the grotesque bad guy from the very first Harlem Heroes stories by Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons. Like Michael Fleisher, just when you think this guy is done for, he returns from an apparent death, more cross than ever before. I don’t know if Gruber ever makes an appearance again but, according to the 2000 AD Database, this is definitely the last time we see Fleisher here. In a way, I’m glad we parted company on a good note although I still remain surprised he got as much work as he did.

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  • By spending so long celebrating the departure of Fleischer you have neglected to note the use of the gold ink cover. Was this 2000ad trying to jump on the bandwagon of comics having enhanced covers that seems to have been the trend at this time?

    I never liked Siku's art that much in the megazine as his colours all blended together howver I always enjoyed Kev Hopgood. He was one of those artists that did good storytelling.

    Mick Austin for anyone who wantes to know, is now a fine artist who does tours and shows and the like. You can wijkipedia him and then find his art online. Its really nice.

    He did a few bits for the teenage mutant hero turtles comic. The TMHT comic is also Belardinelli's last UK work i think after 2000ad sacked him for being really good

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 9:33 pm  

  • Victor, I didn't mention the gold ink because it's not actually the cover to the prog I wrote about and neither did I think it that interesting. Now that you mention the fad for enhanced covers at the time though...

    Thanks for the Mick Austen update.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:57 pm  

  • This run of Harlem Heroes was, I believe, script-doctored by Tharg. He didn't have time to tamper with the plot, but if you look carefully I'm pretty sure he fixed it so that each member of the Heroes is enjoying a same-sex love affair with another Hero. It's a nice little side-plot in an otherwise pointless, pointless tale.

    But yes, Artie Gruber is awesome and deserves to come back again one day.

    By Blogger alexf, at 9:50 am  

  • Hi Alex. It makes sense that the script would have been doctired with now that you mention it.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:19 pm  

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