2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Prog 950 28/07/95

There’s nothing quite like a re-launch prog, especially when that re-launch prog is out the same week that a movie version of your lead strip is released. That’s right; the Judge Dredd film is out at last and, my God, does it stink. Okay, maybe it doesn’t, I don’t know. I was too close to the whole thing having first read about a possible film version of Judge Dredd as far back as 1982, so it’s difficult for me to have an impartial view of the movie in its own right. I thought it was awful but the friend I went to see it with, who had never read a comic let alone an issue of 2000 AD, enjoyed it. She didn’t enjoy it enough to go out and buy an issue of the comic or rent the video released later, though. In fact, had we not lost touch with each other, I’m sure if I asked her now what happened in the film she wouldn’t remember. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if she couldn’t remember ever having seen it. That’s the problem with this movie; at best, it’s forgettable. I find it impossible to believe that it has a warm place in anyone’s heart, like sometimes a good film can.

It was a bad summer for ‘comic book’ movies in general, thanks also to Tank Girl and Batman Forever. It was also a sobering one for me thanks to a double paged article about ‘comic book’ movies in The Independent newspaper (I think). The thrust of the piece seemed to be that the reason these movies were bloody awful is because of the source material. Most insulting of all, it claimed that all comic creators were frustrated film makers who only worked in their medium because they aren’t good enough. For years, many of us in comics saw the movie version as the ultimate validation of the art form that we love whereas the outside world, it turned out, saw it as another dumb distraction to kill two hours with on a Saturday night. The idea that cinema goers would think ‘wow, if the movie’s this good just think how good the comic must be’ is naïve. In the summer of ‘95, the movie versions did create a backflow to comics, but only in the plumbing sense.

So 2000 AD is prepared for a backflow in the media sense which is why starting this week, there is an extra eight pages, a free gift, a sly price increase, a computer game tie-in thrill, two Judge Dredd strips and a movie based cover. It’s going to be sad watching it all unravel again.

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  • Interesting to take a look at the two versions of The Return of Rico side by side (I did recently). The remake is much more decompressed, which I thought actually made the parts that use the same dialogue near-verbatim that much more effective.

    On the downside, the original's directly-delivered idea about nature vs. nurture vs. unknown gets freighted with a lot of latterday Mills ideas about the relationship between good and evil, which seem didactic and overcomplicated by comparison.

    By Blogger James Moar, at 6:04 pm  

  • This was the summer of Batman Forever which was okay not batman & Robin which was a travesty.

    Also, I really liked Urban Strike simply because of how much it took the piss out of the action genre. To an 11 year old like myself, it was the height of wit.


    By Blogger kennyevil, at 12:09 am  

  • I've really never understood the mania that comic fans seem to have with things being adapted to film or tv. If anything I'd prefer it if Strontium Dog wasn't made into a series and somebody expended some mental energy coming up with a cool new idea.

    By Blogger Peter, at 12:10 am  

  • its always annoyed me that a lot of comic fans (and comics industry professionals) seek validation from outside sources like the Film Industry or ache to be seen as "proper literature" rather than an art form in and of itself.

    The french have it right when they call it "the 9th art" and don't see it as just a bastard offspring of some other media.

    By Blogger Derek, at 9:13 am  

  • Hi James. I just wrote about that the remake in today's entry and pretty much some of the same points but in a more clumsy and less articulate way.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:11 pm  

  • Thanks Chris, I corrected the entry for Prog 950. As it happens, I always thought that Batman Forever was shit, so my point still stands.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:13 pm  

  • I agree with you your point Peter but I do, to a degree, understand the excitement comic readers feel at the prospect of a movie version. It's irrational, and we need to overcome it.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:14 pm  

  • Derek, maybe English language comics need to make more of a stand against extra-media versions.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:15 pm  

  • Hi Paul,

    Don't worry, I wasn't trying to defend Batman Forever. Like I said, it was only okay at the time. I haven't rewatched it in years, so I have no idea how badly it's aged (I'm guessing very)

    I have, however, rewatched Dredd. i got it as a joke birthday present two years ago. It's not all terrible, when Stallone has the helmet on he's a pretty good Dredd and the appearance of Hammerstein is cool and the parking fine scene was a good laugh, but the rest... good Grud! I understand that Dredd wouldn't have his helmet on when he's being transported as a prisoner but they had him take it off at every available oppurtunity!

    Which reminds me, I'm still a big fan of the helmet from the film. It really is as close to the comic helmet as you can get.

    I have to say, I'm not a big fan of straight adaptations of comics or books into films, but taking the characters and crafting new stories can work out tremendously well (see Batman Returns, The Animated Series and Brave & The Bold)


    By Blogger kennyevil, at 4:29 pm  

  • Hi Chris. Personally, I thought Batman Forever was poor when I first saw it in the cinema. Also, I thought Stallone was okay as Dredd too, when he kept the helmet on. My recollection is that he was pretty loyal to the source material. I wasn't expecting a straight adaption (although certain stories such as The Cursed Earth and The Judge Child Quest lend themselves to that), but something at least respectful to the spirit of the thrill as claarified by Wagner. By the way, I name check you in today's entry.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:09 pm  

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