Prog Slog Blog Year in Review 2009
The movement of The Slog slowed down early ‘09 thanks partly to the arrival of The Megazine. At last, Judge Dredd had his own comic, and it was pretty good too… for about a year and then The Drop began. Inside two years it was re-launched as a fortnightly, renumbered volume two and, foolishly, I had decided to cover it for this ‘ere blog. Why? Why did I track down volume two for The Slog? My memory was that even the usually reliable John Wagner became sluggish during volume two and I was right. I could have decided to avoid it altogether, like I did with Tornado, Dice Man and Crisis. Oh well. It still had some highpoints occasionally, most of which were provided by John Wagner, but also included the excellent Devlin Waugh and Missionary Man.
The other Judge Dredd inspired event that all us Squaxx dek Thargo had waited years for only to be disappointed by arrived in the summer of 95 and was also covered by The Slog in 2009; The Judge Dredd movie. It should have arrived like a Big Bang but instead it was more like a black hole sucking off what joy we got from the comics just like that. 2000 AD and The Megazine managed to survive but disappearing over the event horizon was the Judge Dredd comic for younger readers, the two original titles published by DC and Sylvester Stallone’s career. Perversely, on the plus side, John Wagner seemed to up his ante in the weekly, matching and, dare I say it, even surpassing his previous personal best.
In my review of the year for 2008, I noted the announcement from DNA Films of their plans to make a new Judge Dredd movie. Well, very little was heard about it during 2009. So little in fact that I’m left wondering how reliable the 2008 announcement was in the first place. Jock posted some concept art he did for the film but I have doubts that he was actually commissioned to do it. Didn’t he just do the paintings out of enthusiasm for the idea? While this report on Bleedin’ Cool about Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning being involved leaves me thinking, well, I don’t know what I’m thinking. I also noted American publisher Dynamite’s plans to release original Judge Dredd comics written by Garth Ennis and John Wagner. I was actually excited by this announcement but, in 2009, I have seen even fewer updates about this than the proposed movie.
2000 AD fan comic, Zarjaz, announced an all Pat Mills tribute issue. This is interesting because prior to this, Mills has usually been very protective of thrills that he’s created, traditionally throwing a huff whenever someone else has had a go at writing Flesh or Savage or something. Mills did an interview to help promote the comic and to explain why he had changed his mind. Apparently, 2000 AD is the best it’s been for years whilst Mills is more trusting of those in charge at the moment. Frustratingly, none of this answers the Mills mystery that has bugged me for years; if Tharg commissions another script robot to write, let’s say, a Flesh story, what legal right does Mills have to stop this? When previous editors have honoured his feelings on this matter has it been because of the law or out of respect for the guy? I just wanna know, that’s all.
On the subject of Pat Mills; I actually met him a couple of months back. I was exhibiting at a small press comics event being held at the London ICA. Mills also happened to be there thanks to being one of the guests on a politics in comics panel also taking place that day. At one point he took a wander around the hall in which all us small pressers where crammed in like battery hens to see what was going on. When he got to my table, I blurted out “I’m a big fan of your work” to which he responded very politely. We then had a lovely conversation about the small press comics scene during which I avoided saying a single word about this blog. It was all going so well until Mills committed a small press exhibition faux pas; he leant forward, resting his fists on two piles of my comic, There’s No Time Like The Present. If you bought some comics from me that day that featured indentations on the covers then you might be pleased to learn that they were made by the knuckles of the writer of Ro-Busters.
Shriek! Free comic!
Pat Mills isn’t the only creator droid that I had an encounter with in 2009. During September, I exhibited at the British International Comics Show. Every small presser needs a lure and mine for BICS was a free comic that I handed out to people as they passed. Everyone responded to it very well except for this one guy who threw his hands up in horror as if I had just tried to hand to him a packet of smallpox. It turned out that this guy was Andy Diggle. Apparently, he didn’t want to take a copy only to leave it in a bar somewhere which is fair enough although firing out the explanation at me as he ran away waving his arms in the air still seems like an over reaction. Comic events can leave the participants in a heightened sense of reality, believe me I know, so I totally understand why he might have reacted that way. Either that or the comic looked really shit to him.
The Slog has had its own encounters with ex-creator droids too in 2009. During February, American script robot Paul Kupperberg commented on this entry about his thrill Trash. His response to my entry was upbeat and positive. It’s a good job I liked it. Ex PR and script robot for the house of Tharg, Igor Goldkind, commented on this entry I made about his Judge Hershey story for The Megazine, A Game of Dolls. He kindly put me straight about a few assumptions I had made regarding the circumstances under which his scripting work was commissioned. All I can say is, it’s a good job that I liked the strip, although I was in something of a flippant mood that day and I don’t think that came across too clearly in the entry.
New entries on The Slog have been a bit thin since Christmas due mainly to me enjoying my gifts. Normal service will resume in a day or two. In the meantime, for your perusal, here’s a list of what I’m currently enjoying
Richard Stark’s Parker The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke. Beautiful two-colour adaptation of the crime novel of the same name. I love Darwyn Cooke.
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi. Not a sequel, more of an accessory to the excellent Persepolis. Very enjoyable.
George Sprott by Seth. Giant, tabloid-sized hardback by the master cartoonist and craftsman. Strangely affecting. I fucking love Seth.
Luba by Gilbert Hernandez. Big fuck-off hardback follow up to the big fuck-off hardback Palomar. I’ve waited twenty five years for this!
Also, en route to my house right now, Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuccheli. I can’t wait!
In 2009, I read 233 progs of 2000 AD, 103 issues of Judge Dredd The Megazine, as well as various sci-fi and winter specials, yearbooks and other one-offs. My reading for The Slog slowed down during the year but only by a tad. I have 216 progs to go before it’s all over. I calculate that at this rate I’ll be finished by the end of June although I suspect that these final progs might be the hardest ones of all.
Happy New Year.