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2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, January 08, 2010

Prog 986 05/04/96

In the return of Cannon Fodder, the story renamed Dark Matter retrospectively and up to its penultimate episode this prog, Fodder has a psychological breakdown after his encounter with God last time. With the help of a rather arrogant Sigmund Frued and the charming Deacon Blue, he goes on a mission to find the missing members of The Priest Patrol. The search leads them to another dimension made mainly of Dark Matter and where Fodder’s psychological troubles take on physical form.

This Cannon Fodder story is written by Kek-W who, at the time, I decided must be Mark Millar but actually turned out not to be. Instead, Tharg commissioned this run from a different creator which, apparently, irked the original writer. It’s perfectly acceptable for Millar to feel this way I suppose, especially when you consider how Pat Mills can be when his creations get farmed out to other people behind or in front of his back. The upshot of this is that by this time Millar had officially moved on from 2000 AD (although there are still stories yet to see print) and real editor David Bishop agreed to commission no further Cannon Fodder runs out of respect for his wishes.

However, this interview Chris Weston did for Bishop’s book Thrill Powered Overload reproduced on his blog
here implies that the dispute was slightly bitterer than the official story suggests. According to Weston, Millar considered challenging Tharg over ownership of the character. He said, “I agreed to do the story thinking it was 2000ad's property. Even if someone in Egmont-Fleetway's legal department had cocked up by not sending out a contract, I thought it was pretty low to exploit that mistake. Call me old fashioned.”

You’re old fashioned. Actually, it’s a good point Weston makes. It’s interesting to imagine that many of the rights disputes 2000 AD has encountered over the years could be down to some poor underpaid office worker not doing their job properly. How could anyone produce comic work for Tharg believing it to be theirs and not 2000 AD’s property even if they never see a contract? Weston’s remark also suggests my suspicion that Millar and perhaps Grant Morrison stopped working for the comic because of ill feeling between the creators and their bosses might not be entirely stupid.

This is all an aside. Cannon Fodder II is excellent and I would have loved to see more. Kek-W’s story is strong and imaginative and his scripting tight, witty and pacey. Weston’s art is absolutely brilliant. He reminds me of Brian Bolland’s best Judge Dredd work here in that he populates this fully rendered, fantastically detail, fantasy world with utterly authentic faces that I’m sure I’ve passed in the street before. I remember Cannon Fodder II as the last truly great non-Dredd thrill before I go… And I hang around buying 2000 AD for a little while after this, let me tell you.

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8 Comments:

  • What will I do during lunch breaks when the slog is over! Maybe I should do my own slog where I read the missing volume of the Megazine and slowly go mad with annoyance at having to read the worst stories ever again for the second time!

    I remember enjoying cannon foder 2 more than cannon fodder 1. I think miller had some good ideas but they were usually sloppily executed and had too much sadistic violence not enough heroism in them.

    I think you may be right about this being the last really good thrill that you will sample. Now begins my slide when I started to go off the comic. You should still have space girls (dreadful), witch world (unfathomable), outlaw (violence for babies). . . . .

    Actually I just remembered a series called RAM raiders that people seemed to hate but I actually really enjoyed that, so maybe that is coming. I amm sure it happened before this issue though so maybe I just missed you covering it.

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 11:02 am  

  • "I remember Cannon Fodder II as the last truly great non-Dredd thrill before I go"

    Although I've read some of the stories in reprints, I've never read these Progs myself, but I thought the general concensus was that you're past the worst now?

    Only a few months (Prog time, so about Tuesday week in the slog) until Al's Baby and Nikolai Dante take the stage.

    Read this Canon Fodder story for the first time in the Meg reprint a few months ago. I didn't know about the Millar balony but I believe Kek-W did have some proposals for more outings. It's a shame they came to naught.

    By Blogger Peter, at 12:46 pm  

  • I would have to mention that I campeigned on the official 2000ad boards for several years to get this reprinted

    oh and I am writing and drawing a fan sequal on the same boards

    yep I love me the canon

    By Blogger David page, at 5:32 pm  

  • I agree, Victor that Millar's CF wasn't as tight as the follow up but it was good just the same I would say. CF II is better though. I write about RAM Raiders in today's entry.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:50 pm  

  • Sorry about this now David but I binned the Canon Fodder reprint when I got it in the Meg recently, I just hated it with a vengeance. I guess its just one of those marmite stories.

    Paul, you are spot on about the backround shenanigans regarding Millar and Morrison. GM has halted the distribution of Zenith Book 4 for years over a copyright dispute ie he wants it and Rebellion dosen't see why it should give in to him. There were very few creator owned series in 2000ad/the Meg, Als Baby I can recall off the top of my head.

    Equally MM seems to think he should have a say over anything he did for 2000ad. Where I would make a distinction between him and Pat Mills is that Mills is a good writer and Millar isn't. Also Mills put in the hard yards through the history of 2000ad and was its creator and founding editor so should be give a bit of leeway.

    By Blogger Derek, at 5:50 pm  

  • Peter, The Slog might be passed the worst but I remember my tolerance being low because of the wilderness years at this time. Relatively, it's not bad at the moment.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:52 pm  

  • David, can you let me know if, when and where it's available? Thanks.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:53 pm  

  • As you know Derek, I'm partial to a bit of Millar, but presuming that you're right when you say Mills is better, i still don't agree that his creations are an exception. Unless Mills has an agreement with 2000 AD that's is different to everyone else's, I don't think that ethically they can respect Mills' wishes and not anyone else's. I really must write an entry one day explaining why all of this interests me so much.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:58 pm  

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