2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, February 05, 2010

Prog 1034 18/03/97

I might spend a lot of my time here bitchin’ about the current state of 2000 AD and blaming, not always rationally, certain individuals, let’s call them David Bishop, for it’s condition but, let’s face it, this prog’s free gift is probably the best since the MACH 1 ‘bionic’ transfers given away with issue 2 in 1977. This time, we get a copy of 3000 AD, a cover version of the very first 2000 AD programme. It’s like a re-imagining where the conceit is what if the comic had started twenty years later than when it actually did.

So, in Invasion, Britain is invaded by Euro-forces instead of the god damn dirty Volgans (Russians). In Flesh, dinosaurs are farmed by crime cartels because eating meat has been criminalised in by the 22nd centaury. A couple of the thrills don’t work quite so successfully. Hike Harlem Heroes emphasises the sports sponsorship aspect of the strip but, if memory serves me correctly, that’s exactly what the original did occasionally. Dan Dare is simply re-established as being fifty years old. Besides, as good as artist Kevin Walker is, I can’t imagine anyone ever being able to come close to the impact of prog 1’s original centre spread by Messimo Belardinelli.

The most notable strip is BLAIR 1, a re-imagining of MACH 1 as political satire. It’s not necessarily very good satire and, at the time, I remember thinking, Christ, the bloke’s just been voted in; give the guy a chance to fuck up before you start ripping into him. Now, post Blair fuck up and with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that it’s nothing more than a fun collision of ideas. What amazes me most about the strip is that it’s painted by SB Davis. I am impressed by the artist’s apparent page rate. He provides three pages here after only recently finishing eight weeks on Sinister Dexter, six pages of Vector 13 and at least two covers. The man’s a machine!

It’s a shame I think that the front and back covers don’t have artwork on them instead of photographs of this chick from Tron. The logo’s a bit weak and the suspension of disbelief that this might be a comic from the future is destabilised by a page size house ad for the latest issue of The Megazine. As a whole, however, it’s visually impressive and a genuinely great little item.

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