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2000 AD Prog Slog

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Prog 1037 08/04/97

I can’t remember reading any of the stories currently appearing in 2000 AD which is a bit of a surprise considering I was still buying the comic at this time. I can only assume that it was now a habitual buy. That I would have been reading it but each story would have been going in one eye and out the other. I’m only a few progs away from the final one I bought and I’ve been trying hard to recall the last straw but it seems to have been, in the end, a death by ice. I grew so indifferent to it that I eventually stopped buying it.

What is it about 2000 AD at this time, when actually it’s quite good, with strong art throughout mostly, and when there have been periods in its recent history where the it’s been worse, that failed to keep me hooked? One of the reasons is that it’s post the Dredded movie. I was able to tolerate runs of Harlem Heroes and reprints because 2000 AD still had this sense of potential about it. After the film, it now feels like it’s the morning after the night before and there’s tidying up to do. It’s lost its sense of fun. It’s not as funny as it used to be. It’s taking itself far too seriously.

New thrill Mercy Heights sums up 2000 AD at this time in a way. It’s well written, well drawn, with a sophisticated plot and cast of characters but it’s absolutely impossible to get on board with from episode two. John Wagner stories, Judge Dredd and Al’s Baby, are easy to dip in and out of because at their core, conceptually, they are accessible. It only takes a caption recap to bring anyone who missed last issue up to speed. You can’t do that with Mercy Heights or Nikolai Dante. If you’re buying 2000 AD in a haze, week in, week out, when you eventually snap out of the funk and find it impossible to follow most of the strips it makes the decision to stop buying the comic easier.

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8 Comments:

  • I was totally out by this stage, missed Mrcy Heights entirely, nearest I ever got to it was that Cyan Tor capper Dave Gibbons drew years later.

    By Blogger Mark, at 7:15 pm  

  • I only ever vaguely glanced at Dante even though it's artwork was vaguely reminiscent of Don Lawrence's artwork on Trigan.

    I just found it to be too "Jane" (ie too much tits and arse and little else.)

    I couldn't tell you one characters name from it, other than Nicholas.

    Did I miss out?

    I think at this stage of my slog, i was practically only reading dredd and skimming though the other stories.

    Also, is there an inverse theory with some stories vs art?

    Later on in the progs (and currently) strips like Slaine and ABC warriors are fantastically well painted but other than being a visual feast appear, to me at least, incredibly shallow. (although some nice looking ladies... oh dear i'm fantasizing over another man's fantasy doodles....)

    I digress, Dante, worthy or not in your (readers) opinion(s)?

    rgds

    LoK

    By Blogger OrLoK, at 9:57 pm  

  • OrLoK, I say Dante is worthy!

    I find it to be one of those epics that, although the grander scope of the plot can be impenetrable, it is, for me, impenetrable in a way that makes me really want to go back to old episodes to find out what's going on, rather than just giving up on it altogether.

    I had a similar experience with Nemesis the Warlock and Slaine, for the sake of comparison.

    By Blogger alexf, at 9:07 am  

  • The first Dantes I read were shortly after issue 1500. While there was a massive back story which I knew I'd missed I found each shorter story perfectly enjoyable in its own right and pretty easy to get into.

    Recently I've started to catch up and I've now read over half of the back story (I'm just out of the 'Tsar Wars') and its brillant, truely brillant. I think Dante handles its over arching epic storyline well and always felt the individual stories stood on their own. You get more, a heck of a lot more, if you've read everything but it works as stand alone too.

    Mercy Heights which I read for the first time not too long ago wasn't accessible to me in this way. Even reading it in a considerably more condensed fashion there were occasions I'd have to nip back and check a fact or who a character was. It was a fun read but a little 'dense' to be a great 200ad story (or well, maybe I am!)

    By Blogger Colin, at 12:54 pm  

  • Dante turned into one of the best comic series ever, and not just in 2000 ad. It did drag a bit after the finish of Tsar Wars, but that was mostly because of its less frequent schedule. The stories themselves read fine but the schedule made it a bit frustrating.

    I'd agree with your assesment of Mercy Heights, it did seem to be missing the fun of other thrills, especially in comparison to Dante which just oozed of it. The first panel is Dante shagging a high class prostitute while the Tsar's guards burst down the door. I don't think many series can claim to have had as great a start as that.

    Chris

    By Blogger kennyevil, at 5:03 pm  

  • Mark, I don't know about the Cyan Tor capper...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:19 pm  

  • LoK, I'll probably write about Dante in a day or two.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:20 pm  

  • I'm sure to have more to say about Dante soon.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:23 pm  

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