2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, February 26, 2010

Prog 1066 28/10/97

Groan. It’s the prog of no return; The prog that jumps the shark; The Sex Issue. Urgh. Even Tharg is ashamed of the whole thing as he hands most of his editorial over to Bish-OP. Although, Bish-OP is Tharg so why he would feel the need to do such thing, I don’t now. Perhaps Bish-OP knows he’s taking a risk with this issue and wants to manfully take responsibility for it should reaction be bad. However, I can’t help wondering if he sincerely expects it to be a raging success and wants to ensure full credit for it.

So, we get Judge Dredd in Attack of the Sex-Crazed Love Dolls which, actually, with a bit of tweaking could have appeared in a non-sex issue, Sinister Dexter in The Mating Game, more about courting than full on sex and A Life Less Ordinary in a business as usual, sex free episode. Space Girls appear in their final episode of this run in Bazzajan Quitly’s A – Z of Bizarre Sex. It isn’t just this issue in which this thrill has been lewd so for me to say recently that Space Girls could have appeared in a kiddie version of 2000 AD was really rather stupid of me. I’m glad it’s over and I hope it never comes back. The only thrill to provide anything that could be construed as only being appropriate with this prog’s theme is Nikolai Dante. Beautifully drawn by ‘Spaceboy’ (aka Chris Weston, perhaps even more ashamed than Tharg), Dante ends his story complaining of stubble burns after making love to a woman with a long beard. Now, ladies, maybe you can confirm something to me; I thought you only got stubble burn if your partner has gone a day or two without shaving and not once the beard has grown soft. But then, what do I know about sex.

It’s the cover stamp, ‘not for sale to children’ which makes the real statement this issue. There really is no going back from this point on as the semi-erect penis from a 2007 prog demonstrates. 2000 AD doesn’t appeal to grown ups as it imagines itself to. Instead it’s aimed at a narrow corridor of an age range; somewhere between fifteen and eighteen years old. As good as 2000 AD might be in 2010, the long term fall out of this period of the comic is a publication that doesn’t appeal to a casual adult customer and can’t be trusted to be appropriate for the ten year old sons of old Squaxx Dek Thargoes.

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  • Curse you Bishop, for making 2000ad this way! *shakes fist at sky*

    (btw you can get rash (friction burns from longer hair too.....dont ask....just dont ask.....)



    By Blogger OrLoK, at 6:06 pm  

  • As a younger man I used to be self conscious when reading my comics in public. Reading comics on public transport on Merseyside always felt silly and shameful. Many years later and in Sheffield I wipe them out in public with pride. My 'maturity' meaning I have no embarrassment reading even the most juvenile comics (I should point out the location has nowt to do with it).

    Reading this comic waiting for the train in Rotherham was the first time in years I felt that teenage shame again.

    That's the best way I can think to describe how I feel about this issue.

    By Blogger Colin, at 8:37 pm  

  • we warned you, you can't say we didn't warn you....

    By Blogger Drhoz, at 10:48 pm  

  • they did....

    you only have yourself to blame


    I still love the dante episode in this prog though glad it made it into the first trade

    By Blogger David page, at 3:13 pm  

  • What can I say . .. this is where I lost my commitment to 2000ad. She had become just too flighty for me!

    I wouldn't have minded the sex issue if it had actually been good, but it was so below par! Dante was the best story in here and that is due to the art. The story is dire and the rash comment made no sense at all. Surely you would get 'beardy burns' from it! Although maybe that was what was originally there and was removed so as not to offend John Burns!

    This originally came bagged I seem to remember. I think the bag was to protect us from the stink of desperation that was coming from within!

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 9:13 pm  

  • Wow. What a heavy task the Prog Slog must be!!

    I stopped being a regular Squaxx in 94, but I bought 2000ad in irregular bursts until mid 97 - the period you're into now. Sadly, it just got too embarassing/lame and I stopped altogether.

    Anyway, a quick google showed up an interview with David Bishop in 2004, where he talks about the Space Girls. He's not proud of it.


    By Blogger Robert, at 2:42 am  

  • OrLok, just as long as you're shaking your fist at the sky :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:32 pm  

  • I understand what you're saying, Colin. The sex issue confirms every sterio type about about comic readers.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:33 pm  

  • Drhoz, your warnings came too late. You should have told me before I embared on The Slog.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:34 pm  

  • Great art, David.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:34 pm  

  • Victor, the bag was probably there for... I can't bring myself to say it.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:36 pm  

  • Robert, he should be completely ashamed of himself.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:38 pm  

  • I recall a chris weston interview where he said he was a bit pissed off when he saw his story was the only one with nudity. He figured his would be the one with the least nudity not the one with the most.

    The sex issue was one without any real sexiness in it at all. They should have just reprinted a bunch of Vittorio Giardino or Milo Manara stories if they wanted that.

    By Blogger Derek, at 10:14 am  

  • Good point, Derek :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:49 pm  

  • Oddly, having given up 2000AD in the late 80s, I actually read this issue. And, no, it wasn't because I'd entered the newsagents that morning feeling a bit horny. A female colleague at work (yes, that's right - a girl) had bought this for her boyfriend and I read it during lunch-time. It was quite a depressing experience, though the Bolland drawn Dredd story was okay.

    As you say, Paul, this was a 'jumping the shark' moment - one where you could say, 2000AD gave up on its initial raison d'etre, which I would summarise as being something shocking and subversive but, crucially, for kids. Here the comic abandons any pretense of appealing to a younger audience and I regret that.

    Nothing can replicate the feelings I had pre-10 of reading Charley's War in the late 70s. And it's sad that no-one in 2000AD thought about the incredible impact that they could have had writing extraordinary stories for young people instead of merely perving it up for cheap laughs.

    Robert (The Matt Murdock Chronicles)

    By Blogger Robert, at 8:09 pm  

  • By an odd coincidence it was around these parts that I gave up collecting the weekly prog that I had been doing for such a long time.

    It seems I wasn't the only one who lost interest at this point in time...

    By Blogger Crucifer, at 3:48 am  

  • Apologies in advane for drunk posting but @ Robert didn't they re run charlies war? I dimly remember re Reading it during my prog slog and even though it was basic on many levels I really enjoyed it as much as any other thrill. Was it a warlord strip? Anyhoo charlies war was a big thong at the time for me, as was strontium dog ad robo thingy (ro jaws and hammerstien) perhaps im a starlover in denial.

    I still hark back to the days of the nemesis "tube wars" time.

    Again, very drunk so many of my facts are probaly wrong.


    By Blogger OrLoK, at 5:09 am  

  • I meant "thing" and "starlord". Being under the afluence of incahol does not help.

    By Blogger OrLoK, at 5:13 am  

  • Thanks Robert. FYI, the art for that Dredd story is credited to Greg Staples.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:49 pm  

  • Hi Crucifer. The sex prog, or thereabouts, seems to have been the ideal jumping off point.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:50 pm  

  • Orlok,
    Charleys War was originally published in Battle from 1979 to 1986. The strip was far from basic but thats just my opinion. I thought it was one of the most compelling and poignant british comics of all time.

    It was reprinted in the Meg during its 100 page squarebound period around 2002-04 (Darkies Mob was reprinted in full before CW)

    By Blogger Derek, at 8:53 am  

  • I love Charley's War and have one of the recent HBs in my to read pile. Roll on end of Slog!

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:44 pm  

  • Must...quantify...earlier....post....

    I loved Charlies War, but it was basic and lept from one important event to another very quickly.

    But this was the nature of comics at this time IMHO.

    I would love to see a longer, adult version of it.

    I call it "basic" as my brain cant think of another way to say it but I mean no offence.

    It far surpassed any other wwI / wwII strips around at the time of it's release in Battle.

    I'm sounding a bit of a fanboi, but let me reassure you, I can soon raise heckles when i let folk here know what i think of dexter/dante to name a couple of stips folk like.

    Apologies again for my lack of brainpower in expressing my views!



    By Blogger OrLoK, at 8:22 pm  

  • Sorry Orlok, I'm not wishing to get into some kind of argument but in my opinion your wrong regarding Charleys War. There dosen't need to be an "adult version" as the original was already an adult version, even though it was in a kids comic Pat Mills didn't shy away from the grim aspects of the war.

    Also it didn't leap from one thing to another. It took 6 months to tell the story of Charleys experience on the Somme, the same time as the actual battle. Charley's war took 6 years to go from the Somme to the end of the war, in real time it was only 2 1/2 years.

    By Blogger Derek, at 9:55 am  

  • No argument from me! It's mostly remembered in retrospect for me, so I bow to your greater knowledge on the subject!



    By Blogger OrLoK, at 11:21 am  

  • Like I say L, you're doing okay. I think the success of Charley's War lies in it being for kids which is why it was able to leap from one thing to another. Different things would be expected from it if done for grown ups.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 9:06 pm  

  • What different things would they be Paul?

    By Blogger Derek, at 11:43 am  

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