Borag Thungg, Earthlets!

Here's a thread to talk about what's going on in 2000 AD, and other Rebellion titles. And probably British comics in general, if we get to that.

As I've mentioned on the What Have You Read Today thread, I've been reading a lot of 2000 AD lately, and have really taken to the book. (Or prog, in 2000 AD parlance -- the magazine has created its own slang, which takes some getting used to. Each issue is a prog, all edited by the Mighty Tharg, who imbues every story with Thrill-power!) 

Anyway, instead of clogging up the what are you reading thread with posts about different 2000 AD features, I thought I'd give us a central location for the discussion... and see if anyone else wanted to join in! Digital comics have made access to this book cheaper than ever, and I'm having a blast following along in PDF form. 

Some features of the anthology seem to be stand-alone: I don't see any connections to other stories from some of my favorite titles, the sci-fi mystery Brink and the folk horror Thistlebone. But other features divide into families. The biggest one is Judge Dredd, which shares a continuity with Psi-Judge Anderson and a number of other features, including Hershey and Max Normal, as well as an alt-universe version, Deadworld. Then there's Strontium Dog, a long-running sci-fi bounty hunter strip that has connections to a recurring vampire-type characted, Durham Red. Plus, there's Rogue Trooper, a sci-fi war comic, which ties in to Jaeger, about people on the other side of the war. And there are certainly ties that I don't know about. There's almost 50 years of history here, and I'm having a great time exploring it. 

Anyone want to join me? 

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  • Honestly, Rob, the only 2000 AD series I am familiar with is D.R. and Quinch, and that's only because the co-owner of my LCS at the time liked it so much she offered to loan it to me with the option to buy if I liked it (which I did, but not enought to buy it). As I mentioned on "What Comic Books Have You Read Today?" I have never read any Judge Dredd, although I used to kind of want to to, but didn't know where to start. So I'll read along with the discussion but I don't know how much I'll be able to contribute.

    • Thanks, Jeff. I'm not sure if there are any other 2000 AD readers here, to be honest. But I plan to use this as a journal to promote some good strips that catch my eye as I do my reading. 

      One of the things I've liked about diving into 2000 AD -- which is also a little infuriating! -- is that there's no other way to approach these comics than as I first encountered superhero comics as a kid. You CAN'T start at the beginning of Dredd. Or rather, you can (and I've tried), but why? Those comics won't speak to you as directly as the ones written now will. But as I kid, starting out with DC & Marvel comics, I was learning something new about those universes every day! And then I would piece together the history, and get a hodgepodge understanding of it, and slowly but surely blanks would get filled (and I'd eventually read older stuff, too). That's whe way I'm approaching 2000 AD: Reading the modern stuff, and finding stuff that I enjoy, and digging deeper and going down the rabbit holes that interest me. And I find it fascinating, approaching strips with such a long history with no mastery of the subject matter whatsoever. How many opportunities will I have to do that?

    • And somewhere, ages ago, I bought a DR & Quinch collection on the strength of the Alan Moore/Alan Davis team. I liked it, but it didn't blow me away either. I think my favorite 2000 AD strip in the ones I first encountered was Halo Jones, some of which were reprinted here in the 1980s. I recently reread the first book of her series in the Best of 2000AD compilations; I need to go back and read the rest sometime.

  • As an example of how much there is to discover in the Dredd universe, there's a recurring character named Noam Chimpsky, who's a clever and goodhearted chimpanzee, who actively works against the fascist state of Mega-City One. I just read my first story with him, where he's kidnapping a baby designated to be raised by the Justice Department to be a Judge, and instead reuniting him with his mother. He's assisted by a bay-faced guy named Chet, and a guy named Mister Grofaz that inexplicably looks like Hitler. I have NO IDEA what his deal is. I think I've read one other Chimpsky story, but there have been a lot of appearances I've missed. But it's a fun story, and I really want to know more. 


  • I don't think I've actually read a 2000 AD book. but I did buy a lot of the series repackaged in America by Eagle Comics and I believe Quality Comics. Mostly through 50 cent (or less) boxes. Judge Dredd of course, Rogue Trooper, and ABC Warriors. Outside of that IDW put out an oversized Brian Bolland Judge Dredd books a number of years back, which I read and loved.

    I enjoyed them all, but for some reason not enough to still seek them out.

    • They really took a while to grow on me, Trav! I first encountered them in the Eagle and Quality reprints too, and then, every now and then a friend would hand me a Dredd book ro read. (And I picked up a trade or two on my own, like the DR & Quinch book, and some Zenith reprints.) 

      To my mind, there are two major stumbling blocks for me, and reading the books digitally takes care of both of them. 

      1) The lettering. 2000AD pages are bigger than those of most American comics, so shifting them down to US comic size for reprints means the lettering is smaller. And, in those 1980s reprints, muddier. The artwork itself is smaller too, but its the lettering where I see the most difference. But I've got a monitor that's a little bigger than a comics page, and I can zoom when I need to, so the PDFs I buy from Rebellion are perfect for my 54-year-old eyes. (Though, like I said, the 80s reprints weren't the easiest to read when I was in my 20s!)

      2) The pacing. Most chapters of any serial are 5-6 pages long, so consequently, things sometimes seem really compressed. When a full story plays out in 6 pages, there's not a lot of breathing room. And even in longer stories, they're usually paced to deliver a punch in every installment. Sometimes it's an advantage, and sometimes it's at the expense of "down time" for the characters. Either way, it takes some getting used to. 

    • I should also mention that I bought a TON of PDFs of 2000AD collections from Humble Bundle a year or so ago. Thousands of pages of comics for $20 or $30. I haven't gotten through a fraction of it yet, but every now and then I see the return of an existing series (like Slaine or Aquilla) that I can check out some earlier episodes of to give myself some grounding in the world.

      Others, like Proteus Vex (currently running), remain opaque as tar in a blackout. I hope some people like it, but it hasn't grabbed me.   

  • 12672588255?profile=RESIZE_400xAmong the ton of PDF collections I got from Humble Bundle was The Ballad of Halo Jones, volumes 1-3, by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson, originally published from 1984-86. It's an SF series set in the 4900s that follows Halo from beeing a teen in an Earth slum called the Hoop (book 1) to being a stewardess on a space cruiser (book 2) to being a soldier in a seemingly endless war (book 3). More books were planned, but Alan Moore had a disagreement with Fleetway, 2000AD's publisher at the time (apparently in an effort to get all his fellow creators better compensation), and you know how that goes. And with the death of Ian Gibson in December of last year, I doubt we'll ever see any more.

    But what we have is pretty great. The first book is the weakest of the lot, IMO, as Moore and Gibson spend so much time on the strange culture that it takes a while to completely connect with the lead character. But book 2 (which are the stories I remember from the reprints) takes it up a notch, with a more limited environment, and a better defined cast of characters... and one surprising betrayal. And then volume 3! The first half is straight-up war comics, a Vietnam allegory with barely a hint of science fiction glossing over it; these are stories that would fit right in to Archie Goodwin's Blazing Combat comics. Then, in the second half, it gets a little more science fictiony and mind-bendy, with time dilations due to increased gravity, etc. -- but by that point, we've already been knee-deep in the horrors of war, so some of these more abstracted horrors still have dramatic heft. And then...there's a cease fire. And we see characters (including Halo) deal with PTSD, and other aftermaths of war. And while I'd love for there to have been further installments, the series pauses at a really satisfying note. Somewhere, Halo Jones is among the stars.

    These are definitely worth a read. 

  • In last week's issue of 2000AD, a new strip debuted: Silver, by Mike Carroll and Joe Currie. It looks to be a good one. Set in England, circa 2001, the story opens on some grave-robbing: people are digging up the body of a baroness. Turns out she's a vampire-like creature, alive for the last 500 years. And they're digging her up to fight off an alien race called The Sepsis, which went to war with Earth forces in the 1970s and has been occupying it (despite resistance) ever since. I'm looking to see where this one goes. 

    Also, next week sees the beginning of "Machine Rule," a new Dredd story by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil. Wagner is one of the founding fathers of Dredd, having written much of the strips first decade (originally with Alan Grant, then alone). He's been no stranger to the strip, but it's always good to see a new one from him. 

    PLUS! Rebellion also supplied subscribers with a 2023-24 Subscription Gift -- a collection of stories drawn by Cam Kennedy in a snazzy 52-page PDF! I'm not sure if there's a print version of this (I suspect there is), but the PDF suits me fine. It's got some Dredd stories, some covers, a Rogue Trooper story and a Future Shock. 

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