Monday, 31 October 2016

2000AD #2000

2000AD #2000 (2016)
Considering how far back I go with 2000AD, it would have been weird to not buy this two-thousandth issue as I noticed it there on the racks in Barnes & Noble; and it would have felt weird not to write about it, so here I am.

My first issue was #20, cover dated 9th of July, 1977 and costing eight pence from Bradley's newsagent in the square in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, England. This issue cost nine dollars before tax and was purchased here in San Antonio, Texas.

What a long, strange journey it has been.

I bought my first 2000AD on Monday the 4th of July. I was eleven-years old. It clearly made a huge impression on me because on the following Saturday I note in my diary:

Today I bought birthday presents for James and Nicholas in Stratford and got for myself the 2000AD summer special in Stratford.

Then on the Monday:

Not much at school but when I got home I got another 2000AD comic and saw Clapperboard on TV about the film Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

On Thursday the 14th of July, I wrote:

Today I swapped some copies of Topper for some 2000AD comics with Peter Empson. Now I only need four back issues to complete the set.

Curiosity had quickly flared up into obsession leading to what didn't seem so much like a hobby as a whole new way of life, and on the following Monday I wrote:

I hate Nationwide because they said things against 2000AD comic. They're not very nice.

I stayed with the thing more or less on and off until about 1993. There was a large gap around the start of the eighties whilst I discovered punk rock, admittedly three years later than everyone else and coinciding with a run of unusually shite stories such as Meltdown Man and Mean Arena. Then a friend filled in this gap a couple of years later by giving me all of his back issues. They had been soaked, transformed into a column of papier mâché by the pipes bursting in his student accommodation. He was about to chuck the lot, but I took them and spent the next few months drying them out, two issues at a time on the radiator. Once the things were dry enough to read, I realised the comic had picked up somewhat after I'd jumped ship so I started buying it again. I'm not even sure what drove me away in 1993, but it may have been a combination of a girlfriend entering the picture and Armoured Gideon.

I hadn't bought one since, not until right now. I've probably browsed here and there but never saw anything which really grabbed me, and 2000AD was never really a casual read. It was something you collected or you didn't bother; and this situation is strangely akin to my own father reading a copy of Eagle in the year 1999 in some alternate universe where the thing never got cancelled and my dad continue to read comics into adulthood, just like me.

Firstly, it's sort of comforting to see we're still running with the affectation of this being a comic edited by an alien for the benefit of earthlets, and an alien who continues to describe his own work as zarjaz; and it's additionally comforting to detect no trace of irony in this conceit. We have a Judge Dredd strip which requires just twelve pages to team him up with Johnny Alpha, then send them both to the future to defeat a troop of Judge Cal clones. It's fucking stupid and yet characteristically wonderful and a good illustration of what has made this comic great even before we've considered the consistently wonderful art of Carlos Ezquerra. Pat Mills reunites with Kevin O'Neill for a slightly bewildering but nevertheless welcome Nemesis strip. There's linking material from Mike McMahon amongst others, then Rogue Trooper and Anderson, Psi Division - strips which historically had their moments, but never quite became favourites for me, and here fail to change my mind on that score - although it's still nice to see them.

The weird thing at this point was the familiarity of it all, concepts and characters all seemingly dating from my era. They must have come up with something during the last two decades, surely?

There's Sinister Dexter, whatever that may be, then a new strip from Pete Milligan, and they're okay but I'm probably going to stick to catching up with collected editions of the stuff I liked. It's been great to reconnect but I guess it's just not my comic any more, and nor has it been for a while. It did it's job. It raised me and probably changed the face of comics, albeit indirectly. It set me where I am today by some means or other, wherever that is. It's good just to know that it still exists, still works for whoever is reading it, and continues to spread the gospel of causing trouble and ruffling feathers. May it endure for at least another forty years.


  1. I still buy 2000 AD each week. The 2000th issue was a great celebration but isn't really typical of the title today and was sensibly marketed to be more familiar to readers like yourself who haven't read it for a long time.
    These days it's mostly aimed at older 35+ readers who've been following a long time and have kept the title going over the years. It doesn't have the freshness or energy of its youth although there are still enough surprises to keep things interesting and there's something satisfying about being able to buy the latest issue from a newsagent each week. The stories are, as ever, a mixed bag but John Wagner's Dredd is, as far as I'm concerned, the best ongoing comic still being written; he's still telling fairly fresh stories unlike, say Moore or Morrison, who've become fairly predictable over the years. He doesn't write so many of the Dredd stories these days (and the other Dredd writers never quite manage to nail both Dredd and MC1) but his stories are better than ever as Dredd has aged in real time and changed at a glacial pace into a wintery older man. I'd strongly recommend reading the two collections of 'Day of Chaos' the bleak but brilliant sequel to the Apocalypse War from a few years ago which had a lot of relevant things to say about what happens when a society stops trusting its leaders