Sunday, August 14, 2011
Have you read 2000AD recently?
2000AD is the last great survivor of the "traditional" British adventure weeklies. I almost said boys' adventure weeklies there, but it's been a long time since 2000AD was aimed at children. For better or worse, the comic grew with its readership in order to retain them. The fact that it's still around would suggest that the decision was a good one.
Sadly I suspect sales today are nowhere near what they were when 2000AD was launched in 1977, but that's a malaise affecting all publications these days. I stopped reading it myself for a few years, but I returned a few years back when 2000AD was reclaiming some of its original essence. I really feel that the comic is back on track now and features some great material.
One of the best strips in that regard is Zombo by Al Ewing and Henry Flint. This is 2000AD at its finest; sci-fi horror mixed with black comedy. The detail and energy of Henry Flint's artwork is a joy to behold and Al Ewing is, in my opinion, the best new writer to have emerged in British comics this century. (Ok Al, it's only 2011, so don't let that go to your head.) Zombo is a government-created zombie in the far future, and that premise in itself would be enough for lesser comics, but Al Ewing adds loads of black comedy that makes the strip deliriously daft. In the latest series, The Day the Zombo Died, Ewing adds another layer to the humour by parodying the second person narrative captions that were in vogue in Marvel comics of the 1970s. (See below.)
The other material in 2000AD is worthwhile too. Judge Dredd has recently begun a new saga, Day of Chaos, which sounds like it may be uncannily prescient of the recent real-life riots. Savage continues his war against the Volgan invaders, and the story ties in with the Ro-Busters / ABC Warriors universe, while Sinister Dexter continues to entertain. (I must admit I never cared much for this strip but it has grown on me and I do enjoy Anthony Williams' artwork.)
If you haven't looked at 2000AD for a while, or have never tried it, give it a shot. In a few weeks time, issue 1750 will be a good jumping-on point as it'll feature the start of some new stories, but the current issue, 1746, is well worth your £2.25. Published every Wednesday.