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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Review: The Complete Future Shocks - Vol.1

There's a skill to writing a self-contained science-fiction comic strip that works within the limitations of a few pages. It was the norm at one stage, but it seems to be a lost art in some cases today. We can perhaps blame decompressed storytelling for that, with young writers and artists using a more slow paced technique. Thankfully, Rebellion are about to publish The Complete Future Shocks Volume 1 to show how it used to be done. 

Some of these stories are only a page and a half in length, but they manage to set up the plot and deliver a twist ending within a few panels. Bang, wallop, the point is made and the story is over. By narrowing it down to its basic elements it has more impact, - and the early issues of 2000AD where these strips appeared were all about making an impact. Future Shock by name, Future Shock by nature.
Art by Ron Turner.

It's a hit and miss collection of course. Not every short story works as well as it should, and some have predictable outcomes, - but these appeared back in the days when the comic was mainly aimed at kids, so subtlety and sophistication were not the prime directive. The list of writers is like a who's who of comics fandom of the 1970s, with names like Martin Lock, Philip Greenaway, Mike Cruden, and Hunter Tremayne appearing alongside more established pros such as Alan Grant and Steve Moore. There's work by a young Alan Moore here too, from his early days in the business. (Incidentally, these days Hunter Tremayne is an established actor, appearing in the movie The Bookshop with Bill Nighy.) 
Art by Mike Dorey, as "J. Clough".

The artwork is supplied by veterans such as John Cooper, Ian Kennedy, Carlos Pino, and Ron Turner, but also features then-newcomers such as Steve Dillon, Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins and many more. 

If you're interested in the history of British comics, these strips are nice examples from an interesting period where a lot of new talent was emerging. If you just want an entertaining read, the book is ideal for that too. Recommended! 

REGIONS: UK, North America, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 14th June 2018
PAPERBACK, 322 pages
PRICE: £19.99 (UK) $25.99 (US)
ISBN: 9781781085592

Tharg’s Future Shocks are one-off, twist ending, sci-fi thrills that have introduced many of the biggest names in the comic book industry through the pages of 2000 AD. From Alan Moore to Al Ewing, Kevin O’Neill to Jon Davis-Hunt, Future Shocks have been a staple of the UK's best-selling comic 2000 AD! This exciting first volume takes us back to the earliest days of the strip and showcases the burgeoning, immense talents of such luminaries as Steve Moore, Alan Moore, Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, John Cooper, Carlos Pino, Jesus Redondo, Steve Dillon, Peter Milligan and many, many more.

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

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