By Olly MacNamee
As lapsed a reader of 2000AD as I am a Catholic (very) I was interested and eager to see what this anniversary issue would be like, and it didn’t disappoint. I may be a jaded reader of old, but this jump-on issue has something to offer new readers as well as old, acting almost like a sampler of the great and the good 2000AD has offered readers over almost 40 years. Tharg and company should be quite rightly proud of this ‘illustrious organ’ and the grand feat of publishing 2000 issues of a comic many original creators didn’t think would last all that long. Hell, I doubt anyone involved back in its inception of 1977 that it would last to the year 2000AD, let alone to the milestone of 2000 issues. But, today you can grab a copy for yourself and get back on the 2000AD wagon, should you wish.
Tharg, the omnipresent editor, acts as tour guide and historian across the one-page black and white strips produced by 2000AD legends such as Brian Bolland and Mick McMahon, which interject each of the 6 strips, like the Chorus in a Greek tragedy, but without the tragedy. These one pagers regal readers with a much potted history of 2000AD; from its highs to its lows and it’s refreshing to see Tharg somewhat embarrassed by the ‘lad culture’ the magazine unfortunately took up back in the misogynistic 90s. But, at least this era is addressed humorously, even though this troubling period nearly saw 2000AD shut up shop and Tharg, no doubt, extradited back to Quaxxann. Tharg and company, rightfully highlight the iconic characters from a number of decades, such as Judge Anderson, Rogue Trooper and Sinister Dexter, the latter proving it wasn’t all bad in the hedonistic 1990s. It is a good reminder of the legacy that 2000AD has created for itself, a legacy that has spread across the cultural landscape over the decades to be as much a part of British comics’ tradition as sweet, sticky rock is an integral part of Blackpool’s culture.
And, while this is very much a spectacular greatest hits album – Judge Dredd teaming up with Strontium Dog as written by John Wagner and illustrated by Carlos Esquerra, Nemesis The Warlock back in full effect and under the penmanship of Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill – it also has time to look to the future with the introduction of a new strip, Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan and Rufus Dayglo, both of whom represent to me, at least, the best of 2000AD’s heritage and it’s eye to building up a new model of art droid too. While Dayglo isn’t a new artist to the 2000AD rosters, he is to me, a long lost reader who did drop the comic back in the 90’s. But, with hisBret Ewins influenced art style of said strip, Dayglo represents the best of a ‘new’ breed of artists we seem to be producing here in the UK. A fan, I have no doubt, happy to be included in this extravaganza, and it shows through his detailed and dedicated art.
Oh, and in the story unfolding, Milligan embodies in Counterfeit Girl the punky, anti-establishment ethos that made 2000AD such a shockingly good and original read back in the 70’s. Hell, we certainly need a bit of anarchy in our lives in these dark days of despotic politics and desperate politicians and mainstream mediocracy.
You’ll come for the nostalgia, the humour and the irreverence, but you may very well find you’ll stay for the afterparty and another 2000 issues of thrill power overload.
Definitely worth picking up, sitting back and turning your stereo up to 11.
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