2000 AD - issue 5
As I remember it, this was the very first issue of 2000 AD that I ever saw, and I wanted very much to buy it. I remember that very clearly indeed. I also remember that my mom was not keen on buying it for me, and I can see why, now. I couldn’t understand her distaste for the comic back then, but I can see it now. The cover is a guy on a Harley attacking a giant cyborg monkey. My mom probably compared it to the more traditional comics that surrounded it, and figured she should steer me toward something a little less bonkers. Like Whizzer and Chips.
I remember that I allowed myself to be swayed, and I bought some other comic that I now have no memory of whatsoever. What I really wanted, though was this issue of 2000 AD. I liked the look of the giant monkey, I remember quite distinctly, and I was intrigued to see that it was described as a cyborg. What could be cooler than a cyborg Kong, in the future?
The first story in the comic isn’t this thrilling concept, however, it is the gritty story a future version of the UK after being invaded by Russia. The leader of the gang of British resistance is called Savage and his second in command is called Silk, which may be intended to tell us something about how hard and manly each of them is. Savage is the working—class hero, where Silk is from the middle class and is more of a thinker. Savage proves his hardness this week by taking out an armored car, single-handedly, with just a shotgun. Invasion isn’t my favorite strip, mostly because it is barely sci-fi at all. It would be quite at home in any of the many war comics that were being sold back in 1977.
The next story is Flesh, which is about bloodthirsty, marauding dinosaurs, so… perfect, in other words. This issue, tyrannosaurs have broken through a town’s protective plastic screen, and they are gleefully eating all the inhabitants. It’s great fun, and it looks like it will be a while before the tiny human treats they are gobbling will satisfy their appetites, so the action just keeps on coming. One of the best panels this week shows a tyrannosaur biting a pteranodon out of mid air. It is beautifully imagined and detailed.
The next story is Harlem Heroes and their match with the Baltimore Bulls finally comes to an end here, after stretching over three issues. They win, and as a reward they get a great futuristic bus with no wheels called a superliner. It’s beautifully drawn, without being particularly cool.
Then comes the Dan Dare story, which is fun. Belardinelli is given lots of opportunity to draw aliens and their environments, and that is one of his strengths, as Dare is sucked into the innards of one of the alien creatures. MACH 1 is next, and it is as ridiculously macho as ever – even more so than Savage. At one point, MACH 1 says:
I’m gonna get you! Cos you got me angry in my skull.
And this made me smile at the sheer ludicrous, tight-lipped, inarticulate, machismo of it.
At last, the cover story, Judge Dredd comes next, and it is drawn by Ezquerra. I would have sworn it was McMahon’s work as it doesn’t have the baroque shading that Ezquerra would later develop. No matter how great this giant-cyborg-monkey storey is, unfortunately it is also one of the episodes that includes Dredd’s housekeeper, an older woman with an Italian accent, who Dredd thinks of as nagging him, and who was obviously only included in a misguided attempt at comedy. My heart always sinks when I see her in a Dredd strip. She is just an awful and unfunny stereotype. The story improves enormously as soon as Dredd is out of his apartment and he is soon locked in combat with the giant mechanical ape, which is called Krong. The story even spills out onto the back cover and therefore gets a page that is actually in color. Sweet.
I still remember reading that page of all-color, monster mayhem, way back in 1977, and even though I didn’t buy it, it started a shift in my comic buying tastes that would eventually take me from the likes of Whizzer and Chips to 2000 AD.
Start Reading the Dark Galaxy Trilogy
Galaxy Dog is an epic space opera. What starts as an ordinary invasion of an alien planet, brings to light an ancient archaeological site of huge importance. A young man called Knave makes a life-changing discovery there and rises from a lowly position as an infantry trooper to become a player among the powers of the galaxy. This is the story of his rise, and the story of the fierce and independent woman and the feisty robot who help him.