2000 AD - issue 101
Once again, I am reading a comic book from long, long ago. This one is from way back in late February 1979. This issue doesn’t have a particularly inspiring cover. It is just Dan Dare, with his nemesis, the Mekon, behind him. It may only be two heads, but when they are as recognizable as Dan Dare and the Mekon, the comic book will most likely have sold respectably despite the lack of dynamic action.
The first story this week is Ro-Busters, and we find a giant robot called Charlie standing among the remains of the Terra-Meks, a gang of evil giant robots who wanted to destroy his town. I have been enjoying this story immensely, and it is very, very sad to see it wrapping up this week. It is an absolute classic, and beautifully drawn. To give just one example of the excellent comic book writing, in just one small panel, and with just a few strokes of the pen, we see a frigate and two brief text boxes. Charlie may have saved his city but he is not out of trouble yet. His primary purpose is to help shipping, and that is to be used as his undoing.
It’s a horrible betrayal of the kindly robot, and the emotions are quite gut wrenching when the ship he is coming out to save opens fire on him. The story has a happy ending, though, because Charlie comes back from his watery grave… And receives a hero’s welcome from the city he saved. I love giant robot action, and this is some of the highest quality giant-robot slugging you are likely to find. All the action was last week, but this week, in the final episode, is when the feels really hit home.
After this classic, both Judge Dredd and Robo-Hunter are a little lackluster this week. In Judge Dredd we see the lawman in a protracted fight with an imbecile that lives in the sewers beneath the future city. Robo-Hunter is in a sewer too, and he is mobbed by robotic sewer rats before being rescued by a sewer robot named B.O. It isn’t bad stuff, exactly, but it pales in comparison with Ro-Busters.
The Dan Dare story that comes next, however, is interesting. Dan gets a cool new look, but that look is chosen for him by his nemesis. There are some nice, absolutely evil and ferocious aliens to fight, but he is fighting them as his arch-enemy’s champion. It is interesting and beautifully drawn stuff.
This version of Dan Dare is recovering from being injured in a reactor explosion. The space hero has been awoken from suspended animation decades into his own future after his crew were wiped out and his Space Fortress destroyed. Dare now finds himself under the mental domination of the Mekon, and there is a lot of potential for his adventures to come. Sadly Dan Dare was never quite the success in 2000AD that was hoped for, and the series will soon be retired, in the summer of 1979, but it starts strong and this episode is fun.
Ro-Busters is drawn by Dave Gibbons, and so is Dan Dare. The two stand out stories from this comic, both incredibly detailed classics, created by the same artist. It just goes to show what a hard-working artist Gibbons is. I find his stuff a little stiff and uninspired, sometimes, but there is no doubting he brought his A game to this old issue of 2000 AD.
Dave Gibbons, of course, is the man who co-created Watchmen in 1986 with the writer Alan Moore. Time magazine called him, “a genius – one of the major comic book artists of the 21st century.” Comic Sans, a Microsoft typeface, was partly derived from his Watchmen lettering. As a free Windows 95 font, it has been used everywhere from product packaging to official notices.
Dave Gibbons, first comics laureate is regarded as one of the UK’s best comics artists, and he has worked on Green Lantern and Batman. Gibbons has vivid memories of the prefects at his school going through his desk and confiscating comics and burning them. He saw a recent prospectus for the school, and it included a page of famous old boys. As well as Tim Rice, and Stephen Hawking, it also had Dave Gibbons, the comics guy. To go from burning books to being proud of him shows how mainstream he has become.
By the way, when I’m not reading comic books, I write novels.
Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy) Start Reading the Dark Galaxy Trilogy
The first book in the Dark Galaxy Trilogy, always the best place to start, is Galaxy Dog. It’s a little more old-school and fun than a lot of the sci-fi that is around at the moment. It has spaceships, robots, battles, and brave warriors rebelling against an evil empire. Click the book cover and go to the storefront you prefer to buy it now, or follow this link.
This is a universal book link (UBL) and you will be greeted with a page displaying all the places the book is available online. Just select the storefront you prefer and, if you want, also make this your default bookseller. From then on, every time you click a UBL you will be taken directly to the book you are interested in, on the storefront you prefer. The UBL even allows you to go to the Amazon store that matches your region.