2000 AD - issue 116
If you are a comic book collector, preserving your comic books in slabs of plastic, then you may want to rethink. It’s actually very rare for a comic to retain its value, much less go up in price, but don’t worry that doesn’t mean you should throw your comic books away. You can keep them, and one day read them all over again.
This makes a lot of sense for some titles that really lend themselves to being reread. In 100 Bullets, for example, the events in Atlantic City happen multiple times from different perspectives, so rereading the comic book is very rewarding.
Also, we all have those comics that click with us at such a deep level that we can’t help but keep returning to them. For me, that is a select list of old-time comic books that includes Starlord, 2000 AD, and Hulk Comic.
Lastly, for obvious reasons, no new Kirby stuff is being drawn, so the only way to enjoy it is to hunt out back issues and gaze in wonder at it there. Similarly, Mike McMahon’s current drawing style is very different now to what it was in the late 1970s, so to see his art in all its early glory, you have to look at back issues of 2000 AD, and that’s what I have been doing. I have been reading issue after issue of this ancient comic book, and writing blog posts about the fun I have.
I have now reached issue 116 of 2000 AD in my journey, and it looks good. The cover is a work of art by Ezquerra, featuring one of the perennial heroes of 2000 AD, Johhny Alpha, from the Strontium Dog story. He is hacking at blue vines that look like some abstract sculpture, with a macho snarl on his face. He and the blue vines are at the center of a red pool with hands reaching from the water, which looks like something from a surrealist painting. It is an intriguing cover with a hero in an action pose, which is all you can ask from a comic book cover.
The first story this issue is another classic 2000 AD hero, Judge Dredd, but unusually he is drawn by Ian Gibson, and I have to say I like it. Gibson has a very sketchy and immediate style that adds excitement and interest to even pedestrian stories, like this one.
Next comes Rick Random, a short lived story written by Steve Moore that I remember liking. Steve Moore is said to have shown writer Alan Moore (no relation), then a struggling cartoonist, how to write comic scripts. He also wrote for Marvel UK, including stories for Hulk and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Hulk Comic, my favorite from those long-ago days, alongside 2000 AD of course. The art on Rick Random is also very evocative and unusual, and I was quite disappointed that it wasn’t given more of a chance.
This issue’s Strontium Dog sees the story get back on the rails after a couple of issues where the story has lagged a little. Strontium Dog brakes the rules of the strange alien swamp he is stuck in and, as punishment, a huge serpent emerges to attack him. It’s actually quite sophisticated and unexpected in the story, and beautifully drawn by Ezquerra, as always.
Next comes Dan Dare, which is paced very slowly. It is like they are experimenting with the very modern concept of decompression. Decompression is a stylistic storytelling choice characterized by a strong emphasis on visuals, which, usually leads to slower-moving plots. Decompression reared its ugly head in American comic books of the 1990s. Decompressed stories have been the cause of considerable controversy and debate among comics fandom. Many detractors accuse their writers of unnecessarily stretching out the page length of plots, thinning out the content per page in order to earn more sales and money for a limited amount of work. This Dan Dare continues a battle with a monster we saw last time, and the battle isn’t over by the end of this issue. It is beautifully drawn, but they are dragging things out too much.
On the back, there is a poster of a giant robot called Tyranno-Mek we saw a few issues ago in prog 100, and he is beautiful. Here we see him stamping on a puny human’s dwelling.
This is not a classic issue of 2000 AD – not every issue can be – but it is still a lot of fun and the art is great. I enjoyed reading it again, after all these years.
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.