Over the last few days I have been reading prog slogs, for nostalgia but also for sci-fi fun. But what is a prog slog? To understand what a prog slog is you have to understand what a prog is. A British sci-fi comic called 2000ad that started in the 1970s, riding the wave of popularity of Star Wars is where the word comes from. Instead of calling the weekly comics issues, like any other comic, they decided that their comic would be released in weekly progs. So instead of issue 1, 2000ad starts with prog 1. 2000ad has now, at the time of writing, reached prog 2047 and this number goes up every week.
A prog slog is where somebody reads through all these progs, or at least a lot of them. A prog slog blog, is where somebody reads a huge bunch of 2000ads, and also blogs about their experiences. This whole thing seems to have been started with the first prog slog by Paul B Rainey. He describes his prog slog thusly:
I endeavour to read every issue, or prog, of 2000 AD and appropriate associated comics, specials and annuals published between number one and 1,188. Will this experiment result in, as Tharg the Mighty has warned of many times in his editorials over the years, thrill power overload or will I, like Morgan Spurlock in the documentary Supersize Me, end up being sick a lot and twenty five pounds heavier?
People can start a prog slog at any number, but my favourites are those brave people that start with the very first issue of 2000ad, prog 1. That’s not to say prog slogs through high numbers aren’t entertaining. This tumblr post is from a prog slog blog entry by Judge Anon talking about Mother Earth from prog 867, or thereabouts. It’s a fun read, and I like her take on a classic comic book, but I had long stopped buying and reading 2000ad by the time of prog 867, so it doesn’t have that hit of nostalgia for me.
Other prog slog blogs do go all the way back to prog 1, however, and one of the most detailed is Everythingcomesbackto2000ad. Unfortunately the art was hosted at Imageshack, and is therefore now missing. Images stored in free Imageshack accounts were deleted on January 31, 2016… argh! I noticed that the site had moved to the new address of Everythingcomesbackto2000ad , but the prog slog is not part of the new site, as far as I can see. Another detailed prog slog blog is the Back Prog Hack, but again there is no art on the blog to acompany the extensive musings about long ago British sci-fi comic books.
I didn’t actually start reading 2000ad at prog 1. My journey to 2000ad took a little longer than that. I was a reader of a different comic book, called Action, and I loved the strip called Hook Jaw. It inspired by Jaws, where 2000ad was inspired by Star Wars. A little on Hook Jaw from Wikipedia.
Hook Jaw was created as a Jaws cash-in and the flagship title of the comic. Hook Jaw is a Great White Shark and the hero of the series, even though he spends most of his time eating most of the human cast of characters. The name Hook Jaw comes from the gaff hook stuck in the shark’s jaw after some fisherman tried to catch the creature shortly before being eaten by it. The writer gave the strip an environmental edge by having Hook Jaw eat corrupt humans, or criminals, seeking to exploit the seas, as well as anyone else unlucky enough to get near him.
When Action ceased being published, I moved onto a sci-fi comic book called Star Lord. Starlord was a short-lived weekly British science fiction comic book with better quality paper and a higher cover price than 2000 AD. You can see scans of the original comics from way back then at this great Star Lord site.
Star Lord was published by the same company as 2000ad but they found that publishing two weekly science fiction titles split the market. Starlord, with its higher cover price, was cancelled after 22 issues and merged with 2000 AD in prog 86 of that title.
Reading the Wikipedia page today, I just found out that Starlord was actually the better selling of the two titles, and the decision to end it was dictated purely by the higher production costs of Starlord as opposed to 2000 AD’s cheap newsprint format. Back when I was a kid reading comics I had always assumed 2000ad was more popular. It’s gratifying, after all these years, to find out I was reading the more beloved title.
2000 AD’s line-up was hugely strengthened by subsuming Star Lord, with the characters from Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters continued on for years in the comic’s pages. I liked 2000ad, but I was never as loyal as I was to Star Lord. I started and stopped reading 2000ad for longer or shorter periods after starting at prog 86 when Star Lord joined, and eventually gave it up a few years later. I never forgot those 70s and 80s comics though, and I love finding things like prog slogs that allow me to revisit these stories from so long ago, and experience the enjoyment of their sci-fi goodies afresh.
Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy)
The fist sci-fi book I ever wrote, and stil the one that sells the best, is Galaxy Dog. It is the first book in the Dark Galaxy series and it is a story of adventure, spaceships, and rebellion across a galactic empire. A small group of friends, one woman, one man, and one robot incite a revolt and take on the might of the Tarazet Deep Space Navy. They find an immensely powerful alien spaceship so, even though the rebellion is extremely outnumbered, they still stand a chance. Galaxy Dog combines the action of military sci-fi with the heart of space opera. There are robots, aliens, space battles, and all the good things that make sci-fi so enjoyable. Galaxy Dog is available from Amazon right now, so just click the Amazon link and download a copy.