On the cover of issue 119 of 2000 AD we have Roger Moore, in his starring role in the Bond movie, Moonraker, because this comic book was published a long time ago. This is the 007 movie that was bit by the late 70s sci-fi bug. In the movie, Bond investigates the theft of a space shuttle, with stops in Venice, Rio de Janeiro, and the Amazon rainforest, and finally… space.
In this latest installment of a continuing series of blog posts I am reading an old comic book. And when I say old, I’m not joking. This issue of 2000 AD was released in June 1979. I cannot overstate how different life was way back in the late 1970s, but I can give you a flavor. This was a world where a stripped down cassette player was considered high tech, as 1979 was the year that Sony launched the Walkman, which sold in the US for $200.
I am on a bit of a nostalgia trip, reading an old comic book from my youth, and I have been for a while now. The one I’m reading is called 2000 AD, and I’ve reached issue 117. The cover is drawn by Ron Smith, who is an artist I have started to appreciate more and more since starting to read these ancient publications again. This is a wonderful image that captures some of the action from one of the stories inside the comic this issue, and allows Smith to show off his skill at rendering shiny, futuristic vehicles.
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.
Continuing my quest to read every issue of 2000 AD – an impossible task – I have reached number 115. After a run of classic covers, this issue has a very uninspiring image on the front. It features the silly old trope of attack beams meeting and canceling each other out. It’s also cramped and badly framed, so that even this hackneyed imagery is robbed of any drama. The hero shown here is Dan Dare, who has been with the comic book, off and on, since the very start.
Issue 114 of 2000 AD was published way back on the 26 May, 1979, so why the blazes am I reading it? The thing is, I’m not just reading this old back issue of 2000 AD, I’m reading a whole bunch of them. It’s a nostalgia trip, mostly, but there is an awful lot to love about these old comic books, still. There is also a lot that is not so good about them, such as a white, male, heterosexual world view that is taken to such a ridiculous extreme that entire issues of the comic book can slip by without a single female character or person of color being presented within its pages.
I’m wondering if I should keep on with my project of going back and once again reading issues of 2000 AD from the late 1970s and early 1980s. The problem is that there is a lot of sexism and racism in these comic books, and by writing about them, I may be validating this. They’re sexist in their lack of female characters, and racist in the ethnic stereotypes that appear now and again in the pages of this comic book.