Thursday, 16 April 2009

Enriched with Strontium 90

My comic reading years were concerned pretty much with one title: 2000AD. I had been getting the Beano but then, on the way to see a Superman I and II double bill, we stopped off at the newsagents only to find that my brother's copy of the Dandy hadn't come in. Instead they offered him 2000AD. My brother, who is two years younger than me, didn't really go for it but I realised straight away it was all over for Dennis and Gnasher. Independently I think one of my friends got into it round about the same time and for the next three years (until I moved away) every Saturday morning I would buy the comic, devour it in about 15 minutes and then shoot round to my friend's to discuss all the stories. I only stopped reading it on returning from my first term at college: there was a pile of them waiting for me and I just couldn't be bothered.

It was a great period to discover it, Alan Moore was a regular contributor and while our absolute hero Brian Bolland had finally defected to DC I was utterly blown away by Carlos Ezquerra's artwork for Judge Dredd. Nemesis the Warlock (the story featured on the cover there) was drawn by Jesus Redondo. I loved this version of Nemesis (book II) but the best was book III. This was drawn by the original artist Kevin O'Neill whose artwork in earlier issues (progs to the initiated) was very "clean". On his return for book III his artwork was very different - more alien - and I wasn't sure at first but looking back it's one of my favourites. The same goes for Mike McMahon's art for Slaine. All other comic art was very pedestrian in comparison, especially your typical Marvel and DC stories. The last great artist 2000AD featured before I stopped reading was Simon Bisley whose work for either Slaine or the ABC Warriors would probably have to be in every comic geek's top ten.

I dealt with the insane levels of violence as easily as any ten year old boy would but I started reading just in time to catch the Judge Dredd epic "The Apocalypse War". Throughout the eighties I was quite freaked out about the prospect of nuclear war and this particular story probably didn't help any. But on the plus side I was able to spell the word apocalypse from a relatively early age.

I hear it's pretty poor now - they went through a period of killing off big characters, Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer being the highest profile victims. I remember my amusement when one of my friends outed Johnny and Wulf but I couldn't deny the logic: they got out of the bounty hunting business and settled down together in a log cabin - swapping their body armour for matching Hawaiian shirts. Nothing wrong with that.


  1. Ah, 2000AD. I used to absolutely love Rogue Trooper and also D.R. and Quinch. I have a friend -- 40 this year -- who still picks up a copy of this every week. I think he's mad, but it's kind of sweet isn't it? Remember when the Cursed Earth / Chopper storyline was actually quite big news? Happy days.

    Good comic.

  2. Thanks for christening my blog ST. Yes, D.R. & Quinch were normally the strip me and my friend would discuss first. Alan Moore knew the score.