Monday, 18 October 2010

2000AD Part Three: Savage and Defoe

I keep saying this about different people, but if there's one guy who really embodies the values of 2000AD, it's Pat Mills. He was, of course, one of the motive forces behind establishing the title back in the seventies, and over the years he's never been far away. You could say the same about John Wagner and Alan grant, of course, who were similarly involved in 2000AD's earliest days, but it seems to me that no one quite expresses the conflicting impulses of 2000AD quite like Mr Mills.

While I've been reading the reprint volumes (you can find the reviews by clicking the 2000AD tag, an Harlem Heroes is awaiting review, NB) I think it's his stories that I have – so far – enjoyed the most. I don't think I'll be going back for more Robo-Hunter or Rogue Trooper, but I am hungry to get to ABC Warriors and to read more Nemesis. His stories have a restlessness about them, an impatience that expresses itself in a wilful, almost destructive desire to make us face up to the darkness that the stories are built on. It's right there at the start of Dredd (and Mills wrote a lot of the early classic strips, including the entirety of the Cursed Earth series, which contains a lot of intriguing morality plays), and in Ro-Busters, which starts as an amusing and enjoyable Thunderbirds-style adventure story and develops to combine elements of animal cruelty (via some very explicit references to Black Beauty) and – more obviously – slavery. It's almost as if Mills can't bring himself to write this stuff any more, as if he feels this massive moral obligation to a bunch of comedy boys' comic robots, to take them seriously and address their concerns.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Occult London by Merlin Coverley

Lot's of writers are attracted to the idea of London steeped in the occult. It's certainly got the pedigree: there's John Dee living at Mortlake, and the possibly occult Masonic shenanigans of Hawksmoor, but things really got going in the 19th century. In those years, the city seemed to be at the centre of attempts to reach through the veil, starting with mystical poetry of Blake, and then Swedenborg established the spiritualist church here, Blavatsky settled the HQ of the Theosophical movement here, the Golden Dawn began here.

I wonder why London attracted this sudden flourishing in mystical thought?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Sorry for recent lack of updates!

Man, my work is so behind!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

2000AD Part 2: Strontium Dog and Judge Dredd

Having discussed my personal history with 2000AD in part 1, let's take a look the most recent progs in my possession, progs 1689 to 1702.

That's 13 progs, three-month's worth. It's amazing how quickly they pile up! I only make it to the comics shop once a month or so (Gosh in London, by the way, and consider this a plug for the friendliest friendly comics shop in London) and so I've been reading them in a slightly different way to how I read it in the past. Instead of three or four page bites, I've been reading the stories in longer stretches. Some of them, I've been hoarding up and reading all in one go, and some of them I've gone through and re-read again for the purposes of this review.
This is more like how I've been reading the reprint volumes I've been reviewing than how I used to read progs in the old days, and it's thrown up a few contrasts between then and now, but I'm probably going to hold on to these until the end of the series. Howzabout that then, suspense fans? In the meantime, though I'm going to look at each story in some detail (some more than others), starting with two of 2000AD's most enduring characters, Judge Dredd and Johnny Alpha.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Red Bride by Samantha Henderson

This week's short story club at Torque Control is The Red Bride by Samantha Henderson. This has previously featured here as part of Short Fiction Wednesday, but it's great to read this again and think about it all once more.