Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Annual from the Future

A curious thing I realised a couple of years ago - I was reading 2000 AD BEFORE I was reading the Beano. Well, not actually reading it, just looking at it. As the previous post mentioned, monsters are all I've ever really cared about for large portions of my life, and the particular issue of 2000 AD I remember having as a youngster was filled with the things. If I describe the setup, could someone point me in the direction of whatever issue it was? No? Well I will anyway. A load of monsters standing around having a discussion (about what I do not know - it's not like I was "reading" the thing), and one of them, a green-skinned woman, eventually gets a sword thrown through her. She carries on talking and removes it like it was nothing...

Well, over the years I've acquired and then got rid of THREE big stacks of 2000 AD comics, and that issue I remember was in the first pile. Why I got rid of them? Who knows? They're probably the ONLY comics I've ever let go, which is just not right. Anyway, I remember having 2000 AD comics at least a year before getting my first Beano or Dandy (and THOSE comics actually helped me learn to read!), so with that in mind it's only fair that a 2000 AD annual should be one of my favourites. This one, specifically:

Oh, and I definitely WON'T be getting this "top twenty" finished before Xmas, so it'll run over into June probably, but that's fine. 

So yes, 2000 AD, the 1990 edition (meaning 1989, obviously, what with the weird dating system that UK annuals use). It's another one from a car boot sale, as I wasn't of the annual-receiving age in 1989, but I've still had this for as long as I can remember, and it really is a good book. Even going over it again over the last couple of days as a "refresher", it makes me think that I should really invest more time into this sort of thing. Comparing it to the previously-"reviewed" Marvel Super-Heroes Omnibus, everything about it's so much more eye-pleasing, weird, funny (in an actual, tongue-in-cheek, Paul Verhoven-esque COMEDY way as apposed to just plain stupid) and all-round enjoyable. So that's a good start. This nicely-drawn contents page tells us what's inside, obviously:

A bit beautiful that, no? No idea who it's by. It says "Vigilant" on the table leg, is that a clue? 

Moving on, the one character that almost everyone knows 2000 AD for is, of course, Judge Dredd. A bit of a bizarre "hero" for kids, in that he hates everything that most kids love, and arrests folk for enjoying such things, but that just makes his strips all the more fun to read. This one, titled Headbangers, sees Judge Police Chief Joe Dredd taking down an illegal heavy metal club - written by Alan Grant, drawn by Kev Hopgood and lettered by Kid Robson:

The longest story in the annual is the five-part, 24-page Invasion of the Thrill-Snatchers by Massimo Belardinelli, a bizarre tale concerning intergalactic parasites that have been hired to suck out the mind of Tharg the Mighty (2000 AD's "editor", for those that don't know). I'm not posting the whole thing here, because that would take forever (and this annual's cheap enough on Amazon - one penny at the time of writing), so here's just a few snippets - a profile of the titular thrill-suckers:

A battle scene showing the gruesome way that they dispose of rival parasites:

And this bit, playing up to the odd Nazi familiarities - that's called SATIRE:

For anyone whose only familiarity with 2000 AD is that Judge Dredd film from last year, here's an excerpt from a strip starring Anderson (the psychic judge), which concerns an oppressed housewife invoking the very soul of the Earth in order to become a mad Amazonian warrior, intent on getting revenge on the nearest chauvinists:

Yep, weird things happen in 2000 AD. Perhaps the all-round weirdest pages from this particular book are those of the Zenith Interlude by Grant Morrison and Jim McCarthy, featuring such visual delights as these:

There's a lot more in the book, obviously, but there's also about a hundred and fifteen other websites which will tell you all you want to know about 2000 AD - I'm just here today to look at a few of my favourite pages from this particular annual. Not really well-read enough to tell you anything NEW about it, just to point and say "Look at that!", and that's what I've done.

To summarise - I'd prefer to be given ONE issue of 2000 AD to read instead of a hundred Marvel comics, and I'm not trying to be big and clever by saying that as there's thousands who'd probably agree and blah blah etc.

Expect another underwhelming annual review shortly.


  1. Ah, lovely. Belardinelli's stuff is a joy to read and a huge part of why Ace Trucking Co is probably my favourite 2000AD strip.

    1. Probably my favourite too - always happy with the "misfits stuck on a spaceship together" scenario, no matter what the medium.

      Been meaning to get hold of some of those collected books for a couple of years now.

  2. Honestly - I got bettering at lettering. (A free poem.)

  3. I was never keen on sci-fi or 'serious' comics. HERESY! Suppose they weren't silly and funny enough for me.

  4. Not sure who that contents page was drawn by, but the 'vigilant' on the table leg (and what looks like 'pure' on one of it's companions) is likely referring to the saying 'Be pure, be vigilant, behave', as spoken by Torquemada, seen standing barechested in the drawing.

    1. It's a sound theory... My 2000 AD knowledge isn't that great (or even good), so I'll ask you:

      Does this Torquemada character have any relation to the notorious Tomas de Torquemada of the Inquisition?

    2. He runs an anti-alien inquisition in the 51st century, on a cave-filled, worn-out Earth (I think, much later on, this was revealed to be the eventual future of the world of Judge Dredd, and Invasion / Savage is what that world is like at the present time. The first robots, who would eventually become the ABC Warriors, went into action around 2008).

      Apparently in one Nemesis strip the future Torquemada travelled back in time and met his namesake.