2000 AD - issue 135

I write a lot of posts about old issues of 2000 AD, as reading it was a very formative experience for me. I have a 2000 AD page where I link to all the issues I have talked about. This issue came out in October 1979. I didn’t buy thus issue when it first came out, because it just wasn’t any good. I had switched my allegiances to Marvel UK, and either the stupendous Hulk comic they were putting out at the time or their new Doctor Who comic book. I eventually went back to 2000 AD however, I always do, so I have decided to continue my prog slog uninterrupted. I will not be skipping issues just because I didn’t buy them when they first came out. In fact, as I didn’t buy these issues the only way I’m able to read them now is thanks to the hard work of a very important Wordpress archive of British comic books. The archive only contains issues from last century, so no issues newer than the year 1999, and is purely meant to preserve the comics and to enjoy them.

At first sight the cover of this issue is pretty cool, it has a robot in a gladiatorial combat with an armored dinosaur, after all. It is cool, in fact, but to a nitpicker like me it isn’t perfect. The artist, Ezquerra, draws Mongrel on the cover of this issue, but he gets the dimensions all wrong. The robot, Mongrel, was designed by a different artist, McMahon, to be ape lake, with short legs and oversize arms, while he is drawn on this cover here with more human-like proportions. It doesn’t detract too much from the image, but I can only wonder at what McMahon would have done with an image like this. After all he drew one of the best comic book art dinosaurs I have ever seen, though that was later, for the Slaine strip.

A Message from the Author

I write sci-fi novels that belong to a series called Dark Galaxy, which starts with Galaxy Dog:

What starts as an ordinary invasion of an alien planet brings to light an ancient archeological site of huge importance. A young man called Knave makes a life-changing discovery there and rises from a lowly position as an infantry trooper to become a player among the powers of the galaxy.

The entire series is available to buy from Amazon.

Another little detail of the cover that caught my eye is that the war droid is saying he will 'Get Physical' with the T-Rex. I thought this probably had to be because Olivia Newton John had a huge hit with a song called Let's Get Physical around this time, but the comic book actually came out two years before he song was released. But then maybe the song writer, Terry Shaddick, was a 2000 AD reader.

The first strip this week is Judge Dredd, written by John Wagner and drawn by Ron Smith. It involves the casual use of time warps, as if this isn’t universe breaking invention that should revolutionize everything about Mega City One, but it is entertaining. I also like seeing Dredd drawn by Smith. He has drawn so much of Dredd that he just fits, and he is also very good at drawing Dredd smashing through things.

Inside the comic book, Ro-Jaws, a garbage eating sewer droid from the future reviews a movie called Meteor. Except he doesn’t review it, he just chats about the production problems the movie is having and then looks forward to Empire Strikes Back, The Black Hole and the Buck Rogers TV show, all coming soon. The late 70s truly were a golden age for sci-fi.

Next comes Blackhawk, drawn by Massimo Belardinelli, and I usually go on and on about how terrible it is as a strip, and how they waste the concept of a Roman centurion fighting in an arena … except in in space. But this week it is actually pretty good. The alien looks a little gynecological, but is much more threatening and less fanciful than the crazy stuff Belardinelli usually comes up with, and the idea that Blackhawk has to fight it with a falconry hood on is nuts, but I enjoyed it.

Then comes A.B.C. Warriors, written by Pat Mills, and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra. And it is something very interesting. There is some nice futurology, where Ezquerra designs a futuristic truck that drives above the road like a kind of bridge. Cars don’t have to overtake it, they just drive underneath. It’s like something out of a popular science story from the 1950s or 1960s, but that is not what is so great about the strip. Obviously the coolest thing is the pack of giant armored dinosaurs that star in the strip. They attacks the cars and the truck-bridge thing causing entertaining chaos.

Next comes a Tharg's Future Shocks, which is a very ordinary example of the short story with a twist genre, as usual and after that comes Disaster 1990, written by Gerry Finley-Day and drawn by Pino. I do have a soft spot for Pino’s art and here he makes the animals in the strip into a truly dynamic and threatening presence. He also draws a beautiful panel of Oxford burning in the distance, seen from an amphibious vehicle in the flood. It is also a little frightening because this is the sort of fate that might truly await the UK as the global environment goes to hell and water levels rise.

Lastly we have Captain Klep, written by Dave Angus, and it is so bad. When you compare it wit the great humor British comic books were capable of at that time, like in Whizzer and Chips, it is just so sad that this strip is so unfunny. It’ not a bad issue of 2000 AD, but without artists like O’Neil, McMahon, Gibbons and Gibson, it just isn’t the same comic book.

To end, just a reminder that the best way to support this blog is to buy one of my books. Simply go over to Amazon, or Kobo and get one.