Tuesday, 31 March 2015

2000AD. March 1977.

You the reader demanded it and I the Steve Does Comics delivers it - a startling new feature that's bound to shake the cosmos to its very foundations, as I take a look at what 2000AD was up to this month exactly thirty eight years ago.

It's going to be a challenge because, having taken a sneak peak at the covers to come, I can't recall anything that happened in any of them.

For this month, it's going to be even harder because I never owned the first few issues and so never even knew what was going on in them in the first place.

Still, I shall endeavour to proceed and hope that someone can furnish the insight and information that're going to be so woefully lacking from my posts.

So, grip my space hands, gird up your sci-fi loins and leap with me, way back in time to the future to find out just what the world's going to be like in March of 2000AD.

PS. The comic was actually launched in February of 1977, so, for this inaugural post, I've included that month's covers as well. Who says you never get anything for free in this life?

2000AD #1

Not Tharg. That's for sure. He's giving us a free Space Spinner, which I'm assuming is one of those circular, red plastic boomerangs that seemed to be compulsory for every British comic to give away at some point.

2000AD #2

I don't think I've ever met anyone who exclaims, “Aieeeeeee!” in times of stress. To be honest, I'm not sure I'd want to.

2000AD #3

Cowboys vs dinosaurs. All it needs now are giant robot gorillas and it'll be the perfect comic cover. 

2000AD #4

Dan Dare gets his first frontispiece But we don't care about that. We're all too busy worrying about the terror baron of Dinosaur City.

2000AD #5

Mention a giant robot gorilla and one's sure to show up.

In the past, I have referenced Exposition Man, that staunch character who used to show up on the front of early 1960s Marvel Comics. It's nice to see he's also managed to find work on this side of the pond as well.


Unknown said...

I remember picking up the first 5 issues of 2000 AD and thinking it was at best an really average comic strangely looking back Judge Dredd who didn't appear until issue 2 was (imho) the poorest stip in the comic - not sure if the plan was for Dan Dare to be the star or not.

The free spinner was indeed red but not a boomerang shape it was a red plastic circle (like a big Polo mint) with a red bar across the middle (it was rubbish)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

As I understand it, Dan Dare was very much supposed to be the star, the original idea being that the inclusion of a recognizably clean cut traditional character - or at least, the name - would reassure parents after the Action scandal that the comic was safe for kids.
DD was the best thing in the early issues, largely because of the striking artwork of the much underrated Massimo Belardinelli - that centre page spread from the first issue was what really hooked me into 2000AD.

The other highlight was Flesh but otherwise... I'd have to agree with Paul, more or less. Don't know about Judge Dredd being the worst thing in the comic - that would be MACH 1, surely - but its fair to say it took a little while before it really hit its stride.


Steve W. said...

Sean, I know nothing of the Action scandal. Please tell me more.

John Pitt said...

What a brilliant idea for a new feature, Steve. There isn't anywhere near enough historical 2000 AD on the blogs. Unfortunately, I missed the first 3 years of the comic, so it's going to be a while before I get to the first prog I bought, although I would often flick through them in the newsagents. Once you actually buy one, take it home and read it, that's it, you want more. Of course, by the time I came in, the comic had improved a thousandfold. But , I think I'll probably have caught up with everything I missed with the best of monthly and complete judge Dredd monthly magazines. I have read #1 though and, like everyone says, it was just OK, nothing more. DD was indeed meant to be the star and it took a while for Dredd to improve enough to become the star of the comic. If I remember rightly, a couple more of those first stories were Invasion (with Bill Savage) and World War III?
Anyway, look forward to these coming out again every month, together with my weekly fix of Marvel UK's!

Anonymous said...

Well, Steve, it appears the brilliant Action site sevenpennynightmare.com isn't working at the moment, so I can't just send a link.

So, briefly - Action was the comic people like Pat Mills and John Wagner worked on before 2000AD, after their success with Battle and...er ...Tammy.
The comic was hilariously twisted (Action that is, not Tammy...although I'm reliably informed that was quite twisted too) and perhaps inevitably soon ran into trouble over concerns about violence. With a controversy that made Nationwide and the Sun, and distributors like WH Smith threatening a boycott, IPC withdrew Action from sale.

It returned in watered down form a few months later, but it was rubbish and soon merged with Battle (mind you, they did at least print a picture I drew in the letters page, so theres something to be said for it)


Anonymous said...

Just to add to the above Steve - for the curious the first episode of the Action classic Kids Rule OK can be read at www.joeackerman.blogspot/2012/04/kids-rule-ok-by-jack-adrian-and-mike_13.html
Hard to believe anyone could object to that...


Steve W. said...

Thanks to the info, Sean. My eyes have now been opened to the dangers of comics - especially Tammy, which I now see for being the thing of pure evil that it is.

John Pitt said...

I missed out on Action, Sean, so thanks for that link.

Anonymous said...


Steve W. said...

Thanks for the link, Anon. It ties in perfectly with my memories of girls' comics when I was young, which is that every story seemed to be about some form of child slavery. I'm sure a psychiatrist could have had a field day with it all.