Wednesday, 18 May 2016

2000 AD - April 1978.

If Wikipedia's to be believed, in April 1978, Dick Smith of Dick Smith Foods towed a fake iceberg to Sydney Harbour.

Why he'd want to do such a thing and what he did with it once he'd got it there, I have no idea, as Wikipedia sheds no light at all on the matter. I mention it only because it seems to me to be the sort of thing whose anniversary shouldn't go unmarked..

But, while that event was occurring in Australia, what was happening within the shores of this fair land?

2000 AD was what was happening.

And there was change afoot.

That change was that Dan Dare's run as the comic's cover star came to an end this month, as other heroes were once more allowed their place in the spotlight.

Needless to say, this does me no good at all, as I still can't recall the contents of any of these issues.

Although I have strong memories of M.A.C.H. Zero, I have no recollection at all of M.A.C.H. 2. I take it, from the cover, that he was no friendlier than Zero had been.

Was Death Planet that strip where some people crash their spaceship on a world that's full of acid rain, rabbit-eating plants and other such deadly inconveniences?

Is the Judge Dredd tale in Prog 61 the start of that arc that introduced us to Tweak the Aardvark? I think that tale may well have been the first time I ever encountered a depiction of an aardvark. To be honest, I've not seen all that many images of aardvarks since. Despite their willingness to keep us all free of ants, media coverage of aardvarks is surprisingly limited at the best of times.

2000 AD Prog 58, Dan Dare

2000 AD Prog 59, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 60, MACH 1

2000 AD Prog 61, Judge Dredd and the Cursed Earth

2000 AD Prog 62, Death Planet


Aggy said...

Tweak was an alien rather than an aardvark if memory serves.

Prog 61 is of course the start of the Cursed Earth Saga. Which is being reprinted in full for the first time this summer. Apparently McDonalds don't like people abusing their trademark. Who knew?

I remember finding out that the 2 issues could not be reprinted reading the Complete Dredd magazine in the late 80s. I'm fairly sure that was the day my childhood died, finding out I was being lied to and the Complete Dredd would be incomplete. #firstworldproblems

TC said...

IIRC, the Cursed Earth Saga was the serial that introduced Tweak, the aardvark-like alien. I read it in Eagle Comics' Judge Dredd comic book in the 1980's. Because of a lawsuit over trademark/copyright infringement or something, the reprint series did not have the episodes that parodied McDonald's and Burger King.

Never saw Dan Dare, and don't know if that strip was ever reprinted in the US. I think Eagle also tried a Robo Hunter comic and Quality published Strontium Dog, both short-lived. AFAIR, Judge Dredd was the only 2000 AD strip that was widely popular over here. I could be wrong.

There was an animated cartoon series, The Ant & the Aardvark, with voices by John Byner. And Marc Brown's "Arthur" children's book series had anthropomorphic animals, including the title character, who was supposed to be an aardvark. It was adapted for a PBS-TV series, which is now the longest running children's cartoon series on American TV.

Arthur has a pet puppy. Which, I guess, is no weirder than Mickey Mouse having a dog, and Minnie Mouse having a pet cat.

John Pitt said...

Now is when the covers started improving dramatically!
Because of that lawsuit, TC mentioned ( above ), I have NEVER seen those original "Burger" pages!
Time to start scouring the web, methinks!

Steve W. said...

Thanks for all your comments. I think I must have lived in a weird bubble as a youth, as, up until that story, I'd never previously heard of either McDonalds or Burger King and thought 2000 AD had made them up. I can only assume that neither business had a branch in Sheffield at the time.

John Pitt said...

It was all "Wimpy" in those days in the UK, Steve!

Anonymous said...

I believe the chapter featuring the Jolly Green Giant (of sweet corn fame) was also prevented from being reprinted, although their relative appetite for legislation, compared to the US burger chains, may have resolved this already.

Having lived in Australia for more than twenty years, I recall a few of Dick Smith's media stunts. Disappointingly, the iceberg story was an April Fool's hoax. However, he did release "OzEmite" as a reaction to Vegemite being sold to foreign owners. Similarly, when the distinctive Australian matches "Redheads" (think Swan Vester) were sold to foreign owners, he created a copy brand call "Dickheads".


Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Dick Smith info, DW. Inspired by your revelations, I'm Googling him, even as I type.

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