Sunday, 14 August 2016

2000 AD - July 1978.

July 1978 was about as sci-fi a month as you could get, as the world's first test tube baby was born in Manchester. Truly we knew at that moment that we were getting closer to the year 2000 with every moment that passed.

And we didn't even have to wait to discover just what that landmark year would be like - as, each week, we had a publication that told us with chilling accuracy.

Writing this post is an exciting event for me because, for once, an issue of 2000 AD contains a story I actually remember. That's because Prog 71 brings us the start of Ant Wars in which titanic titular termite-like terrors go on the rampage.

Why they're so gigantic, I don't recall but I have no doubt that DDT or radiation or some such other unpleasantness turns out to be to blame.

Meanwhile, even as that's happening, Progs 71 and 72 are cheerfully getting IPC into legal trouble thanks to the unauthorised misuse of the McDonalds, Burger King and Jolly Green Giant trademarks. It's a dispute that'll see reprints of the story banned until a 2014 EU law declares that trademarked characters can be used for purposes of satire, enabling the issues to finally appear in TPB form in July 2016.

Prog 73, meanwhile sees the first appearance of the dinosaur Satanus in Judge Dredd's strip. How, exactly, did a bunch of dinosaurs end up being in the Cursed Earth? Were they normal animals that had somehow mutated into dinosaurs? Had they been created by scientists? Were they robots? Were they a figment of Judge Dredd's imagination? Had they somehow time travelled to the future?

Elsewhere, The Suit is apparently a M.A.C.H. Zero story, which is odd as I don't remember M.A.C.H. Zero ever having his own series. I just remember him turning up in M.A.C.H. One's strip. I recall him as having basically no brain and no conversational skills. So, just how he managed to carry his own strip, I have no idea.

Prog 75, meanwhile, gave us the Cursed Earth board game which I vaguely recall.

But only vaguely.

2000 AD Prog 71, Ant Wars

2000 AD Prog 72

2000 AD Prog 73

2000 AD Prog 74, Judge Dredd vs dinosaurs

2000 AD Prog 75, Judge Dredd


Anonymous said...

As I recall, the dinosaurs in the cursed Earth had been cloned from old DNA to populate a Jurassic Park-style theme park before the atomic wars. I think (hey, its been a while!) Satanus' DNA came from Old One Eye of Flesh fame, and in turn became the source for that mad bloke who injected people with dinosaur blood (as you do) in the later Blood of Satanus storyline.
Pity Pat Mills didn't write more Dredd stories actually - he was clearly very good at it! (Not that I'm complaining about John Wagner)

MACH Zero was an obvious Hulk swipe... in fact, I'm a bit surprised you're not fondly recalling your favourite MACH Zero tales, Steve.


Anonymous said...

PS Those are great Mike McMahon covers on progs 72 and 74. Even at this early stage he was a singularly great artist.


Chris Smillie said...

Aw, MACH Zero was a great strip. Part-Hulk, part-Frankenstein's Monster. As well as the simpleton espousing mindless violence, you also had the glimpses back to when he was a regualr guy, ready to undergo treatment to make him a 'superhero'. A bit like the Man-Thing flashbacks to his Ted Sallis days.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the M.A.C.H. Zero info, Sean and Chris. I'm starting to wonder how his strip could have so totally slipped from my mind.

TC said...

IIRC (and it HAS been a while), sean is right. The dinosaurs were cloned from fossil DNA and were exhibited in a Jurassic Park-type tourist attraction. When the atomic war wiped out civilization in the Midwest, the dinosaurs got loose, and Dredd later encountered them during his trek across the Cursed Earth.

The Cursed Earth serial was reprinted in the US in the early 1980's in a self-titled Judge Dredd comic. As I recall, Old One-Eye was mentioned in the Satanus story. I realized that it must be an allusion to some earlier story, although I don't know offhand whether "Flesh" was ever reprinted over here. And I never heard of Blood of Satanus before now.

Judge Dredd, like Doctor Who, has a sort of cult following in America. AFAIK, relatively little non-Dredd 2000 A.D. stuff has been reprinted in the US, although some companies that were publishing Dredd also tried reprinting some of the other strips from time to time. There was a Robo Hunter series in the early 1980's, and a Strontium Dog comic some years later.

Of course, because of the trademark glitch, the Cursed Earth reprint did not include that infamous sequence with the Green Giant, McDonald's, and Burger King.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the dinosaur clarification, TC. :)

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