Sunday, 26 May 2019

2000 AD - April 1981.




This seems to be the site that can't escape Eurovision.

That's because, in April 1981, no one could escape Eurovision.

Not only was it the month in which Bucks Fizz won the contest with Making Your Mind Up but it was a month which began with Shakin' Stevens' This Ole House at Number One on the UK singles chart before that selfsame Bucks Fizz song rose to claim the top spot for the rest of the month.

But other significant events were also afoot elsewhere. It was the month in which the Soviet Union introduced daylight saving time. As this was launched on April 1st, it's anyone's guess whether anyone believed it was real.

Later that month, the Space Shuttle Columbia was launched and then returned to Earth, making it the first time a manned reusable spacecraft had returned from orbit.

Shortly after that, China's first Coca-Cola bottling plant opened. I suspect there was no connection between the two events.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty that month, Steve Davis became world snooker champion for the first time. He went on to win the world title six times in total. By strange coincidence, the-totally-unrelated-to-him Joe Davis had previously won 15 World Snooker Championships and Fred Davis had won 8. Clearly, the secret to snooker success is to change your name to Davis.

We've already heard about the singles chart but what was happening on the album chart?

It wasn't a great month for those who liked rapid churn because Adam and the Ants' Kings of the Wild Frontier hogged the top spot for that entire spell.

However, by a mind-boggling coincidence, Ian Gillan spent the final week of that month at Number Two, with his album Future Shock.

Was the title of that LP inspired by Tharg's Future Shocks in the pages of 2000 AD?

Who can know?

Admittedly, Ian Gillan can probably know.

But I don't know him, so he's not likely to tell me.

It does, however, lead me into talking about what the galaxy's greatest comic was up to.

It was the month in which the esteemed mag celebrated its fourth birthday and was giving us Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Meltdown Man, the aforementioned Future Shocks and Return to Armageddon.

Besides that, Prog 207 gave us a tale called Tharg and the Creep That Stole Croydon.

Prog 208 gave us a Judge Dredd tale called The Problem With Sonny Bono. Based on no evidence at all, and an assumption that it wasn't really likely to be a story about Cher's ex-husband, I'm going to guess, "Sonny Bono," was the name of one of Mega-City One's tower blocks, and that a whole heap of trouble had broken out in it. Don't quote me on this, though.

Progs 208 and 209 gave us a tale called The Day They Banned 2000 AD.

Who banned it?

And why?

Frankly, I do not have a Scooby.

2000 AD Prog 206, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 207, Tharg

2000 AD Prog 208, Return to Armageddon

2000 AD Prog 209

36 comments:

Steve W. said...

Come to think of it, the main thing I remember about that space shuttle flight was everyone over a certain age blaming it for the bad weather, on the grounds that it had, "Damaged the sky."

Dougie said...

My dad used to say that about the Apollo missions too. Maybe it was in the Readers Digest or something

TC said...

The Sonny Bono Block took the mayor hostage, and attempted to secede from Mega-City. But it turned out that they were framed by the Patsy Ann Noble Block.

In "Un-American Graffiti," one of the phrases scrawled on a wall demanded, "Home Rule for the Sonny Bono Block."

I've heard several people over a certain age blame storms and hurricanes on spacecraft launches. I don't know what they blamed for bad weather before NASA existed.

Steve W. said...

TC and Dougie, before that, it was probably blamed on biplanes and, before that, on airships and, before that, on hot air balloons.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Sonny Bono info, TC. It's nice to know I guessed right.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - is it true you were late getting today's blog out b/c you were tied to the telly watching the results for Euro-voting today?

Which has greater entertainment value: Eurovision or Eurovote?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Here in Amerika... we blamed bad weather on the commies during the 70s and 80s as Charlie recalls. Supposedly the commies were seeding the clouds near Alaska creating extremely cold weather that would sweep down causing - during winter no less- cold and snow!

It's great to know that 15 - 20% of the world / usa thinks Apollo did not land on the moon.

And for trivia most of Charlie's university classes were in Grissom Hall at Purdue University. Poor Ole Gus... being an astronaut didn't really suit him. I never understood why Purdue U had a Grissom Hall instead of an Armstrong Hall since Neil studied there too. Didn't make sense.

Here's a classic Purdue joke out of the physics department. Why does the wind blow? Because Purdue sucks and you have to equalize the pressure. How's that for a knee-slapper???

Steve W. said...

Charlie, this is the first time I can remember anyone ever paying any attention to European election results. It seems there's nothing like leaving the EU for making people be interested in it.

As far as I'm aware, the results haven't been announced yet. Any delay in getting the post published was purely down to the great morass of research I had to get through.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - thank you for persevering. I am in awe of your dedication.

Anonymous said...

All T.V. talent shows are EVIL.
And I'm talking Lovecraftian evil here. Cosmic Evil.
They are a diabolism darker then the Well of Skelos.
They shamble, many-eyed and tentacled, through a trembling world, eliciting shrieks of horror.

M.P.

I had a lotta coffee today.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You be on the weed M.P.?

Anonymous said...

Beer, generally.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Un-American Graffii is one of the great Dredd stories from that era Steve. Nothing against artist Ron Smith - for an old skool geezer he generally did pretty good work for 2000AD - but its obvious from that cover to prog 206 that Mike McMahon would have been a much better choice.
The story deserved him, or Brian Bolland.

Btw, on Radio 4 earlier tonight they did a musicological and statistical analysis of the UK's regular failure at Eurovision.
You can rest assured that there was no foul play behind coming last - apparently the Brits have an outdated idea of the contest and always enter a song in a major key, whereas for some time its minor key and modal songs that do well. You can't argue with that - its science!
Not that it matters - after the results tonight, I expect the odds on leaving Eurovision soon must have increased.

-sean

Colin Jones said...

The Space Shuttle was due to launch on Friday, April 10th 1981 but the launch was delayed at the last minute and re-scheduled for Sunday 12th April. This meant I was able to watch the launch live on the Sunday morning and that day, April 12th, was also the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space in 1961.

There was a lot more attention paid to the Euro elections this time but the turnout in the UK was still only 37% - I naively assumed there'd be a high turnout as voters would relish the chance to treat the elections as a second referendum. Anyway, I helped Labour reach their dizzying 14% share of the vote :D

Killdumpster said...

At the time of the first space shuttle mission, I was working at National Record Mart's warehouse. The head of receiving had the only TV in the building, and it was announced over the intercom we could come down to his office to watch the landing.

All us employees were packed into this tiny office, except one. Anticipation and suspense was so thick in the air.

After the successful landing there were yells, screams, hugs and high fives. Calling it exuberance would be an insult.

As we made our way back to our workstations, still exited about the event, our one co-worker looked at us inconfusion.

He said, "What's the big deal? We've seen slash-downs before."

Virtually in unison, we yelled " IT LANDED LIKE A PLANE!"

At first shocked, he then started MFing himself.
T

Killdumpster said...

At one time environmentalists came to the conclusion that space shuttle launches punch holes in the ozone layer (Guess that was back-in-the day that was the environmental priority, aerosols and such.)

Scientists found out that the ozone layer repairs itself. You go, Mother Nature!

Killdumpster said...

Hey, fellows. Our interpretations of Judge Dredd may have been convoluted here in the states. The last Dredd comics I experienced was a Batman crossover.

Not being a Sylvester Stallone fan, I've only seen about 20 minutes of his portrayal. I do enjoy the the second film attempt, which I'm popping into the player now

Anonymous said...

Yet, above the Ozone Layer is a region known as the Fart Zone. That's where farts go. If the Ozone layer is sufficiently weakened, those farts will sink back to Earth. And the ones that land on you won't even be yours, they'll be somebody else's.
Think about it.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

It was the action taken against harmful chemicals - CFS and so on - that has allowed the ozone layer to repair itself. Or at least show signs that its repairing itself (we won't know for sure for another 30 or 40 years yet).

-sean

Anonymous said...

The various crossovers with Batman aren't really typical Dredd imo, Kd (although some like the first by Bisley look good).
A lot of people like the second film, but personally I find it lacks the distinctive sense of humour that really makes the comics what they are. The Stallone one is terrible.

-sean

Anonymous said...

I don't at all understand the outright hostility many in my country have towards protecting the environment or acknowledgement of settled science. Maybe it's the almighty dollar.
It's ...perverse, for lack of a better word.

M.P.

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, I guess dinosaur farts, swamp gas, volcanic eruptions & shifting continental plates caused the ice age.

No wait, wasn't there a theory about an asteroid/meteor mentioned once or twice?

There was a Time magazine cover-story in the 70's warning of the second ice age. Yikes! How things can turn on a dime in a few decades.

Being a fan of recycling, and believing we can only take so much out of the planet, it's going to take more than us to take out our mudball. She's a living entity, and will shrug us off, or trim us down.

Unless there's another asteroid. The reptiles had their turn, then us mammals. It will be the insects' turn next

Anonymous said...

No it won't - we're currently well on the way to making insects extinct.

-sean

Killdumpster said...

I dunno, Sean. Maybe we'll just wipe out the ones that are beneficial to us.

Killdumpster said...

Hokey Smokes, Bullwinkle!!

Totally forgot why I got on the site to begin with.

I met Sonny Bono. A friend of mine owned a guitar shop in the southside of Pittsburgh, where he had a party. Sonny Bono was there. He was very friendly & personable.

Also, has anyone else heard about Paramount pictures buying the rights to Atlas/Seaboard comic characters?!

Imagine a whole universe of heroes that maim/kill/rape/eats their victims, as well as the people they save.

Almost too much like real life! Lol!

TC said...

IIUC, producer Steven Paul has bought the rights to the Atlas/Seaboard comics characters. But Dynamite Entertainment claims to own the trademark on the name "Atlas Comics." So we may be in for another "Shazam vs. Captain Marvel"-type dispute.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - a number of revivals of the Atlas line have been promised in recent years, and not just from Dynamite. Can't see how films will happen when they can't even put out any comics.
But you never know. Who'd have expected a big budget Aquaman flick?

Kd, I am impressed your life is like an Atlas comic.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Why would someone spend $ on Atlas I would never know. Hell, there are all kinds of characters in the public domain at this point. Atlas was a brief flash and more popular for breaking away from the Big 2, than their stories.

Regarding bugs and farts:

Conservatives in the USA resisted the Clean Air and Water Act of 1973, unleaded gas, removing CFCs, global warming, etc. They are only clinging to government via a broken, 250 year old electoral system at this point.

Why can't "they" process scientific facts? Well when you figure 40% of them think the earth is 10,000 years old by counting Biblical genealogy.... Of the 16 Republicans running for President in 2016, 14 of them thought evolution should not be taught in schools only creationism, and the other two (Bush and Kasich) though only if taught alongside creationism. I guess they think this is all God's will and he will fix it when he is ready.

In their minds, there are two equally valid points to global warming: it is or is not happening i.e., it's a 50-50 proposition. They can't process the fact that 99% of serious scientists think it is happening, and 1% don't. They think that the two choices (is or is not) equates to each having 50% chance of being correct not 99:1.

I mean they still think WMDs are just hiding under some rock in Iraq...

We really have a lot of stupid folks here... That's the bottom line.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And let's not forget the aggregation of stupidity in our southern states who think a girl/ women who is pregnant via rape or incest (which I assume to be rape) must now carry the zygote to full term.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you just said, Charlie.
On another note, regarding Atlas, I could maybe see the Grim Ghost or Demon Hunter in a movie.
Not a very good movie, mind you.
I'm only familiar with them because you could get old copies for a quarter a piece at the local comics store. I bought a few because I was curious.
I shoulda bought a candy bar instead.

And yes, if 99 doctors out of a hundred tell you you have cancer, buddy, you got cancer.

M.P.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Thanks M.P. I think Charlie went overboard for a comic/music/movie/TV nostalgia blog. I do like your last sentence... If 99 doctors tell you and 1 doesn't, it doesn't mean the odds are 50-50.

And you can STILL find Atlas comics in the $1.00 - $.25 bins!

Time for Charlie to take a vacation!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Charlie, I'm sure everyone here's used to off-topic comments.
Anyway, its not just the US, theres stupidity everywhere. A part of the UK - the north of Ireland - has laws on reproduction and women's choice that makes Alabama seem enlightened. And the politicians behind that are keeping the loonies currently running the country in power!
Fun times.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Continuing off topic... every time I look at SDC on my phone lately I keep getting ads for "man-scaping" tools. Finally curious I looked it up... What's this world come to?

Steve - I'm just curious though, b/c I am always looking at ways to supplement my income and I think I could blog about something... Are there $ to be made in man-scaping tools?

Cheers All!

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I'm sure there are millions to be made from manscaping tools. However, I do believe their female equivalents are far more expensive to buy and that that is where the big money really is.

dangermash said...

In which case unisexscaping tools would seem like the way to go.

For women, they'd be cheaper than womanscaping tools. For the men, there may well be manscaping tools out there but if most men only get this sort of thing as presents from their wives, the unisexscaper will have more appeal to the purchaser who could borrow it every now and then.

The number of times I've angrily stormed out of the bathroom screaming "Hey Mrs Mash, have you been peeling carrots with my Proton 2.0 again?"

Killdumpster said...

Sean, oh my brother-
To paraphrase Iggy & the Stooges:
"I wish life could be,
Atlas/Seaboard magazines".

Maybe without so much cannibalism in it. I grew up on wildgame, and never really acquired a taste for it. Aged deer meat (properly bled and hung in a butcher's cooler), fish & fowl are just fine.

I've heard from various resources that human flesh tastes like bear-meat. Bear is horrible. Also heard it smells like bacon. I personally do not consume meat from a fellow predator, and it's out of professional courtesy.

I was just kind of trying to visualize a writers' table trying to come to a consensus as to portray these unknown characters to the mainstream.

I'm more interested in this than phase 4 MCU, actually.

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