Sunday, 19 April 2020

2000 AD - March 1982.

Strange things were afoot in the skies above planet Earth in March 1982.

And that was because, for the first time in human history, all nine recognised planets of the solar system were aligned on the same side of the sun.

Admittedly, when I say, "The first time in human history," that might not be true.

Then again, it might be true. I don't know enough about astronomy to say either way.

But I can only assume it meant that, at last, it was possible for us to see Counter-Earth, which does make me wonder why that astonishing fact wasn't reported in any newspapers at the time.

I smell a cover-up.

I blame that J Jonah Jameson.

Things were far more transparent on the UK singles chart, though, as the month began with Tight Fit's The Lion Sleeps Tonight at Number One.

However, even a record of that quality can't triumph forever and, by the end of March, it had been kicked off its throne by the Goombay Dance Band's equally high class Seven Tears which bore no resemblance at all to Auld Lang Syne.

Over on the British LP chart, it was a straight tussle for power between Barbra Streisand and her old rivals The Jam.

Babs entered the month at Number One, with Love Songs but lost her crown to that band's The Gift before Babs struck back to reclaim the top spot and hold on to it for the rest of the month.

That was certainly all very exciting but, speaking of events in Space, what of the galaxy's greatest comic?

As usual, it was giving us Tharg's Future Shocks, Ace Trucking Co, Nemesis the Warlock (who was having trouble with talking spiders), The Mean Arena and Rogue Trooper, while Judge Dredd was still fighting The Apocalypse War. Also, Prog 254 gave us another of Alan Moore's Abelard Snazz adventures.

Reader, I still have no memory of Abelard Snazz.

When it comes to The Ace Trucking Co, I've not the slightest clue what The Great Mush Rush was but it took up several issues and must, therefore, have been a thing of vast importance.

2000 AD Prog 254, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 255, Ace Trucking Co

2000 AD Prog 256, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 257, Warlock


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Back to Charlie's and Sean's thoughts in the las5 post about the standard of Marvel comics falling somewhere around 1978-80 and whether it was about Charlie "growing up".

I look back at Amazing Spider-Man and notice a big drop off in standard from issue 180 onwards. I roll my eyes at most of the 50 or so issues (issue 200 and the Kingpin story in the late 190s being t(e exception). But then I wonder whether it's just me. Do I just feel like this because that's when I stopped reading comics? The stopping reading is down to Dez in my case and not growing up but still, eh?

So was there really a downturn in standards? Two of us think so, but in both cases, that coincided with us stopping reading the comics.

Steve W. said...

I think it depends on the comic. For me, at the time, there was a clear decline in Spider-Man from the moment Peter Parker graduated. And I still feel that way, having re-read those stories decades later.

In the same period, for me, The X-Men went from strength to strength.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I think in general, it probably depends on the quality of the story.

Though I stopped reading around the age of 14, say 1975, I discovered story lines over the past 45 years that I found interesting.

I would say that my biggest negative is the lack of continuity and the commercial exploitation. Oddly, I felt it in may 11-year-old bones when I saw Marvel Team Up #1 thinking "they are just making up stories now about Spidey to sell more comics."

Truly, with numerous story lines for any given character, running in parallel, it gutted my sense of "belonging" whatever that means, lol. And, at $4 / comic, I just feel ripped off if the story ends up sucking.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I know what you mean Charlie. There was a feeling starting to come on of "here's a new Spider-Man story" rather than "here's the next chapter of the Spider-Man story". It started with MTU and it wasn't long after Dez drove me away that it started in ASM too. Maybe it was too many supporting characters dying or going on hiatus that brought all this on.

Anonymous said...

You see, there you go - the Charlies stopped reading Marvel comics at 14, and so did I (more or less) BUT being even more ancient than me, he thinks they lost it around '75, whereas I reckon it was around '79/'80.

I hope it was clear that I meant average comics, not all. I would say there are ups and downs in the field, and you can definitely see a decline in the number of good comics from Marvel and DC throughout the 70s - and an improvement by the mid-80s (more at DC) - but our personal relationship is dependent on age.

Or something like that.
The Golden Age of Comics is 12.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

DMTAA - That's well said! When I go to my LCBS in my mind I just see more stories being offered ultimately to help Marvel profits as much as possible. I don't have a sense that Marvel cares too much about Spidey per se; he's just a vehicle to sell comics.

Well, that's the way it goes...

You can either restrict the supply of your product, offering consistently higher quality stories, or just offer as much as you think the market will bear.

But I don't know that Marvel consciously thinks, "This 12 issue mini-series of Spider Man meets Kazar in the Negative Zone and gets all butt-hurt because he learns Kazar banged Gwen too and she had his love children before Norman Osborne's is garbage, but it'll turn a profit."

Or not.

Anonymous said...

Marvel have always offered as much as the think the market will bear though Charlie. In the 60s they couldn't because of their distribution deal with DC, but once they broke free of that they flooded the racks with new titles in the first half of the 70s.
When the direct market boomed from the mid-80s did the same thing again.

Higher quality work - in the newstand era for sure - has been the result of underpaid but enthusiastic artists and writers, rather than publisher strategy imo.


Anonymous said...

* "from the mid-80s THEY did the same thing again"
Sorry for the typo above. Duh.


Anonymous said...

So anyway, on the progs, seeing as Steve's gone to the trouble of putting together another post -

I'm reminded of how much I disliked the seemingly endless Apocalypse War at the time, even though I was well into Dredd. After Mike McMahon, Steve Dillon and Brian Bolland on Block Mania, Carlos Ezquerra was disappointing, as his artwork seemed to have become strangely workmanlike (possibly because he was drawing the whole thing every week for months on end).

But mainly the series lost its ambiguity for a while, that tension around Dredd being a reactionary fascist. It all went a bit John Milius for a while, like a sci-fi premonition of Red Dawn.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - nice summary of marvel. truly.

SDC, et al. Given I don't know beans about the Progs it's hard to comment. BUT I will say that Prog 255 instantly looked like the inspiration for the the villain Doomsday that killed Superman in 1992.

I don't know what Doomsday looks like 28 years later but I can tell you that if I had to describe him it would be grey, strong, a bunch of teeth / hornage around his neck and jaw, and long hair.

And sure as heck, Prog 255 shows a mouthful of teeth and a villain (?) who is strong, grey, with long hair.

I guess you could call it Charlie's version of the Rorschach test?

Anonymous said...

I'm now humming Seven Tears and trying to decide if it sounds like Auld Lang Syne.

And Tight Fit's version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight is the definitive version!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Good heavens! I just saw Tight Fit Lion Sleeps Tonight on youtube!

And I thought Boney M was an affront to my senses!!!

Below is the Tokens who first did "The lion Sleeps tonight." It sounds fairly much the same as Tight Fit?

Am I missing something? Tight Fit's versions is the same as The TOkens' version?

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Heres a much better version than either -


Redartz said...

As I'm pretty unfamiliar with the books Steve posted (never picked up any Judge Dredd off the indie rack at me lcbs back then), I'll opine a bit on Marvel and declining quality.

Interesting that several folks left the comics behind at age 14; that's the age I started! I'd agree that an individual's personal attachment to the books he/she grew up with tends to color your assessment of them. I, overall, greatly loved Marvel' out put throughout the 70's, and into the 80's. But as said above, it depends upon the title. In the case of Amazing Spider-Man, I too found a huge dropoff in quality after issue 200. That said, when Roger Stern came on about issue 230 the quality level rose considerably. In fact, he's responsible for my single favorite Spidey tale ever: "The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man", from ASM 238 (1983).

Otherwise, DC did some great things comicwise in the 80's. Now the 90's: that's another thing. Some good stuff, but huge amounts of junk. And today's comics: yes, overpriced drastically. And I mostly ignore the output from Marvel and DC. On the other hand, there are lots of good things out from other publishers, Archie is doing intriguing things, and there's lots of kid-friendly material. I personally LOVE DC's "Scooby Doo Team-Up".

Sorry to get wordy today; it's that extra time from the quarantine...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red! How you doing "down there" on the Ohio River?

It would be more accurate to say that I stopped buying several titles by the age of 14, as well as stopping the "addiction" buying. I.e., comics were a habit and were it not for poor distribution and my addiction I probably would never have bought the occasional Two Gun Kid or E-Man or The Dingbats. But by the age of 14, the I no longer had "the jones" for comics. LOL.

Rather, by the age of 14 I was buying maybe 1 or 2 titles per month and it was deliberate. Usually I would purchase the Invaders by Fr@nk R@bbins! Yes! I admit it! I loved the nostalgia thing, probably b/c Steranko's History of Comics came out around the same time and served as the inspiration.

And yes, there are some quality new comics out there! I second your mention of Archie! Most enjoyable!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I'm inclined to think the reason "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was popular was due to the crazy soprano / falsetto voice.

Your version... it's too "original" lol. I mean, you can't get the general population singing to that.

It's kind of like Marley needing to go to the UK to get his music tweaked so as to become more listenable to a general audience, no? I guess he also tweaked Miss England in the back seat, lol?

Anonymous said...

Get up, stand up for your rights, Charlie!
Have you been out protesting the lockdown recently? I hear its a plot by globalists to take away your beautiful second amendment rights.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie is a progressive man... certainly not one to join the protesting morons or the floridiots, lol.

That said, eventually the economy will need to be reopened... Given viruses mutate and evolve who knows what it will look like in a year. Would any vaccine that is developed be useful if the virus mutates / evolves?

Charlie is just wondering aloud, perhaps from reading to much sci fi, if it is best to plan a controlled "culling of the herd" so as not to overwhelm the medical facilities and allow folks to start working again.

Don't misunderstand, Charlie's parents are 85 and in good health but could they withstand the corona? Probably not. On the other hand, we cannot be on lockdown for the next 2 -3 years for 3 -4 months each year. Or can we?

Anonymous said...

I was only kidding about you and the protests Charlie, they were just on the news while I was reading your comment. "Liberate Michigan" - crazy stuff. Strange to have a president supporting the protestors - are they really dumb enough to vote for a governing party that claims to be oppositional? I suppose the Brits did...
Although now they're experimenting with the idea of not having anyone in charge during a major crisis at all over here. Interesting.

Agree its unlikely to go on for too long like it is now - we're probably looking at waves of lockdown seriously long term though, with restrictions easing and tightening in response to virus stats (with electioneering cockwombles like Trump and Johnson making them worse than they need to be).

Or maybe we should be more optimistic - a few weeks with no new comics and DC are already bouncing back into action -
Can Marvel be far behind?


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well, as much as I am all hurt by the state of comics today there are some good things.

Archie has been fun the last 3-4 years at least.

Harley Quinn is a real hoot from DC.

Marvel's $1 reprints... make me feel like a kid again!

And when I was last at the local Graham Crackers Comic Store they were giving away Thor #4 (I have no idea how you identify which #4 it is as there must be numerous over all these years.) But it is quite entertaining since Thor is now the herald of Galactus with the understanding that Thor can get the populations evacuated in advance.

REgarding bonespur and the protests... There are some common themes in his supporters: low education and evangelical christian. We can only hope that they make up the biggest portion of the herd that ends up being culled. Given the protests they are holding it might mercifully work out that way. Look what happened with the evangelical rally in Mulhouse France in late February... 1 sick person infected 2,500 other people. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Anonymous said...

Fair enough if you like the Marvel reprints Charlie, but theres not really much future in that for a publisher. I reckon both publishers would be better off taking a bit of time out while most shops are shut, and using it to rethink their whole approach (maybe just one or two comics per character, ease up on "event" crossovers for a while, that kind of thing).


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well, think of it this way, Sean, LOL...

If Marvel UK were to go bat crazy reprinting one marvel story a week, say for Spidey, it would take them a good 12+ years to run out of ASM material, lol!

And anyhow, as my brain cells fizzle I can't totally remember what I read 50, 40 30 years ago... so it would be like reliving my life!

Anonymous said...

About them protests, there is always a determined and vocal minority who are gonna protest anything. Logic doesn't come into it.
When Michelle Obama said maybe kids should have more nutritious meals and get more exercise, the right-wing fringe responded with fury. "She's a fascist! Nobody's makin' my kids eat vegetables!"
If Obama, when he was president, suggested that people should not operate a chainsaw when they were $#!t-drunk, multitudes of yo-yo's woulda showed up with a Craftsman ProSeries in one hand and a bottle of Kentucky whisky in the other.
Actually, that mighta been pretty cool.


Anonymous said...

"I suppose the Brits did"...

Sean, please remember that only 43% of the British electorate voted Tory. About a third of the electorate didn't vote at all which means about 30% of the entire adult population voted for Boris and his barmy Brexiteers. And half of all Tory voters were pensioners - semi-senile old dears who think Brexit will restore the glory days of empire.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading that Fox News were enraged when the Obamas ordered French mustard with their meal in a restaurant. How dare they order French mustard rather than American mustard, the leftie traitors!
Apparently Fox News spent several days ranting about this pathetic non-story.

Anonymous said...

I take your point about the election Colin, but the electoral system works the way it does and the result is the result. Perhaps I could have phrased it better - change that to "enough Brits did".
Or maybe "enough English did" (might as well pre-empt any Scots complaints while I'm at it ;)


Charlie Horse 47 said...

C'mon mates! No one is going to show me some love and say they also see "Doomsday" in that Prog 255 cover, at first glance???

B.t.w. is there a strong back-issue market for these Progs?

Lastly, why do you brits quote salaries by the week? E.g., I listen to Talksport and they keep talking about soccer players and how much they make each week and compare that to a plumber and how much he makes each week?

Over here salaries are annual or hourly (which is OK since you figure a 2,000 hour work week) which seems a bit easier to think about? I mean, we think of taxes annually, mortgages and car payments at least monthly.

Help ole Charlie out now!

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I think it just reflects the age of TalkSport's presenters. Back in the old days, people used to get an envelope with their pay in it at the end of the week and, therefore, talked of their weekly earnings. Also, you can't really talk about footballers' pay per hour because they don't work a set number of hours.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I see SDC. Thanks for that.

Well generally if you are an hourly employee, you compare hourly wage. Then you multiply by 2 to get the annual earnings, on the assumption they work 2,000 hours / year. $5/hr = $10k/yr

Salaried folks talk of earnings per year.

Professional athletes... who cares, lol. I do enjoy when they break down their wages to $ / minute played and it's more than probably all of us combined make in a year.

And SDC since you are raking in the dough with those ads that come up when I go to your blog, you would talk of earnings per click? What's your biggest "earner?" Was it the advert to buy Swamp Thing 2 at Amazon for $750?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, nothing is my biggest earner on this site. I only make money from the Amazon ads if someone buys an item via them. No one ever buys items via them.

Anonymous said...

So Steve, does that mean no-one here patronizes you? I mean via your Patreon of course, rather than in the manner I usually do it.
Been meaning to ask what this extra content you refer to consists of...


Steve W. said...

Sean, no one at all Patronises me.

As for the extra content, there isn't any. I can't be bothered to make any.

I think I might get rid of the Patreon page, as I'd totally forgotten it existed until you mentioned it.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Whoa! Whoa!! WHoa!!!

Steve - on your patron page, are you saying that if old Charlie gives you $5, old Charlie's monicker will show up with every comment you make, like the one above?

In all seriousness, there is nothing Charlie would love to see more, sitting in the corona infested world, than "Steve W brought to you by Charlie Horse 47!"

I'm serious! If this is how it would work I got my credit card ready to go!!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve does Conkers brought to you by Charlie Horse 47

Steve does Snookers brought to you by Charlie Horse 47

Steve does Meat Pies brought to you by Charlie Horse 47

Steve does Dredd...

Steve does 50 years ago today...

For $5 Charlie can be that famous??? Charlie is in!!!

Steve W. said...

Looking at it, that would appear to be the deal I'm offering. It's so long since I launched that page, I don't even remember what I'm offering.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well, it stays I will be listed as a Patron of SDC on each post! I got the credit card out!

My only question is how does my patronizing you get listed? Do you have to alter your www page and you manually enter my info for the next month?

Or does the Patron application somehow add my name?

I just want to know what I'm getting for $5 is all.

I mean for $0 I get Comics, Snookers, Meat Pies, Conkers, Politics, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the $1 option has gone.
Probably very wise Steve - you don't want to have to provide personalized posts to some smartarse who thinks its funny to keep you busy each week for 25cents or so (I knew I should have got in there while I could).


Steve W. said...

Charlie, I have to manually namecheck you as a sponsor, in each post I do, from that point on, until such a time as you decide to cease being a sponsor.

Sean, it suddenly dawned on me that I didn't even know what I was meant to be offering for the $1 tier.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I'm on this Steve! As long as you tell me that the Patron site is safe!

The almighty Lord has said, "The worker deserves his wage!"

And I think a fiver is the least I can do!

Plus SDC will have that nut job Charlie's name after yours, for the next month (10 - 12 posts?) and that should keep him calm for a bit! I mean, it's the best $1.25 per week I could ever spend!

Does this mean you'll quote your earnings as $1.25 / week?

Sean - what say you pony up a fiver too? Then it'll be SDC brought to you by Charlie and Sean! I'll see if I can get Killdumpster and MP to, as well!

Weeee! This is going to be fun! Thanks Sean!

Killdumpster said...

Hokey Smokes, Post-Winkle!

Quite a bit to make responses to, my apologises for not personalizing.

Late 70's-early 80's Marvel: That was when my subscriptions started to wear out. When they ran out I had quit art school and was working at a record warehouse. I bought very few books. Music, booze, drugs, & girls had upper priority.

Marvel Team-Up: In my opinion, the early issues were great. Much better than Marvel Two-In-One.

Michele Obama school nutrition program:
There was a number of news stories about cafeteria ladies & teachers taking kids' brought-in lunches because they had potato chips (crisps to you guys) & Oreos.

Up to 1/2 of Michele's recommended meals went in the trash. If parents can't make their kids eat healthy, the schools can't either.

This horrid wacky thing & politics: I'm sure the majority of us regular folks around the world are unhappy about this crap.

The elites have always been set-up, so it's no surprise. No matter what political party.

Boris never seemed very popular on this site, but I wish him full health.

Our Big Orange Monster isn't popular here either, but I'm glad he's here, as opposed to Hillary the Harpy or (My God!) Joe Biden.

Hope all of you & yours are well. Be careful & safe.

Killdumpster said...

Most remakes are unnecessary. The Tokens nailed it right the first time.

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, you're right, Charlie. SDC should be shown some love. And not the flashing dirty rain-coat kind.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, as far as I'm aware, Patreon is perfectly safe but don't use it if you're not comfortable with it. Likewise, I don't expect anyone to sign up to it if they're not 100% certain they want to do so.

If people do want to support the site, I'd always request that, if you're planning on buying anything from Amazon, access Amazon by clicking one of the Amazon ads on here, then buy whatever it is you're after.

For example, say you're planning on buying a lawnmower, if you click on an ad for Spider-Woman #1 (or any other ad on here) and then buy a lawnmower instead, I'll still get a commission from Amazon for it. That way, I get a reward and it won't cost you any more than you were planning to spend in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've thought about donating before, but I really dislike doing anything online with money. But if Charlie's name appears on the blog and he doesn't complain about anything within a week or two I'll give it a go.
Plus, I know $5 a month isn't much, but that would also give me a bit of time to find out whats happening with my earnings (the govt scheme to help the self-employed during lock down seems to be rubbish - big surprise there, right?)

Trust Kd to be an apologist for complete cockwombles in power.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - Hmmm... I open your blog fresh and there are NO ads for anything on it! Just pure Steve DC. Not sure why I had seen ads from Swamp Thing a few weeks back? Try mentioning it again and see if the ads come back?

In any case, I'd be happy to click through SDC to Amazon if you can get a few pence out of the deal! Indeed, I want to buy a book on the aftermath of the french collaborators as I type, after having watched the French Village on MhZ. (Perhaps one of the best TV series ever, not just the best French one ever? Really makes you think.)

Sean - I don't know who I hate more: cockwombles of "f*rking Illinois Nazis!" Heh, heh.

KD- Back in form!

I'm going to become a sponsor! Yep! I'll do it tonight! I still have to report to work 2x / week and need to hit the road listening to the UK's Talk Sport's "Hawksbee and Jacobs!" I am thankful I still have my job 100%, not complaining!

Steve W. said...

Sean, if you're financially uncertain right now, keep your money for yourself, seriously. I don't want anyone handing over money they'd be better off spending on themselves. This blog will survive perfectly well without it.

Charlie, There's a link to Amazon at the top of every page. If you go to Amazon via that link, before purchasing, I think I should get a commission. Admittedly, I'm not certain but there's no harm in trying.