Sunday, 16 January 2022

2000 AD - December 1983.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

Michael Jackson was not like other boys.

I know that because he said so in his video for Thriller.

And he did it, this month, in 1983.

It's true. That very mini-movie was first aired on MTV, right then and there and, no doubt, enlivened the life of anyone who had the soul for getting down.

In the world of politics, Brunei wasn't only getting down, it was getting out and about. That's because, that very December, it gained independence from the United Kingdom.

It does strike me how many times, during the history of this feature, I've typed the words, "...gained independence from the United Kingdom." Bearing in mind that, even in the 1960s, I thought of the British Empire as being a thing from ancient history, it's startling just how many places were still gaining independence in the 1980s.

As you'd probably expect, cinemas, that month, saw the release of a whole slew of movies. Among the most celebrated were Christine, Scarface, Terms of Endearment, Yentl and Silkwood. Of those, I've definitely seen Christine. I'm not sure if I've seen Scarface. Is that the one with the chainsaw? The other three movies, I've definitely never seen.

On the UK singles chart, while all that was going on, things were very calm, as there was only one Number One in the whole of December.

And that was Only You by the Flying Pickets, the acapella cover of the Yazoo song, which proved mighty enough to see off challenges from both Paul Young's Love of the Common People and Slade's My Oh My.

On the British album chart, meanwhile, there was better news for Paul Young who started off the month tightly gripping the top spot, with his No Parlez LP.

But even that had to make way for the towering juggernaut that was Now That's What I Call Music by my favourite act Various Artists.

As the lack of digits at the end of that title suggests, it was indeed the very first of the series that's still going strong, to this very day.

Also still going strong is the galaxy's greatest comic, though, somewhat predictably, it was, at the time, giving us Judge Dredd, Sláine, Nemesis the Warlock, Tharg's Future-Shocks, Rogue Trooper and Strontium Dog. It would appear, from that December's covers, that Mega-City's finest were finding themselves up against a plague of dinosaurs.

And, if dinosaurs weren't enough to keep us all happy, we had the chance to win the Activision video games that'd make our Christmas complete. 

2000 AD, Prog 345, Strontium Dog

2000 AD, Prog 346, Judge Dredd

2000 AD, Prog 347

2000 AD, Prog 348, Tharg

2000 AD, Prog 349, Nemesis the Warlock


Anonymous said...

SCARFACE is DEFINITELY ‘the one with the chainsaw’! I was high as a kite when I saw that movie on a Sunday afternoon at the half-empty Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The wonderful weed-buzz that amplified light, color and sound, and often made watching movies an intensely vivid, immersive experience, made that particular sequence almost unbearably suspenseful. I felt like I was literally right there in that crappy bathtub / shower with Al Pacino and Pepe Serna when that Filipino drug-dealer revved up his chainsaw. Yikes! I’ve seen the movie since and that sequence doesn’t seem all that horrifying without cannabis — we never even see the chainsaw actually come in contact with poor Pepe’s flesh, though I could have sworn the carnage was much more graphic. In fact, the rest of the movie seemed very overblown, tacky and downright silly when viewed without the help of psycho-active drugs. I wonder what I’d think of it now. Hmmm. Maybe it’s streaming somewhere for couple of bucks…

Of this week’s 2000 A.D. selections, I can say nothing, as I’ve sadly never read them. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever even SEEN an actual copy of the magazine in the wild. Only ever seen reprints. Those grotty colors and textures on the covers have always intrigued me in a ‘Repel / Attract’ kinda way. Great — something else to hunt for on eBay :)


Charlie Horse 47 said...

b.t. - Your brother from anotha mutha suggests you go to your local library system and check out some Dredds b/c that's what he did!

Charlie enjoyed what he read and would probably consider spending a month of evenings reading Dredd. But the issue of what to do with them afterward is always the issue anymore. Hence the library.

The color/textures you mention... well it's kind of like when you were a kid loosing a tooth. You kept pressing it with your tongue, though it often hurt sometimes a bit much, b/c for some reason it felt good.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


Ole Charlie was visiting his brother in London in 1987 and me thinks we were in a Virgin Record store (did London have those, then?) and bought himself one! NOW # 10

It was forking awesome! Bought several more since then though the last was probably around 2000.

Heard so many songs, by so many groups, that really I would never have heard otherwise but for the compilation. (Charlie was living in Germany at the time and their Top 40 was not the same as the UK's.)

Groups that are on #10 (I had to dig it out!) that were totally unfamiliar to me were:


But I think the one that stole the show was NINA SIMONE's "MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME." I'd never heard of her before, or honestly since, but for her passing. Such a sweet song and video!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the library suggestion. I do actually have some 2000 A.D. stuff in my collection, either in the short-lived color Eagle Comics reprints or as albums published by Titan. I have some D.R. And Quinch, Halo Jones, Slaine, and quite a few Dredd collections. I think it was maybe about ten years ago, some publisher started a series of enormous ‘Complete Judge Dredd’ collections, starting from the very beginning. I flipped through it, thought it looked pretty weird and funky and cool, but talked myself out of buying it, for two completely opposite reasons. One: do I really want to commit to buying the entire series, knowing how jam-packed my poor house already is? Two: if I end up loving it but the publisher abandons the format, I’ll be stuck with an incomplete series (that possibility set off my Fanboy OCD even worse than the first one).

I don’t know whatever happened to that series, but I saw Volume One on the remainder shelves at Barnes and Nobles a few years ago, at a really decent price too, was again tempted, but again didn’t pull the trigger. Do I regret it? Yeah, I kinda do.


Anonymous said...

Based solely upon the art, O'Neill's Nemesis and McMahon's Slaine were both top notch and so these issues pass the 'two good story' test. Gibson and Kennedy also pop up and so all together a reasonable month for toothy. The covers were still really coarse newsprint, in those days, and so the colours were always muted.

Was the Thriller video featured on the Tube? I don't remember seeing it until it was commercially released on VHS (along with the making of doco). It was too long for Top of the Pops and so in pre MTV Blighty, the Tube seems the obvious venue. I vaguely recall it was broadcast quite late ant night.


Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing, but fellas, I just watched the new Suicide Squad movie. Anybody seen it yet? It ain't half bad. An amusing and sometimes horrifying little romp.
The film's tongue is stuck firmly in its cheek, which is the only way it would work. The "bad guy" (that term is barely applicable in this case) is a VERY old D.C. villain.
No spoilers, but I was a little disappointed in the line-up of the Squad.
Naturally, Harley Quinn is back, so is Captain Boomerang, and Idris Elba is playing somebody named "Bloodsport". Doesn't matter what the character's name is, Elba's pretty good in anything he's in. Peacemaker is pretty interesting. There's Brainwave. Polkadot Man manages to steal every scene he's in. And Sylvester Stallone turns in his finest acting performance since Copland, as the voice of a mentally retarded anthromoporphic shark.
He eats a guy's head.
What I don't understand is some of these other characters. Blackguard, the Detachable Kid, and the Weasel?
What the f%#&? Who are these guys? There's plenty of established D.C. B or C-listers they could use as cannon fodder. Because I got some free time on my hands, I have compiled a list. To wit:
Captain Cold
Klarion the Witch-Boy
Calander Man
Johnny Sorrow
The Human Top
Black Spider
The Royal Flush Gang
Poison Ivy
Star Sapphire
This is by no means a comprehensive list. What say you all? Are there other characters that oughtta be in the next one? Because civilization being what it is at this point, there's probably gonna be a next one.


Colin Jones said...

Charlie, the early albums of NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC have been re-released on CD over the last couple of years and I was looking at NOW 10 in my local supermarket just a few days ago!! Reading through the songs on the back of the CD was fascinating and I was especially struck by Karel Fialka's 'Hey Matthew' because I'd completely forgotten about it!

Colin Jones said...

But my local supermarket (Tesco) has reduced its' CD section to a mere TWO SHELVES with room for just 16 different titles. I wonder how long it'll be before they stop selling CDs altogether?

Anonymous said...

I really liked SUICIDE SQUAD. I liked it better than just about any DC movie since the first Superman (‘78), and much more than either of Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies. As for more recognizable ‘cannon fodder’ type bad guys, I don’t know, I thought these guys were all okay. Maybe they didn’t want to throw away people like Captain Cold or Hellgrammite, in case someone has plans for them in another movie.


Anonymous said...

DW hit the nail on the head on the head there - if you have Kevin O'Neill and Mike McMahon in the same prog, both working on stories by Pat Mills, that is peak thrill power. Add a decent Dredd story, and what more could you have asked for from 2000AD back at the end of '83?
Well, maybe something by Alan Moore... and he's back next month! Tharg was doing a pretty good job as editor of the galaxy's greatest comic at this point.

I'm fairly sure that the Thriller video was first shown in the UK on the Tube, or maybe it was in a one-off Tube special in a later time slot...?


Anonymous said...

Somebody's got plans for Hellgrammite?
We're not talking about the Riddler, here.

Anonymous said...

MP, personally, the villain I'd most like to see get whacked in a Suicide Squad flick is the Joker.
Bad enough that critics raved about Heath Ledger, but on top of that Joaquin Phoenix got an Oscar so you just know that every self-obsessed moron trying to make a name for themselves as an actor is going to want to ham it up on screen in the part.

Unfortunately DC Warner are likely to give them all plenty of opportunities to do it...


Anonymous said...

Sean, if I was Batman (or a movie script writer), the first thing I would do is kill the Joker.


Steve W. said...

Sean and MP, I'd also get rid of Lex Luthor from all future Superman productions.

Sean and DW, I remember Thriller being shown by Channel 4 as a standalone broadcast in its own right, rather than in any particular show but it was a long time ago, so I could be wrong. I think it was preceded by a making-of mini-documentary.

MP and Bt, What's this? Crazy Quilt hasn't been used yet? What is this madness?

Bt, thanks for the Scarface confirmation.

Charlie, as far as I'm aware, London had Virgin stores from the early 1970s onwards.

Colin, aren't CD sales supposed to be on the up again? Perhaps that Tesco section will soon be expanding again?

Colin Jones said...

Steve, my local Tesco's CD section was reduced to make room for yet more computer games. I'd heard that ABBA's 'Voyage' album and Adele's '30' have shifted a lot of CDs so maybe the death of the CD is indeed exaggerated - vinyl LPs are enjoying a boom too (apparently pressing plants can't keep up with demand) but nobody's told my local Tesco which stopped selling LPs about a year ago.

I too remember the debut of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video on Channel 4. I'm pretty sure it was shown on the first weekend of December 1983, in the early hours. And after watching it I looked out the back door and saw the constellation Orion The Hunter high above the trees.

Curious the things you remember!

Anonymous said...

M.P. —
You mock Hellgrammite’s suitability for Mainstream Movie Stardom? Think he’s too deep a deep cut? I never in a million years would have guessed that The Peacemaker would be blasting the crap out of stuff on the silver screen neither :)


Charlie Horse 47 said...


Interesting CDs are making a bit of a comeback. Some thoughts:

1) Digital is digital so I don't necessarily see the preference over a self-composed "play list" on Spotify via the smart phone or PC?

2) That said... lol... I had an extra DVD player that I connected a few months back to play my CDs, since the CD player went on the fritz after 35 years! Perhaps folks with a DVD player and surround sound, etc. have realized it's fun playing a CD for the "big sound?"

But while I do endorse playing records and greatly prefer the quality of sound, I don't play them but every few months.

By the way my remastered RUBBERSOUL album I recently bought here in St. Louis turns out to be the UK version of songs! I still have my original USA release which has fewer songs. UK has "Dr Roberts" and "Your Bird Can Sing."

Charlie Horse 47 said...


Karel Fialka's 'HEY MATTHEW' should be used as a reference by Webster's Dictionary for "ear worm!"

It is a great tune, no doubt about it, but maaannnn.... it sticks in your head!!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...


I just bought the latest issue of HARLEY QUINN at my LCBS.

She and POISON IVY " get it on" in this issue.

Plus she was used extensively in the GOTHAM series of young BRUCE WAYNE so...

I suspect Poison is not about to become cannon fodder.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


I went to my LCBS this past weekend and was truly mystified!!!

There were 40 (!!!) comics on display with BATMAN! Wth... 40!!!

The owner told me DC has a big push on at the moment marketing Batman. (Duh!)

There were also a half dozen with ROBIN in "beef cake" covers. I guess with ROBON now being gay, DC are using a different approach to market him.

(Reminded me of the steamy shower seen in TOP GUN where Tom Cruise and the senior instructor have a discussion. There were guys in the background against the walls doing beef cake for the alternative audience. I didn't even learn that was the intent until a few years ago... Charlie is naive???)

Redartz said...

Colin- as you noted, several recent releases have produced a reversal in cd sales! Of course it's too soon to see if that's a trend or an anomaly. Hoping it's a trend; I for one still love cds and continue to build my collection. Despite the convenience of streaming, there's no substitute for the appeal of a physical copy. For the same reason I stick to physical comics rather than digital.

Charlie- good call using your dvd for cds. I do likewise, and am continually impressed with the sound. Sold my stereo components years ago, which in hindsight, may have been a mistake...

Regarding the "Now That's What I Call Music " series: they've been a staple on shelves here in the States for a couple decades now. But the content tends to be much less interesting than your UK editions!

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, I thought my CD player was old at 23 years but yours was 35 years old, wow!!

And I too have sometimes used my DVD player for playing CDs.

And you're right about Karel Fialka's 'Hey Matthew' being an earworm - Matthew must be about 40 by now!

Red, I hope you enjoyed your physical copy of ABBA Voyage :)

Redartz said...

Colin- I truly did enjoy that new ABBA disc! Very very nice to hear those melodic voices together again...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

"HEY MATTHEW" is a single released by the British musician Karel Fialka, in 1987. It was later included on his 1988 studio album, Human Animal.

The song follows the lyrics of the stepfather (Fialka) questioning his stepson, Matthew, as to what he sees on television to which a young child's voice responds...

The song was Fialkas' biggest chart hit, peaking at number 9 in the UK Singles Chart and spending eight weeks in the listings. It also reached No. 15 in Germany and No. 29 on the U.S. Modern Rock chart.

I am stuck on auto-replay!!! What a tune!!! And what an ear worm!!!

Steve W. said...

Karel Fialka was British? I always thought he was German.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


Do NOT listen to HEY MATTHEW unless you want it stuck in your head for a while... Charlie did and it IS stuck!

COLIN - Stuck with you too? I assumed you gave it a listen!

Karel Fialka is an Indian born British singer, songwriter, composer, musician and record producer, best known for his 1987 single, "Hey, Matthew".

He was born Karel Francis Fialka in Bengal, India, to a Scottish mother and Czech father. Fialka was launched in 1980 as "the street poet of the 1980s."[1] Fialka's debut album Still Life was well received. The single "The Eyes Have It" received radio play.[1]

Fialka had a Top 10 hit in 1987 on the UK Singles Chart with the single "Hey, Matthew", (on I.R.S. Records).[2]

Fialka works mainly as a conceptual songwriter and record producer with occasional and infrequent live appearances.

MattVA said...

While Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was definately popular here in the States -- innovative video of the era, of course...I was more of a Slade follower & truly enjoyed with their "Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply" cd!

Judge Dredd in the aforementioned Eagle Comics was excellent & it's a shame didn't last DC's Thriller comic, if I might add!!

Anonymous said...

Steve, you're right about Thriller - the Jacko video, not the DC comic (that was drawn by... Trevor von Eeden, Matt?) - being shown for the first time here in its own late night tv slot, but I'm fairly sure it was billed as a Tube special.
I had a quick look at the 'Channel 4 Premiere' of Thriller on Youtube, which wasn't that helpful as it turned out to be just the last shot of the video. But that was followed by a Tyne Tees production credit which would seem to back me up.


MattVA said...

Yes -- Trevor von Eeden drew the first several issues of DC's Thriller comic, did fantastic job as he'd done on the Green Arrow mini-series prior...but Alex Nino finished up the last 3-4 issues (roughly).

Back then, I was more into Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run, All-Star Squadron (being the history nut I am) & Roy Thomas' writing, Batman -- pretty much every series he was in...picked up Thriller for kicks & real imaginative stuff!

Anonymous said...

I think I only tried the one issue of Thriller, Matt, and I'm afraid it didn't make much of an impression on me. Which is a shame, as it seems I missed out on some work by the mighty Alex Nino...
Batman was pretty good back then - not only did Gene Colan work on the character, but he was inked by the mighty Alfredo Alcala! They worked really well together.

Steve, seeing as you bought up the British empire...
One of the more amusing episodes during the Brexit referendum was a debate on the radio in which well known cockwomble Nigel Farage finished off a rant by asking the rhetorical question "why is it that Britain is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't have an independence day?"
To which some wag in the audience responded by shouting "because the others all celebrate their independence FROM Britain!"
Ba-dum tshh.


Anonymous said...

Nobody could understand that damn Thriller comic.
...Well, let me amend that. I couldn't understand it. I also gave up after one issue.
And don't get me wrong, M.P. can handle weird. I can dig it. I am a fan of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol.
But at the end of the day, there's gotta be some point somewhere underneath all the weird.


Colin Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Farage has a severe case of what the Germans call 'backpfeifengesicht' Colin.


Anonymous said...

Anyone else seen the Moon Knight promos, this morning?

Seems like Steven Grant isn't a millionaire, in the series - instead he's a lowly museum shop employee! Also, a French actor is credited, whom I presumed was playing Frenchie, when, in reality, he's playing the Midnight Man. So Steve was prescient, including the Midnight Man story in his pick, all those months ago! Probably Steven Grant's not a millionaire, as the Bruce Wayne comparisons would destroy the series, before it's started.


Steve W. said...

Phillip, I've just watched the trailer. It certainly looks... ...different.

Matthew McKinnon said...

That 'Thriller' video was definitely a standalone broadcast. My mate had a VCR and I didn't so I watched it at his the following weekend.

The 'Thriller' comic hasn't ever been collected, which is weird. Maybe because the two creators left before it finished so it feels a bit disjointed. I dug out my issues of it the other week, by coincidence. It's ambitious but really incoherent. Von Eeden was a great stylist but not terribly good storyteller.

A propos of nothing, I just picked up a reprint of the Daleks strips from the UK in the 1960s. And a big chunk of it is painted by Ron Turner. Holy SHIT it's amazing artwork.