Sunday, 21 August 2022

2000 AD - July 1984.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
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What was happening in July 1984?

After centuries of barely existing, women were suddenly everywhere!

Not only did Liechtenstein become the last country in Europe to grant women the right to vote but cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a spacewalk, thanks to a mission in Salyut 7.

But men were making waves too, as 
FC Barcelona sold Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona to Italy's SSC Napoli for a then-world record fee of £6.9 million.

£6.9 million for a footballer? Truly the world had gone mad and it seemed certain we'd never see such an Earth-shattering sum be spent on a footballer ever again.

Speaking of sport, that month saw the Summer Olympics being held in Los Angeles, California.

But those not interested in physical activities could always take refuge in their local cinemas, with July witnessing the release of a whole slew of famous films, including The Last Starfighter, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Electric Dreams, The NeverEnding Story and Purple Rain.

I think The Last Starfighter and NeverEnding Story are the only ones of that bunch that I've ever seen but I must protest that NeverEnding Story did indeed end and that the cinema refused to give me my money back.

But I would be curious to see Electric Dreams, as, despite the fame of its theme tune, I don't have a clue what the movie itself is about.

Over on the UK singles chart, there was only one song that mattered.

That was Frankie's Two Tribes which spent the whole month at Number One. Such was its grip on the charts that even a sustained challenge from Neil the Hippy's Hole in My Shoe failed to dislodge it.

The British album chart was likewise dominated by just one record. And that was Bob Marley and the Wailers' Legend which spent that entire period atop the pile.

But something strange was afoot in the world of 2000 AD because, for some reason, July saw the publication of just one issue.

And that issue was Prog 376.

It contained the usual mix of Strontium Dog, Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future-Shocks, Rogue Trooper and D.R. & QuinchHowever, we did, it would appear, get a free comics offer which seems to have been produced in association with KP Skips.

But the real news was we saw the arrival of a brand new series, thanks to The Ballad of Halo Jones, Part 1, that tale of a 50th Century teenager just trying to get through a shopping trip.

As this was 1984 and it was a British comic, it was inevitable that it be written by Alan Moore. The pencils, however, were supplied by the redoubtable Ian Gibson

2000 AD #376, Halo Jones

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saw THE LAST STARFIGHTER in the theatre on its original release and about the only thing I can remember is a close-up shot of pretty Catherine Mary Stewart earnestly saying, ‘I love you, Alex Rogan.’ I assume Alex Rogan must be the young hero of the film. Oh wait — was this one of the first movies where all the spaceship dogfights were completely computer-generated? Or THE first? I seem to recall reading that in STARLOG or CINEFANTASTIQUE during its pre-release P.R. build-up.

b.t.

Matthew McKinnon said...

It was. It was A Big Thing at the time.

I never saw it when it came out: despite being a total SF movie whore when I was a kid, when I was a teenager I started spending my money on pop music instead.

I did catch up with it about 10 years ago and quite liked it, though it built up to a big space battle that seemed to be over in a couple of minutes - I guess the complexity of plotting and rendering all those shots had constraints.

Matthew McKinnon said...

Can I go on record and say that Skips are revolting? Not just that, they actually taste cheap and cheapen anything they’re associated with.

Can I also confess that I found, and still find, the first book of Halo Jones a bit hard going. I warm to it by the end, but that first chapter especially - with the trademark Alan Moore weird made-up lingo and Ian Gibson’s extremely stylised art - is a hard sell.

Anonymous said...

What are Skips says Charlie?

Anonymous said...

I cant believe Steve (and?) haven’t seen PURPLE RAIN? C’est pas possible! Can I get an “Amen” to PRINCE playing Purple Rain at the super bowl halftime show in the middle of a downpour? Can I get an Amen to PRINCE playing live with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynde, et al. and a solo that stole the show at George Harrison’s Hall of Fame induction in 2004??? He really stole the show soloing during “While my guitar gently weeped” and it can be YouTubed. Worth a look! Prince could have been Wilbury!

Anonymous said...

SKIPS used to be fantastic. Unfortunately, the recipe's been changed. Now they taste rubbish.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Hey, its the first episode of Halo Jones!
Comics don't get much better than that, Steve. Obviously Tharg couldn't risk unleashing any more thrill power on us that month.
Or, you know, maybe there was only one prog because of the printers strike going on at the time. Thats a possibility I guess. It could have been worse - at least IPC didn't cancel 2000AD as a result, like they did Scream.

The big disappointment this month though was surely Warrior #21, which featured the greatest cliffhanger ending of all time with the last episode of Marvelman.
On the plus side though, we did also get Swamp Thing #26, and Moore's take on Jack Kirby's Demon. And the Monkey King...

-sean

Unknown said...

OK... given a surplus of time, or more likely procrastinating, I googled SKIPS. They taste like Chinese Prawns?

A snack-thingy that has a taste like shrimp / fish?

Help. I just don't think I've ever had a crisp tasting like shrimp?

Way back in my youth there was supposed to be a snack thingy that was sold in the candy counters that tasted like fried chicken and supposedly there are now fired chicken candy canes. I just don't see it catching on though...?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, the most impressive thing about Prince at the Superbowl was his dancers' ability to move like that in the rain in those heels.

Prince didn't get the recognition he deserved as a guitarist, but I suppose thats because he could also do so many other things exceptionally well.
Its amazing how he was able to set up a film at that point in his career, given that he'd only really had one hit album. The only other artist I can think of with skills across the board like that - in production, writing, organising his own label, and so on - and the ability to really work the music biz toward his own ends was Frank Zappa, who was also underrated as a guitarist.

Having said that, despite the soundtrack 'Purple Rain' isn't a great film.
I prefer the Saharan remake from a few years back, with ace Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar in the Prince role 'Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai'/'Rain The Colour Of Blue With A Little Red In It' (apparently there isn't a Tamasheq word for 'purple') -

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHgEuzv-zNA

-sean

Unknown said...

SEAN, PURPLE RAIN is probably not a great film, lol, but it worked when I was 23 for me and the boys. Me and Missus #1 did see it again maybe 5 years ago. We both agreed it was not as good as we recalled. And MORRIS DAY and the TIME stole the show in many scenes.

But the soundtrack / album was top drawer, no doubt about it and perhaps the pinnacle of his career? SIGN OF THE TIMES was a great double album which came out a few years later. The dude was killing it.

All things considered though, PURPLE RAIN, was a good romp. As fun as FLASHDANCE. Not as much fun as BREAKIN, though.

Anonymous said...

Last I read, Prince's estate was taking legal action against Morris Day, over his use of the trademarks 'Time' and 'Morris Day'. Disputes over band names are one thing, but imagine someone claiming ownership of your actual name.
Lawyers, eh?

Hard to say what was Prince's pinnacle - obviously the mid-80s are in the running, with 'Purple Rain' and 'Sign o' the Times'.
But he was doing some pretty good stuff ten years later too! I really like 'The Gold Experience', but maybe thats just because its the one I've been listening to recently, since the vinyl reissue a couple of months back (and admittedly I am the kind of person that will insist 'Emancipation' is all good, and doesn't need to be edited down from its triple cd length).

-sean

Matthew McKinnon said...

Skips are a snack (I can’t classify them as potato chips because they couldn’t be further from that in taste or texture); sort of like little pieces of lightweight polystyrene that melt in the mouth, artificially flavoured to taste vaguely like vinegary shrimps.

Anonymous said...

PRAWN COCKTAIL flavour, not shrimp! In terms of UK crisp/snack culture, prawn cocktail was an important flavour. Early SKIPS were overloaded with flavour; later, modern SKIPS were/are very weakly flavoured.

Phillip

Colin Jones said...

In July 1984 I had a letter printed in the Radio Times. It was the issue dated July 21st-27th and I was sent a postcard informing me of which issue my letter would appear in. But when I had another letter (e-mail) printed in RT in December 2014 I received no advance warning and I was totally unaware that my letter had been printed until I saw it on the RT letters page. I've only sent three letters to Radio Times in total so getting two printed is a 66% success rate!

Colin Jones said...

Would the American version of Skips be called Dumpsters?

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Dumpsters? And only put cocktail sauce on shrimp not in chips as far as I know. I do like the taste though! CH47

Anonymous said...

Skip: slang term for a container for receiving, transporting and dumping waste materials.

Dumpster: same. So — good one, Colin :)

I confess, I’ve seen shrimp or prawn flavored chips for sale at Korean-owned convenience stores and never in a million years would I be tempted to try them. Just sounds ghastly. I do like cold shrimp cocktail and grilled prawns on occasion —but chips? Nope.

b.t.

Anonymous said...

In the UK, prawn cocktail's a dish synonymous with 1970s/80s pub food (particularly a chain called Berni Steakhouse). Prawn cocktail/steak & chips/Black Forest gateau. That's why the flavour migrated to UK crisps/corn snacks. ( Food nostalgia.)

Phillip

Unknown said...

Admittedly I do like the taste of cocktail sauce which I've only used / seen for shrimp in the USA.

The Berni Steakhouse menu (above) seems pretty common here too. Also there is often so-called "surf and turf" on menus which is lobster tail and steak.

But like BT the notion of snack food flavored like shrimp with cocktail sauce sounds... unorthodox and thus unappealing.

Maybe on the day we all gather in Sheffield to ride the free transit system while wearing flat caps we can munch on them?

Anonymous said...

I'm late to the party but add me to the 'Skips were horrible' circle on the Venn diagram of Steve does starchy snacks. Not good.

I saw all of these movies other than the Muppets mostly due to the local cinema's 'all movies for a pound' Monday special. Three were more memorable for their theme song than content, again not including the Muppets. I remember the smart bomb effect in Last Star Fighter was pretty funny although not a s far fetched as the dial-up modem speeds in Electric Dreams. Virginia Madsen looked great, however.

I was on another break from 2000AD when this issue was released and so read Halo Jones book 1 when Titan released it a year or so later. Halo definitely improved as it progressed and it probably was a bit too much for the average toothy fan, at the time. That first chapter got the colour centre spread from Dredd and so they must have had high hopes for it. I also got the original Halo Jones: Increased Leisure Citizen T-shirt around the time of the Titan book which drew a few comments, at the time, but wasn't half as cool as the cover to prog 460 would have been (I've been in 250 fights! Don't worry...nobody loses ALL the time).

Hand up who hasn't thought about a Bernie in for more then twenty years? Do yet still exist?

DW

Anonymous said...

Inn

DW

Anonymous said...

To go off topic (from the SKIPS debate) for a moment, 1980s artist Oliver Frey has died:

https://downthetubes.net/in-memoriam-illustrator-and-comic-artist-oliver-frey/

Phillip

Colin Jones said...

I saw Never Ending Story for the first time about 18th months ago on iplayer but I remember the theme song by Limahl when it was in the charts in 1984 (it reached #4).

Colin Jones said...

18 months ago not 18th months ago.

Anonymous said...

Oliver Frey's work was ok, but as artist on Dan Dare and the Trigan Empire he had some tough acts to follow.
A loss for old skool British science-fiction comics, and - under his 'Zack' pseudonym - gay porn.

-sean

Anonymous said...

There was a time when my reverence for Alan Moore and my Completist tendencies combined in a way that made me want to read as much of his works as I could get my hands on. At some point I ended up with all the Halo Jones collections and a bunch of D.R. and Quinch stuff. But I never really cared much for either of them and sold them off years ago.

b.t.

Matthew McKinnon said...

DR & Quincy I liked when I was 13/14. These days I can’t really stand it. I think I have a Titan reprint somewhere in the loft, but it can stay there. It reminds me a bit of BBC comedy shows, where there’s often lightning in a bottle for a brief moment but then they go back to the well again and again commissioning more and more series/seasons until the memory of that initial brilliance is completely gone.

Halo Jones - once you get into it, and also once it loosens up as eases off with the formal tics that make the first book hard work - is magic.

Anonymous said...

Quinch. Not ‘Quincy’.