Sunday, 19 March 2023

2000 AD - February 1985.

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

Things suddenly turned a whole lot friendlier on the Iberian Peninsula in February of 1985, thanks to the reopening of the border between Gibraltar and Spain which had been closed in 1969 by Franco. In fairness, it seems surprising, given his track record, that it took the general so long to get around to closing it in the first place.

No doubt, there were plenty of people on hand to photograph the historic event and they could do so secure in the knowledge that every single shot they took would be in perfect focus, thanks to Minolta's release of the Maxxum 7000, the world's first autofocus single-lens reflex camera. This was not just good news for them but was, no doubt, a godsend for Peter Parker. 

Meanwhile, our cinemas were being treated to the release of The Breakfast Club, that tale of young people doing something or other. I must confess that, despite its fame, I've never seen it. I also get it mixed up with St Elmo's Fire, another film I've never seen.

Over on the UK singles chart, it was good news for ABBA. Or at least for two of them, as I Know Him So Well by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson spent the whole month at Number One. That song was, of course, written by Bjorn and Benny from the aforementioned Swedish supergroup, for the phenomenon that was the musical Chess.

Things were, however, far more volatile on the British album chart, with each week in February seeing a different LP snatch the top spot.

The first of them was Foreigner's Agent Provocateur. The second was Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA. The third was The Smiths' Meat Is Murder and the fourth was Phil Collins' No Jacket Required. To be honest, the Springsteen LP is the only one I'd have any vague interest in hearing.

But that brings us to whatever it was the galaxy's greatest comic was up to.

It was mostly up to familiar things, delivering the latest installments of Rogue Trooper, Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Tharg's Future-Shocks, The Hell Trekkers and The Stainless Steel Rat - although the last of those strips quickly departed to make way for a returning Ballad of Halo Jones.

2000 AD #403, Judge Dredd

2000 AD #404,. Nemesis the Warlock

2000 AD #405, Judge Dredd

2000 AD #406, Halo Jones


Matthew McKinnon said...

Nice covers!

The Dredd one recycles the Fink Brothers record cover. Did anyone buy that? I did. It was shit, but it had a Bolland cover, and because it was clearly as naff as anything it was stuck straight into the bargain bins in the record shop so the 12" was only a pound or something.

Here's the video...

Great job.

The many times was the Dredd vs Fake Dredd device used over the years, do you think?

The Gibson - Halo Jones Book Two! Editors politely requested Moore not make the dialogue so impenetrable, and he obliged and made it twice as much fun to read. This Book was great.

Unknown said...

Charlie can't comment on the Judge. He can comment on the Spain Gibraltar border though LOL.

June 1987.. hopped a random airforce flight with a fellow Chinook pilot from Franfurt Germany to "anywhere sunny." We literally had not seen the sun in Germany for perhaps 4-5 months that spring/summer.

Ended up on the south coast of Spain and decided to take in Gibraltar for an afternoon. Spanish guards smiled on the way in. On the way out the b-tards proceeded to gut the rented Ibiza car to include taking out the seats, dumping all the luggage contents on the ground, etc. Not very nice.

That said, the abundant topless Ccelandic chicks at Torremolimos beaches made up for it the next day. Oh lordy...

Anonymous said...

CH47, you should be asked those topless girls if they wanted to go for a helicopter ride. I would've used any means available to get an "in". Kinda surprised you didn't utilize that.


Anonymous said...

Heh. Ment "Killdumpster. Fingers are frozen.

Anonymous said...

KD - you must be getting that wicked cold we had yesterday. They always said Pittsburgh gets Chicago’s weather 24 hourz later lol! Charles

Anonymous said...

Killdumpster - There is more fun to the topless Icelandic babe story! In fact my friend and i were drinking Sahngrias at this little Tiki hut on the beach. There was a shower immediately behind me to rinse off the sand. My buddy is suddenly all a gaga and motions to me to turn around. So I turn around on my stool and i am very literally maybe two feet at most from their… let’s say my eyes were chest high, lol.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Halo book 2 was much improved and I recall being really impressed by the prologue. It nicely recapped book one and foreshadowed Moore's plan for the seven volumes, in a more reader-friendly style. These issues are all pretty good with Rogue Trooper (Kennedy), Nemesis (Talbot) and Dredd (Dillon, Ron Smith) all receiving the Colgate ring of confidence, even before Halo rejoined the starting line-up.

On the album front, The Smith's Meat is Murder was a massive favourite back in the day. I think I taped this on one side of a C90, and Hatful of Hollow on the other. That tape remained a fixture in my car for years (initially to the annoyance of the then girlfriend - although she became a fan, in time). Not fussed with the other albums, although Springsteen has grown on me since. I used to drive past Phil Collins house in Essex occasionally (more accurately the extensive security fence). Probably playing the Smiths' tape.


Anonymous said...

Gibraltar is a mad place Charlie, as you'd expect with somewhere that seems to exist mainly to encourage smuggling.
Or at least it used to be. The border opened up in '85 as part of Spain's accession to the (then) EEC, but as I understand it Gibraltar wasn't covered by the Brexit agreement, and negotiations about its future relationship with the EU are currently ongoing. If the situation is at all like the one around the Irish border, presumably Gibraltar will be part of Spain soon...

Ok, onto the progs, and I'm afraid I have to differ with my esteemed colleague Matthew McK this month, as I find the covers here to be underwhelming. Its not that they're bad, but considering we're looking at the work of Brian Bolland, Bryan Talbot, Brendan McCarthy and Ian Gibson, they're not exactly great either.

But I got the 12" of 'Mutants in Mega City One' too, and we can definitely agree on that. A criminal record indeed (as the cover of prog 403 says). The 'Nemesis' single by Shriekback that came out a few months later was much better. Especially the noisier Arch-deviant Mix.


B Smith said...

Steve, if you haven't seen "The Breakfast Club" by now, don't bother. It's the kind of film you have to be a certain age (like, teenage in the eighties) to appreciate, as my other half (who was a teenager in the eighties) discovered when she insisted we watch it on video one night. Did nothing for me (teenager in the seventies) at all.

Anonymous said...

Good lord! Bill Everett passed away 50 years ago in February 1973! Will his name be mentioned in 2 - 3 months when June dated comics refer to the comic spinner racks of March?

Steve W. said...

B, thanks for the Breakfast Club guidance.

Matthew, thanks for the Fink Brothers link.

Charlie, Sean, Killdumpster and DW, thanks for your comments too.

Anonymous said...

Were you seriously considering listening to 'Born in the USA', Steve?
In early '85 we were obviously in that boring mid-decade lull between the post-punk era, and the arrival of ecstasy and raves. For a couple of years there it seemed to be all Phil Collins, Goths, and landfill 'indie' guitar jangle. Brrrrr.

Looking at the singles charts for this month, I have to say by far the best hit - which I didn't actually recall being a hit - was 'This Is Not America' by David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group. Bowie's vocal is such a perfect complement to Metheny's music - sounding a bit like an anticipation of 'Black Star' - its a shame they only did the one track together. Still, better than nothing!

And besides, there were other collaborations to follow. Iirc, Metheny's next record was the 'Song X' lp with Ornette Coleman - although I don't think there were any hit singles off that one? - and Bowie's was er... 'Dancing In The Streets' with Mick Jagger.


Anonymous said...


Bowie sorta went through an awkward period there, didn't he. That, uh, duet you mentioned, and a couple of very "uneven" albums (let's be charitable about it).
But he came back hard and industrial with Tin Machine, and it was pretty clear he was done dicking around.
I liked the first Tin Machine record, but I'm not familiar with the second.
I did like that song he did with Methany. That was a great movie, too.


Anonymous said...

Being fair, the charity single Dancing in the streets was recorded at the same session which produced Absolute Beginners.


Steve W. said...

Sean, given a choice between the Springsteen album and the others, I'd go for the Springsteen one but an entire LP of Bruce isn't the sort of thing that normally floats my boat.

Anonymous said...

Springsteen's "Glory Days" perhaps (vaguely) chimes with SDC's mission statement, covering the backyard of nostalgia: "just sitting back, trying to recapture a little of the glory..."


Anonymous said...

Don't worry Steve, I had a look to see what other albums came out in February '83 - if you feel like you really have to listen to a whole one there's always Yoko Ono's 'Star Peace' instead.