A 2000AD PrimerA column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: Rob Williams
There are quite a few more comics than just what DC and Marvel are putting out, and while we do our best to showcase the diversity of the medium when we can, one of the most common questions we get asked is “where do I start with 2000AD?”
Well, in addition to giving us his time for an interview about The Ten Seconders, Rob Williams is here for a quick rundown of five go-to 2000AD titles.
Judge Dredd: Case Files 5
Dredd's the heart and soul of 2000AD, and you won't find a better starting point than this. Brian Bolland on Judge Death and the Dark Judges. Mick McMahon on Block Mania. The Apocalypse War is simply one of the best action comics you'll ever read with an amazingly unflinching ending. Stone cold classics. Brilliant scripts from John Wagner and Alan Grant with an acerbic, Bible black sense of humour that succeeds in subtly averting cliché. And The Dark Judges story contains the heavyweight champion best comic panel of all time: "Gaze into the fist of Dredd!"
2000AD is a sci-fi title and your sci-fi doesn't get much more bonkers than this. Henry Flint's cosmic visuals are the stuff of lunatic brilliance. Jack Kirby after a weekend on the lash with Timothy Leary and Hunter S. Thompson. Henry's a bit of a genius and one of 2000AD's current crown jewels. His sci-fi concepts simply look like nothing else out there, and he and Robbie Morrison's alien revenge killer (who arrives to slaughter the deserving with one bit of dialogue: 'Shakara!' and that's it) is a sleek, hyper-deadly thing of nightmares. Hardcore, stylish sci-fi this, and one of the best looking books you'll buy this year.
DR & Quinch
I have incredibly fond memories of reading DR & Quinch as a teenager. Alan Moore and Alan Davis may have gone on to bigger and better things - you may possibly have heard of them - but this was, and still is, one of the funniest comics I've ever read. And it looks great too. "Eat Plutonium Death You Disgusting Alien Weirdos" and "Mind The Oranges, Marlon!" are profound, moving slogans for our times. Two immoral teenage losers randomly wander into ever more death-caked scenarios and, while I'm sure there was satire in here - Hollywood, war movies - my overriding memory is just of how gleefully silly this all was. The likes of Watchmen and From Hell may just, JUST be searching for more profundity, but I always thought it was hugely to his credit that strips like DR & Quinch and The Bojeffries Saga proved that Moore was funnier than every other writer out there too.
I'll be honest and say I've never been the biggest fan of Slaine -- a celtic myths version of Conan The Barbarian with the ability to “warp spasm” into a beserker fury and an axe called “Brainbiter” - but the central reason you really should own this graphic novel is Mick McMahon's incredible artwork. If you want to see where the likes of Mike Mignola and Frank Miller got a lot of their more abstract influences, this is the place to go. When first published I didn't know how to react to McMahon's work on Slaine - it simply looked like nothing I'd seen before. This is visionary work. On a recent 2000AD panel at a convention, artists were asked to choose their favourite ever art in 2000AD's 35 year history and every single person at the table chose Mick's. Considering some of the names to come through the ranks - Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Steve Dillon to name just three - that's some praise.
Got to pick one of my own, eh? Low Life is the story of undercover Judges in Dredd's Mega City One. The Wally Squad, they're called, and being underground for so long in such an insane city can turn them somewhat... eccentric. Aimee Nixon and Dirty Frank are Low Life's two leads. One a heavily compromised pathological liar, using the Judge's badge to live the life that she desperately needs, the other a mentally adrift “smell factory” who, despite his tramp-like appearance, is actually a very good Judge indeed. Low Life shows a different side to Dredd's world, and mixes hard boiled noir with the off-the-wall humour of a DR & Quinch. And in Henry Flint, Simon Coleby (The Authority), Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl) and D'israeli (Lazarus Churchyard) it has a stellar lineup of artists. I've written some of my best work in Low Life. I'm very proud of it.