Overview

2000 AD #1526

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2000 AD #1526

Credits

  • Words: Gordon Rennie, Pat Mills, Robbie Morrison, et al.
  • Art: Ian Gibson, Ramon Sola, Simon Fraser, et al.
  • Inks: Ian Gibson, Ramon Sola, Simon Fraser, et al.
  • Colors: Ian Gibson, Gary Caldwell & Robin Smith
  • Story Title: Various
  • Publisher: Rebellion
  • Price: $5.20
  • Release Date: Mar 14, 2007

The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic celebrates thirty years of thrill-power in this extra-sized anniversary issue of the UK’s weekly sci-fi anthology.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three decades since an eight-year-old version of my good self plonked down his 8 pence of Earth money on the newsagent’s counter for the first issue of a comic that no-one expected would last more than a year or two. And yet here we are, all these many years on, and alien editor Tharg the Mighty’s mission to thrill and astound Earthlets everywhere is still going strong.

2000 AD #1526 includes a number of nods to the comic’s past with four of the five main strips featuring characters who debuted in the very first two issues back in 1977. Future lawman Judge Dredd, the most recognizable 2000 AD icon, has been ever-present since the second issue and his current storyline opens proceedings.

Old-time fans will get a real kick out of the complete one-shot Flesh story included here. Flesh was a fondly-remembered, and surprisingly violent, serial from the very early days of the comic that saw cowboys from an animal-free 23rd Century traveling back in time to farm dinosaurs for their meat. This prequel to the series is illustrated in black and white by Ramon Sola, one of Flesh’s original 1970s artists, and thus has a wonderful retro vibe.

The second featured character to appear in that very first issue is Bill Savage who first began his resistance to the Volgan invasion of Britain in a strip called Invasion 1999 (now renamed simply Savage). Real time has overtaken Bill. It’s only 2004 for him but he’s still fighting to free the country from oppression. Charlie Adlard’s ever-reliable art gives the story a suitably somber and atmospheric mood.

The main strips are rounded out with futuristic Russian swashbuckling rogue Nikolai Dante and a one-shot tale where Tharg, the comic’s editor, looks back on 2000 AD’s publishing history. Full of whimsical nostalgia, this light-hearted romp has plenty of fun in-jokes and fond memories but suffers from being constructed in verse. There seems to be a peculiar belief that writing in rhyme adds instant hilarity to any story. It doesn’t. It’s just painful to read.

Interspersed throughout are pin-up pages of past favorite characters and storylines, an enjoyable article about how various creators got their breaks on the comic and a Q and A session where fans put their questions to the Mighty Tharg on anything 2000 AD-related. Perhaps a lot of the material in this issue will be seen as self-indulgent and inaccessible to newer readers, but given the achievement of thirty years of publication in a now virtually non-existent UK comics market, only the most churlish could surely complain about that.

As a package this is a fun celebration. Some may complain it’s a little low-key but the truth is that the older we get, the less fuss we want made about our birthdays. Why should 2000 AD be any different?

Whether you know it or not, whether you have even heard of 2000 AD, this is a comic that’s had a seminal impact and that we all owe a debt of gratitude to. Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Mark Millar, Brian Bolland, Peter Milligan, Dave Gibbons … I could go on and on and on with the list of creators who sprang from the pages of 2000 AD, learnt their craft or made their names there. Happy Birthday, Tharg! Here’s to the next thirty years.

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