Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Sometimes, 2000 AD gets it wrong. Usually the heart is in the right place, but what comes out is, frankly, laughable. It might be the art, the dialogue, or even the core concept of whatever strip is involved. Anyway, I thought I'd take a break from all the adulation for a bit of light mocking. The astute reader will realise that this is in fact a form of flattery. Something along the lines of 'the exception proving the rule', mixed with a touch of affection for a panel that can make me chuckle with its badness*.

Without further ado,

What? What the hell is this? This is a panel from StarLord, not the Beano. I love the Beano, but the two shouldn't share rubbish jokes about bullies running away from not-scary monsters that go 'snarl'.
-On the other hand, great facial expressions, and an enjoyable deadpan Alpha.

But as plot devices go, unnacceptable. Next!

Now, as atmospheric panels go, this from Eric Bradbury is a big winner. Lovely clockwork mechanism with a feel of ancientness, a little bit of sinisterity, and even an amount of awe. But it's a big panel, meaning it's a pretty major part of the story it's in - a five page 'Time Twister'. Yes, folks, Alan Moore has struck again - a whole story leading up to a cheap pun. OK, so it's kinda funny, but really, not gonna win many converts to the 2000 AD stable.

Of course, it's in a different league from these two howlers. Better artists might have been able to make the action more convincing, but I'm inclined to blame the script droids...
He's tripping an Elephant over. A whole, massive elephant. With a sword! A small sword, struck against one foot. He should be crushed, surely. What the hell??? Planet of the Damned, how much I wanted to like that story; how little I actually did.

Ro-Busters, meanwhile, was often pretty good, especially when it moved into 2000 AD. Hammer-Stein, ABC Warrior extraordinaire, idol of thousands, how were you ever reduced to this?

Actually I think what gets me is the attempt to show a bulky, rigid robot trying to be bendy and slender. Extra points for making Hammer-Stein seem for human, but minus several hundred for what a robot might actually be able to do.

Of course, all of the above are pretty old panels as 2000 AD history goes. Here's a brace from the notorious nadir of 2000 AD history, the 900s:
Abnett was writing about half the comic, which ought to be a good thing. For his short-lived Venus Bluegenes run, he was clearly going for all-out action film cliches. Simon Coleby assisted with some odd figurework and his usual chiselled faces. Sadly, I kinda miss the old Coleby style. Can't explain why, though. Anyway, read the dialogue above, and then guess what happens just one episode (roughly 10 panels) later...
OK, so this was probably a deliberate mocking of your straight-to-video movie stupidity, but at the time I read it it felt like there was no effort put into giving the villain any real character or motivation beyond being mean-spirited. Nu-Earth villains are a tough bunch to write.

And, just when you thought Abnett couldn't lay on the cheap gags any more thickly,

*On reflection, there are surely many worse panels I could have found. I'll try harder next time, honest.


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