It is safe to say that 2000 AD shaped my love of comics. Up until 2000 AD (and the Eagle) I had only been reading my brother’s comics which meant I never got to choose what I wanted to read. Don’t get me wrong I loved getting his Marvel hand me downs but I was desperate to get comics of my own.
Now in our house the term pocket money was about as alien a concept as a tale from Tharg’s Future Shocks. Any ‘pocket money’ (cue hysterical laughter) was more like a weekly wage for house chores ( my speciality was ironing dad’s work shirts). Any money I earned was more jealousy guarded than Smaug himself, only to be spent on the most valuable of items.
One day I happened to be in the local newsagents browsing, aka reading magazines until they told me to stop and buy one, when I spotted a cover with some dude in a big ass helmet shoving a gun in some poor bloke’s face. Being a discerning teenage consumer I was intrigued by the idea of a Science Fiction narrative which explored such themes as….ah who am I kidding. The real truth is I saw the outfit and the gun and thought ‘cool if I’m lucky the first page will be someone getting their face blown off.’
My parents would have been so proud of my reading choices if they had found out.
One of the things I do remember about those early days of reading 2000 AD was the sheer variety of stories. I held in my hands a tome that contained within its black and white pages a universe of stories. It was a dark, fun, chaotic and scary universe which I would find myself diving into week after week. There was also that thrill I had of knowing that I was reading something that had my parents read a single issue I would have been in a world of trouble. I mean there wasn’t many comics where one of its main heroes shoots an unarmed man live on air then turns the gun on himself and then for an encore nukes an entire city…sorry mega city.
Like I said the world of 2000 AD was a flipping scary one but also it talked about subjects that in some ways I wasn’t ready to know about. Racism, political agendas, torture and many more weighty subjects all go their time in the sun. It was also packed with a lot of humour and think this balancing act between the light and the dark is one of the enduring themes of comic.
Now back in the day I loved all of the characters and the safe answer would be to say I didn’t have a fave but I would be lying. Yes I loved mega city one’s fave kerb stomper Judge Dredd but I was a massive fan of Robo Hunter; Sam Slade and his antics was my jam. I also loved Slaine, which scratched my fantasy itch, athough whenever he went into berserker mode the art freaked me out. Probably my least fave comic, just because it downright terrified me, was Nemesis the Warlock.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I skim read those stories because every time I saw those hooven feet I was pretty confident I would be seeing them again in my nightmares.
Now as a grown up geek I don’t get to read 2000 AD as often as I would like but my love for the comics has never waived. The characters may have changed and evolved but its ability to challenge, entertain and make its readers think is still at the comics core.
And yes I still have nightmares about Nemesis to this day.
Happy 40th 2000 AD!
GS Blogger: Nuge