Thursday, September 14, 2023

2000ad: The state of the galaxy

The first issues of 2000ad I ever bought with my own money cost 33 cents, and now they're asking almost $11 for a weekly dose of thrillpower. I really thought I'd give it up when it broke the $10 mark, but I gotta keep those thrill suckers at bay somehow.

As much as reading a new issue of 2000ad is one of life's simplest and greatest pleasures, it's still tempting to chuck it in sometimes. The ratio of the anthology title is usually quite consistent - two great stories (one of which is almost always Dredd); two okay stories (one of which is almost always Sinister Dexter); and one outright stinker. 

That's a tough ratio to justify that kind of weekly investment sometimes, especially when it starts to shift slightly and you end up with two stinkers and one great.

There's always one great strip. Always.

It's all subjective, and that subjectivity takes a right kicking in the anthology format. Judging by the letters page, the stories that do nothing for me have their fans. But I never got The Order, even with the mighty John Burns doing some fine work, and I dread any further continuation of Indigo Prime, which really lost the plot once John Smith lost all interest. Recent series like Durham Red and Enemy Earth just felt like a drag, pale attempts to emulate past glories.

And while the Regened issues are obviously not for me, I still have to get them, even though they cost more than $15 an issue. Fucking hell, I'm not making holes in a complete collection like a goddamn grexnix, am I?

The great stuff that 2000ad still produces keeps me coming back. The recent Rogue Trooper revival by Garth Ennis and Patrick Goddard almost overcame the incongruity of a half-naked blue man in the mud of WW1 by telling the story with blunt effectiveness, while also occasionally showing Rogue - a deeply honourable character for someone grown in a vat - as an absolute demon of death, who can not been stopped. 

And Dan Abnett's recent series have been absolutely spectacular - The Out is consistently human and breathtaking, and I'm still haunted by the climax to the latest chapter of Brink - to the point that when an original series from the writer turned out to be another bloody Sinister Dexter thing, it was fairly disappointing.

So I'll stick with it for a whole longer. We're moving next year and I'm not sure if a local shop will get it, so will have to think about some kind of monthly delivery direct from the UK. (It's too expensive to send one issue, but becomes economical when it reaches three or four.)

I can't stop now. No matter how much it costs.

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