Getting Back Into 2000AD - A British Institution


Oh 2000AD how I’ve missed you.

It’s been not far off 20 years since I held in my hands the excellent publication that is 2000AD, it being a genuine joy to have it back there, and it's been coming ever since the start of my 3 year slow return to the art form.

The Best Memories

I don’t remember exactly when I read my first 2000AD, I know I was around 9 or 10 years old, but what I do remember are the stories, stories that have stayed with me these many years as being some of the best I’ve ever read.

My young mind had never digested something so gritty, so engaging, so vivid, it was worlds away from the boy scout mainstream Marvel and that was an integral part of its appeal. Here was a comic that told incredible sci-fi and fantasy stories with adult themes and amazing artwork that I could walk round the corner and buy from my local newsagent, it was perfect.

Holy Pilgrimage

Each fortnight I would make my hallowed journey to purchase it and rush home to devour greedily the new or continuing stories from artists and writers whom, I didn’t realise at the time,  would go on to become some of the most talented individuals in the comics industry today and some of now my most favourite authors. It truly made Saturday special for me back then, the six stories that featured every issue were always of such quality, even whilst differing heavily in aesthetic and theme, that I couldn’t wait for the 14 days to pass and the next prog to be out on the shelves so I could continue living the many different sagas.

That was a big part of the comics charm, the variety, as one moment your eyes could be taking in dark and foreboding dystopian scenes of high rise Megablocks punctuated with bright neon colours and then the next soley black and white illustrations, intensely detailed, of an ancient celtic warrior with a lust for blood and combat. The contrast was often pronounced in both the style and tone as you moved from story to story but it never felt out of place, there was a 2000AD-ness that ran through every page and no story, no matter how wild, ever felt like it didn’t belong, it was as if each story was destined to be there in that magazine in that specific prog at that specific time.

Step Into My World

It’s a special thing to be able to illicit this feeling in a comic’s readers, to be able to make them believe they are not merely reading a story but via some mystical scrying device are actually watching events from a faraway planet or another dimension unfold in front of their very eyes. It’s a testament to the talented writers and artists as well as to the magazines staff who have consistently year on year chosen the stories from new and experienced talent alike to fill the prestigous pages and create this narativium magic.

Its longevity and reputation is testament to this but it also strikes at the heart of what makes 2000AD the publication it is, that of the love for the craft that fills it. From the artists and writers who create the stories, who once themselves were likely young devouts, to the staff for whom it’s publication is undoubtedly a passion and joy and working there a dream come true. Thrill power truly does run through the comic and you can’t help get caught up in it, the always eye-catching cover art is where it begins and as you peel back the first page to be greeted by Dredd’s chiselled jaw and grim lip line you know you’re in for a wild ride.

2000AD – A British Institution

I’ve yet to see the recent 2000AD documentary “Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD” but it’s definitely now on my to watch list, I want to know more about this landmark publication and its British story in the world of heavily American influenced comics. I want to know more about a magazine that I realise now was so important to my development as a writer and my interest in comics and sequential art. I want to know about all the amazing people and their passion for the medium that drove it and still does to this day. I also want to understand more, something I’ve not touched upon much here, the uniquely rebellious and subversive Britishness that runs through it and where that identity came from as it feels increasingly that’s something that’s being lost culturally in mainstream media and was so rife in the 80’s and early 90’s.

In this element, I’ve always thought, even through the years of its absence, that Britain was lucky to have a publication so well respected in both comic culture and to a lesser extent mainstream pop culture that is so unique and culturally significant. I am glad that 20 years later, in this age of digital, that it is still going strong as a physical publication and hasn’t lost any of its shine and, a little like religion, I’ve found it again, long may it reign.

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