2000 AD: A NEW BEGINNING

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Andy Diggle

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Oct 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/1/00
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Dear All,

I recently wrote a "mission statement" for the direction I want 2000 AD to take
during my tenure as Editor, and distributed it amongst our creators. So far it
has met with great enthusiasm. I thought you lot might be interested to read
it, if only to initiate debate. Think of it as my "Manifesto for
Thrill-Power"...

Andy


2000 AD: A NEW BEGINNING


THE PROBLEM

"2000 AD just isn't as good as it used to be." That seems to be the
consensus opinion of the 25,000 readers who have stuck with us over the last
23 years... not to mention the 100,000 who have abandoned the comic during
that time. Sure, nostalgia plays a part, but that's not the whole story. On
the whole, I think 2000 AD is better right now than it has been for several
years - but at the same time, I can read progs from 20 years ago that still
pack more of a punch than some of the stuff we're publishing now. So what's
gone wrong?

2000 AD was created with a powerful sense of energy and vision - you can
still feel it in those early progs. But over the years, that original vision
has become diluted. For quite a while now, 2000 AD seems to have been
running on autopilot, and somebody needs to stand up and question whether
it's actually heading in the right direction.

I believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if it is broke, we'd
better figure out what's wrong, and fix it - sharpish! That's what this
document is all about. I believe we can make 2000 AD a lot more fun and
exciting than it is at the moment.

What follows is basically my vision for the future of 2000 AD, and the kind
of stories I think we should be publishing. It would be naīve of me simply
to try and set the clock back to 1977 - the world, the market and the
readers have obviously changed radically since then - but a lot of the core
values of those early days are sorely missing now. 2000 AD used to appeal to
readers young and old alike - and it should do again. I really believe that
if we can put some of that energy, that imagination and that attitude back
into the great work we're already doing, we can once more make 2000 AD a
creative force to be reckoned with.

THE HIT

2000 AD readers talk about getting their weekly 'hit' or 'fix' of
Thrill-power, and they're only half joking. The comic should be a drug; a
jolt of raw, unrefined energy and imagination. We aren't there just to raise
a faint ironic smile on the readers' lips; we should blast them into a whole
new reality! 2000 AD should be fast, dense, bizarre, twisted, funny, insane,
rebellious, dark, ironic, imaginative and exciting! We should blow the
readers' minds wide open, and give them something they can't get anywhere
else!

What we should never be is bland, derivative and familiar. 2000 AD should be
the comic other people copy... not the other way round.

We may all have different ideas of what 2000 AD is all about, or what it
should be. I think it's the editor's job to provide a vision for the comic,
a common goal for us all to aim for. So let's get down to the basics, and
build it up from there.

WHAT IS 2000 AD?

2000 AD IS A SCI-FI ACTION COMIC. The three pillars of its foundation are
sci-fi, action (ie. violence!) and humour. Any story that doesn't include
all three is liable to run into trouble... unless it's very, very good!
Almost all the stories in 2000 AD include some element of humour, but
out-and-out comedy strips that don't put an emphasis on physical action and
jeopardy tend to get crucified by the readers.

I want to make the readers happy... because I'm one of them. I'm a 2000 AD
fan. I want to publish the kind of stories I like. The kind of stories that
blew the back of my head off 20 years ago, and have kept me hooked ever
since. Let's give 2000 AD its balls back!

What follows is a general call-to-arms for every 2000 AD creator. Much of it
is undoubtedly grandmother/eggs stuff, but it never hurts to re-state the
obvious...

DENSITY

One of the reasons ex-2000 AD writers have been so successful in the
American comics market is that 2000 AD (and the whole British boys'
adventure market of old) teaches writers how to condense. When you can tell
a complete action story with a beginning, middle and end (and a point!) in
five pages, you've cracked the art of comics writing. So let's keep it
dense, tight, snapping along at a cracking pace. Never use two panels (or
pages, or episodes!) where one will do. In comics, less really is more.
Condensing the action down into the least possible number of panels actually
increases the drama; it's like a form of distillation. Boil that barrel of
beer down into a shot-glass of rocket fuel!

Atmosphere is all well and good, but when it takes six panels for somebody
to find their car keys, the readers just aren't getting their money's worth.


CONCEPT

The best 2000 AD series are based around a single character with a strong
defining motivation, simple enough to be summed up in a single sentence. For
example, "He's Dirty Harry in New York of the future; judge, jury and
executioner!" or "He's a genetically engineered soldier who goes AWOL to
search for the traitor who killed his fellow GIs;" or "She's an ordinary
girl living in a futuristic slum who dreams of just getting out."

Plot and setting are important, but still very much secondary to the core
character concept: Who is the hero, and what does he/she want?

EYE CANDY

There are too many 'talking heads' stories in 2000 AD. There's nothing wrong
with good dialogue and character interaction, but conversation itself must
never be the be-all and end-all of the story. Stories must unfold though
visual action, not verbal exposition. The rule of thumb is; no more than
three balloons/captions per panel, and no more than 25 words per
balloon/caption.

If a casual browser leafs through the pages of 2000 AD and just sees a
succession of talking heads, he'll probably put it straight back on the
shelf. If he sees big, eye-grabbing visuals, weird locations, cool-looking
hardware and exciting action, he might just stop and read it long enough to
decide whether he wants to buy it.

This applies to characters as much as situations. 2000 AD used to be full of
bizarre-looking aliens, cyborgs, robots, freaks and mutants - and they were
the heroes! Nowadays, most of our characters look like they just stepped out
of a mainstream Hollywood movie. Let's remember to create characters with a
bold and unique visual style.

Comics is a visual medium, and we've only got five or six pages to grab the
reader and give him that hit. Writers need to give the artists plenty of
incredible, dynamic images to draw which will fire their imaginations. Okay,
so we can't expect a big, in-yer-face 'money shot' (so to speak) on every
page... but let's aim for one on every other page, where possible -
especially for the cliffhangers. Speaking of which...

GRAB 'EM BY THE BALLS!

2000 AD is an action comic, remember. It's in danger of becoming too
'sophisticated' for its own good. Sure, a touch of knowing irony is one of
the key ingredients for a successful 2000 AD story - but at the same time,
we should never be too 'sophisticated' to go for the big, cheesy,
grab-'em-by-the-balls cliffhanger. There used to be an energy and rawness to
the action which is missing nowadays. It's all part of the 'hit' the readers
crave - they want thrills, dammit!

End every episode on a high note, and leave the readers gagging to find out
what happens next. It's the only way to maintain a weekly readership. If
they don't care, why should they pick up the next issue?

GET WEIRD!

Another of the dangers of becoming too 'sophisticated' or, dare I say it,
'mature' (shudder) is that it can stifle the imagination. If, when you're
writing a story, there's a little voice inside your head saying, "Yeah, but
that would probably never happen in real life," take it out and shoot it! We
need to take the readers to the weirdest, most whacked-out fringes of our
fevered imaginations. That's what they're paying us for!

We should give the readers something they can't get anywhere else - be it
movies, TV, video games, whatever. When 2000 AD looks bland and conventional
compared to the average computer game, we're in trouble. First and foremost,
let's all BE ORIGINAL!

ENOUGH, ALREADY...

So there you go, that's what I'd like us all to aim for. Shouldn't be a
problem - most of the creators I've spoken to have echoed similar
sentiments. The fact is, everybody loves 2000 AD - they just don't all love
what it became. But I think the comic has been steadily improving over the
last few years, so we're heading in the right direction. Now that 2000 AD
has a new look, a new editor and a new owner, let's have some fun with it!

Andy Diggle
Editor, 2000 AD

"I'm with Rowdy Yates Block! Who you fighting with?"

Paul J Holden

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Oct 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/1/00
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"Andy Diggle" <andyd...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20001001172616...@ng-fp1.aol.com...
> Dear All,
> <snip>

>
> Andy Diggle
> Editor, 2000 AD
>
> "I'm with Rowdy Yates Block! Who you fighting with?"

I'm with you. :)

- pj

Gary Gray

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Oct 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/1/00
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Andy we've already read it, and bloody good reading it was !

Gary Gray

www.thezreview.co.uk


Andy Diggle <andyd...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20001001172616...@ng-fp1.aol.com...

> of stories I think we should be publishing. It would be naïve of me simply

Si Spurious

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Oct 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/1/00
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> Andy we've already read it, and bloody good reading it was !
>
Shhhh....


Although, I wholeheartedly chuck my 'good on ya' into the fray. Good to see
some hard purpose.

Mark K Jones

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Oct 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/1/00
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I think the quote:

"Let's give 2000 AD its balls back!"

Summed it up nicely, thanks!

Andy Diggle wrote:

> of stories I think we should be publishing. It would be naïve of me simply

James Graham

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Oct 1, 2000, 10:06:00 PM10/1/00
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One thing that struck me that comes out of all that, but would be a
headache for the editor, would be to experiment a little more with the
formats. There have been a couple of threads on this ng about varying the
page length of strips (most recently regarding future shocks), and a
return to 2-4 page strips would very much force back that "density" that
Andy is hankering for.

It has also been recently stated that a return to double page centre
spreads would be cool. The way 2kad is formatted at the moment, with 5 5-6
page strips, that would be difficult. But by having different formats,
that would be less of a problem.

Personally, I'd much rather have more, shorter strips: it would make the
comic much less predictable, enable artists to work over longer runs, and
encourage more economical story telling.

James Graham

"Gaze into the fist of Dredd!"
http://www.sitsvac.org/dreddcon.html

Jonathan Dunne

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Oct 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/2/00
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Bring Back Johnny Al;pha (AGAIN) and the last 10 years will be forgiven!

Seriously though this sounds great!

jonathan


"Andy Diggle" <andyd...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20001001172616...@ng-fp1.aol.com...

Simon Gurr

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Oct 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/2/00
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If this isn't a good reason to take out a five-year subscription I don't
know what is!

Seriously though, I think a lot of this stands up for artists as well as
writers. I wanted to offer a "visual" response to Andy's manifesto.

> I can read progs from 20 years ago that still
> pack more of a punch than some of the stuff we're publishing now.

Visually, a lot of this punch was delivered through artwork that played to
the strengths of black and white. Colour is great, but it can't have the
same impact as BW. That's why I for one am glad to see some black and white
content back in the pages of 2000. We need the mix.

> For quite a while now, 2000 AD seems to have been running on autopilot,

In "the good old days" one prog would be an assault on the eyeballs, with
the highly individual styles of people like O'Neill, McMahon and Ezquerra
all instantly recognisable. In the nineties Tooth's visual identity was
bogged down with Bisley clones and artwork that seemed to lack the boldness
of the early days. Now that's starting to change, with people like our very
own Frazer & Fraser, and Jock, all of whom have reintroduced an element of
individuality to thieir strips.

> 2000 AD should be fast, dense, bizarre, twisted, funny, insane,
> rebellious, dark, ironic, imaginative and exciting! We should blow the
> readers' minds wide open, and give them something they can't get anywhere
> else!

Sounds like a perfect description of Henry Flint's Deadlock

> What we should never be is bland, derivative and familiar. 2000 AD should be
> the comic other people copy... not the other way round.

This should be the case for the artwork at least as much as the scripts.
What a cover should never be is "bland, derivative and familiar"

> Stories must unfold though visual action, not verbal exposition.

This puts a lot of responsibility on the artist's shoulders, and rightly so.
For the story to unfold visually, the artist must know, first and foremost,
how to tell a story clearly.

> If he sees big, eye-grabbing visuals, weird locations, cool-looking
> hardware and exciting action, he might just stop and read it long enough to
> decide whether he wants to buy it.

The visuals are the most immediate information the reader takes in. If the
artist doesn't do his job well, the writers efforts may not even be read.



> This applies to characters as much as situations. 2000 AD used to be full of
> bizarre-looking aliens, cyborgs, robots, freaks and mutants - and they were
> the heroes! Nowadays, most of our characters look like they just stepped out
> of a mainstream Hollywood movie. Let's remember to create characters with a
> bold and unique visual style.

Don't know about anyone else, for me that hits the nail squarely on the
head.

> Comics is a visual medium, and we've only got five or six pages to grab the
> reader and give him that hit. Writers need to give the artists plenty of
> incredible, dynamic images to draw which will fire their imaginations. Okay,
> so we can't expect a big, in-yer-face 'money shot' (so to speak)

I take it Andy means the original meaning of "money shot", otherwise the
close proximity of "in-yer-face" is unforgivable :-)

> There used to be an energy and rawness to
> the action which is missing nowadays. It's all part of the 'hit' the readers
> crave - they want thrills, dammit!

IMO energy and rawness is easier to do in black and white than colour,
especially computer colour, but it can be done.
Colour composition needs to be considered from the very start, otherwise the
penciller leaves the colourist with a difficult task to do anything other
than colour in the gaps. For this reason I'd like to see more artists
colouring their own work.

> When 2000 AD looks bland and conventional compared to the average computer
game, we're in trouble. First and foremost, let's all BE ORIGINAL!

2000AD should be inspiring computer games, not the other way round. In the
EDGE, they stated that 2000AD's influence on their industry was vast, and
even suggested the designers of one of the most visually influential films
of all time, BladeRunner, may have been reading 2000AD while they worked...
That's what we have to live up to!

> But I think the comic has been steadily improving over the
> last few years, so we're heading in the right direction. Now that 2000 AD
> has a new look, a new editor and a new owner, let's have some fun with it!


I'm with Dig-L, who you fighting with?

SiG


liberty

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Oct 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/2/00
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Started buying again with 1212, after a TEN YEAR ABSENCE.

Lots of GENUINELY subversive ACTION! please!
(Nemesis being exposed as a real DEVIANT comes to mind!)

Don't let us down...


Jon P

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Oct 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/2/00
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Andy Diggle <andyd...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20001001172616...@ng-fp1.aol.com...
> Dear All,
>
<SNIP>

>
> Andy Diggle
> Editor, 2000 AD
>
> "I'm with Rowdy Yates Block! Who you fighting with?"

There's only one Block to be with and only one leader.
Eh Amigo, keep it going this was great...

--
Jon P
"Hovering like a fly, waiting for the windshield on the freeway."

Gary Gray

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Oct 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/2/00
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Nemesis is DEAD, check out prog 2000 for that particular nugget.

Gary Gray

www.thezreview.co.uk


liberty <lib...@indigo.ie> wrote in message
news:2v1C5.5036$Bw1....@news.indigo.ie...

The Kurgan

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Oct 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/2/00
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not technically dead, more 'fused to his transport (forgot the name) and the
human guy (i forgot his name too, i've had four hours sleep in three days,
so i've got an excuse) and not going to get any better'
but seeing as i forgot half of what i was going to type as i typed, i should
have just agreed with you...............

--


*********************************
Pony............NOW!!!!!
*********************************
"Gary Gray" <gary...@clara.co.uk> wrote in message
news:Cs5C5.299$d4.3...@nnrp4.clara.net...

Ross Hendry

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Oct 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/2/00
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In article <20001001172616...@ng-fp1.aol.com>,
andyd...@aol.com (Andy Diggle) wrote:

<snip>

Wow. I think we have just found the man who has the job he always
wanted! I'm with you Andy, but I'd like to raise a few points. If
they're all already in the document (and I missed them) then forgive me.

The emphasis is put on short, sharp balls-out stories, which is fair
enough, but will there still be room for tales that take longer to tell?
Would Nikolai Dante be distilled into smaller, easy-to-swallow
mouthfuls? Can you really capture the series in a sentence?

Also, you mention talking head series. Off hand, I can't think of any
talking head series that have appeared in recent times. I'll grant you,
it's fairly late and I've not wracked my brains, but nothing springs to
mind. The only example I can think of would be the S/D one episode
tales, which I like.

Apart from those points I'm with you all the way, but let's not forget Button
Man (obviously not as he's returning), and other, more serious stories.
Weird is good, but how much Ren & Stimpy do you want before you want an
episode of King of the Hill? Make it weird / different / what-it-was,
but keep a balance.

Ross

nick_...@my-deja.com

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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In article <20001001172616...@ng-fp1.aol.com>,
andyd...@aol.com (Andy Diggle) wrote:
> THE PROBLEM
>
> "2000 AD just isn't as good as it used to be." That seems to be the
> consensus opinion of the 25,000 readers who have stuck with us over
the last
> 23 years... not to mention the 100,000 who have abandoned the comic
during
> that time. Sure, nostalgia plays a part, but that's not the whole
story.

Well, I hope Rebellion will fork out for a high-profile advertising
campaign to get this message across to some of those 100,000 former
Squaxx.


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Adrian Bamforth

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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"James Graham" <james...@cix.co.uk> wrote in message
news:memo.2000100...@jamesgraham.compulink.co.uk...

I agree there - most of Steve Moore's Future Shocks seemed really padded out
in order to reach the page count. Take the one with the pupae punchline for
instance...all those loose threads about the alien's religion to fill the
intervening 4 pages.

As Andy's thinking about ensuring 2000AD is never predicatable a simple
thing would be to have varying length future shocks...and varying the
writers and the styles so future shocks become a pleasant surprise rather
then a routine strip. I'm delighted about the return of Future Shocks but so
far as well as being by the same writer they have been a bit sci-fi heavy -
ie fleets of spaceships while the oldies were often more profound - remember
Alan Moore's The Big Clock? Only the first of the new ones had had an idea
behind it that seemd new.

ADE


Adrian Bamforth

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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"James Graham" <james...@cix.co.uk> wrote in message
news:memo.2000100...@jamesgraham.compulink.co.uk...

I agree there - most of Steve Moore's Future Shocks seemed really padded out

Adrian Bamforth

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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Whoops, didn't mean to double-post that, how embarassing.

ADE

Roger Eastaff

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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No problem with any of that Andy, its nice to see someone with a good sense
of direction at the helm.
Keep up the good work.
Rog.

Paul J Holden

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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Lets start a new campaign for shorter future shocks, let's have some two
pagers, some 4 pagers and even some 3 and a half pagers. Fill the rest with
old weetabix ads :) (y'know the ones with the breakdancing weetabix - OT: I
saw a bloke in the shopping centre yesterday with a *very* faded tatto of
one of the weetabix crew - and there's a lesson in that for all of us :)


-pj

"Adrian Bamforth" <u...@fegmania.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:8rd3p2$ism$1...@newsg2.svr.pol.co.uk...


>
> "James Graham" <james...@cix.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:memo.2000100...@jamesgraham.compulink.co.uk...
>
>

Si Spurious

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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> I agree there - most of Steve Moore's Future Shocks seemed really padded
out
> in order to reach the page count. Take the one with the pupae punchline
for
> instance...all those loose threads about the alien's religion to fill the
> intervening 4 pages.


S'funny... I was just scribbling some notes for a potential f/shock. The
idea was to have four pages of increasingly convoluted shennanigans and
intrigue and then on the fifth page have the main character accidentally
shoot himself in the head, or something. But I don't think it'd go down too
well with the green-dude. ;)

Indigo Prime

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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First off, let me say that the 'mission statement' gives the long term
fan the first cause to be really optimistic in a long, long time!
Although David did his best, one often felt that he was shackled by
'you know who' and it seems that this will no longer be the case,
but in order for the magazine to improve, the right person has to be
at the wheel, so to speak.

You and we seem to have the best of both worlds.

>"2000 AD just isn't as good as it used to be." That seems to be
the
>consensus opinion of the 25,000 readers who have stuck with us
over
>the last 23 years...

I think there's a problem of rose-tinted glasses, but this was
massively exemplified by the editorial decisions of the mid-'90s
that pretty much ignored all of the old characters and piled on four
new characters every eight weeks or so.

Personally, I don't think 2000AD is any worse than it was during
the 600s, when I started reading every week (having picked up the
odd copy since the 300s) - but I think it was lacking stability and
consistency, at least until the last six months or so.

>but at the same time, I can read progs from 20 years ago that still
>pack more of a punch than some of the stuff we're publishing
now. So
>what's gone wrong?

I'd like to know what progs these are. For me, there are certain
stories that pack more of a punch, but generally speaking this is
rare for whole issues. I think the points you touch on later in the
post, namely those of imagination (both artistically and via prose),
the use of the bizarre, and the old gung-ho nature has been
deserted for a more mature approach. Generally, I actually prefer
this, but I can see where you are coming from - 2000AD certainly
lack the immediacy of old, and that's problematic for getting in new
readers.

Again, I think this is a problem of 'balance'. In the 'old days' it was
all action, action, action - this was pretty tedious at times. However,
just going down the 'mature' route also proves ultimately fruitless.
Both sets of ideals need to be used on an almost constant basis,
or strips found that have both, Button Man being a great example of
that (although I have to say, I think three series for this character is
really pushing it).

>It would be naīve of me simply to try and set the clock back to
1977
>- the world, the market and the readers have obviously changed
>radically since then

Thankfully then, we won't be seeing Mach Two, Harlem Heroes 3,
Invasion: the early years, or Bonjo from Beyond all Hope.

>2000 AD used to appeal to readers young and old alike - and it
>should do again.

It's going to be hard to do this - get back the kids who are
embroiled in their console twitch-fests (although I had a computer
when I was young and still actually read stuff - go figure!) whilst not
alienating the current readership, which is apparently in its 20s on
average, unless I misread that somewhere.

>2000 AD IS A SCI-FI ACTION COMIC. The three pillars of its
foundation
>are sci-fi, action (ie. violence!) and humour.

The later in a non-convoluted sense, please! De-facto humour
stories, as you mention have historically been spectacularly
unsuccessful in 2000AD, the sole exception in my memory being
DR and Quinch, and we're not very likely to see them again unless
Alan Moore has a severe change of heart.

I think you hit on the point when you say include an element of
humour in some strips instead. Dredd can be very, very funny on
occasions, usually in strips which perhaps were not actually
intended to be! (I also think Wagner falls down when he tries to
make Dredd funny - the situations should never be forced.)

>Any story that doesn't include all three is liable to run into
>trouble... unless it's very, very good!

Saved by the second half of that sentence! To my mind, some of
the very best 2000AD stories have fallen outside of the sci-fi arena,
Button Man and Luke Kirby being the most obvious two. Sadly, I
think Luke is never to return, for obvious reasons, but you get the
drift!

Perhaps those that skew and contain only a small element of sci-fi
can also make a 'comeback'. Tribal Memories is one of the very
best 2000AD stories ever published, but the de-facto sci-fi element
is actually quite small.

>Let's give 2000 AD its balls back!

Unless they are 'Brothers'...

>DENSITY


>Never use two panels (or pages, or episodes!) where one will do.
In
>comics, less really is more.

In which case, surely two or three page Future Shocks are to be
encouraged? Surely the remaining pages can be filled with
adverts, extra letters, full-page artwork, features, or something
else?

>CONCEPT
>The best 2000 AD series are based around a single character
with a
>strong defining motivation,

Which is exactly how Rogue Trooper ended up being such a
repugnant pile of dross - he ended up having all secondary
motivation, and no real purpose.

>EYE CANDY
>There are too many 'talking heads' stories in 2000 AD. There's
nothing
>wrong with good dialogue and character interaction, but
conversation
>itself must never be the be-all and end-all of the story.

This is usually a weakness of script and highlights something
else that seems to have all-but-disappeared from 2000AD in
recent years: the art of the caption. Sometimes it is easier, faster,
and more efficient to use a caption block to set a scene than a
series of panels with the central characters talking.

>Let's remember to create characters with a bold and unique
>visual style.

Like Nemesis? Oh bugger, he's (kind of) dead :-) Good point,
though - there's little point in having fifteen 'Hollywood Heroes'
running round the pages of the Galaxy's Greatest.

>GRAB 'EM BY THE BALLS!
>2000 AD is an action comic, remember. It's in danger of
becoming too
>'sophisticated' for its own good.

One of the most 'sophisticated' stories 2000AD ever ran was
Zenith, yet it still had plenty of action! Perhaps this is a milestone
to look up to, erm... mix a couple of metaphors.

By the way, if Andy happens to read this: Zenith TPB! Zenith TPB!
Zenith TPB!

Okay, enough.

>End every episode on a high note, and leave the readers gagging
to
>find out what happens next. It's the only way to maintain a weekly
>readership. If they don't care, why should they pick up the
>next issue?

I actually find this a real problem with 2000AD. Some of the
cliffhangers seem so damn convoluted. Perhaps some stories
can be written in longer parts to help get around this? Certainly,
John Smith suffers in this format at times - I thought Devlin
Waugh's last outing was pretty awful until I went back and read the
whole thing in one sitting. The five/six page format killed it. I don't
think this would have happened with ten pages per week. Sure,
that's a lot of 2000AD's 'real estate' taken up, but then (very) short
Future Shocks could always provide a counterpoint.

>GET WEIRD!

Agreed, in every sense of what you say. 2000AD has probably
become too normal at times, and that's a very bad thing!

Finally, in this week's letters page you ask if there are any creators
you would like to see return to the pages of 2000AD. In terms of
artistic 'shock' value, you could do a lot worse than the old
McCarthy/Riot combination, who produced some of the most
exciting, colourful and downright weird Dredds ever. Jamie Hewlett
might be another consideration, if he's still in the 'biz'.

Best of luck, Andy. It's going well so far.


------
http://listen.to/veer - Veer MP3s - dance - noise - post rock
"Colouring their thoughts with the lights in their eyes"
------

James Graham

unread,
Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
to
In article <BZoC5.10990$uq5.2...@news6-win.server.ntlworld.com>,
paulj...@No-ntlworld-Spam.com (Paul J Holden) wrote:

> OT: I
> saw a bloke in the shopping centre yesterday with a *very* faded tatto
> of
> one of the weetabix crew - and there's a lesson in that for all of us :)
>

Who can name all of them? I remember there was Brian, Brain, Dunk, but
that's it.

OK? :o)

James

patrick.brown

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
to
Si Spurious <s...@wellington-college.berks.sch.uk> wrote in message
news:970598548.17141.0...@news.demon.co.uk...

>
> S'funny... I was just scribbling some notes for a potential f/shock. The
> idea was to have four pages of increasingly convoluted shennanigans and
> intrigue and then on the fifth page have the main character accidentally
> shoot himself in the head, or something. But I don't think it'd go down
too
> well with the green-dude. ;)

What about four pages of increasingly convoluted shenannigans, and then the
main character suddenly gets flattenened by a falling hippo. They'll not see
that coming.

Patrick

gnilleps

unread,
Oct 4, 2000, 10:47:12 PM10/4/00
to
Around 4/10/00 6:21 pm, patrick.brown saw fit to commit to the electronic
ether...

Pshaw! Did yer never watch Earthworm Jim?

James Graham

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/7/00
to
I got this email from a friend in response to Andy Diggle's memo - posted
with permission (apparently you've all got to go and visit his website).

/Possibly/ an ex-reader about to return...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A new Millenium an new beginning, eh Jim.

Sounds like he's got his dander up!!

I don't know what's wrong with 2000AD, maybe it's that the readership has
grown up and that in it's current form it doesn't appeal to the youngsters
with all their segamegaplaystationdrives. Isn't it just the way, I
remember in my day (sic, I sound middle aged!!) that there where a
plethora of WWII mini graphic novels (commando, warlord) running stories
that wouldn't pass the censor these days, suffice to say it was all about
fighting Jerry the Hun who just used to exclaim "Achtung" and "Die
Englander" a lot.

What is the secret formula?

I don't know I can't analyse what I saw in 2000AD, part of it was social,
part of it was the genuinely creative storylines, part was the quality
artwork.

How do you recreate something so subjective as your individual
recollection of a childhood fantasy hero? (Oh God, I'm going all maudlin
now)

My favourite character was of course JD, because he was really a bastard,
a cold analytical machine that dispensed whitty retort with as much ease
as he dispensed death. The hairline cracks in his character gave you the
glimmer of hope that he was human, but it never lasted. Apart from that
dodgy period when he was accompanied by Walter the Wobot

The villains were somehow more interesting, it was like a desperate
struggle for JD to keep up with the latest fad that overtook the citizens
of MC1.

None of the other characters really did it for me in the same way,
Strontium Dog was OK, same for Rogue Trooper and Slainé. I loved the old
style ABC warriors stories with the classic RO-JAWS & HAMMERSTEIN dual act
and when it went all Si Bisley, but when the artwork switched it wasn't
the same.

It always suprises me how jaded I've become to things like this.

I mean when they revived Dr.Who for the TV Movie it just did not live up
to expectations. Is it that my expectations of a decent bit of SCI-FI
were too much or whas it that it was just plain crap execution. I think
the latter, as I have read at least 1 fabulous New Adventures of Dr.Who
novel since "Legacy of the Daleks" - fucking brilliant, you must read it.

If 2000AD is to get better then it has to bring back some of it's
ultra-violently best characters, e.g the Kleggs, and Caligula, what about
a clone of Judge Caligula storyline. Or an alien invasion story. The
odds have to be massively stacked against JD and he then pulls off an
amazing victory that just makes you think "what a guy/bastard!!" (Delete
as applicable"

Anyway this could go on forever...

Dude

Check out the website, Dudes a dot com now!!

--
alha...@freeuk.com (long live the revolution)
A...@zared.freeserve.co.uk (when it works)
alha...@appleonline.net (coz I love my iMac)
ICQ: 68969502

Visit the Lands of Dual Website: http://www.alhazared.com/

Si Spurious

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/7/00
to

I have to agree with most of what he said - bring back the Kleggs! The
point about having another mega-epic with massively-stacked odds is a little
moot: when has there been a mega-epic *without* things looking grim for
Joe? And he always turns up at the last minute and watches as Anderson does
all the hard work. I think we concentrate on four/five parters for a while,
build-up some more of the Big Meg mythos without seeking to radically change
anything.

Morph

unread,
Oct 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/9/00
to
Si Spurious wrote:

[snip]

> I have to agree with most of what he said - bring back the Kleggs! The
>point about having another mega-epic with massively-stacked odds is a little
>moot: when has there been a mega-epic *without* things looking grim for
>Joe? And he always turns up at the last minute and watches as Anderson does
>all the hard work. I think we concentrate on four/five parters for a while,
>build-up some more of the Big Meg mythos without seeking to radically change
>anything.

<rant mode>

Or take some of the stuff that was set-up but never really used - the
Hondo MC2 takeover and all the Sino-Cit background, for example - and
turn it into something interesting.

Dredd himself is, of course, a great character - but Garth Ennis
utterly destroyed the supporting cast during Judgement Day, and while
Wagner's since rebuilt the MC1 Judge cast splendidly (Rico, DeMarco,
Guthrie, Giant junior, Buell, J. Edgar and so on...), and we're
starting to see a few good returning villains (P.J's back, and we've
got Oola and her hubby out there...), there's something missing.

...and I think it's Judges from other cities.

Interesting as the internal MC1 politics sometimes are, foreign Judges
add a whole new aspect. Dredd can't arrest them or shoot them, but you
just *know* he won't agree with them. It's a great way of giving him
occasional allies and/or antagonists without having to explain why he
hasn't shot or jailed 'em yet.

Hmm. Howzabout reinstating Orlok as a senior Judge in the
post-Glasnost East Meg blok? He's too interesting to waste (in any
sense), but shouldn't be allowed to become bland story-fodder like
Mean Angel an Judge Death. For that matter, why not install him in
somewhere like Banana City (as the sole 'honest' judge)? Or maybe
Casablanca. (Ever since Judgement Day mentioned it, I've had this
weird & totally unjustified image of Casablanca as the not-quite
MegaCity which absorbed & recruited the surviving Judges from all the
cities that didn't survive Judgement Day).

We haven't ever seen JD in Euro-Cit yet, either (have we...?) - and
there has *got* to be a wickedly accurate EU satire lurking in there
somewhere. Judges yelling "freeze perps" in six different official
languages before they shoot, for starters...

-Morph
---
"When I'm with you I'm all alone
The lights are on but no-one's home
Starring in your twilight zone..."
- Children on Stun, "Whiskey a go-go"

Ken Manson

unread,
Oct 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/9/00
to

> I have to agree with most of what he said - bring back the Kleggs! The
> point about having another mega-epic with massively-stacked odds is a
little
> moot: when has there been a mega-epic *without* things looking grim for
> Joe? And he always turns up at the last minute and watches as Anderson
does
> all the hard work. I think we concentrate on four/five parters for a
while,
> build-up some more of the Big Meg mythos without seeking to radically
change
> anything.

Slight brainwave here and vaguely following on from another thread, what if
*Anderson* died? It could be an opportunity to show part of the human side
of JD as he grieves, mind you, lets face it he killed his own brother so
what's a best friend on top of that. Just a brief thought on a Monday
night.

Ken

James Graham

unread,
Oct 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/10/00
to
In article <JSqE5.1677$xk1.2581@news2-hme0>, kenm...@cwcom.net (Ken
Manson) wrote:

> Slight brainwave here and vaguely following on from another thread,
> what if
> *Anderson* died? It could be an opportunity to show part of the human
> side
> of JD as he grieves, mind you, lets face it he killed his own brother so
> what's a best friend on top of that. Just a brief thought on a Monday
> night.

Anderson hardly counts as Dredd's best friend - useful but annoying
occasional colleague is a more apt description of this opinion of her.

James

deegee

unread,
Oct 11, 2000, 12:04:13 AM10/11/00
to

"James Graham" <james...@cix.co.uk> wrote in message >
> Anderson hardly counts as Dredd's best friend - useful but annoying
> occasional colleague is a more apt description of this opinion of her.
>
> >
Perhaps not his best friend but a close one nevertheless.
End pages of 'Satan' where Anderson lies broken & bleeding after defeating
the demon Dredd says
" Remember what I said - that what you mistook for our friendship was
merely my tolerance of your defective personality? I was wrong. I apologise"
Men don't make sincere apologies like that to people they don't care
about.

Verity


James Graham

unread,
Oct 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/11/00
to
In article <9712371...@shelley.paradise.net.nz>,
dee...@paradise.net.nz (deegee) wrote:

Good point.

On the other hand I consider Satan (and indeed a lot of the "excellent"
Anderson stuff) to be so appalling to not be worth bothering with. And its
precisely this sort of wishy-washy crap that I hate about it.

James

deegee

unread,
Oct 12, 2000, 1:40:38 AM10/12/00
to

"James Graham" <james...@cix.co.uk> wrote in message
news:memo.20001011...@jamesgraham.compulink.co.uk...

>
> Good point.
>
> On the other hand I consider Satan (and indeed a lot of the "excellent"
> Anderson stuff) to be so appalling to not be worth bothering with. And its
> precisely this sort of wishy-washy crap that I hate about it.
>
> James

Well, at least the drawing wasn't too bad - will you give me that at least?!
Verity


James Graham

unread,
Oct 12, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/12/00
to
In article <97133029...@shelley.paradise.net.nz>,
dee...@paradise.net.nz (deegee) wrote:

> Well, at least the drawing wasn't too bad - will you give me that at
> least?!

Gladly.

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