Thursday, 16 August 2007

Hospital reading

In need of some reading material to break up the moments of intense anxiety over my girlfriend and newborn baby, I turned to the hospital shop's comic rack where, aside from Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder (just when did mundane folk with no superpowers become comic book heroes?), 2000ad was the only comic on offer.

I've been rather on off with Tharg's organ lately. Its a very patchy product which seems unsure of itself. The format worked fine when it was aimed at 9-14 year olds, but the powers that be are obviously trying to attract a more mature audience these days, filling the mag with uber violence and bad language.

The trouble is that the stories themselves aren't very good. The latest prog #1500 features a passable Judge Dredd tale, but the other two offerings are poor efforts filled with clunky dialogue and unnecessary exposition.

This is particularly disappointing given that the first is penned by Pat Mills and the second by Ian Edginton. Both writers are keen to give us a gritty, relevant tales but it's hard to do that when they are forced to write their stories as seven page episodes with a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter.

That format worked well in the old days when 2000ad was aimed squarely at a youthful audience, but it really doesn't work when you're trying to tell real stories. If Mills really wants to tell politically relevant sci-fi tales he needs to put out a bigger magazine or devote each issue to one story. As it stands the comic just isn't working.

The other option would be to cut out all the bad language and disembowelments and return to the days when the magazine was written for kids but still managed to slip a healthy dollop of satire and violence under the radar. I'd prefer that to the current mishmash.

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