Monday, 17 March 2008

Future Sport?

Practically every British boys comic of the late 70s and early 80s contained at least one violent future sport story. The popularity of such tales had a lot to do with the impact of Rollerball and Death Race 2000 on the nation's youth. Both films came out in 1975, but their notoriety lasted well into the next decade when kids were watching them on video for the first time.

Britain's best known comic 2000AD carried a number of classic future sport strips including Mean Team, Mean Arena, Inferno and the classic Harlem Heroes, but there are a host of lesser known strips out there including The Crunch's Arena.

There's nothing particularly original about Arena, indeed it's positively primitive compared to the sci-fi spectaculars on offer in 2000AD. Not that you'd know that from reading the blurb in the first issue...

"The most ingenious weapons the 21st century can devise" eh? Hmm, let's take a look

A spear

A rifle

A machine gun and some grenades

And a body

No disintegraters or jetpacks here. No sir, contrary to it's promise of hi-tech sporting action, Arena was nothing more than a violent low-tech slugfest. The story, such as there was one, did feature the occasional laser gun, (here's one being used to kill a bear)...

...but really they were the exception rather than the rule.

Unlike the better known strips in 2000AD there was no ball either. And whereas The Harlem Heroes and their contemporaries wore gear straight out of Rollerball, the combatants in Arena were a shabby looking bunch of misfits more likely to look like this...

...than James Caan.

The Crunch's future sport spectacular misses the future sport boat completely then! It's still a brilliantly madcap piece of 70s weirdness, but as much as I like it, the story probably disappointed the kids of the time who wanted the same kind of stuff they were seeing coming over from the States.

No wonder The Crunch didn't last.

For some snapshots of more glamorous future sport click HERE

1 comment:

mr wheatley said...

hurrah for CRUNCH!