When I was 9, reading about Bill Savage killing Volgs, or M.A.C.H 1 chatting with the computer in his head, I never imagined that nearly 40 years later I''d still be reading the comic that contained their adventures. Let's be honest, though, I'm far from the only one, including everyone who worked on said comic. I mean, it was called “2000AD” for drokk's sake, it was inconceivable it would even last that long, because that just didn't happen in boys comics.
Well happen it did, and I'm very happy to still be a fan, and to have weathered the highs, the lows and the middlings along with thousands of other devotees. Prog 200 is a landmark indeed, and starts off with three possible excellent variant covers (oh go on, buy both). One is a traditional ensemble piece by the talented Glenn Fabry and Ryan Brown, whilst another sees long term cover droid Cliff Robinson depict Tharg The Mighty flying through the cosmos on a space spinner, the free gift that came with issue one. The third, showing a miserable looking Dredd sitting on the number 2000 is not as fun or interesting, although Chris Burnham's art is fine.
Inside, we are guided by Tharg himself, as he tells us all about the comic in one page interludes between strips. These are all drawn by legendary creators such as Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Colin McNeil, Boo Cook and Mick McMahon, and there's also a welcome return for Robin Smith, a name many will remember fro the glory days. These pieces are very well done and give the prog a nice flavour to it.
In between, of course, is the meat of the comic, the main stories. To be honest, it's a superb selection. John Wagner and Carlos Exquerra deliver a Dredd strip that ticks all the boxes and looks glorious (and includes a very special guest), a perfect way to lead off the 2000th prog. Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill bring back Nemesis and Torquemada for a rollicking tale that had me laughing at it's sheer sacreligiousness. Gordon Rennie's Rogue Trooper tale is probably the weakest of the classics, but is well served by Richard “Kingdom” Elson's gorgeous art. There's also a very welcome return for David Roach, who provides some simply stunning artwork for Alan Grant's neat little Anderson story. Last of the returnees is Sinister Dexter, always a deservedly popular strip by Dan Abnett, and here we get to learn a bit more about their car, with Mark Sexton showing he would be welcome to illustrate a full return of the strip. The final strip is Peter Milligan and Rufus Dayglo's “Counterfeit Girl”, a completely new ongoing series concerning personality swapping. It looks great, but it's too early to really tell if it's going to be a classic or clunker.
So that's Prog 2000, a glorious read for only £3.99 Earth money (would have been neat if they'd put that on the cover for old time's sake). This is one to savor, to buy in a real shop and read through whilst sipping a cold one and ignoring the stares of those who see a 47 year old man reading a comic (although The Sun is acceptable, go figure). Ignore the Grexnixes, embrace your inner Squaxx Dexx Thargo and prepare for an inevitable thrill power overload, as Prog 2000 will blow your circuits. Here's to next years 40th birthday...