On this day, 23 January 1982: 2000AD (Prog 248)
On this day, 23 January 1982 … I love this Brian Bolland cover, in the style of either a futuristic football sticker album or the latest motley line-up of UKIP candidates. The Mean Arena doesn’t seem to be the most fondly remembered of 2000AD strips, but it was a favourite of mine at the time. I think it must have been the first ‘future sport’ comic strip that I read, having missed Harlem Heroes and Action’s Death Game 1999/Spinball series, and followed the fortunes of Matt Tallon – American import star of Reading-based Slater’s Slayers in the delightful sport of street football. The game, competed by teams representing some of Britain’s most hardcore towns and cities (such as, er, Reading, Oxford and Southampton), was a kind of weaponised Gaelic football played out on the actual streets of said urban environments. The players, as portrayed by Bolland on this week’s cover, were generally a motley collection of sociopathic and psychopathic ne’er-do-wells or loners whose despair at modern life had given them a death wish. None of this could ever happen, of course. Elsewhere in the comic, the Russians, having destabilised and driven American citizens on to the streets in acts of mass social disorder, return the world to the brink of mutually assured nuclear destruction.