On this day, 11 February: 2000AD – Evolution of thrill-power
On this day, 11 February 1978, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1997, 2004, 2009 and 2015 … Inspired by today’s remarkable gathering of 2000AD creators past and present at the Forty Years of Thrill-power Festival in Hammersmith, London, I’ve picked out each of the progs of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic to have borne the cover date of 11 February. It’s good to see some of 2000AD’s greatest heroes represented – Judges Dredd and Anderson, Strontium Dog, Slaine and Dan Dare – and a couple of its most terrible villains in Judge Death and Orlok the Assassin , and interesting too to see the development of the comic’s design, format and sensibility over this time.
It’s hard to imagine a time in my life that 2000AD hasn’t been a constant companion, the narratives of its weekly serials ticking away in the back of my mind as I live, work, travel, love, eat, sleep, observe and worry about the state of the world. But it wasn’t always there. I read the prog for two or two-and-a-half years at the start of the 1980s, but drifted away for the rest of the decade. I picked it up again, appropriately, in the year 2000, wondered why on earth I ever strayed and have taken it every week since then. For some reason, 2000 was the year in which I rediscovered comics, took an interest in wider fields of the medium and – after a while – decided to start trying to collect as many back issues as possible of not only 2000AD but all the other outstanding publications produced by IPC in the 1970s and 1980s. I had no idea that there were other collectors out there, but decided that somebody ought to gather and keep these precious artefacts of the youths of so many of us – not only to preserve the work of some incredibly talented creators but also because I truly believe there’s something a little bit magic contained within these vast libraries of fading ink and newsprint.
I’m lucky enough to be going to today’s celebration, and looking forward to meeting some of the writers and artists who have thrilled me over the years. I’ll be wearing a shirt bearing the GNFAR ‘G’ logo, not so much to advertise the blog but just as a way of identifying myself to any of you lovely people who have read and supported it. Please do come up and say hello if you spot me. My 15-year-old son, Son of GNFAR, will be with me. He’s not a reader of 2000AD, but I’d love to think that he might be one day. He’s interested in art and design, and I hope he’ll be impressed by some of the ghafflebette live drawing demonstrations and the general zarjazness on display, so we’ll see how it goes.
Splundig vur Thrigg, fellow Squaxx!