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Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD - Metrodome - DVD Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 10 November 2016
Review of Future Sock! The Story of 2000AD on Severed Cinema


Directed by: Paul Goodwin
Produced by: Sean Hogan, Helen Mullane, Jim Hinson
Editing by: Paul Goodwin
Special Effects by: Jim Hinson
Cast: Pat Mills, Neil Gaiman, Carlos Ezquerra, Alex Garland, Alan Grant, Dave Gibbons, John Wagner, Sylvester Stallone.
Year: 2014
Country: United Kingdom
Color: Color
Language: English
Runtime: 1hr 45mins

Distribution: Metrodome

It was late 1986 and a 12-year-old Jay Creepy had some spare change from his pocket money after buying old paperback books and stuff (I never bought sweets, I was a hoarder of horror novels, cassettes and video tapes), so he headed into his local newsagents to see what was around. He needed something cutting edge, something new comic wise (the last comic I'd read and ditched years ago was The Beano so the only comic I read was in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine). A comic caught his eye which was commanding attention with the fact it was celebrating issue 500! After a brief flick, Jay paid 26p for a thin comic which would change his life forever…

Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD -- what a weird thing to review for Severed Cinema. I agree it's not something which would probably appear here, but I've done it because it's incredible in retrospect how far the ripples of this subject matter has spread over the decades into films and comics in general.

2000AD has run since 1977 and has spawned many imitators and followers in the worlds of graphic art tales. Everyone knows about Judge Dredd due to mainstream coverage and two failed movies. But what of the other mind bending and rule changing characters within the pages? In fact, what of the famous writers and artists who have passed through and what are their trials and tribulations whilst working on such twisted stories? Which is what makes this 'talking heads' documentary so special. The gates are wide open to everything, every high and every low. (Not just from the words of Tharg).

Opening with a montage of what the ‘70s was in the UK -- riots, strikes, violence, culture clashes -- Britain was like some desolate wasteland where mainly the youth saw absolutely no future. Hence Punk was born, as was 2000AD. The credits are cool, taking pages of 2000AD and animating them crudely to show such creations as Zenith, Strontium Dog and Bad Company.

Hello to Pat Mills, the original editor and all round inventor of the comic. Sat before his bookshelves, he muses over the state of comics in the ‘70s, such as Lion and Jet. Many weren't selling, having fallen into cliché, made by people who saw themselves as slumming between a possible career as an author or whatever. Legendary writer (and early contributor to 2000AD, Neil Gaiman, backs this up. So, having worked in some of these comics, Pat decided to strike out on his own using ideas inspired by gritty films of the time which a majority of kids couldn't see, such as Dirty Harry and The Wild Bunch. His début was called simply, Action. “I wanted it to be a comic of the streets.” Real and brutal, it put two fingers up to the establishment. Action was successful but unfortunately this was the beginning of censorship issues in the UK, via Mary Whitehouse. Action was banned outright from the shops due to its level of violence and gore. “Oh, come on.” said my Horror Soulmate, “It was a frigging comic!” Thus, Pat Mills and his mates 'retreated' back and formed 2000AD, a place based in Science Fiction where their real and grubby ideas could hide. They didn't look to DC or any American publications (“Pat doesn't like super heroes!”) instead to Euro comics which featured highly detailed artworks and well thought out stories which were a break from the all-powerful norm.

One of his colleagues, Kevin O'Neil (who went on to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) sums things up, “We were a gang of reprobates dropped right down into these totally conservative comic groups.” Two desks, a filing cabinet and a load of colourful language was all they needed in the office. The gang were hated by many and they loved it and what they did. What is amusing is the fact no one expected it to last, which is why 2000AD was chosen, they were safe for at least twenty years. Ha, nearly forty years later, and...

Talents who grew up with the comic agree it treated the readers as equals and had so much diversity -- mutants, aliens, psychopaths, vampires, violent cops. In one story Margaret Thatcher was shot in the street. There was backlashes off the tabloids but it all helped. Then came the diamond in their treasure chest -- Judge Dredd. The genesis of his creation is jaw dropping. As Scott Ian of Anthrax states, Dredd was anti-rebellion, he was anti-freedom of thought and hated punk. However, his methods are so punk and brutal, the more strict he became, the more readers loved him. “Democracy is not for the people!” states the Judge.

What helped the growth of 2000AD was the dark humour which was apparent in just about every story. What helped more was the fearless ability. Messages were inserted to inspire a growing generation. Characters like Johnny Alpha/aka the Strontium Dog and Nemesis the Warlock were stories of mutants cast aside by society and alien immigrants hated by humans, but were truly about racism, xenophobia and the oppression used by religions. “Always ask questions!” was the overbearing statement in 2000AD. It offered alternative viewpoints and brought worlds beyond the comfort zone. It was hard work working to weekly comic deadlines but we learn they were a close team in the early days, all good friends. All men.

What comes up is the lack of female role models in the comic realms for many a geek girl. Every character was a side kick or a “big set of tits” worldwide. The problem was a minority of women writers. Emma Beeby, who joined 2000AD was the first lady and worked on Judge Dredd. “If nothing is in it to reflect you, then you won't be interested.” A brave attempt to rectify this balance came from Alan (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) Moore made The Ballad of Halo Jones. A real girl with real issues. Neil Gaiman almost tearfully explains the tragedy of Halo as Alan explained one day to him years ago. He had six volumes planned, which would follow her to old age. Unfortunately, Alan fell out with Fleetway (the publishers) and abandoned Halo after three books. Neil believes had her story been concluded she would be rated as one of the greatest of all time along with Watchmen, etcetera.

Artists lament their treatment as time went on. Original artwork was heard of being used to soak up spills or wedge open doors after publication. “That is fucking wrong!” hissed by Horror Soulmate, “Someone took a lot of time doing that!” She became out of control upon learning that Kevin O Neil worked as a 'blodger', someone who whites out artist's signatures. “I did it, but I didn't like it.” he states. She went mad; “Yeah, but you did it! Don't be saying that years later!” In the comics industry, artists were treated as low life, having to sign away their copy writes for each paycheck. There's a lengthy discussion on how characters were often stolen away from creators and handed to other people. The next downward spiral for 2000AD came as the USA and DC poached many talents to travel away forever and work on other things. Pat Mills is still understandably bitter and angry about how it happened, but as we see, without this happening, the darker comic’s revolution in America wouldn't have happened. Batman: The Dark Knight, Killing Joke, Hellblazer, Watchmen, and so many others were spawned from the British writers and artists who didn't give a toss and wrote what they dug from their minds as a love, not a job. Then back in Blighty, 2000AD birthed a new superhero, a reluctant everyday man who just wanted to party and fuck, called Zenith. The waves were felt everywhere and it all changed from there on.

The ‘90s were unkind for 2000AD as it tried to hang on for dear life. Being smothered by new publishers who didn't understand what it was. Ridiculous satire and pornography became a norm in the pages as new talents passed by using the comic as a stepping stone and nothing more. The Stallone film emerged and didn't help very much. Dredd suddenly had emotions and removed his helmet. It was a pop film and the creators were left with no control. Pat is furious about the ‘90s as things get out of control. The team was in pieces, the comic was failing. Luckily a new publications company called Rebellion came along lead by a man who was actually a fan of 2000AD and things began to improve...

The second Dredd movie arrived, something which the founders were excited for. Alex (28 Days Later, The Beach) Garland, who wrote it, wanted to keep as close to the formula as possible and actually listened to the team. (Personally I feel the film could have done with less curse words) and we go on to see how 2000AD has managed to influence the world of cinema from Robocop to Hardware. So many sci-fi movies have wastelands, and such films like 28 Days Later and The Book of Eli are admitted to be heavily influenced by stories and images in the comics. In fact, somebody points out how the new Transformers designs are far closer to the ABC Warriors than the original Hasbro looks.

Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD does bring over the emotions and we ride every year with the people involved in such an iconic publication. Shamefully what I found lacking was any mention of the 2000AD spin-off publication, Crisis, which featured early works by Garth (The Punisher) Ennis, and Scream, which was a short lived purely horror comic featuring many 2000AD talents. What is unforgivable, however, unless the makers weren't legally allowed to, there is nothing about the late and fantastic artist Massimo Belardinella who contributed so much in the early days. He inked some of the best from Slaine to The Mean Team. Extras are simply a load of E Comic tales from the issues.

So, young Jay Creepy spent all pocket money, all earned off odd jobs money, whilst in the many second hand bookshops and comic shops in his area (those were the days) digging through piles of older 2000AD comics, desperately seeking more and more thrill power. No one in his school or in his circle of friends shared the love, only his Dad read them all after he did. As he grew older, he purchased less and less, instead finding he needed horror magazines. However, once in a while, he'd pick up collections of classic stories he loved in his younger days because the memory and influences scar deeply forever more.





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 Aspect Ratio: 1:78.1 16x9
 Region: PAL R2
 Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0

 – E Comic Origins of 2000AD including Rogue Trooper, Slaine, Nikolai Dante, ABC Warriors and more.


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