02 November 2006

Back to my Future

I've just discovered that 2000AD have all their covers scanned in. The one above is my all time favourite, from the beginning of the second "Bad Company" story. It was on the wall by my bed until I was about 22. (This one is my second favourite).

A few years ago I sold the four Bad Company graphic novels on ebay, and of course re-read them before doing so. It's an astonishing piece of work, drawing on many Vietnam movies as well as Conrad (and so of course Apocalypse Now), and a lot more complex that people would imagine. I found it too violent and slightly sick at 31, when I was 14 it was simply cool. Go figure.

Looking back at 2000AD, it was way more than a bunch of aliens or futuristic cops speaking in bubbles. The first time I read "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot I realised that a picture I'd cut out and had had on my wall for about 2 years featured a quote from it (from a strip called "Shadows" where a privileged woman loses her identity chip and thus her access to everything from hospitals and banks to her apartment building, all because the machines don't know who she is. Not so far-fetched these days...).
The last Strontium Dog story was basically the Holocaust set in a neo-fascist Britain, and warned of the dangers of having a set idea of "Britishness" that people (in this case mutants) could be excluded from. It referenced the KKK and Mosley and invented an entirely plausible set of icons for the state to champion, like Stonehenge and King Arthur. It probably helped me become the sceptical internationalist I am today.
Of course there was pap like Chopper, the sky-surfing champion, but even there his death was for me a moment of real shock. I still remember the series of wordless panels closing in from above onto his stationary board, inches from the finish line.

I'm glad it's still going, even though I haven't read it in about 15 years. We need sci-fi to tell us what to build next, and to illustrate that the future is just the past with fancy gadgets, so we'd better get thinking harder and knowing more.

Judge Mod.

No comments: