FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000 AD – REVIEW: The cult British comic book gets a great documentary that fans will love.
Born out of Punk rock and the fag end of the Seventies, 2000 AD was subversive, violent, witty and brilliant. As a kid I read every prog from about 1978 on, so this is the documentary for me. Paul Goodwin’s loving tribute shows how Pat Mills created an action boys comic full of great violent fun to liven up an otherwise moribund comic book culture. Artists and writers of the brilliance of John Wagner, Alan Grant, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Dave Gibbons, Pete Milligan, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Simon Bisley and, of course, Alan Moore contributed to a series of characters and stories, that were noted for the obsidian humor and sheer breadth of imagination. Alongside favorite Mega-City One lawman Judge Dredd, there were the amazing Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper, Halo Jones and Slaine. There were also the dinosaurs of Flesh, the political weirdness of Invasion and the Twilight Zone reality twisters that was Future Shocks. More than anything there was also an attitude that saw everything as through a glass darkly. No soap operas – in fact not that many women – no hero worship, no family friendly moral lessons. In fact I remember hiding my copies of 2000 AD because I knew instinctively that, although my folks didn’t mind buying me it, if they ever actually picked up one and read it, there might be trouble. All the dark knights and morally troubled visions we now see moping in our cinemas, the grungy futures and crumbling dystopias have their routes in this small occasionally troubled weekly comic as the artists and writers were cherry picked by DC Comics , Vertigo and Hollywood.
There were also moments where the comic lost its way. And in fact in the early Nineties we parted ways. In some ways though, this is when the documentary is at its funniest and most entertaining as Pat Mills gives the various owners and new brooms the double barrels in trying to protect his baby.
Recently I flew all my copies over from my old childhood home where they’d been left and they’re in surprisingly good nick, though I’ve lost the spinner that came free with prog 1. And they still rock.
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