Oh joy, 2000AD is “back” in the US.
2000AD has had a checkered history with US distribution, but there is a new owner of the whole franchise and strong US distribution deal in effect (more info
and Simon and Schuster
have delivered several volumes and laid out a distribution plan through September.
I loved reading the weeklies in the mid 80’s. Unfortunately my shop got them in sporadically and they were quite expensive for my meager paper route earnings. Collecting the Eagle comics and then the Quality and Fleetway floppies, sufficed for a while, but they became unreliable and incomplete in their collections. More, Titan collections were expensive, hard to acquire and also incomplete. Eventually I gave up reading.
That seems to have changed; I’ve got two books from the US Launch and looking to get more. I picked up Judge Dredd Case Files 1 and Nemesis 1. Nemesis is one of my favorite titles (along with Slane, ABC Warriors and Rogue Trooper). The Judge Dredd is pretty much just for fun. The books are on decent quality paper and are just over 300 pages long. They list at $20, but Amazon seems to have them for ~$14. I think they are based off the UK printings so, if S&S stops distribution, I could probably just suck it up and pay for those editions. The UK books have great covers, very striking. They changed the Dredd cover for the US version, but it’s not bad.
The Nemesis book covers the early pre-arc introductions, Books 1-4 (up to the Gothic Empire war) and a couple of one-offs from the Annuals. The art is fairly well reproduced though smaller than the weekly news print. Fortunately it hasn’t been scaled as badly as they were in the Spellbinders floppies. Some of the color covers and darker panels are smudgy, but so were my newsprint versions. I’m not sure the method they used to reproduce them. Also the books are the same height as most graphic novels but a little deeper to account for the tabloid format of the original.
The Case Files start with Prog. 2 and go chronologically from there. This set appeals to the complete-ist in me; however, there are the Mega City Masters which seem to be best of collections. It is typical Dredd one shots with a few extended stories. I think Case Files 2 starts with the Cursed Earth arc so that is when we see the more mature story lines develop. The UK books are up to Vol. 12 or 15.
Reading Case Files reminded me how much JD relied on the weekly format. They seemed to balance longer arcs, one offs and new stories well. Nemesis is a book that you can read through since the story arc develops early on. Case files seem better when read a few stories at a time.
My main attractions were the worlds that were created and the variety of artists who interpreted them. With these large collections you can really see the evolution of both. Plus the premises and stories were pretty out there. Lots of artists, writers, stories, themes- something for just about every one.
Next I plan to pick up ABC Warriors and Slaine. Some of the other stories I don’t know very well or didn’t pay attention to. I’d be curious if anyone has thoughts or recommendations on those outside of the regulars for 2000AD.