Thursday, November 8, 2007

29. Fleetway Begins the Brakes

Short one this week, fans. Megazine Vol. 3 # 13 (Jan. 1996) was the last of the biweekly editions of the comic. It had switched over from monthly to twice-monthly in 1992 after 20 issues, starting a new volume with its new frequency. Fleetway relaunched it again in the summer of '95 to coincide with the Judge Dredd film (see the 22nd entry), but the sales spike that the Fleetway line received from the movie's publicity had faded within three months. Worse, while 2000 AD itself had received a pretty reliable spike of thrill-power in the form of Vector 13, the Megazine didn't find anything of note after the initial thrills of its third volume. "The Three Amigos" and "Satan" had been popular, successful thrills, as was the reinvigorated Harmony with new artist Steve Sampson, but the series that replaced them were less than engaging.

So, January 1996 sees one of those "all stories end this issue" editions, with a pair of one-off filler Judge Dredd episodes, and the final parts of Deathwatch by Paul Cornell and Adrian Salmon, Judge Hershey by Paul Neal and Marc Wigmore, and Pan-African Judges by Siku. It's a massive yawnfest, although I do like Wigmore's bizarre sense of anatomy, and stark use of white negative space.

What this issue doesn't tell you is that it's the final biweekly issue. The next one comes with the free gift of a big poster and the announcement that it's a monthly comic again. In hindsight, this isn't surprising... in publishing, you hype up the changes that you should feel good about, but you spring the bad news as late as possible.

Next week, Rogue Trooper gets a little less boring when Venus Bluegenes gets her solo series...

(Originally published 11/8/07 at LiveJournal.)

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