Thursday, April 3, 2008

48. Exit Polls

Thrillpowered Thursday is a weekly look at the world of 2000 AD. I'm rereading my collection of 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, one issue an evening, and once each week for the foreseeable future, I'll see what I'm inspired to write. This week, I'm not particularly inspired at all, and so this could be a shorter-than-usual entry.

May 1997: Prog 1044 features the final part of the last Al's Baby story. This series had first been suggested for the comic Toxic! in 1990, but found a home in the Judge Dredd Megazine. Then, it was thought important that everything in the Meg be some part of the Dredd universe, and so Al's Baby was shoehorned in by way of a prologue and epilogue to the first adventure which suggested the story happened in the past of Mega-City One. Created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, it's the story of Al Bestardi, a real jerk of a mob enforcer in our near future. Since the godfather only has one daughter, a brutal, talent-free "singer" called Velma, and the godfather allowed Al permission to marry Velma, and Velma doesn't want to have her "career" sidelined by a pregnancy, and since male pregnancy has newly become medically possible... well... Two series of Al's Baby ran in the Megazine and they are both screamingly funny. But as the Meg had to give up space in '96 for reprints, the third series was moved to 2000 AD, and it's not a case of either creator firing with both barrels. It's funny, and Ezquerra's art is always good to look at, but it's weaker than what came before.

Also running at this time are Nikolai Dante in "The Romanov Dynasty" by Robbie Morrison and Simon Fraser, along with Slaine: "The Grail War" by Pat Mills and Steve Tappin and Mercy Heights, both of which are quite good, even if the time-travelling Slaine is starting to feel a little lost in the face of his guest stars. This storyline, which encompasses two books of ten episodes each, sees Slaine teamed with Simon de Montfort in an adventure with the Cathars, and it honestly feels like Mills would rather be writing this story without Slaine in it. And there's Mercy Heights, an SF soap opera by John Tomlinson, with art on this installment by Lee Sullivan, which is probably the weakest thing currently, but it's still very readable.

Judge Dredd's still in the Cursed Earth on his "Hunting Party" adventure. The story's by Wagner and the very nice art is by Henry Flint:

This wasn't a particularly good blog entry, was it? Five perfectly good stories by some of Britain's best creators, and all I can come up with was this? Well, I plead scattershot interest; I've got spring fever and have been doing other things.

Anyway, to beef things up a little this week, I had the Hipster Kids fill out Exit Polls for this prog. Tharg hasn't actually included these in years, but they might've done a little back in the day to let the editor know what kids liked. Here's what we thought of prog 1044.

Next week, be here to see what some have described as the worst advertising campaign ever seen.

(Originally published 4/3/08 at LiveJournal.)

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