The 2000AD Thrill-Cast: Starlord – 40 Years On…

Starlord Issue One came with a free Starlord Trooper badge - there were six to collect and one was given away free with each copy (they were: Pilot, Laser Specialist, Time Warden, Robot Regiment Mek War Controller, Tank Commander and Skateboard Strike Force)
Starlord Issue One came with a free Starlord Trooper badge – there were six to collect and one was given away free with each copy (they were: Pilot, Laser Specialist, Time Warden, Robot Regiment Mek War Controller, Tank Commander and Skateboard Strike Force)

Ahead of the 40th anniversary of 2000AD‘s short-lived stablemate, the 2000AD podcast takes a look at impact and on-going legacy of Starlord – the original home of “Strontium Dog” and “Ro-Busters”.

I was delighted to be asked to contribute as it’s one of those comics, like Thunder, that I followed avidly – only to see the title become a victim of the “Hatch, Match and Dispatch” tactics of its publisher to boost the sales of the surviving title.

The podcast comes ahead of Starlord’s return to the pages of 2000AD for a new story in this year’s 100-page Christmas Special, written by Kenneth Niemand – a nom de plume, perhaps? – with art by Henry Flint.

A year after the launch of 2000 AD in 1977, publishers IPC decided to cash in on its success with a new stablemate – Starlord.

With longer stories, better paper, and more colour, Starlord blazed into the firmament with its own eponymous editor as well as all-new stories such as “Strontium Dog”, “Ro-Busters”, and the superb “Mind Wars:. But it was not to be, and after just 22 issues it was decided to merge the title into 2000AD – a decision that arguably saved the older title as well as giving it two of its most popular ever strips. (The “Hatch, Match and Dispatch tactic applied to Starlord definitely boosted 2000AD’s sales post merger, we learn).

In a round table discussion to mark the forthcoming 40th anniversary of the launch of Starlord – as well as a special tribute in this year’s Christmas Prog – 2000AD editor Matt Smith and Treasury of British Comics editor Keith Richardson join 2000 AD PR droid Molch-R (Michael Molcher) in the podcast sub-basement along with comics editor and journalist John Freeman (me!) to talk about Starlord‘s short existence, its impact at the time, and its on-going legacy for 2000 AD.

Listen to the Podcast here on the 2000AD official site

or, listen right here!


• Pre-order Prog 2061, the 2000AD 2017 Christmas Special from the 2000AD web shop here – limited edition print available for first 200 orders

• 2000AD Prog 2061 is also available from all good newsagents and comic shops (using this Forbidden Planet link helps support downthetubes) and leading digital platforms

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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