Graced with a moody cover from Nick Percival, the latest 2000AD (Prog 2247) offers a partial “jump on board” edition for possible new readers this week, with new story starts for “Judge Dredd” and “Jaegir“, and a one-off “Tharg’s 3rillers“, too. It’s another great issue – but I have to wonder what last week’s newly-acquired, younger 2000AD Regened readers might make of it.
Ken Niemand and Nick Percival set up the new Dredd tale “The House on Bleaker Street” nicely, with a nod to the Dark Judges in the opening pages that may or may not be a red herring, while over in “Dexter“, from Dan Abnett and Tazio Bettin, there’s some nasty returns to shock regular readers. Plus, Gordon Rennie and Simon Coleby make a welcome return to the Nort/ Souther conflict for the latest Jaegir arc, “The Path of Kali” , as a vengeance-fuelled Atalia is determined to wipe out the enemy by all means necessary.
Robert Murphy and Steven Austin team up to deliver an enjoyable “3rillers”, “The Mask of Laverna” too, once again starring Adelphi, from “Keeper of Secrets”, previously seen in Progs 2115 – 2217). This Prog is definitely one for horror fans…
However, coming straight after a 2000AD Regened edition, I do have to wonder why a Prog packed with great horror thrills – and even a shagging joke, clearly aimed at adults – follows on from an issue aimed at younger readers.
Now, please, don’t get me wrong – I’m neither prudish and I’m very definitely not averse to the Regened project, by any stretch. I recently made my case for attracting new readers to the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic; I’m all for it, and we’ve had plenty of great stories come out of it. But is this week’s edition really suitable reading for a younger reader who’d enjoyed Regened last week, given the early teen age group the project is supposedly aimed at?
If not, where do they go next? Last week’s prog sensibly the collected Regened books, of course, but what else is out there for new, younger fans?
If it’s to go out and buy The Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular, which I’m looking forward to myself, on sale later this month, that doesn’t even currently feature on the front page of either the 2000AD or Treasury of British Comics web shops, which I find bizarre – and neither do the Regened collections.
If it’s to try Roy of the Rovers, another Rebellion brand, why was there no advertisement for the latest books in last week’s Regened issue of 2000AD (although there was one for the excellent Ken Reid’s Football Funnies)?
The crazy thing is, since 2000AD began, down the decades, it’s run plenty of action adventure SF, much with plenty of bite and near the knuckle storytelling that could still capture the imaginations of the young audience Regened is aimed at without going the horror route that older readers clearly prefer. The Stainless Steel Rat, now collected once again, for starters, but there are plenty of others.
Just this week, Rebellion made it clear that 2000AD Regened is integral to 2000AD, and its CEO emphasised how important they think attracting younger readers is, as part of announcing a “no plastic toys” free gift policy. That’s great, and as I said, Regened is a project I very much support, and all involved in it.
But at the same time, in my opinion, I can’t help feeling there’s some mixed messaging going on, that seriously needs to be addressed.
A Counter Argument…
UPDATE: Comic creators Jim Campbell (who has a background in newspaper publishing) and Dan Whitehead made some interesting points about “Regened” in response to a link to this article on Twitter.
“As I mentioned (on multiple Facebook discussions) the target audience doesn’t buy weekly anthologies, but they do buy Trade Paperbacks and Original Graphic Novels in astonishing numbers,” Jim notes. “I still maintain the best way to think of the Regened issues is not as a ‘jumping on’ point for younger readers but a quarterly ‘sampler’ for a growing range of TPBs.
“The upfront cost of OGNs is horrendous, he adds, “long lead time, and paying out page rates as the work is completed in stages, but running a series of the break-out hits in the regular prog and bundling it up into a TPB spreads costs and supplies content for the YA/all-age audience.
Jim notes that in effect, Rebellion’s “Regened” strategy “effectively managed a ‘stealth launch’ of new title, without the attendant headaches and cost of an actual launch. If the high street market actually looks like it would support Regened as a standalone at some point in the future, then the track record and established brand recognition of having done it this way will go a long way in overcoming a lot of the inherent resistance in the UK high street distribution system.
“I should add that I have no inside info on Rebellion’s actual strategy,” he emphasised, “but this is how it looks to me from the outside, and seems like a smart way to try and get a toehold in the very lucrative YA/all-age market without ploughing in vast sums of money to create a range of OGNs.”
“The cost of launching Regened as a standalone weekly/monthly title would also be huge,” notes Dan Whitehead, lest anyone think that might happen – which I don’t, at least not anytime soon, not when distributors can take almost 80 percent of cover price from every news stand sale. “You’d need to sell it into the newsstand as a new SKU [a new title], whereas the current model allows YA material to be built up for graphic novels without that expense. It’s actually kind of ingenious.”
On Sale This Week from Rebellion…
2000D Prog 2247
Cover by Nick Percival
NEW! Judge Dredd: The House on Bleaker Street by Kenneth Niemand (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Mega-City One, 2143 AD. Home to over 160 million citizens, this urban hell is situated along the east coast of post-apocalyptic North America, with the irradiated wasteland that is the Cursed Earth to the west. Unemployment is rife, boredom universal and violent crime is rampant. Tensions rest on a knife-edge and only the zero-tolerance Judges can stop total anarchy. Toughest of them all is JUDGE DREDD — he is the Law!
Skip Tracer: Eden by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Jim Campbell (l)
The Cube, the 27th century. This vast city floating in the depths of space was once a monitoring station, but has been refitted by the Earth-led Consociation as a solution to a universal housing problem. It ’s now home to every kind of undesirable and wanted criminal. That ’s where SKIP TRACER Nolan Blake comes in, a former soldier turned psi-tracker. Now, Blake and his infant daughter have been captured…
Dexter: Somewhere, Beyond The Sea by Dan Abnett (w) Tazio Bettin (a) John Charles (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Gun-sharks Finnigan SINISTER and Ramone DEXTER were the best hitmen money could buy in the future city of Downlode. Having whacked Holy Moses Tanenbaum, a ganglord from an alternate dimension, they found killing him reset the continuum, meaning no one knew who they were. But now a rogue A.I. is at large, which took control of Sinister, forcing Dex to kill him. But Sinister has been resurrected, and Dex, Billi and Carrie are on the run…
NEW! Tharg’s 3rillers present The Mask of Laverna by Robert Murphy (w) Steven Austin (a) Matt Soffe (c) Simon Bowlan (l)
Three episodes, one complete, self-contained story — a condensed hit of super-charged Thrill-power beamed to you directly from the Nerve Centre! London, 2021, and Adelphi is an Oracle, capable of communicating with the gods. Assisted by her magical snake tattoo and guardian spirit Erwin, she keeps tabs on the the ancient deities should someone make the mistake of trying to bring them back…
NEW! Jaegir: The Path of Kali by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O’Grady (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Greater Nordland Republic. While the Norts are currently engaged in a galaxy-wide war with the Southers, it falls to military officers such as Kapiten-Inspector Atalia JAEGIR of the Nordland State Security Police to investigate war criminals amongst her own ranks. She ’s also suffering from the Strigoi curse, a fault in the Nort DNA. Now, after having been tortured by Southers, Jaegir ’s determined to wipe out the enemy…
Essential Judge Dredd: Origins
By John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra – plus a special introductory tale featuring the art of Kev Walker
Release Date: 31st August 2021
Dimensions: 276 × 210 mm
An unusual delivery is made to the Grand Hall of Justice, a package that will force Dredd to lead a mission into the Cursed Earth and into the darkest recesses of the history of the Judges and Mega-City One. History is written by Dredd co-creators John Wagner (A History of Violence) and Carlos Ezquerra (Strontium Dog) with a special introductory tale featuring the art of Kev Walker (ABC Warriors: Khronicles of Khaos).
Dive into the dystopian world of Judge Dredd as he brings law to the lawless on the mean streets of Mega-City One!
Firekind (Digital Only)
By John Smith and Paul Marshall
Release Date: 1st September 2021
Hendrick Larsen is a xeno-botanist, sent to an alien planet with a toxic hallucinogenic atmosphere… and dragons! The aliens of the planet live in harmony with their environment and Larsen is accepted into their community. But then a group of vicious human poachers arrive, looking to exploit the planet, and Larsen learns that the planet has defences of its own.
This classic 2000AD story features gorgeous artwork by Paul Marshall and is collected in a digital-only graphic novel for the first time.
By Pat MIlls and Leonard Manco
Release Date: 2nd September 2021
Format: Hardcover with 2000AD.com exclusive hardcover
Dimensions: 281 × 215 mm
Albion suffers under the tyrannical reign of the Emperor Brutus and his Trojan army. Also bolstering his power are the dragons he has at his disposal, using them to spread terror across the land. Celtic warrior Slaine is leading a rebellion against the occupiers, taking the fight all the way to New Troy – and discovering the secrets that lie in Brutus’s dungeons…
Recent Releases from Rebellion…
Still On Sale: Judge Dredd Megazine 435
Cover by Alex Ronald
by Rob Williams (Writer), Simon Fraser (Artist) | ISBN: 9781781089019
The Stainless Steel Rat- Deluxe Edition
Based on the SF novels by Harry Harrison | Adapted for 2000AD by Kelvin Gosnell with art by Carlos Ezquerra | ISBN: 9781781088999
Dark Judges: The Fall of Deadworld Volume 3
By Kek-W and Dave Kendall
Release Date: 14th September 2021
Dimensions: 282 × 216 mm
Can humanity escape the icy clutches of Death? The psychotic Chief Judge Casey Tweed has dethroned and killed Judge Death and taken over Death’s mission to murder every living creature on the planet. The neighbouring Soviets have seen the chaos as an ideal time to launch an attack on their American enemies.
As numerous battles rage a small group of rebels led by Judge Fairfax – some living, some already turned into the undead – launch a desperate effort to save their city from being converted into a necropolis, but it all seems too little too late. The Dark Judges are already spreading their contagion across the globe and in the depths of space, exterminating all life under the orders of Chief Judge Tweed. However, both the forces of death and the forces of life about to learn, just because Judge Death is dead, doesn’t mean that he is gone…
The acclaimed series from Kek-W (The Order) and Dave Kendall (Dreams of Deadworld) continues in this lavish hardback collection, including never seen before concept art and sketches.
The Thirteenth Floor Volume 3
Out: 16th September 2021
Format: Paperback and webshop exclusive hardcover
The thrilling conclusion to the classic 1980s horror comic strip! Max the maniacal computer is back in Maxwell Tower, dishing out his twisted form of retribution on anyone who dares to cross his beloved residents! From a conniving milkman to thuggish street urchins, anyone who enters Max’s territory looking for trouble is going for a one-way trip to the thirteenth floor!
However, Max’s past exploits have not gone unnoticed. The K.G.B. have sent their own super-powered computer called Boris to make Max an offer – help them conquer the world or face obliteration!
The Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular
Publication date: 22nd September 2021
The popular 1970s comic book Monster Fun is back for Halloween 2021! Join the Treasury of British Comics’ creepiest and coolest goblins, ghouls and vamps for brand new, HELL-arious comic strips.
Launched in 1975, the weekly comic Monster Fun was first published by IPC Media and ran for 73 issues until it was merged with Buster in 1976. Its ongoing popularity meant the Monster Fun logo continued to feature on Buster’s cover until the summer of 1979. Two Monster Fun Specials were also printed, in 1975 and 1976, and characters such as Kid Kong were revived for both of Rebellion’s Buster Cor!! Specials.
Everyone’s favourite monsters – including Frankie Stein, Kid Kong, Draculass, Teddy Scare, and the Hire A Horror crew – have returned, courtesy of creators including Tom Paterson, Chris Garbutt, Matt Baxter, Juni Ba and Lew Stringer!
If that wasn’t enough, a brand new Leopard of Lime Street tale sees Selbridge’s premier superhero face off against a fantastic new foe!
Black Max Volume 2
Out: 4th October 2021
Format: Standard paperback and webshop exclusive hardcover with cover by Ian Kennedy
Bi-planes vs giant vampire bats in this thrilling collection of war comics with a horror twist! Lieutenant Tom Wilson returns to battle Baron Maximilien Von Klorr and his attack force of giant vampire bats in a continuation of the popular series.
The World War One era story moves to England with a monstrous albino bat attacking London with each page beautifully drawn by Alfonso Font working on one of his very first comic series.