The Party Has Started! Happy 45th Birthday, 2000AD!

2000AD fans across the globe are celebrating this week, as the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic reaches a new milestone anniversary – and there are plenty of opportunities coming up to mark this momentous 45th birthday of the British weekly comic – starting with the bumper-sized Prog 2270 – on sale in all good newsagents and British comic shops from Wednesday! (And, of course, digitally, too).

2000AD Prog 2270 - cover by Brian Bolland
2000AD Prog 2270, cover by Brian Bolland

Officially launched on Monday 21st February 1977, the launch cross promoted in many Fleetway titles of the time like Battle, and on TV, too, comic readers might already have bought their copies of “Prog One”, complete with free “space spinner” on Saturday 19th February, when it first went on sale. So many of you have already begun hanging out the virtual bunting and raising toasts to Tharg and his many, many droids who’ve helped shape the SF weekly down the decades!

(Don’t be thrill suckered into thinking the 26th February cover date on Prog One was the on sale date – back then, cover dates were a guide to newsagents of just when to take a title off their shelves and replace it with the next).

Congratulations to all who helped this British comic achieve this incredible milestone, when so many others, as 2000AD writer Michael Carroll notes here in his Rusty Staples blog, are no longer around.

2000AD Prog One, complete with Space Spinner, cover dated 26th February 1977
Just some of the now long-gone weekly comics vying for readers pocket money alongside 2000AD back in February 1977 | Via Michael “Rusty Staples”  Carroll
Just some of the now long-gone weekly comics vying for readers pocket money alongside 2000AD back in February 1977 | Via Michael “Rusty Staples” Carroll

The latest issue, out this Wednesday, celebrates the comic’s 45th Anniversary with a bumper 52-page edition including a cover by Brian Bolland and a new Tharg story drawn by Robin Smith, 2000AD‘s art editor in the 1980s.

Plus, along with new episodes of stories such as “Kingmaker” and “Proteus Vex”, there’s a pulse-pounding line up of other stories, not least of them a tantalising opener to a new “Judge Dredd” tale, that has its roots in the Apocalypse War!

2000AD Prog 2270 - Tharg the Mighty

There are, of course, to be celebrations aplenty, physical and virtual, to mark 2000AD’s 45th anniversary through 2022, including tie-in books from Rebellion focusing on key creators contributions, such as artist Carlos Ezquerra and writer John Wagner.

Following up on the smaller Dredd@45 exhibition at London’s Cartoon Museum, which runs until until 4th April, the first official major celebration is Rebellion’s The Galaxy’s Greatest: 2000AD at 45 – a star-studded online convention celebrating four and a half decades of the groundbreaking British comic.

Featuring celebrity fans and legendary creators, The Galaxy’s Greatest will stream online and for free on 26th and 27th March on 2000AD’s social media channels and YouTube, and Rebellion’s dedicated Twitch stream.

The two-day show will feature top flight guests on more than a dozen panels, all discussing the impact of 2000AD on comics and culture over almost half a century, as well as announcements and new merchandise.

Rebellion’s The Galaxy’s Greatest: 2000AD at 45

Guests from the world of entertainment will include award-winning comedians Robin Ince (The Infinite Monkey Cage), Desiree Burch (Taskmaster), Dane Baptiste (Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown) and Mitch Benn (The Now Show), scientist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford (BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science), bestselling authors Ian Rankin OBE (Rebus) and Louie Stowell (Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good), and political commentator Ian Dunt (i newspaper, How To Be A Liberal).

The event will throw a spotlight on the people who have helped make 2000AD the galaxy’s greatest comic, with creators both new and legendary sharing their stories and insights on the comics-making process — including a feature interview with the co-creator of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, John Wagner, as well as panels with Garth Ennis (The Boys, Preacher), Rob Williams (Suicide Squad), Alex de Campi (Archie vs Predator), Sean Phillips (Criminal), Anna Morozova (Judge Anderson), John McCrea (Hitman), Dan Cornwell (Rok of the Reds), Aleš Kot (Zero), and more to be announced.

The next 45 years of 2000AD will also be discussed with owners and publishers Chris Kingsley OBE and Jason Kingsley OBE, and current editor Matt Smith – now the longest serving editor in 2000AD history.

And with many, many more creator and celebrity guests yet to be revealed, The Galaxy’s Greatest promises to be an unmissable experience befitting such a milestone for Britain’s most groundbreaking comic.

“This is such a landmark anniversary for 2000AD,” said Jason Kingsley OBE, “and I’m looking forward to hearing from this fantastic line-up of guests just how it has had an influence far beyond its pages.

“When Rebellion saved 2000AD back in 2000, many people had long predicted its demise – but over the last two decades it has truly gone from strength-to-strength and is now back in its true place as one of the pillars of British culture. As the custodians of its legacy and guardians of its future, we’re proud and delighted to celebrate four and a half decades of Thrill-power with The Galaxy’s Greatest.”

Ben Smith, head of Rebellion Publishing, said: “With the pandemic continuing to make in-person events difficult and prone to cancellation, we’ve decided to move our event marking 45 years of 2000AD online – but it does mean that fans all over the world will be able to join in and celebrate the comic’s creators and legacy.”

There are plenty more celebrations of 2000AD this year, with many fans heading to the Judge Dredd-inspired Lawless event in Bristol in May, and personal appearances by 2000AD creators at larger comic events, such as former Tharg Steve MacManus, who’s part of the Will Eisner Week lineup at Renfrewshire Libraries, on Monday 28th February. There are plenty more such events to come!

Steve MacManus - Will Eisner Week lineup at Renfrewshire Libraries

2000AD is available every week from all good newsagents and comic book stores, as well as digitally from the webshop and app, alongside its monthly sister title, the Judge Dredd Megazine. Graphic novel collections are available from all good book and comic book stores, as well as online retailers, and digitally from the webshop and app.

Inside 2000AD Prog 2270

• UK and DIGITAL: 23 February 2022 £4.99
• DIAMOND: DEC211791
• COVER: Brian Bolland

Judge Dredd: The Citadel by John Wagner (Writer) Dan Cornwell (Artist) Dylan Teague (Colourist) Annie Parkhouse
Proteus Vex: Desire Paths by Michael Carroll (Writer)
Jake Lynch (Artist) Jim Boswell (Colourist) Simon Bowland (Letterer)
Indigo Prime: Whatever happened to Mickey Challis? by Kek-W (Writer) Lee Carter (Artist) Annie Parkhouse (Letterer)
Kingmaker by Ian Edginton (Writer) Leigh Gallagher (Artist) Jim Campbell (Letterer)
Tharg the Mighty: Stars on 45 by David Barnett (Writer) Robin Smith (Artist) Jim Campbell (Letterer)
The Order: Fantastic Voyage by Kek-W (Writer) John Burns (Artist) Simon Bowland (Letterer)
Brink: Mercury Retrograde by Dan Abnett (Writer) INJ Culbard (Artist) Simon Bowland (Letterer)

• Available in print from: newsagents and comic book stores via Diamond Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop & apps for iPad, Android and Windows 10

2000AD First Stories Digital Bundle Promotion

Celebrate the 45th anniversary of 2000AD’s first issue with a special digital bundle bringing together the series that launched the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic in 1977

Categories: 2000AD, British Comics, British Comics - Current British Publishers, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events

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