“Comic books should strive always to be subversive. They should represent counterculture" - Pat Mills, founder of 2000 AD and the godfather of British comics.
As a kid – and into my teens – I loved a good comic book. I collected various series over the years like Archie digests when I was under ten, and even had a large ‘Muhammed Ali versus Superman’ book that I read and read. Into my teens I got more into the likes of Love & Rockets, and naturally, the work of 2000AD and its iconic characters such as Judge Dredd and Halo Jones.
In 1977, IPC Magazines began publishing the aforementioned 2000AD, which at the time was called a “science fiction comic” by those less in the know. Before long, it would come to change the face of the industry. Not only did it introduce seminal creators such as Alan Moore (Watchmen, a personal fave) and Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman) to the comic world, it also had a profound influence on pop culture at large.
It has been said that “2000AD dabbled with darkness way before it became normal for a superhero's nemesis to be their neuroses”, and it was definitely born out of the punk vibe so dominant in the UK at the time. Tonight’s film FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD is most definitely the long overdue documentary that actually tells the story of the legendary read, mainly through the eyes of those who were working within and alongside the unsung cult hero of the comics industry. The film was clearly designed to celebrate and pay respect to the comic phenomenon and explore its importance and influence on contemporary pop culture, and it’s a solid watch.
Through in-depth interviews with the creators, writers, artists and fans of the last 35 years, we find out more about what made the countercultural powerhouse comic tick, and it also examines the widespread cultural impact it had on not only the international comics industry but also in film, art and literature.
The documentary is the work of Paul Goodwin, whose main task appears to have been assembling an admirable wealth of talent to interview as the tale unfurls. With the exception of Alan Moore, Mark Millar and Garth Ennis, the big names are all present, which means you get to see Neil Gaiman waxing lyrical about the old days, Bryan Talbot (amusingly miming someone being impaled), John Wagner and Pat Mills, who us still displaying his preternaturally rage-y disposition even at the age of 67.
The most positive talk we get to hear is of the magazine’s legacy, and it also covers its less cool moves like unabashedly sexist marketing campaigns and frequent in-house bitching. This gives it a nice, rounded feel and a great deal more insight into the comic as a whole if you’re a major fan.
Nicely told, FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000 AD pays homage with aplomb to the comic name whose influence can be seen in everything from the post-apocalyptic madness of Mad Max: Fury Road to the Fallout video game.
Reserve you space on the couch and enjoy.
FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD premieres on Thursday 6th October at 8.30pm on Rialto Channel 39