This past Saturday saw a bumper celebration of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic as punters representing four decades worth of reading – from those who were there at the very beginning of the Thrill-Power Revolution to those just discovering the last great survivor of the weekly serial comics era – descended on the Forty Years of Thrill-Power Festival at the Novotel hotel in Hammersmith.
For those wondering, I am indeed old enough to remember picking up the very first prog back in 1977 from Romford’s WHSmith (primarily because my father was intrigued by the featured new take on Dan Dare rather than for any interest of my own I have to admit!). It would be a couple of years before 2000 AD became a regular part of my comics-buying habits but it’s weaved in and out of my life ever since.
Like many readers in those early years the dark humour, social satire and biting parody marked it out to me as something very different from its contemporaries on the newsagent shelves. Indeed, I have very clear memories of early ABC Warriors, in particular, opening my 10-year-old mind to issues of corporate greed, privilege and environmental exploitation.
It’s astonishing to think that forty years on 2000 AD is still with us fighting the good fight for a weekly form of episodic comics delivery that has long since disappeared elsewhere. For that we have Rebellion – its owner since 2000 – to thank for preserving a brand that surely would have succumbed to the harsher realities of the British comics market otherwise.
Saturday was a remarkable day with panels on every aspect of the comic and creators exhibiting from every era of its history. A friendly and accessible event it embodied the spirit of celebration with vigour, looking back to the uncertain original days (Pat Mills was on particularly fine form in his interview with Anthony Esmond) while embracing the comic’s now surely solid future.
Indeed, I could go on and on about the multitude of talent attending – from the very earliest issues of 2000 AD up to its contemporary rising stars – but for me the whole day was summed up in the overheard words of a little lad (whose father probably wasn’t even born when the first issue of 2000 AD was published!) on the subject of the man who started it all back in 1977.
“Dad! Dad! We haven’t got Pat Mills’s autograph yet. We have to get Pat Mills’s autograph!”
A moment of all generations of Squaxx dek Thargo coming together in microcosm, surely, and one which perfectly captured the essence of a truly zarjaz event.
Congratulations to everyone at Rebellion who put together such a fantastic day’s entertainment. 2027’s 50th anniversary bash has a lot to live up to.
– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier Editor-in-Chief, February 12th, 2017
This week’s ‘Andy Oliver cartoon’ is by Jessica Martin. Jessica was a finalist in the 2014 Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition and has self-published comics on film stars Clara Bow (It Girl) and Vivien Leigh (Vivacity). In 2015 her first graphic novel Elsie Harris Picture Palace was published by MIWK Publishing. She has also been published by DC/Vertigo and was a contributor to the 2016 Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook. You can visit her online store here and follow her on Twitter here.
For regular updates on all things small press and Broken Frontier follow Andy Oliver on Twitter here.