Borag Thungg, Earthlets! It’s that time of the month again and, while things are looking uncertain within the real world (which is admittedly something we really leaned into in last month’s column — whoops), there’s still plenty of joy to be had while diving into a pile of comics. Besides, you’re holed up in your respective homes away and probably pulling your hair out from re-reading back issues and trying to piece together Crisis on Infinite Earths in it’s entirety. So instead of focusing on the disaster at hand, let’s take some time to focus on the brighter side of things, the more stupid side of things, and the beautiful, sweet embrace of nonsensical ease. So behold and rejoice all you cabin-fevered Squaxx, because below, you can find several absurd comics that are sure to take you away from all this.
Yup. Back in the early eighties, famed Watchmen writer Alan Moore and Excalibur artist Alan Davis teamed up to create D.R. & Quinch, a strip in 2000 AD that was… basically nothing more than a fun romp with two juvenile delinquent aliens named Waldo “D.R.” (Diminished Responsibility) Dobbs, and Ernest Errol Quinch. When it comes down to it, most plots revolve around things that you’d expect to see if you’re gearing up to watch Animal House, but with the twist that they’re in space. So if a collection of few short pages about leaving beer cans on soon-to-be-exploded planet, getting drafted, picking up women who are arguably way better than you, and reading everything in a “Dear Diary” format of a somewhat gentle (and purple-skinned) John Belushi, then D.R. and Quinch is going to be your new happy place. (And hey, maybe it’ll help you come up with some rad plans for after this lockdown is over!)
If you’re not familiar with Si Spurrier’s writing, then a) You need to fix it and b) you should know that he is incredibly funny. And one of my favorite projects he’s done for 2000 AD has been Bec and Kawl: Bloody Students with artist Steve Roberts. Becky Miller — a power-crazy goth chick — and Jarrod Kawl — a nerdy stoner — are ordinary students living in the Swineboil Apartments. Everything would be normal for these weirdo deadbeat kids if it weren’t for the fact that every demonic entity and bizarre occurrence wasn’t so incredibly focused in on them. Basically, you’re in for a story about two assholes who could very possibly save the world against holy terrors…if they could be bothered. But…meh?
Okay, so here’s the thing: both Harlem Heroes and it’s intoxicatingly odd sequel Inferno are not actually meant to be comedies. But in retrospect, what else do you think will happen when three British men in the late 1970’s team up to create a comic strip about what is meant to be a play on the Harlem Globetrotters, but with a game called “Aeroball” that’s more-or-less just basketball with jetpacks? If you can put the uncomfortable attempt at jive talk to the back of your brain (or are able to laugh at just how absurd and terrible it is), Harlem Heroes has aged just well enough to be an entirely hilarious mess.
Transversely, Inferno is the hella violent and absurd quasi-sequel featuring a new version of Aeroball that involves Rollerball-style motorcycles and approximately ten times the sensationalist bloodshed. Oh, and the Harlem Heroes manager decides to go ape and end their careers by taking a hit out on them because he’s tired of them being so goody-goody.
Yeah. It’s exactly as bonkers as it sounds. Need I say more?
From none other than 2000 AD’s Alan Grant and John Wagner, paired with the incomparable art of Massimo Belardinelli, Ace Trucking Co. is the delightful trailer trash saga that will surely distract you enough to actually feel joy again. And how could you not? Between the ragtag cast including the CB radio slang-slinging Ace Garp, his possibly deceased bodyguard GBH, the always-absurd Feek the Greek, and their sentient computer Ghost, it’s hard to not have a laugh as they sail through the galaxy tricking moronic authority figures.
ZOMBO: CAN I EAT YOU, PLEASE?
Why focus on being productive during this quarantine when you can sit down and read about a zombie himbo in a banana hammock?
I’ve talked before about how Zombo is the absurd and bizarre dumpster baby of Al Ewing and Henry Flint in the best way, and I stand by that statement more than ever. Packed from cover to cover with show tunes, death planets, backhanded commentary on politics and the nature of celebrity, and — more importantly — learning that we can fix all problems by singing a lot and taking off our pants, these collections of short stories are as close to the bright side of existentialism as you can get.
JUDGE DEATH: YOUNG DEATH FROM BOY TO FIEND
I consistently see people talking trash about this book and, to those people, I say, “Go kick rocks!” Because, while readers have always seen Judge Death as a serious, mysterious and grotesque creature from which only fear can grow, John Wagner and Si Spencer took the character’s latter years as an opportunity to give the character not only a horrific backstory, but also his own set of morals (or something approaching them, at least) and a dry, droll sense of humor. It’s the scariest, most dark-humored equivalent to the mid-afternoon talk show you will ever set your eyes on.
“Chloe, are you seriously still trying to get anyone and everyone to read Shako?”
Yes, reader. It is my life’s mission.
Because Shako is the story of a bear who is just trying to do bear things, but he’s a bit busy after he swallows a capsule containing a deadly virus accidentally dropped by a government plane in the arctic. And of course that means that the CIA has to come after Shako, who then has to use his precious bear time to eat all the jerk humans who keep messing up his day. It’s gory. It’s ridiculous. And there is a damn polar bear on the CIA death list.
Stop reading this article right now and read this absurd comic. You. Are. Welcome.
BREAKER BREAKER EARTH-DIGGIN BUDDIES!
It’s an unfortunate time for the comic book industry right now, and sadly, that also means that there is less exciting news to share. Especially when one of those pieces of news is that Rebellion has had to push back many of the Specials that were set to release in early spring and summer. We can rest easy, though, knowing that even if we have to wait a while for the print editions of our favorite collections, Rebellion is determined to support their printers and distributors, as well as their creators and retailers.
As for the monthly 2000 AD comics and their weekly sister publication, the Judge Dredd Magazine, never fear! These titles are still available at some retailers and newsstands! And if you’re feeling a bit skittish about going out for comics right now, might I suggest the 2000 AD app?
AND SO WE’VE REACHED THE END OF OUR TIME TOGETHER, EARTHLETS
Well, Earthlets, that’s all for this month. I hope that you are all taking care of yourselves and being responsible with the lives of others as well; and hopefully we will all ride this out the best we can. In the meantime, hopefully these absurd comics (and the many amazing others also available from Rebellion) will give you a much-needed escape from the stress and give you a good laugh amid this pandemic. And if you need some more titles, a whole host of 2000 AD and Treasury of British Comics titles are available digitally through their app, or individual sale for download on the web shop.
Be well, be vigilant, behave, and stay inside!
Splundig vur Thrigg for now!