Borag Thungg again, Earthlets! It feels like it’s been a while because…well, it has! February proved to be the wonkiest month possible, so we had to take a brief break. But we’re back! And we’re better than ever! (Given the circumstances and disaster of it all, of course).
Sure, we might all be stuck inside our homes and SURE, some of us might be ready to tape our children in the closet with some fish sticks and hope for the best, but the fact of the matter is that gratitude is something incredibly important right now. And I don’t know about you, but in the little spare time of sanity that I have, I’m thankful for the escape into a world of comics — or more specifically — 2000 AD’s disaster comics!
But let’s not get it too twisted. We need to stay on top of the matters at hand with this virus without getting dragged down into anxiety and despair. So to save you from that, I’ll avoid listing the bajillion Judge Dredd stories that include some sort of killer pathogen! Instead, let’s jump on the “being gracious and thankful for what we have” stuff by focusing on just how good we have it. Let’s steer the Thrill-train in that direction this month, and be happy that we’re not…oh…eaten by ants, drowning, blown up, or being plagued by zombies? A different kind of pandemic! Yes? Yes.
FRAN OF THE FLOODS
Let’s face it — being stuck at home all the time right now can be pretty rough. Especially if you’re young and ready to take on the entire world! Well, as much as you hate being home right now, just think about how much it would suck if it started raining and then just never stopped? Because that’s the main disaster of the Treasury of British Comics’ Fran of the Floods.
Young Fran’s biggest concern starts out as being in a row with her sister over borrowing her dress without asking for a school recital, but things take a pretty dreary turn when the world becomes entirely flooded. Not quite WaterWorld flooded, but close enough that — you know — Fran’s entire family is nowhere to be found and she has to make it on her own with just her best friend at her side.
It may sound dreary as hell, but a) such are the times and b) it’s a good ol’ fashioned product of the seventies, so at least the inherent grimness of it is offset by Alan Davidson’s delightfully pulpy dialog and fantastically classic artwork from artist Phil Gascoine.
Did you ever see War of the Worlds? When you were watching it did you ever think “Oh thank god there’s fiction for me to enjoy about this and it won’t ever happen in real life cause whoo boy this is a disaster”? Then Scarlet Traces is here for you.
The series revolves around the British Empire being one of the few countries who survived the initial War of the Worlds martian invasion, and expanding its influence using alien tech. There’s a mix of sci-fi, period drama, and steampunk joy brought to the table by writer Ian Edginton that could only be paired with the incomparable D’Israeli; and together they make for a perfect “Well at least we didn’t have to adapt to aliens trying to kill us ” story.
Let’s just be honest right off the bat: go ahead and think about the A.B.C. Warriors as WALL-E before WALL-E…and also more badass. The team of highly-personable war robots (delightfully named things like “Hammerstein” and “Joe Pineapples” because hey, it’s Pat Mills) were designed to take apart the Volgan War and withstand — you guessed it — Atomic, Bacterial, and Chemical warfare and biological disasters far better than any human could ever hope for.
The A.B.C. Warriors have tons of volumes to scour in the 2000 AD app, so at least you will have something to keep you occupied when you’re not busy considering building a giant war robot to defeat this stupid virus.
“What is this, a pandemic for ants?!”
Long-time squaxx are probably look at this title on the list going “Oh. Oh Chloe no. You can’t possibly be recommending this collection as recommended reading.” Well, you’re wrong, and I sure as shit can because in my mind there are few things scarier than the idea of being invaded by giant insects. But yeah, you’re right, it really is a disaster in and of itself.
The whole premise is that an experimental insecticide have mutated the ants of South America and made them both giant, and also capable of destroying everything in their path. (If you can believe it, the strip ran for 15 weeks.) The only thing that makes it bearable, or delightfully unbearable if that’s your thing, is that the ant’s greatest enemies are a Brazilian Army Officer named Captain Villa and a Native American tribesman named Anteater, whose tribe feasts on ants.
YES. I KNOW.
Honestly this is kind of a freebie because who like the idea of giant ants crawling around everywhere. But to be honest you can pick up this series, read it, finish it, and then go “Well, it could be worse. I could still be reading Ant Wars “.
THE LAST AMERICAN
We do love a good diamond in the rough when it comes to comics from the 1990’s, and John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Mick McMahon are the perfect folks to deliver.
Originally published as a four part series by Marvel’s Epic Comics imprint, The Last American takes us through the futility of an arms race and the aftermath of nuclear annihilation. Captain Ulysses S. Pilgrim (which is, arguably, the best possible name ever conceived) wakes up from suspended animation and is sent on a task to see if he is, in fact, the last American. There’s some robot buddies that tag along, sure, but for the most part there is a grim message of futility to be had there.
So if nothing else, if you’re feeling down in the dumps and need to wallow, this collection is a great one to pick up and wallow in. At least you’re not alone in a nuclear disaster, though!
I don’t think a “Worst Case Scenario” list would be complete without a token zombie plague story, so lo and behold, I can recommend none other than Pat Mills and Leigh Gallagher’s Defoe.
Set in London 1668, just two years after the city had been laid to waste by The Great Fire caused by a comet, ashes of the anomaly have begun to raise the dead and they are hungry. Luckily there are zombie hunters like Titus Defoe who see no problem taking on the zombie hordes.
Because at the end of the day, we might be hiding inside and keeping our distance to keep from accidentally killing each other and each other’s loved ones, but at least we aren’t stepping out the door with the fear of having our limbs eaten in a constant zombie disaster.
BREAKER BREAKER EARTH-DIGGIN BUDDIES!
I have to admit, this section of our talk is particularly difficult to write this month because…well, what hasn’t happened?! For a month that has basically been made up of folks sitting at home trying to function as normal there’s not been a lot of comics news, unfortunately. But I have gathered together some of the best parts of what Rebellion has brought us, and thankfully, they might even provide some relief.
–Judge Dredd Case Files 05 is FREE to download on the 2000 AD app, or on the 2000 AD web store! The hefty 400 page collection of stories from John Wagner and Alan Grant includes “The Mega-Rackets”, “Judge Death Lives!”, “Diary of a Mad Citizen”, “The Hotdog Run”, and — apropos of everything — the famous “Block Mania” and “Apocalypse War” storylines. Fitting!
–Rebellion Publishing has teamed up with Penguin Random House Audio UK to bring — dun dun DUN! — 2000 AD audiobooks! Yes. You read that right. Penguin Random House Audio is promising around 30 titles from Rebellion’s frontlist including works from Chuck Wendig, Katherine Addison, Derek Künsken, and Adrian Tchaikovsky; as well as the classics such as Judge Dredd, Sláine, and Rogue Trooper.
–2000 AD gave all of us parents a little bit of a breather by releasing an astonishingly fun activity packet for kids who are bored to tears during this quarantine. It’s good to get them started young, right? (Just kidding. I definitely printed this out for myself, too)
-Last but not least, some bittersweet news: Rebellion said yesterday in a press statement that Best of 2000 AD #1 — which was slated to be on the shelves April 29th — is being postponed until further notice. And while it looks like fans and new readers will have to wait to enjoy the classics collected in one beautiful issue, not all is lost. Alongside the postponement of Best of 2000 AD came the news that 2000 AD and its monthly counterpart Judge Dredd Megazine will be published (both print and digitally) as normal. You can read the full press statement here!
ONWARD AND UPWARD
March 25- Action 2020 Special
March 25th – Janus Stark Vol 2
April 2 – Masters of British Comic Art
April 5 – Kingmaker
April 8 – Cor! Buster Easter Special
April 16 – Battle of Britain
AND SO WE’VE REACHED THE END OF OUR TIME TOGETHER, EARTHLETS
That’s all for this month, and I’m glad to be back! But until next month, please remember that these books —as well as the ones for free offered by Rebellion! —will be a great distraction from the cabin fever, but the cabin fever is all for the best when it comes to a pandemic. So stay inside, practice gratitude, read some zarjazz comics, and remember: