Borag thungg, Earthlets! And welcome to the inaugural posting of “Drokking Scrotnig!” — a monthly column dedicated to bringing you news and thrill-power through recommended reading from the Galaxy’s Greatest Comics: 2000 AD!
You might be wondering what the title of this over-zealous monthly article means. Well, children, take a seat on mother’s lap and let me tell you a story.
When 2000AD’s editor-in-chief Tharg the Mighty came to Earth from the planet Quaxxann, he adopted English as his primary language, but gave us the gift of his pithy humor in the form of his language. Thus, the lingo of 2000 AD was born — somewhere in between his ego inflating enough to engulf the planet and eating all of the polystyrene cups in the head office.
Long story short, 2000 AD stands for Thrill-Power, and I am here to make sure your heads are drokking scrotnig, or “F*cking packed with Thrill-Power”.
I have no shame.
THERE’S CHILLS IN THAT THERE THRILL-POWER!
This month we’re obviously going to be focusing on the scares, thrills, and chills that 2000 AD has to offer in honor of Halloween, and trust me — there’s more than enough for everyone. And hey, you may be thinking “ugh, Chloe, I really don’t like horror comics,” or you’re one of those people who says “there’s enough horror in the world already! Do you want to see my satirical Donald Trump/Boris Johnson costume?”, to which I say “Wow…you must be fun at parties”. And also: “Let’s focus on zombie male strippers, death judges, and good ol’ fashioned body horror instead!”
Apparently the stars aligned just right this year, and because of that we get to enjoy an ALL-NEW Scream & Misty Presents 13th Floor Special: Home Sweet Home , which is hitting the shelves….well, yesterday. (BUT ANYWAY.)
For those familiar with The Thirteenth Floor, you’ll find good ol’ psychotic computer Max is just as great as you remember him; except now he has a very angsty teen to help lure prospective victims to the virtual reality torture chamber that exists on the titular 13th floor of Maxwell Tower. But when a police detective starts looking into the disappearances occuring as a result of Max’s well-meaning killing sprees, will she shut it down or become another victim herself?
Writer Guy Adams mixes the instability that comes with psychedelic horror with just a tipple of psychological terror that hits just a little too close to home. The story ends up being a varied visual journey with a lineup of artists including John Stokes, Henrik Sahlström, Tom Paterson, Abigail Harding, Frazer Irving, Vince Locke, Jimmy Broxton, V.V. Glass, Kelley Jones, Andreas Butzbach, and Kyle Holtz. (phew.) Each artist brings their own unique style that jumps throughout the story, disorienting the reader in the best way. Max would be so proud!
Let’s not go limiting ourselves to just new releases though. 2000 AD is packed with a back catalogue going back 40+ years of comics that range from bizarre to drokking horrifying. So because you definitely haven’t shoved enough thrill-power into your eyeballs, here are a few more extra spooky collections to pass the time while you’re handing out candy that is initially going to a child, but will inevitably be stolen by their parents.
Cradlegrave (2000 AD Progs 1633-1644) (Trade paper collection, 2013)
From the original creator of the mind-drokkery that is Indigo Prime, John Smith, and the late, great, artist Edmund Bagwell, comes the woefully overlooked British housing estate drama meets extreme body horror collection that is Cradlegrave.
The story focuses on the protagonist, Shane Holt, being released from Thorn Hill Young Offenders Institute — the equivalent to “juvie” here in the states. Shane’s a bit older upon his release, and while he is determined to stay on the straight-and-narrow, his peers on the Ravenglade Estate (from which the title gets it’s name as seen from the defaced estate signs reading “Cradlegrave”) are determined to pull him back into the cycle of petty crime and useless thuggery that had him locked up in the first place. Luckily some very sweet old people at the local pensioners home are more than happy to offer Shane and his mates some honest work to keep them off the streets. But is the work as honest as it seems? Of course it is! Who wouldn’t trust some lovely, sweet old pensioners? All I’m saying is, if you’re looking for tired horror tropes and lackluster gore, you won’t find it here. Smith and Bagwell made sure of that. Have some bleach handy for your eyes and your dreams.
The Thirteenth Floor (Trade paper collection 2018)
I know we talked a little bit about the new release of The Thirteenth Floor: Home Sweet Home; and while that’s honestly great all on it’s own, it wouldn’t be a Halloween-centered column if I didn’t bring up the original, and one of the most beloved freaky comic strips to ever exist. Set in the estate block of Maxwell Tower, The Thirteenth Floor — written by none other than John Wagner and Alan Grant and illustrated by Jose Ortiz — originally told the story of what happens when artificial intelligence goes rogue. The A.I., fondly called Max, becomes hyper-protective of all of the residents of the twelve-story Maxwell Tower, and you don’t want to be the one to upset him. Initially taking down bullies, rogue police officers, crooks, and debt collectors by trapping them in Max’s hidden thirteenth floor and exposing them to their worst fears come to life, Max finds out that despite his master manipulation, there are forces that even he can’t control. Not only is this a great prequel to the newly released special, but it’s just a fun, morally grey, and surprisingly eerie read that still holds up.
Devlin Waugh: Swimming In Blood (Megazine Vol 2 #1-9, Megazine Vol 2 #26, 2000 AD prog 1149-1173, Megazine Vol 3 #72-73, 2000 AD 1243-1249) (Trade paper collection 2014)
Okay, so it’s halloween and everything is spooky and you want ghouls and vampires and the traditional parade of monsters…but you make it GAY! More queer than a handbag full of rainbows and half as light in the loafers, Devlin Waugh is the vampire monster hunter that’s here to steal the show. Another product of the ever-faithful horror writer John Smith and contributing artists such as Sean Phillips, Michael Gaydos, Steve Yeowell, and colors by D’Israeli, Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood recounts the story of a futuristic Vatican using telepaths to predict a dreadful and deadly presence in an underwater prison. Obviously, the best of the best — and a dashing devil to boot — is needed for such situations, so Devlin is sent to investigate and uncovers the only kind of evil that would ever make him abandon the Queensbury Rules to make it out alive. I am a queer horror fan and I endorse this message.
Zombo: Can I Eat You Please? (2000 AD Progs 1632-1639, 1675-1684, 2010) (Trade paper collection, 2014) and Zombo: You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant (2000 AD Progs 1740-1749, 1825-1834, and 2000 AD’s FCBD Special 2013) (Trade paper collection, 2014)
For those of you who genuinely don’t like gross stuff and things that go bump in the night….I mean, again, I bet you’re gonna be everyone’s favorite at the halloween party this year. But when it comes to reading, Zombo should have you covered. (Or as covered as a zombie in a banana-hammock can, I suppose.)
The delightfully bizarre dumpster baby of Al Ewing and Henry Flint, both Zombo collections (and alas — there’s only two. Ewing, if you’re reading this: FIX IT.) are centered around an experiment in combining zombie DNA with human DNA to create a creature capable of controlling the sentient death worlds. Unfortunately for the government that created him, Zombo is friendly, obedient, and impressively enthusiastic for stupid shit, which is the perfect wrench to throw into situations like crash-landing on a hellscape of a death planet where everything wants to kill the passengers. After all, the only vice Zombo has is his desire for human flesh; and even then, at least he’s polite about asking first.
Who even needs The Walking Dead when you’ve got undead idiot male strippers. Grud. These really are the best comics in the galaxy.
BREAKER BREAKER, EARTH-DIGGIN’ BUDDIES!
Look, we’re all busy. We can’t be sitting around waiting on 2000 AD publisher Rebellion to release news all the time no matter how badly we want new content and cool stuff. Oh. Wait. That’s literally my current job description. Well then lucky you! I’ve done it for you! Here’s some of the Rebellion/2000 AD news you may have missed so far this month:
–Planet Replicas announced their Dredd messenger bag which is all suped up with the body armor from the 2012 Dredd film. And get this: You can choose whether the badge says Dredd or Anderson! I mean, c’mon. This is what feminism has been about all along.
–Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s visionary series Sláine: The Horned God to get a collectors addition in May 2020! A take on barbarianism and time travel that is as beautiful as it is violent, this is the high point of the fan favorite 2000 AD comic. (As an aside — for anyone who has pondered the question of if Conan the Barbarian f*cks, this is going the be the iconic story of your dreams. )
-The Judge Pin, Sensitive Klegg, Elevator Pitch, and other stories from Rob Williams and Chris Weston (who are objectively the best Judge Dredd creative team since John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra themselves.) will be given their own collection with Judge Dredd: Control, scheduled for release June 2020.
-Some of the first adventures to be printed in the 2000 AD comics, Strontium Dog, is being reprinted with restored color pages for the first time in decades. It is scheduled to be collected in a ridiculously great 144-page hardcover edition in June 2020! Johnny Alpha didn’t die for your sin so that you could pass up on this. (He came back, it’s fine.)
-Announced at the When Comics Went to War panel at NYCC, Garth Ennis teased his new Rat Pack story in the upcoming Battle Special and Alex de Campi revealed that she would also be contributing a story about the Vietnam war. I’m not screaming, you are.
-Rebellion announced their new line of 2000 AD merchandise from GB eye featuring artwork from Mick McMahon, Cliff Robinson, Ron Smith, and Glen Fabry. The lineup of new gear includes Judge Dredd badge packs, card holders, mugs, and collector prints; as well as Sláine collectors prints.
(I would sell your soul to satan for the mugs.)
(Sorry. They’re just really great mugs.)
(Am I shilling hard enough for free merch yet?)
-2000 AD has a whole host of gifts that they’re rewarding old and new subscribers with! Whether you decide to go digital, print, or a hardy mix of both, there’s gonna be presents for you, basically. Starting at tier one where any digital subscription gets you 50% off the web store, to tier four which gets you the 50% off the web store, a poster prog, a badge, and a screen print by the incredible Tula Lotay, they’re basically offering nothing but positives here.
–2000 AD Prog 2150 was released, marking the perfect jumping-on point for nonscrots (“non-readers”) and squaxx dek thargo (“friends of Tharg”) alike. So if you’re reading this article going “Oh man I really want to start reading 2000 AD! Chloe sure knows how to talk up these amaze-balls comics!” (And please say those exact words, thanks), then hop to your local comic shop or subscribe online right here and get to reading’!
ONWARD AND UPWARD!
We’ve spent plenty of time talking about new things fit for halloween, old things fit for halloween, and all of the stuff you should spend your hard-earned monies on, but just like when we start panicking that John Wagner is going to stop writing Dredd — don’t worry, there’s more! Here are some of the other titles that have come out this month and ones that you can expect before next month’s column!
October 9th: 2000 AD Prog 2152
October 17th: Absalom: Terminal Diagnosis
October 17th: Misty Presents The Jordi Badia Romero Collection
November 14th: Operation Overlord
November 14th: Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 34
And so we’ve reached the end of our first time together, Earthlets.
I could go on and on about these comics for ages — and will do at much greater length next month after the editors decide this was the best idea ever — but for now, it’s time to say splundig vur Thrigg (Farewell!) In the meantime, I hope this has kindled an interest in the Galaxy’s Greatest Comics and made a Squaxx dex Thargo (friend of Tharg — catch up!) out of all of you! Make sure to head to your local comic shop or check out 2000 AD’s online store, and make sure to come back next month for Drokking Scrotnig!: Gaze into the Feast of Dredd!