Art. Attitude. Anarchy. Future Shock – The story of 2000AD

future-shock-graphicjpg-60a2aaAlmost everything I’m obsessed with, inspired by or simply think is ‘rad’ can be traced back to my exposure to an unholy trinity of influences at key developmental stages of my childhood. Star Wars at five years old, Fighting Fantasy at seven years old and 2000AD at eight years old.

Whilst I’ve discussed the influence of Fighting Fantasy and Star Wars at length elsewhere on this blog, the acid damage 2000AD wrought upon my delinquent brain has yet to be fully explored. Trust me though it’s coming. Once again the blame can be placed squarely at the feet of my sainted Grandmother who every Friday would turn up at our house with the TV & Radio Times for my parents, The Storyteller tape/magazine for my little sister and Transformers and Whizzer & Chips for me. Things were going swimmingly until one Friday she arrived later than usual. For whatever reason she had been delayed. ‘I am sorry Nathan, but the man at the newsagent didn’t have any Transformers left…’ She delivered this dreadful news whilst rummaging in her bag and upon seeing my forlorn mug peering back at her she added cheerily ‘Don’t worry though love, I got you something else….it’s got big robots in it’. She stuffed a magazine called 2000AD into my eager grasp and lo the  stars aligned, doom bells tolled and the sun went black as sackcloth. The robots in question were of course the ABC Warriors. Occult obsessed, chaos worshipping, human murdering, cross-dressing war droids who kicked about with a cloven hoofed alien warlock. So that was me pretty much fucked.


Future Shock is the story of the galaxys greatest comic 2000AD. It’s the story of how Pat Mills and his conspirators created a comic book that was politically and socially aware that slipped under the radar, hopped the fence into the mainstream and switched a generation of scrotes on. Subversive, ultra violent, radical, full of gallows humour and very bloody British. If ever there was a comic book equivalent of the moment you got your mind blown by your first punk or metal record then it is without a shadow of a doubt the first time you read 20000AD.EastMeg_Judge_001

The documentary traces the origin of the book through the experiences, reflections and anecdotes of a motley assemblage of 2000AD’s creative powerhouse. And what a fucking cast! Grant Morrison, John Wagner, Bryan Talbot, Kev O Neill, Brian Bolland, Alan Grant and Neil Gaiman are among those who lend the voices to chronicle the filth and the fury of the greatest comic in the galaxy. Whilst never my personal favourite, Dredd is probably the most recognisable character to the bloke on the street and his influence on popular culture, film and music is undeniable. Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Karl Urban (the man behind the chin) both join the choir in praise of Mega City One’s top dog.

759595-abc_warriorsMy personal Godhead Pat Mills (Slaine, ABC Warriors, Nemesis, everything else that is cool)  is on top form and firing on all cylinders with a barrage of stories, memories and attitude like an absolute don. Mores the pity we don’t get to see him going full bore and uninterrupted by snappy cutaways because I could watch that dude breathe fire for hours, but either way his enthusiasm and righteous scorn are a joy to behold.

Alan Moore’s dulcet tones are notable by his absence. However one of his finest creations Halo Jones is given the correct and proper attention that she deserves and we’re reminded of the tragedy it is that we’ll never see her saga completed.tumblr_lhywflObn11qz4ymjo1_1280

The anecdotes, stories and mirth come thick and fast. It’s a joyful celebration of the anarchic spirit and ‘fuck you’ attitude of a comic book that could really only have ever spawned in the grey wasteland of Thatchers Britain. But it’s not all filth and fury and good times. Future Shock is not some bloated self congratulatory ‘Behind The Music’ style ego rub and it acknowledges that the mag did have a few duff periods in the late 90’s when that  bloody awful Stallone Judge Dredd movie appeared.

Justin Greaves of Crippled Black Phoenix/Hard To Swallow/Iron Monkey provides the soundtrack and it’s a match made in heaven. The flawless juxtaposition of jagged sheets of howling metal guitar and spastic punk drums with Brian Bolland’s classic Judge Anderson artwork felt like I was staring back into the boiling cauldron of my own adolescent brain.

jhx5ohHonestly I cannot recommend Future Shock enough. It’s equal parts moving, maddening and hilarious. It has clearly been made with a genuine love and is beautifully produced and briliantly scored. If you are a curious youngster or a new initiate looking to find out a little more about 2000AD before getting stuck into the back catalogue, please watch this. If you have a single punk bone left in your body, watch this. And if you were a kid in the late 70’s and 80’s like me and need to be reminded of just how fucking vital it was to get that weekly fix of over the top characters, maniacal ultraviolence and black humour. Please just drokkin’ watch this.

2 thoughts on “Art. Attitude. Anarchy. Future Shock – The story of 2000AD

  1. As a fellow reader also from a very early age this was great to get out of the wind with a coffee to this afternoon. Cheers!

  2. Think I spotted Dan Abnett in that trailer too. This passed me by Nathan, thanks as always for bringing it to the fore.

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