2000 AD

   2000AD was essentially a product of its time. After Warlord was launched by rivals D.C.Thomson in September 1974, IPC magazines realized that it was important to counter with their own new magazine. At the time of the launch of 2000AD, the market was awash with themed comics such as Roy of the Rovers (football) and Action (war), while 2000AD’s own theme was to be broadly sciencefiction oriented. As the founder of the magazine explained:
   I didn’t want 2000AD to follow in the same old house style of existing publications like Eagle or TV21. I actually saw sci-fi as a vehicle for increased action and violence, and, more importantly for myself a chance to explore the difficult idea and concept of the human archetype of the beast. 2000AD was not a vertical progression from previous comics, more a retreat into a darker world, where you could get away with anything.
   This development was in parallel with an increasing intervention by Hollywood into the field of science fiction with notable films such as Logan’s Run (Anderson, 1976), Star Wars (Lucas, 1977 re-released 1997) and cult favourite Blade Runner (Scott, 1982), also released as Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut (Scott, 1991). While all may owe something of a debt to 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968), they reflected the move of traditional areas of human conflict into visions of a future society. The most telling contribution of 2000 AD is undoubtedly the character Judge Dredd, the ultimate law enforcer, judge, jury and executioner who rode the streets of MegaCity One in the twenty-first century dispensing justice as and when he felt necessary. The character was utilized in the Hollywood film Judge Dredd (Cannon, 1995) though some purists decried its depiction (and Sylvester Stallone’s portrayal) for being not true to the ‘original’. It is somewhat curious that while we can be precious about cultural artefacts created in the recent past we are far less concerned with interpretations of work with a longer history such as Shakespearean plays. Judge Dredd himself has emerged as a cultural icon, and 2000AD to a large degree operates within the shadow of its most famous creation.
   See also: comics; comics culture
   Further reading
    Jarman, C. and Acton, P. (1995) Judge Dredd: The Mega History, Leonard Publishing (more concerned with Judge Dredd than 2000 AD itself, but in the absence of any reference works on 2000AD it provides some useful early detail and context).
   GUY OSBORN
   STEVE GREENFIELD

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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