2000AD Prog 1: Free Space Spinner

Great start for a new comic.  There’s not much I’m going to say about this prog as it’s all been said before.

After a fairly standard introductory double-spread we launch into the invasion of Britain by the Volgans (re-branded Russians – literally – the original artwork featured hammers and sickles, which were replaced with the death’s-head V).  After a round-up of the eight-hour long war, we’re introduced to Bill Savage who, almost immediately, starts resisting the occupation.

On to the next story, featuring (Valley of the Gwangi inspired?) cowboys versus dinosaurs.  Nice smattering of less-well-known species though the Tyrannosaurus Rex makes an appearance.

We then roll on to Dan Dare, included primarily so that, in those post-Action days, the dads would hopefully be on-side when their sons wanted to buy the comic (and these were the days when non-humour comics were strictly targeted at boys or girls).  Nothing really jumps out at me about the storyline, though Belardinelli’s artwork elevates the whole episode.  Notable for the first use of the word ‘Drokk’.

Next up we Meet Tharg – as with other IPC comics around the same time, we have a fictional editor.  I was too young to buy comics back then though, so maybe 2000AD was the first?  By the time I was reading Eagle, Scream! et al, no comic was complete without non-human editor.  First use of the term ‘Galactic Groats’.  Oh, and there’s a picture of another character debuting in the second prog.  We are told that we had better believe that he is the law…

Next, and I gather the most popular of the initial line-up, is M.A.C.H.1 – who bears some similarities to an astronaut in a seventies TV show.

Finally we have an early appearance by Dave Gibbons depicting the Harlem Heroes.  I do wonder how a team of black sportsmen went down in 1970s Britain – though the Harlem Globetrotters were popular at the time (and were referred to on the third page).  By the time we get to the last page we’ve lost three team members and Dave Gibbons, but gained a full-colour back page.

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