It’s 35 years since Tharg the Mighty, a gentleman alien from Betelgeuse with a penchant for eccentric phraseology that looks as though the cat’s got on the keyboard, first shared with us Earthlets his mighty, thrill-powered organ, 2000 AD! And so, to celebrate three-and-a-half decades of drokking good comic-strip stories, here are – in no particular order – 35 great things about 2000 AD…
1) “GAZE INTO THE FIST OF DREDD!” – (See above).
2) Fetishising King’s Reach Tower – Built in 1972, and pretty shabby to be honest, the 364ft-tall building was refashioned as ‘Tharg’s Nerve Centre’ upon the comics’ launch. And remained as such until 2000 AD retired to the less pulse-pounding locale of Oxford in the space year 2000.
3) “Note for readers on Mercury – your delivery shuttle delayed by solar storm.”
4) That logo.
5) The first TV advert…
6) “NO! PLEASE LET ME DROWN BEFORE THE GIANT SCORPIONS GET TO ME!” – (suggested by Joe McNally)
7) IPC sub editor Kevin Gosnell’s original pitch document for 2000 AD, circa 1976 – “It must make money while riding the crest [of the Star Wars sci-fi boom] and could be used for a merge when it becomes uneconomic”.
8) “WE – ER – BROUGHT YOU THESE FLOWERS AND CHOCS, BUT I GUESS YOU WON’T BE NEEDING ‘EM NOW” – The final page of 2000 AD prog 1 sees one of the Harlem Heroes left as but a brain in bell-jar following a hover-powered road-liner accident.
9) “20p Earth Money ($1.45 Malaysia; 0.5g Asteroid Belt; 100g Saturn)”
10) Rob Hubbard’s music for the Nemesis The Warlock computer game…
11) Ro-Jaws’ movie review of TRON – “A real treat for the old optic circuits” (suggested by SOTCAA)
12) “In Orbit Every Monday”
13) Papier-mâché-inations! – in the Nemesis The Warlock photo-strips.
14) “SOME KIND OF ELECTRO-MAGNETIC BEAM!” – Dan Dare is made-over as a superhero, complete with beam-ejaculating ‘cosmic claw’.
15) …And his subsequent rebuttal in Prog 500′s self-referential strip ‘Tharg’s Head Revisited’: “First you made me a complete freak, then a Biggles look-alike with a clunky space fort, and, finally, you gave me this… this cosmic claw and turned me into a – choke – super-hero™”
16) “KEEP CALM + + + THRILL FACTOR OVERLOAD + + + KEEP CALM”
17) Postage stamp dealer advertisements not much larger than a postage stamp
18) How many can you name? – That Prog 500 wraparound cover.
20) “COMMUNICATION TERMINATED” – The 1994 revamp merits a TV ad…
21) “NEXT PROG: SOMETHING SOMETHING ORANGES SOMETHING…” – (suggested by Calum Benson) NB. Additional points for Clive James cameo
22) “AIEEEE! BLAKEE PENTAX!”
23) Zenith – smart-arsed, self-centred superhero-cum-pop star from the SAW era, who’d more likely be hanging out with Big Fun than fighting big baddies. Managed by Richard-Wilson-in-TUTTI-FRUTTI-lookalike Eddie. Once battled Noel Edmonds.
25) Mutants In Mega-City One…
26) “Enter Our Bubblicious 2000 AD Competition! Win a super Sansui Hi-Fi System!”
27) “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT… CREEP!” - Long overdue reinstatement of classic (but non-chrome) logo.
28) “NEXT PROG: HAVE A NICE DEATH!”
29) Warp spasm!
30) “Define the playing keys”…
31) The Tharg’s Future Shocks exclamation-mark.
32) Kevin O’Neill draws himself into an episode of Nemesis.
33) Destruction of the Cyril Lord block. – “BUT CHIEF JUDGE, CYRIL LORD’S A LISTED BLOCK!”/”CYRIL LORD’S A LUXURY WE CAN’T AFFORD!”
34) …And the coda to that - “ARGUING WITH THE CHIEF JUDGE – YOU’LL BE ON THE CARPET FOR THIS, WILTON!” – (Both suggested by Robert Seabury)
35) “Sole agents for Australia and New Zealand: Gordon & Gotch Ltd.”
- NB: Thanks to David Bishop for providing a lot of the above to us, way back when. His scrotnig book Thrill-Power Overload: Thirty Years of 2000 AD is still available to buy.