Tuesday, March 4, 2014

All-Star Try Outs

Another collection of old stories from the 2000AD archive. As well as being useful as space fillers and palate cleansers between the regular ongoing strips, the Prog's Future Shocks are well known to have been a proving ground for young comic book creators. Producing a snappy Future Shock is the way into 2000AD and lots of writers and artists who have gone on to be well known for other stuff first learnt their trade producing these short science fiction stories with a twist ending.

So here Tharg has collected 47 Future Shocks dating from 1978 to 2001 which range from one page fillers to a two part story that runs to eleven pages. And as the cover blurb informs us we have early work from a variety of famous droids including Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Mark Millar, Brian Bolland, Alan Davis and Kevin O'Neill.

The problem is, of course, that this is early work and they are mostly just throw away gags. With the benefit of hindsight we can see some of the distinguishing features these creators will become famous for. So Grant Morrison always believed he was the smartest guy in the room, Neil Gaiman tended to use twenty words where one might have been overdoing it, Alan Davis could draw really cool looking aliens before he mastered his human figures, and Brian Bolland was ridiculously talented at portraying facial expressions right from his earliest work. Mark Millar is in there somewhere but his stories really didn't leap out at me at all. Meanwhile Kevin O'Neill is perhaps the artist whose work has changed most dramatically over the years.

Included here are the first appearances of Grant Morrison's Ulysses Sweet character who has recently been brought back to the Prog by Guy Adams and Paul Marshall, so there might be some interest there except that those three episodes are already available on the internet for nowt.

It is probably telling that my favourite story in this book is John Wagner and Mike McMahon's silly Super Bean which was also in the recent Sci-Fi Thrillers. Apart from that this collection is again probably only of interest to comics historians and completists.

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