IDW Publishing are the franchise daddy’s of the comic’s world in recent years (and the US’ 5th largest publisher) with Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall scooping up just about anything nerd-centric and marketable to nerds (G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ghostbusters, TMNT, Star Trek, Doctor Who etc.) and a few things that aren’t (My Little Pony?) and reviving them for a 21st century audience with some fairly cracking creative teams.
Recently in a deal with British Comic’s Rebellion, IDW got their hands on legendary British comics character and brick chinned law bastard; Judge Dredd with crime writer Duane Swierczynski and and artist Nelson Daniel the new creative team. As the US hasn’t seen a whole lot of ‘The Galaxy’s Greatest Mag’ this got me thinking…..
And my thoughts went something like this:
What would be the 10 greatest 2000AD properties ripe for reprint/redevelopment by IDW?
2000AD is so damn packed with Brit talent that it’s been mined for writers and artists by the US Comic’s Giant’s for years. But all those writers and artists had already established a fantastic body of work and creativity that’s less known in the US, but staple in the UK. So what would happen if all those fantastic creations that are primarily known only in the UK got a look in with our pal’s over in the US?
Who should be the ambassadors of the UK’s finest, and which of the many classic 2000AD characters do we suspect could go on to find renewed relevance as ongoing properties in the US?
Well wonder no more dear readers, fer I’m about to tell’s ya. And feel to chime in, comment, wax my ego and/or disagree in the comments section:
10. SAM SLADE: ROBO-HUNTER – Re-Develop
When Sam Slade originally debuted in 1978 under John Wagner and Ian Gibson’s creative guidance he was a cross between a Cigar chomping tough guy and a pulpy anti-hero who hunted rogue robots – kind of like a precursor to Bladerunner minus on the noir and plus on the ACTION!
Slade’s Bounty Hunting premise added to the fact that robots have become considerably more evolved since our late 70′s perception of them (nano tech, cyborgs etc.) means that a redeveloped Slade as a futuristic pulp hero could be a definite winner. Especially if he maintains his out of date action sensibilities, which with the popularity of films like The Expendables shows that if anything; people want more!
9. BAD COMPANY – Re-Develop
Originally a concept by John Wagner and Alan Grant, Peter Milligan would rework the idea 16 years later into the fucked up Vietnam-esque Frankenstein Freakshow that was Humanity’s war with the Alien Krool on the strange Planet of Ararat. The story follows young soldier Danny Franks, recruited by the renegades known as Bad Company following the slaughter of his own platoon. But Bad Company are no ordinary squad, composed of freaks, damaged psychopaths, war experiments and maniacs led by Kano, a Frankenstein’s Monster-like character with a secret kept in a little box.
This title read like Apocalypse Now meets The Dirty Dozen with Aliens and Monsters in it, and was as disturbing as it was engaging, trodding some strange, dark and often hallucinatory territory. In an era of Global Warfare and revolution Bad Company could provide a whole new level of strange commentary to the many layers of that onion.
8. BUTTON MAN – Re-Print
The premise of John Wagner and Arthur Ranson’s Button Man is this:
Harry Exton, ex-mercenary, is a “Button Man”, a hired killer pitted against other killers in an underground sport. Each works for a mysterious “Voice”, a rich man of unknown identity. The object of the game is to kill your opponent, or capture him and take his marker – the first two joints of a finger.
Button Men who lose three fingers are shot anyway. The “voices” profit from the game by gambling on the outcome, and a ruthless killer like Harry Exton can make a modestly wealthy man extremely rich. Exton decides to quit, only to discover that leaving the Button Man game isn’t so easy to leave.
And it was ones of the darkest, most sinister little ‘outside the box’ thrillers of the 90′s. Ranson’s photo realistic art alone would look stunning in a new hard cover collection.
7. THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES – Re-Print
Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s life time spanning story of the 50th Century every-woman Halo Jones, was frankly; one of comic’s finest hour’s. Set in an immersive world with a character who was both fully realised, sympathetic and relatable, this level of complexity and non pandering to the audience was simply not done during this period of comics and in the early 80′s it’s fair to say that Moore’s pre-Watchmen work (Swamp Thing, Miracle Man etc.) was ably redefining comics for future generations. Halo Jones was one of those stepping stones, and deserves to be reprinted Ad Infinitum as an example of epic storytelling and protagonists done right.