Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD

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The definitive documentary on the galaxy’s greatest comic.

Image of Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD

Paul Goodwin/UK/2014/110mins

Available on Blu-ray from Mon 31 July 2017

The weekly science fiction comic book 2000AD has been on the shelves of comic book stores and newsagents for 40 years. The publication is home to characters such as Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog and Zenithand has seen a wide variety of talented writers and artists feature within its pages. In 2014 the documentary Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD was released to give fans an insight into the creation of the comic, and now a new extended Blu-Ray edition is available to celebrate the 40th anniversary.

The documentary beings in 1977. It is the height of the punk movement and the United Kingdom is filled with angry youths who are directing their frustration at the government. Within this anger 2000AD was born and it presented subversive, powerful and engaging stories to the children and young adults of the day. The movie follows the typical talking heads documentary format. We hear from original editor Pat Mills, along with writers Alan Grant, John Wagner, Grant Morrison, Emma Beeby and Neil Gaiman. The interviews are interspersed with images from comic book pages that highlight the work of key artists including Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland and Kevin O’Neil. All the above creators give their own personal perspective on their involvement in producing stories for the comic. Their insights highlight the endearing nature of the work and how fantasy science fiction stories such as Nemesis The Warlock and Strontium Dog reflected the political turmoil’s of the 1980’s.

As the documentary progresses we learn of mismanagement from the publications owners, gross mistakes from the marketing department and how creators actually had to fight to receive credit for their work. Novelist Neil Gaiman puts the issues in context when he explains that he never received royalties for American reprints of his work. This inspired him to publish his stories elsewhere and 2000AD ultimately lost many of its best talent to big American publishers such as DC and Marvel. Future Shock! is slightly let down by the absence of some key creators in the history of the comic. Writer Alan Moore for example wrote many strips for 2000AD, including classics The Ballad Of Halo Jones and DR and Quinch, and his perspective is very much missed.

From hearing the variety of creators who are involved in the comic talk with passion it is obvious that 2000AD has lost none of it’s punk edge over the years, and has continued to grow with its audience. New talent has come through and continued to create exciting and diverse comic book stories. The enthusiasm of these creators comes over in the documentary, where the love and commitment to the comic is obvious throughout. This passion makes Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD an enlightening and interesting documentary even if you have never picked up the comic.