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Judge Birthday and Bernardi Peen Party
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My favourite comic is old.


Next week my favourite comic book turns forty. Clearly, it is eleven years older than me, because I'm 29*. I've been reading 2000AD since I was about twelve or thirteen. I used to grab a copy every week from the newsagent near my high school. It was printed on toilet paper, it left ink all over your fingers, but it contained the most exciting comics I had ever read. (I once got tossed out of class for collapsing in tears while reading the Alan Moore and Ian Gibson strip The Ballad of Halo Jones in a copy of 2000AD tucked into a textbook) The first issue I bought was Prog 305 (they're called progs, which is short for programme, because all of the writers and artists are supposedly droids enslaved to the alien editor Tharg the Mighty, late of the planet Quaxxann). 

My first exposure to 2000AD in Prog 305 was a cover and interior Judge Dredd story by Steve Dillon, who remains one of my favourite artists, not only through his work on Dredd, but on the comic in Doctor Who Magazine, his work with Garth Ennis on Hellblazer and Preacher and so much more. Steve Dillon passed away late last year and it was an incredibly devastating loss. 2000AD puts out a fortnightly podcast about the ins and outs of the weekly comic, the monthly Judge Dredd Megazine and the future and history of British comics in general. Their special Steve Dillon memorial episode is a wonderful insight into his life and work as told through the eyes of his friends and colleagues. 

It would be foolish of me to try and sum up what makes 2000AD so great in just this short newsletter, because the influence it has had on comics is wonderfully detailed in the documentary Future Shock: the Story of 2000AD. All I can tell you is what it means to me, and to me it is, still to this day, a weekly dose of unbridled fun. The stories are a bit more grown up than the nonsense that excited me (and in the case of Halo Jones, made me cry) as a kid, but they're still very action oriented and a five page story in 2000AD has far more pace and density than a 25 page American superhero comic. Even a premise in 2000AD is fun. Recent stories include King Maker (Ian Edgington & Leigh Gallagher) which is essentially 'what if aliens invaded Tolkien's Middle Earth and Gandalf had to team up with an Orc to save the world.' Then there is Hope (Guy Adams & Jimmy Broxton), which is what if Hellblazer's John Constantine was a private eye in 50's Hollywood? Not to mention the consistently wonderful writing on Judge Dredd by creator John Wagner, Unfollow's Rob Williams and Michael Carroll (Quantum Prophecy) and brilliant art by Henry Flint, Colin Macneil, Tiernen Trevallion and Sydney artist Mark Sexton (Mad Max: Fury Road).

Last month, I told you I'd started a book called The Three-Body Problem, which I finished! (I'm more surprised than anyone - I have the attention span of a teenager whose dexys have fallen under the couch) It's a great read. Some really wonderful imagery, and batshit crazy hard science fiction concepts. Also, the chapters have those page-turning cliffhangers that I absolutely adore. One thing I found fascinating is a perilous correlation between what is happening in our world now, and the scenes early in the novel set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, where intellectuals were seen as distrustful and had to be 'retrained.'

The hardcore communists dismissing Einstein's theories out of hand because he was a representation of the decadent west, is not all that dissimilar to people shouting down climate change science or claiming not to believe in vaccinations, because they do not align with their political viewpoints. It is terrifying how few lessons we've learned from our history. (The Nazis also published a scientific paper denouncing Einstein and his 'Jewish theories,' which bore the unwieldy title of 'One Hundred Authors Against Einstein,' to which the theoretical physicist retorted that if he were wrong, one author should have been enough).

I first heard about Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem when reading a long form article in Wired about issues with the voting for the 2015 Hugo Award. This was my first insight into the kind of movement that would vote in droves for Hanson and Trump, a majority that somehow feels threatened by minority voices, and is determined to shout them out. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this novel. It is not only a cracking read driven by the kind of hard science fiction I love, but it gives, through the footnotes, a wonderful insight into the Chinese psyche, and just what kind of lasting psychic scars a wholesale revolution can leave on a people. 

I have a whole bunch of books on my Kindle app that I want to read next, but I am suffering from crippling indecision. Do you have any suggestions? What have you loved lately? I'll read anything. Crime, thriller, romance, literary fiction. I love it all. My favourite writers are Connie Willis, Ruth Rendell and Chuck Palahniuk, so my tastes are broad! Let me know via email, twitter, facebook - wherever you see this! 

*I've been lying about my age for so long, that the other day, I told someone I was 47 - I'm not, that's how old Cory Bernardi is - I was researching his life for an erotic fan fiction story I read this week at the Giant Dwarf theatre in Redfern, and that age stuck in my head. The story is about Cory experimenting with hardcore gay sex. I'm not a fan of Cory's, but I am a fan of hardcore gay sex.
 
 
Upcoming gigs:
Sydney:
Happy Endings Feb 17 & 18
Melbourne:
Comedy at Birds's Mar 6
Catfish Comedy Mar 7
Daylesford:
Chill Out Festival Mar 11 & 12
Brisbane:
Sit Down Comedy Club Mar 23 - 30
Gold Coast:
Arts Centre Mar 31
 
The Shelf Season XIV 3 shows only at The Toff.
Justin Hamilton and I caught up this week to talk about stuff for nearly an hour on The Shelf Podcast 2017. Lots of spoilers, including my newfound obsession with Riverdale and Justin's disdain for zombie Drew Barrymore.
Copyright © 2017 Adam Richard, All rights reserved.


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