Monday, 9 April 2012
2000AD & Me
It eventually dawned that my newly-arrived subscriber's copy of 2000AD carries a quote from my "Q" comics review column on its front cover.
It's no achievement, I know. It's just a combination of an incredibly fortuitous chance to express myself in print combined with the utility of a sentiment I genuinely subscribe to. 2000AD is an indispensable read these days, and it's been so for the past eight or nine months. I know that it's Q's good name and not, of course, mine that lends the opinion a measure of weight. Similarly, I'm keenly aware that a single line of cross-hatching, a lone lettered consonant, or the choice of an exclamation mark in a one-off story for Tharg all stand as infinitely more valuable contributions than my entirely unimpressive little sound-bite. It's just not possible to think otherwise.
But the delusionary glory of that three word quote's not why I've found myself chuckling over the cover of Prog 1778, as any Squaxx dek Thargo (*1) will have surely guessed. It's just that having the slightest personal connection to a single printed page of the Galaxy's Greatest Comic is a surreally dislocating business, like discovering there's a "Hi Col S." scratched into the run-out grooves of every last copy of a favourite 12" single. After all, I first came across 2000AD when I was fourteen, confined to bed, and desperate to read anything which might kill some time. The comic was a weird, pulpish, brutally energetic rush of a experience, and although it took me a good while to acclimatise to its contents, it eventually became what it remains today, part of my everyday life. In all that time, I've never had any reason to suspect that there's even the most infinitesimal trace of me in any single one of its pages. Why would I? Thinking of that sort tends to end up with the discovery of secret personal messages encoded in the text of the Book Of Revelations and shoulder-sitting demons popping up to advise on whether to run on the tracks or not.
Now, in the far-distant future of 2012, I sit down with 2000AD's latest issue and find myself wondering in passing who it was that had declared the comic to be "an indispensable read"? It's a moment of the purest cognitive dissonance, to be reading a quote on 2000AD's cover exhorting me to sample the pleasures within while simultaneously realising that those consumer-encouraging words are my own. It's not that there's anything of any importance in that, anything deserving of pride and self-congratulation. But who wouldn't chuckle at such a moment, and look again, and then chuckle some more?
*1:- A regular reader of 2000AD