Borag thungg, Earthlets! It is I, Report Siht, Hive Queen in charge of the Galaxy's Greatest Website, and I'm here to tell you about 2000 AD.The story of 2000 AD begins in 1977, when the mighty Tharg of Quaxxan in the Betelgeuse system arrived on your planet and found it dangerously low on thrills. He collaborated with the Pat Mills and John Wagner droids to produce a scrotnig sci-fi Anthology Comic. They gave it the futuristic name of 2000 AD, because they never expected it to last until 2000. Turned out they were wrong.The main draw of the first prog was the return of popular 1950s hero Dan Dare, though MACH 1 proved rather more popular. However, the true breakout series was to be Judge Dredd, who debuted in the second prog and has appeared in every strip since. The mag has continued to play host to a wide variety of sci-fi comics, some scrotnig, some not.Of particular note is that a huge chunk of the most zarjaz British writer droids currently contributing to American comics got started within the pages of 2000 AD. Basically, if he's British and popular in America, he probably wrote a few strips here.Spiritually, 2000 AD is a descendant of Action, inheriting many of its themes, practices and motifs from the older comic, and many of its writers originally wrote for Action. Flesh and Shako in particular can be easily described as "Hookjaw, but with dinosaurs/a giant polar bear instead of a great white shark".Comics Which Have Run In This Mag Include:
Just about every British comic writer or artist you've ever heard of... except Warren Ellis (though he did get a letter printed once back in the mists of time).
Tropes Associated With 2000 AD
(Note to Tropers: It appears that we have a Grexnix or two among you so do take heed of this notice to only add examples here that apply to 2000 AD itself, or to a large number of strips in general. If a trope applies to one strip, consider making a separate page for it).
Applied Phlebotinum: Apparently, the stories Tharg publishes for us create a type of energy called "Thrill Power." Reading too many epic stories at any one time can lead to something called "Thrill Power Overload," and Tharg occasionally has to protect the comic from enemies called "Thrill Suckers" who seek to steal said "Thrill Power."
Continuity Reboot: Several over the years, including Dan Dare. It is also, perhaps, the main way the magazine gets around bringing back dead characters without a typical comic book resurrection (See: Death Is Cheap, below).
Comics Merger: Tornado and Starlord were absorbed into the comic.
Clue from Ed.: Editor-In-Chief Tharg the Mighty always refers to these as "Tharg Notes."
Death Is Cheap: Averted by editorial mandate. Tharg has ruled that, in order to keep deaths meaningful, once a character dies, they cannot ever be resurrected (unless that's part of the premise of the strip, like if the protagonist is a vampire or something).
Resurrections defying the one exception above have occured though ( Mean Machine, Junior, and Pa Angel in Judge Dredd and, most recently, Dmitri Romanov and Johnny Alpha), albeit it's still generally uncommon.
Doujinshi: There are three popular fanzines, which Tharg encourages the readers to buy and which sometimes have work by the comic's creators. Zarjaz is a general-focus zine, Dogsbreath centres on Strontium Dog, and Tales from the Emerald Isle focuses on Irish characters.
Excuse Question: Lampshaded. ("To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer this brain-bustingly easy question.")
Future Slang: It's mostly used in stories set in the future to create unique swear words to get past the censors (e.g. "Drokk" and "Stomm" in Judge Dredd, "Sneck" in Strontium Dog, "Funt" in Sinister Dexter, et. al.)
Global Currency: Galactic currency is more like it. The Groat is apparently the most commonly used currency throughout the Milky Way; Tharg always gives his contest winners the choice to receive their prize money in either Galactic Groats or Pounds Sterling. The Groat also may show up in the comic strips themselves every once in a while.
The Hero Dies: Notably, a number of strips have this occur, starting with M.A.C.H.1.
Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Strontium Dog and a couple of Future Shocks play around with this one, with some of them even having Hitler travel back in time himself to do things such as prevent his own murder as a baby or start human civilisation.
Hostile Show Takeover: The Vector 13 guys replaced Tharg as the editor for a while in late 1996 and early 1997. Fans didn't take to it too well.
Humans Are Morons: As of September 2010, every single example for this trope underneath the comics tab on that page comes from something published in this magazine.
For the 10th anniversary, a badge reading '10 years of Thrills' was inserted somewhere in each strip.
For the 30th anniversary, which was also the 30th anniversary of the first Judge Dredd strip, they began the "Origins" story, which explains how the world of Judge Dredd came to be. John Wagner had been planning on writing that story for a while, but figured that the 30th anniversary was the right time to publish it.
The 10th anniversary of 2000 AD's sister title, Judge Dredd Megazine, ran Judge Death's Origin Story.
The 15th anniversary issue had only two stories, a Judge Dredd story that was a homage to Oceans Eleven and The Simping Detective had a story titled "Fifteen", which had an in story celebration for the Boss, having taken over the sector's crime syndicate fifteen years prior.
In 2010, the Meg's 300th issue and 20th anniversary occurred within two issues of each other, and so issues 300, 301, and 302 were all double-length (and the price was raised by a pound; issue 303 was still 50p more than 299, grumble grumble). Across all three were run two special features:a three-part in-depth interview with Carlos Ezquerra, and past writers and artists reminiscing about their favourite parts of the Meg. Issue 302's Judge Dredd strip was full of all sorts of continuity nods and the final panel, while making perfect sense in the context of the story, was clearly a happy birthday message to the Meg.
Minimalistic Cover Art: The Judge Dredd Case Files, a series of trade paperbacks collecting the entire thirty five plus year run of the series, have covers that are half solid colour, half black with a logo, plain text title and an image of the Judge himself. In the earlier editions, the image of Dredd was black and white which enhanced the effect. This style has since been carried over to other 2000 AD complete collections, including Strontium Dog and Nemesis: The Warlock.
A played-for-laughs "meta example"; One time when the droids went on strike, Tharg purportedly wrote and drew an entire issue by himself, but when he ran it through the quality-control "Thrill-Meter," the machine melted down from Thrill Power Overload and had to be locked in a lead-lined vault by blindfolded security guards so as to prevent any danger of people accidentally reading it.
The Judge Dredd Cursed Earth saga has two two-prog mini-stories that can't be officially reposted, even in official collected issue books, due to copyright infringements. Parts 11 and 12 involved warring descendants of burger franchises Mc Donald's and Burger King, whilst the second troublesome duology, parts 17-18, involved parodies of assorted food company mascots, including Kentucky Fried Chicken and Jolly Green Giant. Fortunately, both are no real loss to the story, since they are fundamentally silly satire-focused mini-issues.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Went straight for the jugular when it introduced "B.L.A.I.R. 1" in the Nineties, where Prime Minister Tony Blair was implanted with "compu-puncture electro-needles" to give him superstrength, and a party-line-spewing AI advisor called Doctor Spin in his head.
Judge Dredd has so many examples that it needs its own page.
Overcomplicated Menu Order: In one of the DR And Quinch stories, D.R. wants to appear eccentric at a fancy restaurant and so orders four dozen lobsters, wearing Prussian Blue waistcoats. Then when they're delivered, he complains that the waistcoats are Turquoise Blue, "and where are the chocolate-covered ant's brains?"
Pen Name: John Wagner and Alan Grant wrote a lot of content together for the magazine in the 1980's, most of which were published under one of several pseudonyms Wagner had created (T.B. Grover perhaps being the most notable for their work in Judge Dredd) or credited to just one of them instead of both in order to avoid having entire issues with multiple strips from a single credited writer. The only strip where Wagner and Grant share a writing credit together under their real names is Ace Trucking Co.
There was also a gag on the letters page where readers confused by the familiar design of the Rosette of Sirius emblem Tharg wears on his head would write in asking "Why do you have a telephone dial on your forehead?", a question that would always annoy Tharg ("There's always some dipstick Earthlet who thinks the phrase "telephone dial" is inherently hilarious."). Sadly, the real-life death of the rotary phone killed this joke off. Its final mention was a letter asking "Why does my telephone have a Rosette of Sirius on it?"
Schedule Slip: The comic is distributed in America by Diamond in a monthly pack. Unfortunately for American readers, the issues in the pack tend to be out of order, and any given pack often has issues originally published before some of those in a previous pack.
Shared Universe: At one point, Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, ABC Warriors, Nemesis the Warlock, and various others were all linked into a single, not entirely consistent continuity. ABC Warriors has since been retconned out, taking Nemesis with it, and the new Strontium Dog also appears to be separate.
A more limited version appears as the Dreddverse, primarily consisting of the Judge Dredd series, but including many spin-off series such as Judge Anderson and Lowlife, and shared-universe stories such as Armitage and Insurrection.
Spinoff: The Judge Dredd Megazine, printed monthly.
There have been a few over the years, none of which lasted particularly long. Some worthy of note inlcude Dice Man (1986) which tried to be a type of Choose Your Own Adventure and Crisis (1988-1991) and Revolver (1990-91) which were aimed at more mature readers (which was a trend at the time) and the Extreme Edition (??-2008) which was mainly reprints from the early days of the main comic. Only the Meg has done well enough to last over a decade.
Tag Line: The magazine's had many over the years, the most notable perhaps being "In Orbit Every [X]day" (in reference to whatever day of the week the comic was published on) and "The Galaxy's Greatest Comic".
Transplant: Entire series were transplanted into 2000 AD in the late 1970s and early 1980s, often as the result of it's owner's other magazines folding. Strontium Dog is probably the most famous example, having gotten its start in a magazine called Starlord which didn't last a year.
Happens with a couple of characters within shared universes as well. For example, Galen Demarco started out as a supporting character in Judge Dredd before getting her own Spin-Off, showing up in the main strip again, then turning up as a supporting character in The Simping Detective, turning up in the TrifectaCross Over before going back to her own Spin-Off again.
Zeerust: When it was founded, the year 2000 AD sounded wonderfully far-off futuristic.
Word of God claims that the name was also chosen because the original publishers doubted the comic would last that long. Apparently they're keeping the name as a badge of pride because they actually did.