Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Whither the 2000 AD?

OK, long story short, I couldn't get the 2 weeks worth of comics in my box today, because the Bank Account Elves were unusually hungry and went all buffet on my account.

So instead, I thought I'd talk about 2000 AD. No, not the year itself. The UK comics anthology. This was inspired, incidentally, by the post over at Dave's Long Box about Marvel Comics Presents, a generally crappy anthology that he ruminated on earlier today. So, here's the deal.

I kept hearing about all these interesting and different comics stories available in 2000 AD, so I thought I'd give it a try. Now, my LCS doesn't normally stock it, so I had to put it in my subscription list. No biggie. I got my first issue, which was cryptically labeled "Prog 1435" (or somesuch number). OK, I figured out that was the issue number. I could deal with that.

I read the first story, part 3 of a 5 or 6 part Judge Dredd story, and it was OK. I wondered precisely what the hell was going on, but I thought I'd eventually catch up.

The next four stories in this issue were:

  • A story about a company of space marines who thought one of their own was an alien
  • A story about a guy leading a wagon train of mythical monsters out West
  • Some bizarre piece of samurai space opera that I can only conclude is the product of random synaptic misfires on the part of the writer
  • A story about a man in a kilt trapped in a casino with a half-naked female assistant ass-deep in a jungle ruled by sentient jungle animals.

I literally had to stop after reading the issue and reassure myself that yes, I was still on Earth, and no, I hadn't been taking those "special pills" that the kids deal on street corners.

And you know what? I loved it. I absolutely LOVED the sheer weirdness of all this 2000AD. I mean, you just don't get stories like that in mainstream American comics. Hell, I'm not sure you get that in independent American comics!

(I know, I know, part of it's my fault for having too much love for the superheroes. But still. You know what I'm saying.)

But you know what? I was frustrated. Because each of those tales had about 5 or 6 pages worth of story, and then I had to wait until the next issue. AARGH!

So, I waited patiently for the next issue. A week went by; no issue. Another week; no issue. Now, I'm used to monthly comics missing dates. But dammit, this is a WEEKLY comic! So then I had the bright idea to go check Diamond's shipping list. I found that typically, 2000AD shipped biweekly, 2 copies at a time. OK, that explains things. I'll just wait.

Finally, one week I went in and had two copies waiting for me. I looked at the "Prog" numbers, and realized something was amiss. I had an issue that predated the one I had read by two weeks, and the other "new issue" was two issues past the one I had read!

So, for those of you scoring at home, I now had three issues of 2000AD, every-other-one in a run of five. I tried reading them, but skipping issues was like watching a movie and fast-forwarding about 20 minutes every half hour. (Apologies for the math-laden post; it shan't happen again.)

I asked around a few people I know who read 2000 AD. The answer was the same in every case: "Yeah, it's kind of wacky. You sort of have to wait a good 8 weeks, then go back and read the stories in order".


I dropped 2000AD after about 3 months of this. Not because I didn't love the concepts and the stories, but the format combined with the shipping schedule drove me batshit crazy.

I'm asking for help here, dear readers. Are me and my circle of friends here in Tucson the only ones who experience this? Is it my LCS? Am I just bad at counting? I'm willing to entertain all possibilities. Leave me a note and help a brother out, y'all.


Blogger kelvingreen said...

Okay, the thing is, Diamond utterly fudge up 2000ad distribution, because it's not only weekly but imported, and they apparently can't get their heads around that.

You'd think they'd stockpile the imports so that they could release them in order, or something like that, but that might be too easy.

Anyway, 2000ad is actually sold through the magazine/newsagent trade in Britain, rather than the comic shops (although many comic shops do sell it), and it comes out weekly, so it's very easy to get hold of.

My advice would be to find someone in Britain who'll buy the comic and send you the issues, perhaps in monthly parcels. You'll get them in order, and likely faster than Diamond, too.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Kelvingreen to the rescue!

Thanks much for the info -- like I said, I really like the ideas behind a lot of the stories in there, so I'm looking for a way to buy it that doesn't make me berserk.

I'm glad to hear that this is mostly Diamond's fault, because it A) gives me another reason to whack Diamond publicly, and B) means I don't have to have an unpleasant conversation with my LCS.

Good advice, KG, and thanks!

6:50 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

You're welcome!

Also, Diamond charge a ridiculous amount for the comic, and I'm sure it'll be cheaper to go the "English friend" route.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is entirely Diamond's fault, i had the same problem with getting 2000AD mail order from Mile High. What was most frustrating was when some issues never appeared at all.
You can subscribe to 2000AD, and I'd recommend picking up a copy of the Judge Dredd Megazine too.

7:51 AM  
Blogger JYD said...

I can sympathise but in freaky mirror opposite kind of way. Being a citizen of the UK, I can get my weekly fix of 2000AD from at least 5 different newsagents in Blackburn, as well as easy access to the Megazine or any other publications.

However, Blackburn being a crappy town in the north of England, I really struggle to get hold of the Marvel and DC stuff. I know there are good comic shops in this country, but not near me. As such, I am still unable to find a copy of the All New Atom #3.

Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I'm on a quest to discover many entertaining comics pages and as such, I tend to read them all from the beginning on.

So, hello and that.


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