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Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD Review

"A must see for comic-book fans"

Future Shock! The Story 2000AD is a documentary made for fans of comic books by fans of comic books, offering us a comprehensive look at the famous comic book company 2000AD and their impact on the medium.

2000AD is an example of a Great British success – a weekly science fiction comic book series whose best known creation is Judge Dredd and has had many famous writers and artists working on their properties. Director Paul Goodwin chronicles the foundations of 2000AD, from the 70s to the modern day and all the ups and downs that they endured.
future shock - titl
Goodwin interviews many of the great and good of 2000AD and British comics as a whole: Pat Mills (Nemesis the Warlock), John Wagner and Carlos Ezqurra (Judge Dredd), Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) and many, many more. He even interviews people like Alex Garland, head honchos from DC Comics and even some academics, examining 2000AD artistically, culturally and as a business. Sadly, they were unable to get the great Alan Moore involved in the documentary.

2000AD was formed at the end of the 1970s, in the midst of social upheaval and at a time when comic books in the UK were only seen as a children’s media and unhappy profession for people working on them, as they hated the experience. Mills and his colleagues were actually fans of the medium, aiming to write for an older audience with a more subversive edge by adding political commentary in sci-fi settings such as in Judge Dredd and Nemesis the Warlock. Their mantra was ‘see what you can get away with and go further’. It led to a creative culture that gave writers and artists a lot of freedom, making 2000AD a breeding ground for talent. 2000AD saw themselves as the punk-rock of the comic book world.
future shock - pat mills
Future Shock! is a lot like the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune. Though Future Shock! focuses on the comic book industry and Jodorowsky’s Dune¬†examines the pre-production of a movie that was never made, they are stylistically similar, using talking heads, archival footage and animated comic-book artwork and storyboards/concept art to convey their stories. They also have similar conclusions, Jodorowsky’s Dune ended showing the influence of movies like Alien and The Terminator, while 2000AD success led to a big chain of causation that included the foundation Vertigo Comics (DC Comic’s indie wing), influencing comic books and graphic novels like Watchmen, bringing a darker, psychological approach to mainstream superheroes and its impact on movies like RoboCop, 28 Days Later, The Book of Eli and Hardware.

However Goodwin has a very scattergun approach to the documentary, jumping from topic to topic. Future Shock! broadly tells the story of 2000AD in chronological order – Goodwin goes on tangents, looking at specific 2000AD titles, the lack of women in the industry and the mistreatment of writers and artists. These are of course important issues, but they were shoehorned into the documentary. It looked like Goodwin had a lot of a material he wanted to use and looked for any place he could put it in the movie.

Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD provides an excellent insight about the workings of 2000AD and the comic book industry as a whole. Fans of comics will enjoy this look at this institution while personalities like Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill and John Wagner will keep non-fans entertained with their anecdotes.

  • Its in-depth look at the comic book industry
  • Plenty of humor from its taking heads
  • Made with love for the subject matter
  • At times randomly jumps from topic to topic

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