Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD review
Perhaps you’ve never heard of 2000AD, the birthplace of many iconic comic book characters (Dredd, Zenith, Strontium Dog) and the writers who created them; even so, Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD should interest you, if only for viewers to see behind the facade of the stories they read and watch. Paul Goodwin’s documentary about the rise, fall, and subsequent rebirth of the weekly British comic rag interviews a number of big names in the field, including those that wrote for 2000AD and then went on to have massive multi-series careers including Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and original creators like Pat Mills and John Wagner. Future Shock! takes an intimate look behind-the-scenes at the popular comic series, but it also helps define how important characters come to fruition, an important view into the process of creating and what it means to be able to call a creation your own.
Over the course of about 110 minutes, Future Shock! moves through the entire existence of 2000AD. Obviously, it starts at the beginning, allowing Mills and Wagner to describe the inciting moments that led to the series’ release – mostly a changing political atmosphere and a rebellious nature that didn’t really belong in the comics industry at the time.
Fans of 2000AD will get truly enjoy the history behind some of the comic’s most intriguing characters. Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog get lengthy segments, not only discussing origins but also their importance culturally, especially in a time of political strife where good and bad was never very clear and Apartheid was a horrid reality. Future Shock! doesn’t just leave it to creators specific to the series, though. The documentary also interviews people who were heavily influenced by the stories, including Scott Ian of Anthrax and Geoff Barrow of Portishead.
But the film’s most interesting aspects occur when the creators and writers discuss the dissolution of the brand in the ’90s, at a time when the comic struggled to maintain staff after American publishers like Vertigo began to pull writers and illustrators overseas. There’s also some very entertaining anecdotes about these turbulent times from editors, who discuss problematic ad campaigns, bad editorial decisions, and publisher contracts about signing over all creative rights. While many people who worked and lived 2000AD enjoy the memories, there’s also a darker history explored within Future Shock!
Overall, the documentary is a delightful look at the weekly comic powerhouse, and it’s paired with an awesome series of art transitions that give some of the series’ most iconic characters 3D representation. This is a great watch for anyone who grew up reading 2000AD, but it’s also important for fans of contemporary comics – it shows where publishers like Vertigo and Image began, thanks to 2000AD pushing boundaries.
Click next for the Blu-Ray review.