My trip down south coincides with the clearing of my Dad's place, and with it (somewhat inevitably), some rediscoveries of old, long-thought disappeared treasures. I've found quite a few now, but chief among them has to be my collection of early 2000ADs. Hooray!!! Every home visit for maybe the last ten years has been frustrated by me not being able to find two large cardboard boxes of issues (or 'progs' to use the magazine's own futuristic vernacular), but this month with what seemed the last ever attempt to find them by hand, they let their hidden presence be known.
As expected, and then some more, these boxes have turned out to be as much a time capsule as my own juvenilia. A friend once went into a virtual state of mourning after our flat was burgled and he lost his entire music cassette collection; his reasoning being that among those often redundant and patchy collections of albums and dubs he could name the times he first heard certain songs, the places he'd visited or the mood he was in. The act of consuming media is a weird two-way street sometimes; it seems to me that the more vivid or visceral the experience of reading or listening, watching... is, the more that experience takes in and 'records' other experience around it as an unconscious contextual backdrop. And so in that regard I've memories of when I first read in the pages of my progs the series Helltrekkers, discovered the histories of the various 80s ABC Warriors, got into Slaine (on a train, as it turned out), followed Dredd and Anderson through the City of the Damned, had my mind blown by the likes of Pat Mills and Kev O'Neill in Nemesis the Warlock and Metalzoic. It's all there, and flowers like fireworks in my brain when I open those pages again after twenty-five to thirty years of simply getting on with life. It's remarkable.
My boxed progs are only part of my collection - it's not complete, but may now number over a thousand, and the process of integrating these old issues (I've only brought up around thirty so far) with my collection here will be a slow but interesting one. I've been selective with the ones I've brought up - two boxes, one of my earliest progs (I think Prog 180 might be the oldest of them?), and another of a selected run comprising the aforementioned Helltrekkers, some of Bryan Talbot's stint on Nemesis, and all of Metalzoic (on which I'll post soon). Of course, the issues I left behind will eventually make their way here (fingers crossed). In them is the end of my 80s infatuation with 2000AD, petering out somewhere past Prog 500 and, as it seemed to me, the end of the magazine's early golden age and its short transformation from adventure comic for boys into ephemeral accessory of the Acid House set. I did reacquaint myself with 2000AD during my Uni years, and those progs are also at home, but the prospect of having all of these issues together at last (still incomplete, I must stress) is an exciting one. Happy times and places in every issue, and, of course, the stuff of Jetsam.