As one of the many titles to celebrate 40 glorious years of 2000AD’s comic book brilliance, they’ve rather helpfully created a compilation of some of the best stories they’ve ever published in 2000AD’s Greatest: Celebrating 40 Years. Since the people making those choices are their own creators and – amazingly – have the humility to not pick their own works, they even obligingly explain why they’ve chosen the ones they did.
You know those compilation albums? The ones where you know some of the songs and like them, which makes you want to buy it, but then there are some songs you don’t want, and others that make you question what idiot chose to include them on the album at all? Then there are some songs which you know should be included but which seem to have been overlooked?
Of course, you know compilation albums like that. Then again, these days you probably download the songs you want illegally, because buying CDs is for squares and vinyl is for squares who think they’re being stylish, and digital is where it’s at. You probably also think that because you’re a sugar-sucking hipster with no soul. However, the point is that you know albums like that exist.
Books like that exist too. And this is one of them.
This makes it somewhat fascinating because, instead of covering landmark tales, some of the stories may be less familiar to readers. And that’s a good thing.
Naturally, quite a few of the stories contain Judge Dredd since he’s 2000AD’s most prominent character. There’s also a Strontium Dog story, one from Nemesis, and a couple of Tharg’s Future Shocks. The good news is that almost every story is an outright winner, highlighting the tongue-in-cheek dark comedy, explosive action and impressive art which has become synonymous with the long-running anthology series.
Whilst everyone will have their favourite, the Klegg story is still amusing and heartbreaking, while the tale “Meat” is a classic in every sense, flipping from comedy to tragedy and then to black comedy again effortlessly.
As with any compilation album though, there are a couple where you may be disappointed. Thankfully, due to the rapid-fire nature of the stories, even if you don’t like one it’s only a few pages before you get to one you’ll love.
The only real downfall of this is that it’s so damn short.
2000AD has told so many amazing stories over the years that it’s impossible to pick a perfect compilation. Many of their normal stories are multi-part tales and so they can’t be included, while you’re bound to wish that there were others here because you might have some favourites of your own which didn’t feature.
This doesn’t quite live up to the name on the tin (so to speak). This isn’t a collection of the greatest 2000AD stories, just some of them. Nor are they the milestone tales from over the years. However, it’s still a great compilation which should please hardcore fans and newcomers alike. You’ll just wish it were bigger. Much, much bigger.