This updated 40th anniversary edition of Thrill-Power Overload is a look at the history of the galaxy’s greatest comic. Featuring behind-the-scenes stories of the shenanigans which have occurred there, incredibly candid interviews with many of their top creators and editors, and a vast selection of artwork showing some of their finest moments. It’s possibly the most definitive guide to everything they’ve been up to over the years. Which is quite a bit.
2000AD’s fortieth anniversary is a pretty big deal.
After all, look at their track record of memorable characters and classic stories. Look at how solid that Dredd film was. Look at some of the great computer games based on their comics, like Rogue Trooper. Look at the talented creators they’ve helped bring to the world, like Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and Brian Bolland. Look at the films they’ve inspired, from Robocop to Hardware. Look at… um, okay, don’t look at that Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd film. Please don’t look at that.
Regardless of that particular blemish, they’ve pushed the envelope in creating anti-hero underdogs, dark comedy and ultra-violent action. They’re the punks of the comic book world and they don’t give a toss what anybody thinks. Right?
From its early days and slow ascent to the glorious creative time of the 1980s, through to the decline in quality in the ’90s, the wheeling and dealing as the company changed hands repeatedly, ran afoul of the censors on many occasions, got sold again in the 2000s, suffered one bad Judge Dredd movie and one really good one, all the way to its current heights, it’s all covered in massive detail.
Are there problems with it? Sure.
If you don’t like 2000AD, this won’t be essential. But then, whose fault is that? Nobody’s. If you own an earlier version of this book, do the new chapters make it worthwhile? Yes, but only if you’re keen to read about what’s happened recently. Does it require a lot of reading? Yes. It’s a book, so it’s to be expected. But there are still plenty of pretty pictures to look at too.
Thankfully, there’s plenty going for it and some of the interviews and quotes are outright hilarious. It’s incredibly candid, but then that’s always been one of their trademarks. They aren’t afraid to bad-mouth their own faults, real or perceived, and own up to their mistakes. At times they’ve been like an exploding bomb of insane creativity, and a few times they’ve been a stagnant pool of boredom due to resting on their laurels, but they’re wonderfully honest about all of it.
If you’re a comic book fan, you may have giant tomes like The Complete History Of Marvel or The Ultimate DC Compendium sitting on your coffee table. If so, you should definitely add this to the pile. In fact, this should be at the top of that pile. It deserves it.