Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD (2014)

First published by TwitchFilm

In 1977, when the new millennium seemed an unimaginably long way into the future, the weekly SF magazine 2000AD was launched, with Pat Mills as its first editor, and changed the British comics landscape forever with its blend of punkish ultraviolence, political engagement and adventurous storytelling, “turning us all”, as stellar contributor Grant Morrison puts it, “into a generation of anarchists.”. Recurring characters like Judge Dredd would have an untold influence on the culture in different media, while the magazine proved a breeding ground for new talent (like Alan Moore, Mark Millar, Neil Gaiman and Dave Gibbons), many of whom would then be poached by America’s higher paying DC Comics and their less mainstream imprint Vertigo.

Paul Goodwin’s documentary tells the story of the publication’s birth – and of several subsequent near deaths – through interviews with an impressive array of contributors and commentators (with Moore the only obvious – if unsurprising – absence). Interspersed with bursts of animation in the house style, Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD is an anecdotal trawl through the magazine’s history by the people who made it – mostly affectionate and nostalgic, although also featuring candid accounts of women marginalised and artists mistreated (copyright and even attribution were regularly withheld). I hope it isn’t a spoiler to say that, when granted this feature’s final words, Mills more than lives up to the magazine’s rep for irreverence with a brusque: “You don’t know what you’re talking about, so just piss off!”

Anton Bitel