Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

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SID
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Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by SID »

Up in the windy north, I finding myself pondering on the big issues of life.

In this case, the 2000AD and Starlord merger of October 1978.

It has been said if it wasn't for the merger, the Galaxy's Greatest Comic would not be around today.

No doubt that it was a major win for Tharg but do you agree?

And if so, what would have happened? (and let's assume that Starlord never existed). Depending on the time of the demise, the chances were that it would have been merged with another comic. If so, which one do you think and what characters would have made the merger?

Your views please.
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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

Strontium Dog definitely helped 2000 ad's fortunes, and FLESH book 2 was also a welcome addition------it was a good boost in the arm for Thargs' comic.

The merger was a happy accident and 1978 was one of the very best times for the comic in my view----still reads great today---vintage future shocks/cursed earth/ judge cal/ sam slade]Ro-Busters --dammit, even Ant Wars had a lurid charm!

Timequake was a good superior offering from Starlord, it is a bit of a mystery as to why this very worthy comic never lasted too long.....just a few months, great production values----maybe the price?

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by Raven »

SID wrote:Depending on the time of the demise, the chances were that it would have been merged with another comic. If so, which one do you think...
Whoopee!

No, seriously, it could only have been Battle or Tiger, couldn't it? So Battle, with Battle as the main title.

Characters: the ones that would best suit the title, probably Judge Dredd, Flesh, and maybe Ant Wars!

If Battle's sales were significantly higher than 2000AD's, they may have been phased out fairly quickly.
ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:it is a bit of a mystery as to why this very worthy comic never lasted too long.....just a few months, great production values----maybe the price?
As has been said many a time, ISPY, and has even been said in the original post of this thread, Starlord stopped to keep 2000AD going. It was reportedly selling better than 2000AD, but the latter was thought best suited to being the "umbrella" title for the long term.

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by Lew Stringer »

Battle would have been the one to take it, with Dredd and any other surviving strips switching to a future war theme, but staff morale on 2000AD would have been very low if that had happened. They often had to put up with an attitude against their comic as it was from other editors who didn't quite 'get' the appeal of 2000AD. Thankfully the comic survived and thrived.

The other alternative is that even if Starlord hadn't happened, IPC would have most likely created a different adventure weekly to merge with, or absorb 2000AD.
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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

Raven wrote:
As has been said many a time, ISPY, and has even been said in the original post of this thread, Starlord stopped to keep 2000AD going. It was reportedly selling better than 2000AD, but the latter was thought best suited to being the "umbrella" title for the long term.

Well, Raven, I do actually read the original posts before replying, [if often fairly quickly]
and I have followed your words of wisdom regarding Starlord being dumped soley to keep 2000 AD going, but I am damned if I can find any reference to this point by Sid in post one above....

The impression given by Sid above suggests that the consequential addition of Strontium Dog especially altered 2000 AD\s future, but this is a happy accident, and very different from deliberately axing Starlord, simply so 2000 AD could keep going.

My own theory is that the higher production values on Starlord [deluxe like TV 21, compared to the galactic bog-paper used by Thargs' comic for the first 10 years] meant less profits for the publishers, despite high sales...same old story.

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by Lew Stringer »

ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
Raven wrote:
As has been said many a time, ISPY, and has even been said in the original post of this thread, Starlord stopped to keep 2000AD going. It was reportedly selling better than 2000AD, but the latter was thought best suited to being the "umbrella" title for the long term.

Well, Raven, I do actually read the original posts before replying, [if often fairly quickly]
and I have followed your words of wisdom regarding Starlord being dumped soley to keep 2000 AD going, but I am damned if I can find any reference to this point by Sid in post one above....

The impression given by Sid above suggests that the consequential addition of Strontium Dog especially altered 2000 AD\s future, but this is a happy accident, and very different from deliberately axing Starlord, simply so 2000 AD could keep going.

My own theory is that the higher production values on Starlord [deluxe like TV 21, compared to the galactic bog-paper used by Thargs' comic for the first 10 years] meant less profits for the publishers, despite high sales...same old story.


You're both right. Both comics were under performing but Starlord was more expensive to produce so logic dictated 2000AD should be the dominant title. Also, IPC tended to keep the older comics going if possible and 2000AD had a slight seniority over Starlord.
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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by Raven »

ISPYSHHHGUY wrote: Well, Raven, I do actually read the original posts before replying, [if often fairly quickly]
and I have followed your words of wisdom regarding Starlord being dumped soley to keep 2000 AD going, but I am damned if I can find any reference to this point by Sid in post one above....
He wrote "It has been said if it wasn't for the merger, the Galaxy's Greatest Comic would not be around today. No doubt that it was a major win for Tharg" which I thought referenced it - he doesn't mention Strontium Dog.

Sales had dipped, it was merger time, so one of them had to be subsumed, business as usual for IPC comics. 2000AD was considered the best long term bet as main title.

Lew Stringer wrote:
You're both right. Both comics were under performing but Starlord was more expensive to produce so logic dictated 2000AD should be the dominant title. Also, IPC tended to keep the older comics going if possible and 2000AD had a slight seniority over Starlord.

It was that, as a 'generic' science fiction comic, 2000AD was considered to have more long term commercial potential, I thought, the Starlord comic being "themed" with a more limited editorial concept, the readers organizing themselves into Star-Squads as Starlord Troopers and watching the skies for the forthcoming alien attack, etc.

I expect that if Starlord's more expensive production was a big issue, they'd simply have switched it to cheaper paper and lower production values as they did with Tiger and Eagle at various times, when cost cutting became necessary. IPC never seemed to have a problem in dropping the slicker paper for a title.

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by Lew Stringer »

Raven wrote:
ISPYSHHHGUY wrote: Well, Raven, I do actually read the original posts before replying, [if often fairly quickly]
and I have followed your words of wisdom regarding Starlord being dumped soley to keep 2000 AD going, but I am damned if I can find any reference to this point by Sid in post one above....
He wrote "It has been said if it wasn't for the merger, the Galaxy's Greatest Comic would not be around today. No doubt that it was a major win for Tharg" which I thought referenced it - he doesn't mention Strontium Dog.

Sales had dipped, it was merger time, so one of them had to be subsumed, business as usual for IPC comics. 2000AD was considered the best long term bet as main title.

Lew Stringer wrote:
You're both right. Both comics were under performing but Starlord was more expensive to produce so logic dictated 2000AD should be the dominant title. Also, IPC tended to keep the older comics going if possible and 2000AD had a slight seniority over Starlord.

It was that, as a 'generic' science fiction comic, 2000AD was considered to have more long term commercial potential, I thought, the Starlord comic being "themed" with a more limited editorial concept, the readers organizing themselves into Star-Squads as Starlord Troopers and watching the skies for the forthcoming alien attack, etc.

I expect that if Starlord's more expensive production was a big issue, they'd simply have switched it to cheaper paper and lower production values as they did with Tiger and Eagle at various times, when cost cutting became necessary. IPC never seemed to have a problem in dropping the slicker paper for a title.
I'm only going by what editors and staff at IPC told me.
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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by colcool007 »

If we are going by the facts, then Lew has bee able to give us the straight scoop as he worked with IPC after the event.

If your premise is what if Starlord had never existed and 2000AD had to be wound up, then the most likely merger would have been Battle. We are talking 1978 here and if you look at the stories in 2000AD at the time, then you are mainly looking at future war. And the only other comic to cover any war stories was Battle.

But it's all academic as thankfully Starlord did have a lovely run of 22 issues and gave us Strontium Dog and Ro-busters, which span off to give us ABC Warriors. Both strong characters that are still being used today.
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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by starscape »

Starlord was a truly great comic but it was definitely going through a poorer patch towards its end. I don't think it really mattered which comic became the lead. The creators were working across both comics. Both also were very similar in their genres too. Little would have changed except the figurehead.

Just a shame we didn't get Star*Lord monthly to go alongside 2000AD weekly. Be interesting to see how that would have fared.

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by geoff42 »

I believe Judge Dredd was the anchor that kept 2000 ad from being swept away. By the time of Starlord's run, he was just about beginning his mega epics - cursed earth, I believe, was the first and proving very popular courtesy of pat mills. While Starlord had strontium dog, 2000 ad had the edge with old stony face.

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by Raven »

Strontium Dog was never the star strip in Starlord for me - Ro-Busters was the comic's highlight. Planet of the Damned was the next favourite.

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by SID »

To me, it was obvious that Starlord WAS sacrificed so that it could give 2000AD that extra boost (material & readers) to survive. I just wonder if 2000AD would have survived anyway. It had some really good strips and a really strong one in Dredd. Plus as it has been said, cheaper to produce.

However I don't believe Starlord was simply created to last so many issues before being absorbed into 2000AD. Not like some other comics I could think of (Thunder, Jet and perhaps Tornado, etc...). From reading the history, there was too much planning involved in my option.

I think it could have easily been Starlord that survived the merger though there may have been copyright issues with Marvel if IPC had tried to get into the American market.

Now what would have happened if Starlord had been produced the same way as 2000AD and sold for the same price? Which comic would have survived then? Either way, I think we would have a comic very similar to present day 2000AD.
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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by David McDonald »

Kelvin Gosnell would have known by at least issue 16 that Starlord was for the chop. Sales would not have been what was invested/projected, and there was very little 'stock' stories, bar the VC's which did appear in 2000AD.
2000AD on the other hand, may have had less sales, but they may have been more stable, and it had established a cult character in Dredd by the time the decision to axe a title was made, the cost of the title to produce would have been taken into account, plus it had Robo Hunter and Dare in reserves.
There is no doubt that Starlord gave us readers the 2000AD(and longevity) we have today.
Speculation otherwise is fun though, if there was no Starlord, then no Strontium Dog, no Robuster, ABC Warriors, Nemesis. Versions of these may have surfaced, but these characters were specifically commissioned for Starlord. The main thing 2000AD got from Starlord was Steve McManus, and IMO without him -no golden age 2000AD.

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Re: Starlord: 2000AD's Savior or Not?

Post by SID »

Completely agree, David.

Thinking about it, possibly both comics were the saviour of the other. Neither comic may not have had enough to survive back in the 70s but together they did.

And the fact that even today two of the main strips in 2000AD came from Starlord tells me that the spirit of 2000AD and Starlord lives on.
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