EIFF 2015 – Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD

Jul 6, 2015 | Posted by in EIFF 2015
EIFF 2015

Paul Goodwin’s documentary Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD pretty much delivers what the title suggests. It’s a documentary chronicling the life cycle of iconic British publication 2000AD.

The documentary is nicely structured as it opens with the comic beginning right in the middle of the punk era and draws the parallels between this time period of social rebellion and the overall tone of the comic. It is pointed out that 2000AD was created as something of a response to the more family friendly comics featuring brightly coloured superheros and offered an alternative viewpoint on things. When it all started it was true cultural satire in the rawest form possible and the narrative of the documentary takes the viewer through what inspired that. I found the historical and cultural context invaluable as it helped give the stories that I’ve read more meaning.

I was impressed by the people brought in to speak about the comic. There was a good selection of writers old and new as well as fans of the comic. It’s interesting to hear from Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison on this topic as each of them have plenty to say on the matter. The creator of 2000AD, Pat Mills has most to say and pretty much anchors the story which fits perfectly since he was responsible for the whole thing.

Future Shock! The Story of 2000ADEveryone who speaks is impressively candid in recounting their experiences. Mills in particular pulls no punches when talking about events and people he doesn’t like. He’s incredibly realistic about the state of the industry when it comes to pay an credit and seems to wear his heart on his sleeve in regards to how disgusted he is with this aspect of the industry. It’s amusing to see all of these people rant and rave about the mistreatment they have all suffered as the language is very colourful and the blunt honesty works really well but at the same time it’s easy to see how much their careers have been hurt by decisions made by more powerful people. It’s clear that the comics industry has a long way to go before being considered fair.

Many people watching will only be aware of 2000AD through Judge Dredd since he is the character that has had 2 films made about him. The documentary covers Dredd but not in as much detail as you might expect. Just as much attention is given to Strontium Dog, Nemesis the Warlock and the other bizarre creations that appeared in this comic. I really appreciated the lack of appealing to the mainstream as the whole purpose of the documentary is to educate people so devoting so much time to something that people may already know about.

It’s also fascinating to see the widespread influence this British institution has had on popular culture as a whole. Alex Garland talks about how 2000AD inspired the presentation of zombies in 28 Days Later and some early concept designs for Robocop show a very distinct Judge Dredd influence. Not to mention some of the borrowed lines in that film. There are other movies that have taken various pieces of inspiration from this publication and it’s only really apparent when it’s pointed out. The influence of this comic book across the past few decades can’t be understated and it’s good that there’s a documentary to tell the story and give 2000AD the respect it deserves. As aside you could make a drinking game out of the number of times 2000AD is said in this documentary…and in this review.

The only niggle I had with this is that it seems to be a little one sided throughout. This is mostly fine as everyone is being honest about their experiences but the more hardship focused parts of the story are only told from the perspective of the wronged. It might have been interesting to include testimony from the clueless suits that are so often referred to. It would have balanced the account a bit better.

Despite that, it’s interesting, hilarious and well put together so if you’re interested in 2000AD then absolutely check it out.

  • 9/10
    Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD - 9/10


A fascinating exploration of the cultural and historical impact of 2000AD from the creation right through to the present day.

I found it interesting to see just how much an impact this publication has had on comics and society as a whole. It’s something of an underdog so to find out it’s had widespread appeal and managed to influence everything from other comics to modern films was pretty eye opening.

The guests being interviewed are people who worked on the comic as well as fans so there’s plenty of perspective on the whole thing and it’s great to see people talk so fondly about their experiences even when things were a little sketchy in regards to pay and credit. It might have been good to have the perspective of some of the soulless suits that are so hated but other than that the story of 2000AD is well constructed and delivered in a pleasing way.

Check this out if you’re at all interested in comics as this will be a bit of an eye opener. Very entertaining and incredibly informative.