Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prog 1 - FLESH

Another great in-your-face-splash page.
This strip combines two of the best things I loved as a kid...Cowboys and Dinosaurs!
Flesh was a strip that was waaay ahead of it's time. Before 'Jurassic Park' there was Flesh. The story was quite fun too.

The concept was really quite simple...In the 23rd Century animals have more or less disappeared and human are surviving on synthetic foods. But people want REAL meat. So, they go back in time and harvest dinosaurs. It doesnt't matter because the dinosaurs are going to be exstinct anyways.

This is actually a pretty cool concept because you can get a lot of mileage out of it...which is what Pat Mills later did with the other Flesh books. In this first installment we see how the cowboys round up the herd of plant eating dinosaurs and keep the tyrannosaurs at bay. Another interesting theme is how the arrival of 23rd Century man is upsetting the balance in the food chain. And in this episode we have the cliche of the poor sap who's finishing his tour of duty that day and is going home...but never makes it because...he's been eaten by a crocodile.

The smell of blood sends the tyrannosaurs into a frenzy and they attack the herd of Styracosaurs. Panicked, the styracosaurs blindly stampede towards the edge of a cliff. The cowboys do their best to contain them but it's the strips 'hero' Earl Reagan' that saves the day by prompting the leader of the pack away from the cliff edge. Earl looks a lot like Dean Martin from Rio Bravo in this strip.

The day is saved but at a high loss. Twenty rangers lost their lives stopping the Tyrannosaurs from destroying their payday. And Reagan leaves the reader with a ominous glimpse of what is to come.

What I remember about this strip as a kid and the intallments of 'Flesh' that lie ahead is, it was pure bloody carnage and mayhem. Everything a kid loves! As you can see from the crocodile panel and the panel below, 2000ad wasn't shy about showing the pure savagery of the dinosaurs or the ranchers...both vying for their pieces of the pie.

A great opening chapter to a strip that would get better and better as the progs went on..



Seriously though, don't you think you'd notice a sixteen meter croc emerging from the river behind you...? Fucking Flesh! Kickass! Old One Eye made such a huge impact on me as a kid you've no idea...!

dmstarz said...

I found Flesh pretty unsettling when I first read it - well, I was only six, so can you blame me? Even when I wasn't reading it, I would check with by friends to see if Deputy Joe was still alive, such was the gratuitous body count (his fate is settled, if memory serves correctly, not by dinosaurs but by giant spiders). Read it all years later and was really impressed, though the final episode was a bit anti-climatic - all about Old One Eye, Earl Reagan locked away.