2000 AD in Stages

Stage 02 - Teething Trouble

Progs 36-85: 1977-1978

Prog 36 marks a jump-on of sorts and takes us into a phase that necessarily answers the question of what happens when the original thrills start to reach their natural conclusions or dry up. Importantly (for everyone's careers), this also marks the start of creator credits being attached to their work.

Due to the success of 2000 AD, a sister publication, Starlord, was launched and ran concurrently with progs 64-85. As 2000 AD flourished, it's stable-mate Starlord was merged in (hatch, match, dispatch) for prog 86, which marks the beginning of the next phase.

Inferno *SEQUEL*
This follow-up to Harlem Heroes realized that the algorithm "Basketball meets Rollerball (minus motorbikes, plus jetpacks)" should never have subtracted the bikes.
This series really marks the end of the narrative, but there's a return of sorts when the much-maligned soft reboot "The Harlem Heroes" launches in prog 671 (12 years later) featuring entirely different characters.

Cockney rebel Bill Savage continues to defend Britain from invading Russians Volgans using sassy language and a shotgun.
While this marks the end of Invasion, the prequel (Disaster 1990) shows up in the next phase and then the saga gets rebranded (26 years later) and woven tightly into the Millsverse in Savage, starting in prog 1387.

Tharg's Future Shocks
Usually one-off tales with a twist.
More in the next stage...

Dan Dare
It's like Star Trek, except they kill all the aliens.
Continues in the next stage...

The Bionic Man crossed with 007 replaces itself with the Bionic Man crossed with the Hulk: the story of MACH ZERO is far less 007 and much more Frankenstein's monster.
MACH ZERO has a brief return in 1980 and M.A.C.H.1 gets a hard reboot (29 years later) as Greysuit in prog 1540

Judge Dredd
What look like two epics (in Luna-1 and The Cursed Earth) still follow a very episodic structure. Luna-1 is just the setting (not a visible title), and we get 13 separate stories before Dredd returns to Earth. The Cursed Earth is much more a planned saga.
Continues in all subsequent stages...

Bonjo from Beyond the Stars *NEW THRILL*
If you remember when Scrappy Doo got added to Scooby Doo, you might form a realization of why Bonjo is in the prog. It's a fairly harmless, partial page strip about a moronic alien. This kind of shorter (page count) content aimed at younger minds continues for a while in different guises.
Barring some specials action, this never returns.

The Visible Man *NEW THRILL*
Answers well enough the question "What if this science toy was a real dude?"
You might think this was it, and for 34 years you'd be right because this doesn't return until the Prog 2013 seasonal special.

Walter the Wobot *SPIN-OFF*
Single-page stories about the titular Walter.
Apart from some specials action, this run exhausts the format.

Colony Earth *NEW THRILL*
An evil Gort-a-like tries to enact a climate change genocide of Earthlings (to make way for its masters).
One run and done.

Death Planet *NEW THRILL*
Colonists try to colonise a homicidal planet.
One run and done, although the idea of a planet that fights back is revisited many times: in Ace Trucking's Too Many Bams (1982), to some extent in Mean Team (1985/1987), in Firekind (1993), in Judge Dredd's The Tenth Planet/Wilderlands epic (1994), Zombo (2009) & Blunt (starting in 2016's Megazine)

Them!: giant ants meet humans with predictable results.
One run and done ... or so we thought, until a stealth sequel turned up in sister comic the Judge Dredd Megazine in 2005.

Robo-Hunter: Verdus [part 1] *NEW THRILL*
Sam Slade (predictably now, that's S-L-A-Y-E-D to you) and his sidekicks create a new genre: robo-noire-com.
Of all the new thrills in this stage, this one's the stickiest: it seems to puff out of existence half way through the story, but it shoulders its way back in the next stage.


Progs 19-43 hijacked the cover for Supercover Saga: there'd be an image on the cover relating to a short text story inside (often part of the Nerve Centre).

Supernova (46-51) is a sci-fi (cut out) card game along the lines of Top Trumps.

Progs 54-57 contain a short-lived series of text stories with a single accompanying image, titled Encounter.

Prog 74 sees the first Star Pin-Up (early name for Star Scans), of Artie Gruber, the villain from Inferno.

Progs 75-80 contain a collectible Cursed Earth game.