Prog 633 of 2000AD dated 30th June 1989 was the final issue with a cover without a barcode. The back cover boasted that forthcoming issues would contain a free bar code for its lucky readers. Well, it amused me for at least 4.35 seconds…..

History lesson: The barcode was first proposed in the late 1940s/early 1950s and finally utilised in a few industries in the 1960s. The first use in retail happened in June 1974. A National Cash Register scanner was installed at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. On June 26, 1974, the first product with a bar code was scanned at a check-out counter. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The pack of gum wasn’t specially designated to be the first scanned product. It just happened to be the first item lifted from the shopping cart by a shopper whose name is long since lost to history. Today, the pack of gum is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

Two thousand

Sep 1, 2016

For over one hundred years “Punch” would regularly print letters from readers moaning that the magazine wasn’t as good as it used to be. I have been saying the same thing about 2000AD for the last thirty years. I guess there was nothing wrong with either magazine really. It’s just that reader’s tastes change as they get older.

Anyway, in a few weeks 2000AD will reach Prog 2000, which no doubt will be a bumper-sized issue. But hasn’t there already been a Prog 2000 published at the beginning of the millennium?? And Progs 2001 to 2015 which were double-sized issues produced each Christmas for the past fifteen years. Are they going to skip straight to Prog 2016????? There are magazines with larger totals such as DC Thompson’s Commando and the Beano etc, but even so it is an achievement. After almost forty years the mighty Tharg doesn’t look a day older. And they even resisted changing the name to 3000AD sixteen years ago!!

Prog 77

They are currently reprinting the entire saga of Judge Dread in book form as a monthly part-work. And they’ve also recently published a book containing the episodes from 1978 (various progs between 71 and 79) that were part of the “Cursed Earth” saga that resulted in 2000AD’s then publisher being threatened with legal action for the negative depiction of a number of “Fast Food” companies. At the time it was said that there was an undertaking that they would never ever be reprinted. I recall that there was even an apology of sorts included in a later issue as a half-page strip. So until recently those were some of the very few issues of 2000AD that had some value in the collector’s market. Most other issues (apart from the first half-dozen?) still seem to be available at bargain basement prices.


PS: However, if you do happen upon a stack of 2000ADs in a charity shop or car boot sale keep an eye out for Prog 1208. Due to distribution problems many copies of this issue failed to reach the newsagents and it is consequently sought after by grexnix earthlets aiming to become Seto Thargos.