2000 AD in Living Colour

By | Wednesday, June 29, 2022 Leave a Comment
I was watching some videos from Living Colour (the band from the late '80s and early '90s) and one thing that popped out was this shot in the middle of "Glamour Boys" from their 1988 debut album...
That's a copy of 2000 AD #634 (July 8, 1989) he's holding with cover art by John Higgins. It's a little odd, of course, because the band was formed in New York and three of the four members were from the American east coast. While Judge Dredd was known here in the states by that point, it was largely thanks to the reprints from Quality/Fleetway, not the original 2000 AD issues or the best-forgotten Sly Stallone movie that was still several years off. Only guitarist Vernon Reid was British.

The song's lyrics lambast the excesses and superficiality that were omnipresent throughout the 1980s, and the video reflects that with a lot a garish colors -- excuse me, colours -- and plasticine men that bear more than a passing resemblance to a Ken doll. Later bands like Aqua would make even more direct/obvious lyrical comparisons with "Barbie Girl." (Which did land that band in a lawsuit with Mattel.) But, why 2000 AD?

Well, the easy start of an answer would be that it was current. The book came out weekly, and it quickly establishes a specific time period the video is supposed to be taking place in -- about a year after the song was originally released. The fact that it's a comic book with bright colours (on the front and back covers, at least; the interiors were black and white) also blends very well with the overall visual of the video, so that his peering out from behind the magazine is more pronounced. Using a newspaper, or something with less colour, would draw more attention to the newspaper itself and draw away from him.

A British comic works better than an American one would since the larger size would hide his face better, and there's also a lack of advertising on the back cover. Indeed, the text on the cover as a whole is pretty minimal so viewers are less likely to focus on reading the text.

Also, the names of the band itself (Living Colour) and some of their songs ("Glamour Boys") used British spellings, both making them stand out in American culture and highlighting Reid's British heritage. There may have also been some intentional emphasis of their partial Britishness from the song's producer, Mick Jagger.

I half-suspect that, in reality, there wasn't NEARLY as much thought put into it as that at the time. "Hey, this looks good. Pretend you're reading this."

Anyway, just some idle, trivial thoughts about comics culture permeating different aspects of society.
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