Formed at the same time as the nascent punk movement in the UK 2000AD tapped into the same zeitgeist. It was big, bold, bloody, beautiful and bonkers and for 4 decades this weekly anthology comic has been providing us with work from some of the worlds top comic creators. The role call of contributors is mind blowing, Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill, John Wagner, Pat Mills, Alan Grant, Brian Bolland, Bryan Talbot, Simon Bisley, Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, Dan Abnett, Grant Morrison and so many more. All of these guys - and it was almost exclusively guys, women creators have always been horrendously under-represented in comics generally and 2000AD in particular - would go on to define how comics looked and what they said from the late 20th century on.
Between them they gave life to hordes of classic characters, future teen Halo Jones, dystopian cop Judge Dredd, alien freedom fighter Nemesis, mutant bounty hunter Strontium Dog, Celtic warrior Slaine, genetic soldier Rogue Trooper, alien teenage delinquents DR & Quinch, pop culture superhero Zenith, the list goes on.
It also provided us with the single greatest panel in comics
and two Dredd films of varying quality (we heartily recommend the Karl Urban one).
Over the 40 years I've been an occasional reader of the weekly comic but am an avid reader of the graphic novels. Many of the classic 2000AD stories have been collected together in phone book (anyone remember phone books?) sized collections and the publisher - Rebellion - continues to issue nicely produced collections of more recent stories.
So, happy 40th birthday 2000AD. Wyrd Britain thanks you from the bottom of it's dark heart especially as you were a big reason it's like that in the first place.