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2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Prog 54


When it came to reprinting 2000 AD strips for the American market (still a few years away), the publishers began by running those drawn by Brian Bolland first, who was a superstar comic artist at the time. I used to think that they over emphasised Bolland's input to the UK weekly and once they ran out of his work to repackage all of the American readers would disappear. So, it's interesting to me that, to my knowledge, they never reprinted the Walter the Wobot single paged strips, many of which he drew.

At this time, Walter the Wobot appeared frequently in the Judge Dredd strip as light relief to the straight main character. Walter was a drinks vending machine robot whose principle comic gimmicks included an unquestioning adoration of Judge Dredd and pwonouncing his r's was w's. This speech impediment-for-comic-effect (which you wouldn't get nowadays except for here in this blog) predates Michael Palin's Pontius Pilate in Life of Brian by at least two years and Jonathon Ross's The Last Resort by ten.

I always got the impression that writer John Wagner never really liked Walter the Wobot, his annoyance in the character being expressed through Judge Dredd's own lack of patience for him. After a couple of years, he faded away from Judge Dredd only to reappear every decade or so for long term readers to be updated on the torments Wagner has decided he has been exposed to since we saw him last.


Depending on which artist is drawing him, Walter the Wobot often gives me the cweeps. Some artists, as Bolland did, draw Walter as being between waist and chest height, which I am okay with. Others draw him as a similar height to Dredd. This along with his cutesy rhythm of speech and sickly devotion, remind me of those nappy wearing, man-babies they write articles about in Sunday magazines every now and then.

3 Comments:

  • Hope this is of interest to you Paul -

    http://readyformycloseup.blogspot.com/2007/02/tonights-show-2000ad-then.html

    To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the venerable British comic book 2000AD, Alex Fitch and Duncan Nott present the first of two programmes about the popular anthology. This week's guest is Pat Mills, the founder and original editor of the comic who has written such great strips as Judge Dredd, Sláine, Nemesis the Warlock and A.B.C. Warriors.

    By Blogger danny black, at 11:11 pm  

  • Cheers Dan. I'll have a look.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 12:23 pm  

  • Walter the Wobot seems at odds to the tone of Judge Dredd in general, particularly post Cursed Earth. I guess in the early days when Wagner et al were trying to hook their readers on Ol' Stoney Face, he used a range of characters (Maria the housekeeper as well) to help us empathise with the guy (who, let's face it, is hard to warm to). Once Dredd was more successfully established, Walter became more and more out of place in the strip, in my opinion, and it's not surprising that Wagner began to fade him out.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 12:23 pm  

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