Sci-fi Special 1981
There are the usual space fillers and reprints that you've come to expect from 2000 AD specials published at the time but the originated thrills are memorable, including the third Nemesis The Warlock tale. For me, it is the Judge Dredd strip, The Sweet Taste of Justice, which etched itself onto my mind. In it, Dredd foils an attempt by smugglers to bring "white powder" into Mega City One. At the end of the strip, Dredd samples the substance, spits it out in disgust, whereupon we learn that it is, wait for it, sugar!
It is Colin Wilson's artwork that made this thrill so memorable. I thought that it was stunning and, upon rereading it again (I read it several times as a kid), I was right to think this. It's the sequence where Dredd is chasing the smuggler's truck through the city, jumps aboard from his Law Master and holds on for dear life as his abandoned bike crashes into a wall behind him. These panels are so exquisitely crafted that they remain as exciting as any action sequence seen in any film that you might care to mention. At this time, I had the opinion that the editors of 2000 AD were resistant to new talent like Wilson and last year's Dredd artist, Steve Dillon. It was a mystery to me that I didn't seem to see his artwork again for years after that. Little did I know that he was already drawing Dredd for the weekly and, soon after, got the high profile French gig drawing Blueberry. I mean, how was I supposed to know about that? I’m English, for God’s sake; I read American comics!