2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sci-fi Special 1981

Even though, at this time, I am barely reading the weekly, I remember being a loyal Sci-fi Special customer for years. I don't really know why this is, especially when I think that the content of the special doesn't necessarily hold up favourably with its weekly equivalent. Mainly, I put it down to the production quality, which is better, and the covers, that for two years in a row have been great. (Although this year's Bolland cover reminds me of a twenty first centaury one he drew for the Judge Dredd epic Origins, I think).

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!

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  • I loved Colin's Dredd work - for me it was a great blend of technical draughtsmanship (a la Bolland), and the more frenetic style of McMahon. Clearly he based his style on Jean Giraud, so not surprising that ultimately he'd step into the Blueberry boots.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 7:38 pm  

  • He came back to 2000 AD years later, as well. After I had given it up, anyway. He recently drew a Battler Briton for DC too. Very nice.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 8:01 pm  

  • Thanks Paul - I'll check out Battler Britain.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 4:16 pm  

  • Ken, you 'stole' the very words I was going to use. Also, I've always loved the way Colin draws- stuff! Vehicles, buildings, weapons and the composition always very cinematic. Everything is always so believeable.

    By Blogger Steven Sterlacchini, at 10:30 pm  

  • Steven, his Dredd stuff looks how a big budget film should do to me. Breath taking.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 12:42 pm  

  • Great review! I stumbled across your blog after doing a search for details of this story as I'm listing a number of Colin's original pages from this book for sale (I'm Colin's art dealer). The originals are in great condition and remind me so much of Bolland's work on Judge Dredd. Best, Royd (roydster@yahoo.com)

    By Blogger Royd, at 11:07 am  

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