2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Judge Dredd Annual 1983

No matter how improved the 2000 AD Annual might be, the Judge Dredd one keeps several steps ahead. Even this year, with the interior colour art now being provided by Carlos Ezquerra instead of Mike McMahon, it would still win in The Battle of the Annuals competition if such a thing had actually existed. Ezquerra is amazing if you think that this year alone he has drawn the entire Apocalypse War story in addition to several fall-out tales and associated covers for the weekly. When did he find the time to draw and colour another twenty-five pages or so for the annual? In truth, I’ve seen his colour work from before this time, and it is better than this, but the quality remains strong and the achievement still stands.

I’ve been watching episodes of Seinfeld on DVD recently (I don’t just expose myself to old stuff, by the way). The creative team of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, the deadlines that they faced and the environment in which they worked, makes me think very much of John Wagner and Alan Grant and their situation. This year, they write all the strips between them so that there isn’t just a consistency of look provided by Ezquerra but also of attitude. Having a tighter, leaner creative team is something that has, so far, helped to make the Judge Dredd Annuals so memorable.

McMahon isn’t entirely absent as there are some old Dredd strips drawn by him here. Seeing his artwork reprinted on better quality paper helps to emphasis just how good it is. Although, the shape of the annual is different to the shape of the original artwork, so much of it might not be McMahon’s anyway.

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  • For me Ezquerra's high-point was early Stronty for Startlord, and stuff just after the merger. I realised his output was prestigious afterwards, but the rushed quality of it really pissed me off. Take this annual - he can never decide how many vertical slats Dredd's respirator should have!

    You're quite correct about the cut and shut work on McMahon's work - most panels have been repasted with more vertical space between them, and where this isn't possible some artwork droid (Robin Smith in a hurry?) has scrawled extensions. It's truly awful, though not as bad as some the crimes committed to artwork when resized for Quality Comics for the States. Uuurgh.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 11:20 pm  

  • Ken's crap 'too late in the day' patent comment decoder.

    Startlord = Starlord
    Prestigious = prodigious

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:10 am  

  • Ken, I didn’t notice your errors until you pointed them out  . I have some copies of Fury for which Ezquerra provided colour covers and they are amazing.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:16 pm  

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