In this prog, readers can win a set of Matchbox Adventure 2000 toys in a competition. Amongst the toys is a vehicle similar in design to that of The Killdozer or Land Raider; the big eff off tank that Judge Dredd is using to cross The Cursed Earth. Interestingly, in a Nerve Centre from a few progs back, in response to a reader's curiosity, Tharg admitted that the Land Raider design was based upon the Matchbox toy.
Meanwhile, I've been amazed at the rate that art droid Mike McMahon is producing pages of artwork for The Cursed Earth story, especially given how, later, we would often go years between strips from him. Could it be, in a deadline looming drawing haze, that the design of The Killdozer, AKA the Land Raider, was lifted from the Adventure 2000 range of toy vehicles without initial permission from Matchbox? Could Tharg's conversational admittance on the letter's page and subsequent competition be an attempt to stave off any potential legal action on behalf of the toy's manufacturer?
This is the late seventies and maybe franchising was dealt with so differently then that this sort of cross-pollination between entertainment companies was commonplace. Perhaps comic publishers negotiated deals where they can use a single toy design from a range within their strips all of the time. Could it be that only the passage of time has made this arrangement appear suspicious?
You may remember in a previous entry to the slog (that I am too lazy to link to), I told you about a warning from Tharg to readers. He said spacecraft designs that readers send to the Nerve Centre should be original and not be redrawings of, say, Matchbox toys for passing off as their own work for the ten pounds prize money. Have I, by partaking in this slog, unearthed a twenty nine year old scandal or is reading all of these old comics inside a short space of time already having an effect on my psychological well being?