2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Prog 395

Helltrekkers (one word) AKA Hell Trekkers (two words) AKA HellTrekkers (one word, capital H, capital T) AKA That strip a bit like Judge Dredd The Cursed Earth where pioneers journey from Mega City One to The New Territories through the dangerous irradiated wasteland in-between. It’s only day four of their journey and already twelve of the one hundred and ten travellers had been killed. In this episode alone, one dies from The Black Scab, three sink into the Quag and at least one is eaten by a dinosaur. Still, it’s a lot safer than life in Mega City One.

According to my flabby memory, Helltrekkers was originally created to appear in the Judge Dredd comic that readers were surveyed about a few months ago but didn’t happen on this occasion. Script robots John Wagner and Alan Grant, using the all new pseudonym of F Martin Candor, write a story where the mortality of the characters is laid bare whilst art robot Horacio Lalia draws in a more traditional, inkier style. Helltrekkers feels like a tribute to Westerns, Pat Mills’ The Cursed Earth saga and thrills from the first six months of 2000 AD.

I remember really enjoying Helltrekkers first time around. I remember wondering how many of the pioneers would actually survive the journey if any at all. I remember thinking that The New Territories would probably be a catastrophic disappointment to those that did survive. Thanks to this thrill rarely, if ever, being reprinted and my slough like recall, I can’t for the life of me remember who survives or how it ends.

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    By Blogger garageman, at 8:46 pm  

  • It really doesn't bother me but does typing this way make Garageman's comment any clearer? ...

    helltreKKers not helltreCKers


    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 11:38 pm  

  • It does if you can spell.

    By Blogger garageman, at 11:39 pm  

  • What's in a name, that's what I say.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:04 pm  

  • Judge Dread

    By Blogger garageman, at 11:16 pm  

  • I really liked Helltrekkers when it was first out. I was young, progs were cheap, and Helltrekkers had a panel where the girls in the wagon train were spied... well. I was young.

    Oh, and it had one of the Best next prog tags: 'Slow Slow, Quick-Quag Slow' Heh heh.

    The idea is one that could have been redone a good number of ways in the decades to come, and it was nice to see the odd appearance of them in later strips - The Raggedy man (if memory serves) and Death's Wilderness Years.

    By Blogger Peter A, at 4:43 am  

  • Helltrekkers never lived up to it's promise.

    By Blogger garageman, at 12:54 am  

  • Gotta agree with Garageman.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 3:54 am  

  • I remember early on in the HellTrekkers run that they printed a poster with each truck and its passengers. I stuck this up and then took glee in putting a line through each character as they met their untimely death in grisly fashion. The couple that ejected from their cab only to float down into some kind of irradiated swamp sticks in the memory as one of the gruesomest - and this from a strip that dispatched young children willy-nilly.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 4:19 pm  

  • It's not surprising that HellTrekkers feels like a western as it was heavily swiped from the 1950 John Ford western movie "Wagon Master". When you watch the film then read the comic strip, you'll be surpised at how blatantly Wagner and Grant plundered the movie ... not unlike how Pat Mills recycled most of the ideas from Allison and Fairley's "The Monocled Mutineer" into Charlie's War

    By Blogger Mr A, at 1:27 pm  

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