2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Prog 422

Something that has always impressed me about 2000 AD is how certain characters and ideas popular with the readers are often under exposed, particularly when you compare them to their American equivalents. Mainstream American publishers flog a success until every last drop of goodness has been wrung from it, then they keep on going until even the dumbest of us start to feel embarrassed and then we learn that this is just the start of that character's exposure. I say this because even though Judge Anderson has been very popular since she first appeared around prog 150 she's only featured in the Judge Death sequel, a handful of one-off shorts for the Annuals and as support in the City of the Damned since. Okay, written down like that, it seems a lot but when you think that she could easily have been used as a permanent sidekick to Dredd then you'll agree that the editorial and creators involved have demonstrated great restraint in reserving her first solo appearance in the weekly until now.

In her first big solo adventure, Anderson has been duped into providing access to Mega City One to The Dark Judges again. While they go on a killing spree, Anderson is confined to quarters for being stupid enough to help Death and his friends across from Deadworld in the first place. Wagner and Grant script this yarn which, in an earlier episode, features the classic exclamation from a potential elderly victim of Death; "Dodder for it!".

The real achievement on Judge Anderson is art robot Brett Ewins tackling the strip in the first place. If Anderson has been used sparingly before now then The Four Dark Judges have been used even less. Previously, their appearances had been drawn by classic Dredd artist Brian Bolland, and seen by many as the panicle of his work on the character. For this thrill, Ewins pays tribute to him by sprinkling redrawn classic frames throughout his version but mashing it up with his own story telling interests at the time, such as repeat copies of his own panels for dramatic impact. I see Ewins as the bridge between the previously thought of as untouchable version by Bolland and all of the artists who go on to draw these characters after him.

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  • I was always left wondering about Ewins's use of repeated frames. He did it a lot in Rogue Trooper too, and often enlarges the repeat image to the point that the cracks really begin to show (photocopier?).

    I always suspected he was doing it as a bit of cheat timesaver, but in a way that could be justified as 'graphic design' ;)

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 7:07 pm  

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    By Blogger Stavros, at 2:25 pm  

  • I hated Ewins' photocopied panels. Cheap and nasty.

    Also, I heard that Mike McMahon wasn't too pleased at Ewins' repeated 'tributes' to his own work either.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 5:54 pm  

  • Ken, almost certainly a photocopier. But it was a new technology (ish) at the time so fare enough.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:52 pm  

  • The photcopying was fine in its time, I think.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:53 pm  

  • Photocopying was far from being a new technology at the time Ewins was using it (mid-80's) - although it was certainly a novel tool for an artist to use in UK comics.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 12:22 am  

  • I remember Giffen using it in the US around the same time, also being unafraid to show the artifice in it.

    BTW, Ewins was at the time, the best good girl artist in the Toof stable. Even over Gibson. I'd say that's why he got the Anderson gig.

    By Blogger Mark, at 11:12 pm  

  • Mark, you're right. He draws a strong woman.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:19 pm  

  • I agree that use of Death and the other four dark judges was restrained at first. But looking back now, they seem to have been over-used. They popped up in the Megazine recently i think. Whenever I see Death in a story i think 'oh, him again' which is not really the reaction Dredd's biggest foe should produce.

    By Blogger Simon C, at 7:04 am  

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