2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, May 16, 2008

Judge Dredd Annual 1987

This year's annual is the first where all of the lead strips are drawn by different artists. Okay, the final strip in last year's was by John Higgins where the rest were by Carlos Ezquerra but there was a sense that this was only because of circumstances beyond Ezquerra's control. For the 1987 Annual, it seems like an attempt to showcase the best artists working for 2000 AD at the moment.

The most memorable is the sixteen paged Report to the Chief Judge by Brendan McCarthy with help from "Riot". In the story scripted by the usual suspects of John Wagner and Alan Grant, Dredd is exposed to a powerful hallucinogenic. The result is a strip that could have been a lot more trippy than it actually was considering the artist involved. Instead, McCarthy delivers the stunning graphics that current Squxx Dek Thargo were falling in love with him for.

However, my personal favourite is the opener, Meanwhile..., painted by Ian Gibson. Gibson goes to some trouble to render fully the faces of the characters as if they are caricatures of people he knows. The result looks like a tribute to those movie spoof strips in Mad Magazine at the time. It's amazing to think that the artist who produces work as strong as this and his time on Halo Jones is only inking someone else's pencils on the ghastly DC Universe cross over, Millennium, soon after.

On a personal note, my eBay purchased copy of the annual has been autographed by some of its contributors, Bryan Talbot, John Wagner and Robin Smith (I think) throughout. All of the creators go to the trouble of signing pages which contains their work except for Kevin O'Neill who doesn't contribute any work to this year's book but signs a Bolland drawing of Judge Death just the same.

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