2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Prog 513

In Judge Dredd The Come Back, by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Gary Leach and possibly someone from the unsolicited scripts pile (let it go, Paul, let it go), twentieth centaury pop star, Jaxxon Prince, is brought out of suspended animation for the performance of his career. The Judges are expecting trouble at the concert. When Prince first went into suspended animation the technology was in its infancy and he's woken up with brain damage. As Prince enters the stage, Dredd orders his colleagues to brace themselves for the crowd to react badly but no one can tell the difference between the pop star’s vintage dance routines and his new zombie like twitching and shuddering.

In case you didn't know, originally The Come Back wasn't just a piece of thinly disguised satire of Michael Jackson but was completed featuring the name and drawn image of the performer himself. However, someone at either 2000 AD or higher up in IPC got uncomfortable about the strip and had the character rewritten as an unconvincing mash-up between Jackson and Prince. Is drawing a bit of Prince influenced stubble onto Michael Jackson's face really enough to prevent you from being sued? The changes always seemed unnecessary to me. The Come Back has always read as if Wagner and Grant admired the pop star that they were supposed to be writing about.

Reading it again for The Slog, I found the opening of the strip where a lawyer summarises to his colleagues Jaxxon Prince's memorable career interesting. Apparently, the amusement park in the Never Never Land Ranch owned by Prince, who is actually Michael Jackson, never stopped operating during the pop star’s lifetime and there's no mention at all of the accusations against him of child abuse. Most amazingly, the British Government were able to run The National Health Service for ten years using only the billion dollars he paid for The Elephant Man's bones.

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