2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Prog 590

Second issue in and already the big format upgrade has been undermined by the presence of nine pages of reprint. I kid ye not. A Time Twister by Alan Moore called The Big Clock (five pages) and four pages worth of Daily Star Judge Dredd strips. Squaxx dek Thargo less charitable than me might say its ten pages as The Daily Star strips come with a fluff piece about how it’s being printed here to celebrate, get this, the character’s seventh anniversary in the paper. Not first, not tenth, not twentieth but seventh. Tharg told us that we were getting four additional pages a week for an extra 5p. I feel as if I’ve been duped.

I didn’t bother reading The Big Clock as I read it recently for The Slog. I did, however, read Judge Dredd The Mean Machine. Dredd now appears in The Daily Star every day in the more standard three panel format. This means that the stories run over several weeks instead of being contained into a single episode every Saturday as before. Interestingly, when the weekly version demonstrated pin point accuracy in story telling, the bite sized daily episodes provides the writers space to breath. How the average Star reader manages to follow what is going on in the overall arc, I have no idea.

It’s unnervingly reassuring to read a Dredd story co-written by John Wagner and Alan Grant so soon after the break up. It feels almost upbeat in comparison to the tone of recent stories in 2000 AD by Wagner alone. Replacing Ron Smith as artist, for the duration of The Mean Machine anyway, is Ian Gibson. I love his artwork here particularly. So energetic, so alive.

Having not read this story in the original Daily Star you might be wondering why I even consider it a reprint if my first encounter with it is here. The truth is, it is not built for 2000 AD, many of the story themes have been seen in the original Dredd already and, therefore, it has no place being in the weekly. By all means pad out the specials and annuals with this stuff but the weekly is meant to be the showcase of the line, where all the cutting edge thrills make their debut.

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  • Was Crisis launched this week, or hereabouts?

    The reprint here would suggest pressures in the nerve centre reaching fever pitch and the thing that gave being the prog rather than the new launch. Presumably the prog slog isn't going to include Crisis?

    As for Daily Star Dredds, I love em me. I think you are right about their being no home for them in the prog, but by God, they'd make a wonderful case files style collection or three and there are still a good number of both the saturday strips and the daily ones that have never been reprinted

    By Blogger Leigh, at 8:30 am  

  • The blasts from the past keep on coming - this is an awesome blog Paul - really great.

    I was pleased that they changed to Ian Gibson but man, I hardly ever see Ron Smith get the respect he deserves - He must have drawn Dredd more than any other artist and I don't think his level of consistency and continuity will ever be matched.

    I wish I'd appreciated his skills more at the time!

    By Blogger Kevin Levell, at 9:56 am  

  • Kevin - if you search Paul's blog for references to Ron Smith, you'll discover that he has our support here. I didn't like Ron's style when he started, but soon after I realised that, by God, he knew how to draw.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 11:06 am  

  • Hi Leigh. I'm with you. In fact, I've said it here before that I would like to see Rebelion publish a Dredd Star collection.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:10 pm  

  • Hi kevin, welcome aboard and thanks for your you comments.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:11 pm  

  • Cheers ken, you saved me a job there.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:11 pm  

  • Talking about the Star Dredds reminded me of something I found in my recent sorting of the comics I have stored away.
    In a pile of miscelaneous 2000ad stuff was the "Judge Dredd Collection " issues 2 and 3. These were collections published by IPC in 1986 of the saturday strips drawn by Ron Smith.
    These are packaged rather well. 48 strips with full colour cardstock covers with classic dredd montages by Smith on the cover and cut-out pictures of the Lawmaster (on issue 2) and the Lawgiver (on issue 3) both of which seem to be drawn by Mcmahon from the very early days of 2000AD.
    They are in a Landscape format which is quite unusual, (I actually got out a measuring tap for your informational benefit) and its 12 inches by 8 1/2 inches.

    The reasons these collections stick in my memory is I got them when I'd only really started getting 2000AD so they gave me a lot of info about the world of Dredd and I got them in a newsagent in a shopping centre I didn't usually go to.
    What stuck most in my mind was how expensive they were at the time for a kid to buy. They were priced £1.25 and conisdering the rampant inflation in Ireland at the time were even more expensive here, I remember feeling them a bit of a rip off but looking at them now they really are gorgeous, they should take some kind of pride of place in my collection really.ztjvi

    By Blogger Derek, at 12:20 am  

  • Derek, like I say, the Ron Smith Star Dredd's are beautiful. I would love to see collections of all of these made avaiable (not just the Smith stuff either...)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 3:29 pm  

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