2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, June 26, 2009

Prog 855 02/10/93

Mark Millar’s time as misguided writer of Sam Slade Robo-Hunter is at an end. Last prog, saw the conclusion to a three part story by new team Peter Hogan and Rian Hughes. Winnegan’s Fake is far more in tune with what we expect from a Robo-Hunter strip. Slade is hired to track down and destroy a model of an antique robot to increase the scarcity of the copy owned by his employer. The idea is fine but it’s made much better by the presence of Hoagy who, uninvited, accompanies Sam and irritates him throughout his job. Millar didn’t seem to like Hoagy and Stogie during his time on the thrill, bare essentials as far as I am concerned, and only used them on very rare occasions.

Rian Hughes is perfectly suited for this strip. In fact, it’s so obvious that it makes me cross to think that he wasn’t given the gig earlier. My only criticism of the art is the font he uses for the lettering which I often found hard to read. A difficult font prevents the reader from engaging properly with the thrill, everyone knows that.

Mark Millar is much better suited on Judge Dredd. In this prog’s story, Judge Tyrannosaur, a dinosaur breaks into The Big Meg from The Cursed Earth through a crack in the wall, bites a hostage taker in half and, consequently, becomes the focus of a city wide campaign for it to be given the keys to the city. This farcical series of events is the type of thing that used to happen all the time in Judge Dredd and which Garth Ennis, as second in command on the character, has never really engaged with. Of course, it helps that the art is by Ron Smith whose very presence, like Carlos Ezquerra, authenticates any writer they’re working with on the character. Smith’s work here is brilliant. It’s as if he’s decided to produce his best art during his last year working for 2000 AD.

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  • Ron had it down pat by this point - especially in colour. From drawing in colour, to ultraneat white outlining *where appropriate*, his pics really popped. Top of his game here I think.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 8:26 pm  

  • I've said it before and I'll say it again Rian Hughes is BRILLANT. So perfect for Robohunter I'd almost get silly and ay I prefer him to the wonderful Mr Gibson... but that would be silly wouldn't it!

    By Blogger Colin, at 9:26 am  

  • For the last couple of years, Smith's colour work has been particularly strong.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:28 pm  

  • I think that Hughs is a worthy successor to Gibson, Colin.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:29 pm  

  • I think as time goes by Ron Smiths art gets more and more appreciated by 2000ad fans.

    He never got the praise at the time that bolland or mcmahon got despite being equally as iconic as a Dredd artist and doing far more work than both those artists.

    Perhaps its that smith became the ubiqutous Dredd artist for almost a decade or perhaps its that he was slightly old school and his art could (and did) fit in equally well in Look and Learn or The Hotspur or Victor.

    By Blogger Derek, at 10:18 pm  

  • Derek, for me, when I was a dumb kid, it was probably because his artwork looked traditional/fifties. I was, of course, wrong, or not entirely right.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:33 am  

  • I'll never forget that initial shock when viewing Ron's Dredd for the first time. It was pre-100, Judge Cal I think - the style just jumped out as being 'wrong'.

    Up until 2000ad I hadn't particularly been aware of 'trad' British comics - instead I was raised on a diet of TV21 and Look-In. Kicking off Dredd with the likes of McMahon and Ezquerra seemed so right (though I recall wishing that Ron Turner would've drawn more episodes - TV21 again, and I didn't even know it!!).

    Similarly I baulked when Ian Gibson jumped into the Call Me Kenneth affair. Wow - now that was mightily alien! ;)

    I had an argument with a kid at school about the best Dredd artist. I called McMahon, he called Bolland. The expected answers of an entire generation. Ask me now, and I'd say Smith, R.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:05 am  

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