2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, July 17, 2009

Judge Dredd The Megazine 2.29 29/05/93

You might remember me announcing here that as much as I dislike Michael Fleisher’s reinvention of Harlem Heroes that it wasn’t my least favourite strip in 2000 AD ever. It was The Clown. This is partly because I resented Tharg’s PR man, Igor Goldkind, being allowed to sell scripts to the publisher when he was clearly only doing it in his spare time, when the phone wasn’t ringing, as if, when it came to creating comics, it was just a hobby. During the eighties, I attended a small panel at a comic convention which Igor Goldkind, then Titan Book’s new PR man, seemed to take over. He was brash and over confidant. He handed out Watchmen promotional bumf, announced that he had never read a comic before getting the job and told us about this exciting new medium called “the graphic novel”. Tell us something we don’t know, Igor. You’re preaching to the converted here. Shouldn’t you be telling people like Gaz Top and Woman’s Own magazine this?

I was wrong to describe The Clown as the worst 2000 AD strip ever, although having re-encountered a couple of stories for The Slog recently I still find it very irritating. However, his current Judge Hershey story for The Megazine, A Game of Dolls is… okay. In it, Hershey investigates a series of prostitute murders taking place in a sector where the judges don’t seem to care very much.

I find Judge Hershey in solo stories a bit pointless. As a character, she doesn’t seem to provide anything different to what we’re already getting from Judges Dredd and Anderson. Goldkind, like other writers before him, doesn’t add or elaborate anything new about her. He does, however, write some surprisingly tender moments while the story itself rolls along well and doesn’t out stay its welcome. He’s probably helped a lot by the artist, Kevin Cullen, whose style has the right balance between personality and story telling and whose David Lloyd inspired work I like a lot.

I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that a PR man could write a good comic strip. After all, writing is their job. Journalists are fundamentally lazy bastards and if they can get the PR man to write a piece tailored specifically for their paper or magazine they work for and still get paid for it then they will. Goldkind probably spent all day writing and found it difficult to stop.

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  • I read this recently and was suprised how much I enjoyed it. It was far from perfect but He did seem to have some good story ideas and nice moments in there to tell that story. They never seemed to quite pull it off and become a good or great strip but got close.

    Have to agree they really did struggle to give Hershey a unique place and voice in the Dredd world.

    By Blogger Colin, at 8:42 am  

  • Isn't she Chief Judge now?

    By Blogger Joe, at 3:19 pm  

  • Spoilers I guess (though this is a few weeks old but just to be sure)

    She was until very recently when she was ousted in an election by Judge Dan Franisco. An decision based largely on her support Mutants being allowed into Mega City 1. Que new Mega Epic starting in a few weeks time (Prog 1650)...

    By Blogger Colin, at 7:55 pm  

  • You seem to be a man in the know... Been meaning to catch up with Dredd for a while now, haven't read any since Wilderlands. Which recent Dredd collections would you recommend investing in?

    By Blogger Joe, at 9:26 pm  

  • Alas I'm not really the man to ask on this one I stopped reading 2000ad at issue 1000 and only started again 1500. There's been some great Dredd in the 150ish issues I've read BUT I don't think much of it has been reprinted yet, except 'Origins' which is well worth checking out. 'The Pit' is brillant and started not long after you stopped.

    I've now filled my gap BUT it'll be a long time before I get around to reading them all. So unless you're incredibly patient why not pop over to the 2000ad Forum www.2000adonline.com/forum/ and there'll be planty of people who can point you in the right direction for our Wilderness years.

    By Blogger Colin, at 9:01 am  

  • Hi Colin, I'm always happy when we agree. :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:28 pm  

  • Joe, so I understand.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:29 pm  

  • Joe, I've been filling up my Amazon wish list with John Wagner penned Dredd collections not covered by The Slog. My educated guess would be to go with Wagner.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:30 pm  

  • Nikolai Dante is the one thrill of the last few years to join the exalted pantheon of the likes of Dredd, Strontium Dog, Nemesis etc, its very good.

    Shakara also written by Robbie Morrison and drawn by Henry Flint is excellent, like Nemesis on acid.

    Defoe written by Pat Mills is very good too, Mills at his savagely witty best and not preachy at all, the art is a lot like the old Brigand Doom black and white stuff.

    As for Dredd...Total War by Wagner and Flint is wagner on top form, flint too. Mandroid by Wagner and Kev Walker is very good too.

    By Blogger Derek, at 1:19 pm  

  • Thanks for the tips! Guess I might start with The Pit.

    By Blogger Joe, at 1:38 pm  

  • Paul, you're entitled to your opinion of course but you should get a few facts straight: first off, it was not easier pitching scripts to 2000 AD while being employed by a different department at Fleetway. If anything it took me much longer to get anything through because of having to deal with perceptions of nepotism. My ratio of acceptance to rejections was 1/12. Secondly, I wrote on the weekends and after work; not exactly in my spare time and was taking comics writing very seriously. Finally it's funny that you would begrudge the Game of Dolls or the even better Harlequin's Dance as alright for a PR man. I'm glad you found them OK stories with some nice moments, that's all I ever intended. I hope that bias against PR and marketing pros doesn't taint your perspective. And I truly hope that your work, if it comes to it, is judged on its merits not on the perception of who you are.

    By Blogger Rogue-Eye, at 10:22 am  

  • Hi Igor. Thanks for your comment. I apologise if I caused offence that is never my intention here. The Slog, as I call it, is as much about remembering my perception reading these comics at the time as it is about re-encountering them. I think if you read a few more entries you will see that it's written in a way that acknowledges when it's making an assumption, educated guesses or unfair conclusions based on my prejudices. In the case of this entry, I came in guns blazing because of what I written about The Clown before and my own nervous adolescent encounter of you in that panel I mentioned. I was meant to be expressing that maybe I was wrong to reach the conclusions I did originally about your work as a comic writer due to an unfair perception of nepotism. As for PR, I thought I was also challenging that Bill Hicks inspired idea about your industry and acknowledging that some very talented people work in it. Actually, I'm delighted to hear from you, hope you don't feel too annoyed and if you would like a right to reply or to update the reader of The Slog as to what you're up to then please contact me and I'll sort something out.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:35 am  

  • Paul, no offence or annoyance taken. I just wanted to set the record straight on a few things. My mission at the time was to pen up comics storytelling to a wider audience and I think to some extent we succeeded. My own comics writing didn't really come to much but I do write a regular blog on semantic web development at http://oxfordseo.com/blog

    By Blogger Rogue-Eye, at 4:02 pm  

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