2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, September 11, 2009

Judge Dredd The Megazine 2.55 10/06/94

As enjoyable as a strip like The Missionary Man might be, the real reason I’m here at The Megazine is for John Wagner’s Judge Dredd. In it recently, we’ve been revisiting the past with Ian Gibson drawing Judge Giant’s illegitimate son’s rookie test. During it, Dredd and Giant junior uncover a planned robot revolt led by Walter the Wobot who has, at last, had enough of the years of rejection and cruelty from his former owner. As saddening as it is to see Walter come to this, the most memorable thing about this story is the reminder that Dredd is no longer the inflexible authoritarian that we had previously thought him to be. Instead, age has made him a more complex character, fallible with chinks of underplayed tolerance.

Current story, Howler, is equally memorable partly for the way that all the creators involved work as a unified force. Wagner writes an alien protagonist whose arrogant and bullying nature is so perfectly expressed that I can’t wait for him to experience an appropriate fate at the hands of a heavily wounded Dredd. Tom Frame adds to the impact of Howler, whose voice makes Brian Blessed sound like a shy little girl, with his giant lettering, perfect and flawless.

Howler is most memorable, however, for the return of artist Mick McMahon to Judge Dredd after years and years away. For many Squaxx dek Thargo, especially those who aren’t immersed in the broader world of comics, his new art style must have been a bit of shock. “Is this how he draws now?” Personally, I love this period of McMahon although I will confess to it taking me a while first time around to grow accustomed to. It’s now all about the shapes in the panel over the realism of what’s being drawn. It’s deceptively simple looking but, at every level design wise, according to my limited knowledge anyway, is probably quite complex. It’s fantastic comic art, as far as I’m concerned.

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  • I must have bought this one after seeing the return of mcmahon trumpeted on the cover as I hadn't bought an issue since around 43/44 and I remember being intensely disappointed.

    I thought Mcmahons "new" art was terrible and to be honest I still stand by that having seen some more of his work turn up in 2000ad and the meg over the years.

    To go from the heights of his Slaine stuff around 83/84 to this amateurish, childish work is completely beyond me. At the time I figured it to be laziness and just knocking out a few pages of dredd because the gas bill needed paying but it now seems to be his oeuvre.

    Fair dues to him if thats what he wants to do but I hate it and think its a complete waste of his talent. its funny, I don't usually feel this strong about poor art jobs but because its mcmahon and knowing what he can do just makes it worse for some reason.

    By Blogger Derek, at 5:17 pm  

  • Completely agree - McMahon can do wrong.

    By Blogger mygrimmbrother, at 10:25 pm  

  • Chaps, I guess we disagree. i understand your view because I felt similarly at the time but now I really like it. Having said that, I think that his previous experimentation on Slaine (obviously) and earlier Dredd was more successful. I also suspect if he was an unknown with that style he wouldn't have got any work.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:40 pm  

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