2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Prog 1072 09/12/97

Take a look at that Judge Dredd mouth on the cover of this week’s prog painted by Kevin Walker. It looks like a flap cut into a slab of meat. It isn’t uncommon anymore for artists to take that early Brian Bolland scowl and exaggerate it even further like this. Inside, Paul Marshall reverses this trend with Dredd’s sneer. It looks more believable, more effective, and less ridiculous, less like a Muppet character.

Now I’m experiencing a run of progs that I haven’t read before for this final phase of The Slog, I’m really enjoying Judge Dredd. They’ve all been written by John Wagner which, as you know, is always good news. It’s amazing to me that he can still provide for the character and his world after nearly twenty-one years. The strip has also been blessed with a run of particularly strong artists recently, including this prog’s Marshall. Although he draws Dredd a bit over muscled for my liking, his interpretation of the character and his domain is so spot on otherwise that he has become one of my favourite artists on the thrill.

Another strip that benefits from a rotating team of artists is Sinister Dexter. This prog’s strip is painted by the always strong Paul Johnson. His character renditions, environments and use of colour are always a joy to see.

Sinister Dexter is far more acceptable at the moment thanks to it being in the midst of a run of self contained singles. There is still something fundamentally annoying to me about this thrill that makes anything longer than a short story very difficult to manage. For example, it irks me that we are supposed to find the relationship between the main characters charming despite them casually murdering people every episode. They don’t just kill people that ‘deserve it’ as this issue’s story, Long to Rain Over Us, demonstrates. A security guard and the inventor of the Climate Control System get ‘whacked’ because, at worse, one of them has annoyed a main character. Traditionally, successful thrills with a high body count have been self aware enough to know the difference between ’someone who deserves it’ and some poor working sap just doing his job. Sinister Dexter thinks anyone who peeves you off is fare game. I half expect an upcoming episode to feature a scene where someone installing a speed camera gets a bullet through the head. In fact, if it happens, you all owe me ten pounds.

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  • For me Sinister Dexters great strength is its ability to sustain all sorts of stories of all sorts of lenghts but I am particularly fond of this particular runs of done in ones.

    Here's some thoughts I shared over at the 2000ad forum when I read these not too long ago.

    "...I really want to comment on is how great the done in one Sinister Dexter stories are (I'm currently on Prog 1072). They are such good fun and remind me of Eisner's Spirit in the way they are structured. Particularly the later post war stuff.

    The way stories are told from an interesting array of perspectives with the two leads only appearing nominally in many cases is so similar to what Eisner did with the 'Spirit' so often towards the end of this run on the strip. Don't get me wrong much as I'm loving Abnett's and co's work on these issues I'm not saying they are as good as Eisner's 'Spirit' just the way the stories of told is really refreshing in the way the Eisner's were.

    I was partricularly fond of the story tracking the history of the bullets used to kill a man."

    By Blogger Colin, at 7:05 pm  

  • I'll give Kev Walker a bye because he got just so damned good within a short time after this.

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:36 pm  

  • I have to say the "haw haw more killing" angle is what put me off Sinister Dexter first time around. Under the old regime, the necessity for moral purpose meant that death had to carry a certain weight, even if it was a satirical one. Having read the stories since, I think there's more to them than that, but at the time it just seemed to be part of a trend towards revelling in grotesque adolescent nihilism.

    (Hm, do you think that Walter the Softy will make posts to the internet like that when he grows up? When I was a kid I hated Dennis the Menace and felt considerable sympathy for old Walter... not that I was like that, oh no, macho man all the way, me, right readers?)

    By Blogger Patrick Hudson, at 10:37 am  

  • (Hm, do you think that Walter the Softy will make posts to the internet like that when he grows up? When I was a kid I hated Dennis the Menace and felt considerable sympathy for old Walter... not that I was like that, oh no, macho man all the way, me, right readers?)

    That or he becomes a world destroying necromagus and then he'll make Dennis his bitch (literally)

    By Blogger David page, at 1:01 pm  

  • Colin, I'm yet to have that moment of revelation with Sinister Dexter. Yes, the one-offs are fun but they're not self aware or intelligent enough for my tastes just yet.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:37 pm  

  • Thanks for the tip off, Mark.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:37 pm  

  • Patrick, Walter was exactly why I couldn't get my head around the Beano as a kid. Every week, Dennis set his dog on Walter just because he liked picking flowers.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:39 pm  

  • Thanks for the image, David.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:40 pm  

  • Don't thank me thank Garth ennis

    (reread the last few episodes of judgement day)

    By Blogger David page, at 12:35 pm  

  • Thanks, Garth

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 9:04 pm  

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