Thursday, May 31, 2007

9. Judge Dredd... in the Flesh!

Thrillpowered Thursday is a weekly look at the world of 2000 AD. I'm rereading my collection of 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, one issue an evening, and once each week for the foreseeable future, I'll see what I'm inspired to write.

I don't have a particularly long entry this week. The reread has brought us to prog 898 (July 1994), and strips are winding down to make way for the promotional push behind the 900th issue. Judge Dredd "labors" through a fill-in by Chris Standley and Peter Doherty, and Rogue Trooper, by Steve White and Henry Flint, who's nowhere close to being as brilliant as he is today, has introduced a new supporting character named Midge. She appears off and on in the strip for the next year. Brigand Doom (Alan McKenzie/Dave D'Antiquis) and Strontium Dogs (Peter Hogan/Nigel Dobbyn) are in the middle of little three-parters which serve to put characters in place for larger storylines.

Most interesting is probably Armoured Gideon, wrapping up a three-month adventure which guest-stars characters from several old 2000 AD features from the past, including Harry Angel, Bill Savage, Wolfie Smith, Shako and the great big bugs from Ant Wars. This wasn't the first time that 2000 AD had played with the concept of old characters sharing a strange sub-universe (Wagner/Grant/Belardinelli's "Whatever Happened to Ace Garp?" in prog 451, for instance) and it wouldn't be the last (see Garth Ennis's "Helter Skelter" in prog 1250-1261 for another), but this just feels a bit like nostalgia in search of a plot. The guest art by Mike White in part 9 was unexpected and neat though.

What I really wanted to do this week is show off these embarassing photos of some poor guy dressed as Judge Dredd, appearing on both that godawful cover and in a one-page article by movie producer Charles Lippincott, assuring viewers that the release of the Judge Dredd feature film the following summer would be an epic event.

Well, you know, it's not like there hasn't been a long tradition of comic book companies having people dressed in costumes to get cheap publicity. It really works for kids - I remember waiting forever to see Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar show up at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on NBC one year, and the only reason I agreed to go to Sea World on one family vacation in the early 80s was to see the DC superhero water-skiing show. Turned out it had closed the season before. They had a Justice League stunt show at Six Flags last year, in fact... And then there's Lara Croft...

For some inexplicable, forgotten reason, there was a publicity stunt earlier that summer where this Judge Dredd "arrested" the BBC children's character Mr. Blobby. They were probably opening a village fete or something equally silly. I don't know what I did with the picture of that.

But you know what's weird? This costume's actually better than the one in the Sylvester Stallone movie.

The other thing of note is that two of 2000 AD's regulars of this period got a little press this week at Broken Frontier. David Hine, the writer/artist of Mambo, interviews Shaky Kane, the artist of Soul Gun and Beyond Belief, and, if you're following along, you'll probably catch on that neither gentleman has worked for the Galaxy's Greatest in quite some time, although they've both been doing interesting work for other publishers.

Back in seven, for the short-lived return of Nemesis the Warlock...

(Originally published 5/31/07 at LiveJournal.)

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