Thursday, 31 January 2013

Harlem Heroes, Part 1

Following Giant's appearance in the second part of Judge Dredd: The Academy Of Law, we go back to the beginning with the first prog and...

NAME
Harlem Heroes, Part 1
(according to Wikipedia, this first part is also known as The Sport of Tomorrow)

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Programme 1

DATELINE
26 Feb 77

The first ever prog also featured the debut strips of Invasion, Dan Dare, Flesh and M.A.C.H.1, as well as a Tharg The Mighty cover by Kevin O'Neill, a Space Spinner free gift (below) and a preview of Prog 2.



PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Robo-Hunter 1, Sam Slade Robo-Hunter (Volume 2, Issue 12), 2000AD Annual 1983, 2000AD Extreme Edition 13, The Best Of 2000AD
and The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Harlem Heroes qualify for the World Aeroball Championship, but a crash kills three of them and leaves another wounded.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of aeroball, the Harlem Heroes, Giant, Slim, Hairy, Louis, the sports commentator and the nurse.

INFORMATION
(The year is not explicity stated except to say that aeroball has swept the world "By the year 2050")

Aeroball is a sport that combines football, boxing, kung fu and basketball. Players fly through the air using jet packs and score "air strikes" by getting the ball in the opposite team's "score tank". The jet packs are controlled by buttons on the player's belts, can reach speeds of least 80 mph and the jet exhaust can burn whatever it comes into contact with. The gas-filled steel ball enters play from a launcher which raises up from under the stadium. There are recoil surfaces near the ceiling and the umpire floats about the area of play in a pod. Flank attacks, ground-rushes and kung-fu drop kicks are all permitted tactics. There is a World Aeroball Championship. The Harlem Heroes and the Greek City Gladiators are among the competing teams. There are also teams in countries like Germany, Japan and Britain.


The Harlem Heroes are one of the top teams. The seven players fly in a famous 'H' formation. They don't wear body armour, which although it makes them more vulnerable, allows them to be more agile. Named players: 'Giant', Slim, Hairy and Louis Mayer.

In the preliminary round of the World Aeroball Championship, the Harlem Heroes beat the Greek City Gladiators with a final score of eight air strikes to two. They are through to the first round of the World Aeroball Championship. After the game, the Harlem Heroes leave in their hover-powered 'road-liner'. The hover unit cuts out, they skid off the road and crash. Three of the players are killed.


GIANT
The Captain of the Harlem Heroes. He scores at least one air strike in the game against the Greek City Gladiators. 'Giant' survives the crash.

SLIM
He scores at least one air strike just before time run out. He survives the crash.

HAIRY
The centre-blocker of the Harlem Heroes. Despite his name he is bald. He survives the crash.

LOUIS MAYER
He is driving the team's hover-powered 'road-liner' when it crashes. He survives the crash, but his body is beyond repair and his brain is stored in a tank. He can still communicate. His case number is 555. He insists that the Harlem Heroes can still win the World Aeroball Championship.






OTHER CHARACTERS
AEROBALL COMMENTATOR
He provides commentary for Aeroball games, describing the action for listeners.

LOUIS' NURSE
She works on a special ward dedicated to treating disembodied brains.

DEATHS
Three unnamed Harlem Heroes.


BEST LINES
Fan: "Strike Eight...with a beautiful drop in! The old Harlem Globetrotters couldn't have topped that!"

True, but then they also didn't have jet packs.

WORST LINES
Nurse: "We were unable to save Case Number 555's body. However his brain is quite healthy and he can communicate with you thanks to the mircles of modern medicine."

Bedside manner is apparently a thing of the past and refering to patient by their case number must be a dehumanising experience, disembodied brain or not.

CATCHPHRASES
"Hard in Harlem! Hit the heat! We heroes know we can't be beat!"

Rhyming chants will be a big part of this strip.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The Harlem Globetrotters, Roy Of The Rovers (1954), Rollerball (1975) and the 1958 munich air disaster, which left nine of Manchester United's 'Busby Babes' killed or sufficiently injured to prevent them from playing football again. The most famous use of jet packs is probably in the James Bond film, Thunderball (1965).

Brains are kept alive in jars throughout science fiction, such as H. P. Lovecraft's Mi-go aliens, first appearing in The Whisperer In Darkness (1931), can transplant human brains into a "brain cylinder". The novel Donovan's Brain by Curt Siodmak (1942), Roald Dahl's short story William And Mary (1960), The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962), Star Trek's Spock's Brain (1968) and Doctor Who's The Brain Of Morbius (1976).

MISTAKES
Surely an 80mph Kung-Fu drop kick to the chin would detach the recipient's head? Also Dave Gibbons and Carlos Trigo both draw the characters very differently.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
Carlos Trigo drew this first strip, but apparently it wasn't what Pat Mills (or maybe Tharg) was after so Dave Gibbons came in and redrew the black and white pages, but the colour page remained (presumably for cost reasons).

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Tom Tully and Pat Mills
Artist: Dave Gibbons and Carlos Trigo (Page 5 only)
Letters: Dave Gibbons and Bill Nuttall

Tom Tully wrote for Harlem Heroes, Inferno, Dan Dare, The Mean Arena, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith and Thunderbolt and Smokey!. Away from 2000 AD he was the longest-running writer of Roy Of The Rovers

Pat Mills was 2000 AD's first editor (alongside Tharg obviously) for its first 16 progs and as such co-wrote the first parts of each of the strips that made up the first progs opening line up: Invasion, Dan Dare, Flesh, Harlem Heroes and M.A.C.H.1. He went on to create and write write for countless strips including: A.B.C. Warriors, Accident Man, American Reaper, Black Siddha, Brats Bizarre, Charley's War, Coffin, Deadlock, Defoe, Diceman, Dinosty, Judge Dredd, Finn, Greysuit, Marshal Law, Metalzoic, Muto Maniac, Nemesis The Warlock, Planet Of The Damned, Psycho Killer, Ronald Reagan, Ro-Busters, Rogue Trooper, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales, Savage, Sex Warrior, Shako, Slaine, Torquemada, Third World War, Vector 13, The Visible Man, Wagner's Walk and a couple of One-offs. He was also one of severals writers on Tharg The Mighty's A Night 2 Remember and served as editor of Diceman. His blog is here.

Dave Gibbons' art for Harlem Heroes is by far the most beautiful stuff in 2000 A.D.'s opening line up. He also worked on A.B.C. Warriors, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Ro-Busters, Rogue Trooper, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales, Time Twisters and Tharg's Future Shocks and often lettered his own work. He also drew 38 2000 A.D. covers, illustrated two Mega-City One text stories and was one of several artists to contribute to Tharg The Mighty strips, Tharg's Head Revisited and A Night 2 Remember. He has also written scripts for a three part story for Rogue Trooper called The War Machine. Away from 2000 AD, he did some wonderful work on Doctor Who and Watchmen.

Carlos Trigo provided artwork for this first part of Harlem Heroes, but apart from the last page it went unused. It eventually surfaced on the BBC website and in The Complete Harlem Heroes. He return to draw the first two parts of The Visible Man and Whatever happened to? Conrad Conn.

REVIEW
This strip is a lot of fun and the game sequences give a great impression of speed, which makes action sequences in other strips look slow. Dave Gibbons' art is fantastic and there is a very obvious drop in quality for the last page. The sports commentator is a great device and gets the exposition across with ease. This is a compelling start.

Take another PIC-TRIP into the Future with the Harlem Heroes in 2000 A.D. next week!
Take another PIC-TRIP into the Future with the Harlem Heroes here tomorrow!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Academy Of Law', Part 2

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Academy Of Law', Part 2 (according to Barney this story is also known as 'Rookie')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 28

DATELINE
3 Sep 77

This prog also featured Invasion, Dan Dare, Tharg's Future Shocks, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips, as well as a supercover by Lopez.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd Annual 1985, Sam Slade Robo-Hunter (Volume 2) Issue 20, Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 4, The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Rookie Judge Giant has to emulate his father and defy Dredd to save the day.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first time a character from the another comic strip has crossed over into Judge Dredd and the first two part story.

INFORMATION
Heroes Bowl is where the Harlem Heroes used to play Aeroball, it is now part of Mega-City One. There is a Louis Mayer stand and statues of Mayer (and his brain) and John 'Giant' Clay.

The final test for a Rookie Judge is to be willing to sacrifice their future to defend the law. Rookies that become full Judges are awarded the black helmet and full Eagle badge in a ceremony that takes place in The Grand Hall of Justice and is presided over by the Chief Judge.

Kidnapping is not a crime that requires the death penalty.

JUDGE DREDD
He pretends he is going to execute Giant's prisoners to see if the Rookie will stop him.

OTHER CHARACTERS
JUDGE GIANT
He could have played pro-Aeroball, but his father wanted something better for him. He can handle a jetpack and uses one to rescue the kidnapped Anderson boy. He disposes of the bomb attached to the child and throws it into the score tank. He has always admired Dredd. He passes Dredd's final test and becomes a Judge.


THE CHIEF JUDGE
He awards Giant the black helmet and full eagle badge and invests him as a Mega-City Judge.

JOHN 'GIANT' CLAY
Judge Giant's father. He has retired from Aeroball and requires a stick to walk. His statue is in the Heroes Bowl. He attends his son's investment as a Judge, but his subsequent celebration party plans are cancelled as his son has other duties.

ARRESTS
Rookie Judge Giant arrests two of the kidnappers.

DEATHS
The third kidnapper presumably falls to his death.

BEST LINES
Rookie Judge Giant: "Air-strike! My first and last!"

WORST LINES
John 'Giant' Clay: "That's muh boy! Son, your old pappy is sure enough proud of you come on home now - We're gonna have a real big party to celebrate."

Giant never spoke like this in Harlem Heroes.

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd says "Drokk you" to his Rookie, which is perhaps the first time it's been so insulting.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
John 'Giant' Clay attends his son's investment as a Judge and Louis Mayer (and his brain) are immortalised in a statue in the Heroes Bowl. They previously appeared in Harlem Heroes, more of that tomorrow...

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Harlem Heroes (1977).

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
Judge Giant will go on to become an important character in future Judge Dredd strips.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
When I first read this strip I had no knowledge of Harlem Heroes and so the references were largely lost on me. I have since read about the senior Giant's exploits and now Aeroball, Louis Mayer's brain and airstrikes all have a far greater significance to me. It's a nice touch to incorporate a beloved character from another strip and them treat them so badly. It reinforces the implacability of the Judges. I like this strip, but I'm aware that much of the affection I have for it comes from the Harlem Heroes references.

The End.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Academy Of Law', Part 1

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Academy Of Law', Part 1 (according to Barney this strip is also known as 'Rookie')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 27

DATELINE
27 Aug 77

PAGE COUNT
5

This prog featured a supercover by Brian Bolland and Invasion, Tharg's Future Shocks, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips.

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd Annual 1985, Sam Slade Robo-Hunter (Volume 2) Issue 20,
Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 4, The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd is accompanied by a Rookie Judge.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First explicit reference to another 2000AD strip, first appearance of Judge Cadets, a Rookie Judge, Giant and the as-yet-unnamed principal of the Academy, first Futsie.

INFORMATION
In Mega-City One, the Academy Of Law is a giant building where Judge Cadets receive their training. It has a robot receptionist. Cadet's uniforms are essentially white versions of those worn by Judges with Cadet written across an eagle on the chest. Cadets are enrolled as children and graduate at the age of twenty. They have no contact with their family whilst at the academy. Ninth year cadets undergo combat training in an arena-sized reconstruction of part of Mega-City One. They use live ammunition against robotdummies and can get expelled for being careless. After the cadet's graduation ceremony they become Rookie Judges and wear black uniforms with white helmets and Half-Eagle badges. When awarded these the Cadets shout "Hail Rookie Judge [Insert name]! May your Lawgiver always fire true". They are then paired with a serving Judge for on-the-street training. The black helmet and full Eagle badge are only received after testing under actual combat conditions. Tutor's uniforms have Tutor written across an eagle on the chest.

The visors on Judge's helmets are bullet proof. Named Judges: Rookie Judge Giant, Judge Mills (deceased), Judge Moore (deceased), Judge Steele (deceased), also Cadets Hunt, Wagner and Gibson (all Class of '79, Judge status unknown), Cadet Wilson (Class of '78, Judge status unknown) and Cadet Bobbie Smith (enrolled this year).


The city is also the location of Nixon Plaza (presumably not in Sector three), the site of Space Hop travel office from where you can purchase travel to Mercury, dubbed the Sunshine Planet, and also get cheap day returns to Mars.

Futsies are people who suffer from Future Shock illness, are unable to stand the pace of 21st century living and go on mad killing frenzies. The minimum penalty for mass murder under Penal Code Eleven is thirty years imprisonment, but a future shock sufferer would get medical treatment rather than a prison sentence.

A neat aeroswerve is a useful manoevre in Aeroball. 'Giant', the captain of the Harlem Heroes was known for scoring quick airstrikes.

JUDGE DREDD
He graduated in the honour roll of the class of '79 alongside Cadets Hunt, Wagner and Gibson. Dredd has only passed one Rookie Judge before. He's aware of the Harlem Heroes and their captain 'Giant'.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ROOKIE JUDGE GIANT
He is twenty years old (presumably born in 2079). His father was the Captain of the Harlem Heroes Aeroball team and he calls him Pappy Giant. He has graduated with honours and as a Rookie Judge he is paired with Dredd. Dredd initally fails him, but gives him a second chance.

THE PRINCIPAL OF THE ACADEMY OF LAW
He wears an eye patch over his right eye.

ARRESTS
Presumably Happy Harry is still arrested.


DEATHS
It appears that Happy Harry has killed at least two during his Futsie.

BEST LINES
Dredd (of a cadet): "Careless, very careless. When he's recovered, he'll be expelled. He wouldn't last a minute against hardened Mega-City criminals."

WORST LINES
Futsie: "Hunnnn! Hunnnn! Can't catch me Judgo Boy! I gotta lot more happiness to spread around! Hunnnn!"

CATCHPHRASES
A cadet says "Drokk!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Judge Alvin from Judge Dredd: 'Judge Whitey' is mentioned as lost in action and apparently graduated as part of the Class of '78. The Academy Of Law combat training arena is similar to that seen in Judge Dredd: 'The Judge's Graveyard'. Rookie Judge Giant is the son of John Clay, nicknamed Giant, captain of the Harlem Heroes whose story began in the first Prog, ran for 27 parts and draws to a close in the same prog as this very strip. There were previous references to Mega-City One in Harlem Heroes, but this is the first time they have been reciprocated.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The term Future Shock was coined by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book of the same name. He defines it as a psychological state of a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time". Futsie sounds like footsie and FTSE, below table flirting and the Financial Times Stock Exchange respectively.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
Both the tutors we see here are disabled in some way, one wears an eye patch while the other is missing an arm, whilst not not explained as such here this will turn out to be Academy Of Law policy.

NOTES
The relationship between Futsie Future Shocks and Tharg's Future Shocks, which began in Prog 25, is unclear.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Ian Gibson
Letters: Bill Nuttall

REVIEW
The artwork is great and it's nice to see a bit of Dredd's past. Bringing Judge Dredd and Harlem Heroes together into one continuity is not in itself a huge step, but it is the first step towards Dredd being 2000 AD's main strip with a shared universe around him.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Dream Palace'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Dream Palace'
(according to The Dredd Files in Megazine 214, this strip is also known as 'Pleasurama')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 26

DATELINE
20 Aug 77

This prog also featured Invasion, Tharg's Future Shocks, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips, as well as a supercover by Lopez.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 2, The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.



SYNOPSIS
Dredd must prevent a crime he saw in a Lawbreaker's dreams.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The appearance of the Covenant Of The Judges is the first indication of how they took over the law and order of Mega-City One.

INFORMATION
(This strip is set over the course of three days, the last of which is Justice Day)

Mega-City One has 800 million citizens. Few people in the city work more than two hours a day and therefore have much more leisure time.

The Dream Palace has a machine that encourage dreams in the human brain. The dreams are created by flooding the brain with millions of super-charged electrons and stimulating the area of the sub-conscious that creates dreams. The machine has a pleasure gauge that can be set to the Nightmare Zone, which is regarded as dangerous and is available for medical use only. All dreams are recorded by the Dream Palace's central computer and can be reviewed. You can also buy a dream for your dog.


The Transatlantic Express has been destroyed. The water in Sector 4 has been poisoned. The Space Academy was recently destroyed by an explosion.

The Covenant of the Judges: "Show us your Lawbreakers and we shall show them justice. Mega-City will be crime-free. Trust in the Judges!"

Justice Day is celebrated with a parade. The parade features at least four floats: one displaying the Covenant of the Judges, one marked In Memoriam, another for the Riot Squad and a fourth featuring a huge statue of a Judge carrying a book of Law and The Sword Of Justice. Dozens of Judges take part in the parade. Named Judges: Judge Mick.


JUDGE DREDD
He watches Nobody's dream and realises he is going to attack the Justice Day Parade. Dredd heads to the site of the parade and sights Nobody. The Judge leaps from his Lawmaster onto Nobody's hovercar, shoots out the napalm controls and lands it on the foot of the Judge's statue float knocking the Sword of Justice from the statue's hand, with fatal consequences.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE CHIEF JUDGE
He confidently connects the three large scale crimes. Presumably he is part of the Justice Day Parade. Dredd refers to him simply as Chief.

MARIA
She attends the Justice Day Parade with Walter.

WALTER THE WOBOT
He attends the Justice Day Parade with Maria.

JOHN NOBODY
His real name apparently. Nobody has three unauthorised nightmares at the Dream Palace and attacks the Transatlantic Express and the Space Academy (and presumably poisons the water of Sector 4). He strikes the Justice Day Parade with a hover car armed with napalm spray and burns at least four Judges before Dredd can stop him. He is killed by the Sword Of Justice falling from a parade float.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
One. John Nobody killed by the falling Sword Of Justice.


BEST LINES
Rainbow Girl: "Welcome to the Dream Palace, Mr - uh...Nobody, isn't it? John Nobody? Same as usual, sir...Private cubical?"
John Nobody: "That's right, miss I like to keep my dreams to myself."

WORST LINES
Dredd's obvious contempt for the Dream Palace's Rainbow Girl is pretty bad, since she does more detective work here than he does.

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd exclaims another "Drokk!", Maria calls Walter a Tin Bug again and Walter says fwee, hooway, Mawia, woam and wobot.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
The Transatlantic Express presumably runs through the Trans-Atlantic Tunnel previously mentioned in Judge Dredd: 'Robots' and seen in Harlem Heroes, Part 6.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
How does the Grand Judge know that Nobody's three crimes are all perpetrated by the same man?

RETROSPECT
It may not be the same as Justice Day, but since 2010 the 17th of July has been the World Day for International Justice.

NOTES
Presumably Judge Mick is the closest Mike McMahon has come to a Hitchcock-style cameo.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
The ideas behind this strip are brilliant, but it's not clear whether Nobody's dreams come true as a subliminal act or because he is dreaming what he wants to happen. The artwork for the Justice Day parade is impressive, but Rainbow Girl is drawn in some very odd poses.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'You Bet Your Life'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'You Bet Your Life'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 25

DATELINE
13 Aug 77

This prog also featured Invasion, Tharg's Future Shocks, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips and a supercover by Lopez.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
2000AD Prog 268, Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 3, Judge Dredd (Volume 2, Issue 53), The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd and Walter attempt to bring a fatal gameshow to an end.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First time Dredd appears on TV.

INFORMATION
PiraTeeVee is one of Mega-City One's many illegal pirate TV stations broadcasting from secret studios. One of their shows You Bet Your Life, a quiz show presented by Baby Bob Nicely and Morticia in which contestants risk their lives for cash prizes. In one round, a correct answer to a question would win 10,000 credits, while an incorrect answer earns the contestant a forfeit. Another round sees a contestant offered a choice between the same sum or a prize in a mystery box. The finale is the sudden death question and a correct answer would win one million credits. The questions either come with incorrect clues or are entirely made up.

There were at least 53 Presidents of the United States. President Bates wasn't the 53rd.

There is a plutonium mine in mutant-land.

JUDGE DREDD
He catches Walter watching illegal broadcasts, but lets him off with a warning. He and Walter track the signals to the studio where You Bet Your Life is being filmed and brings it to an end.

WALTER THE WOBOT
He watches illegal broadcasts on his own screen, but Dredd lets him off with a warning. He can track signals to a specific location and has telescopic arms. He may be largely made of tin.


OTHER CHARACTERS
BABY BOB NICELY
He presents You Bet Your Life on PiraTeeVee, with Morticia.

ARRESTS
Presumably the entire studio audience, guards and camera crew.

DEATHS
At least three. Penny Weedy is bitten by a poisonous spider hidden in the mystery box. Baby Bob Nicely and Morticia are both killed by shards of the guillotine blade. To be fair to Grandma she might still be alive.

BEST LINES
Baby Bob Nicely: "Well Sheldon, you've lost your entire family! How do you feel about answering the sudden death question now?"
Sheldon: "I, uh...I feel good, Bob. Real good."

WORST LINES
All of Dredd's dialogue on the last page.

CATCHPHRASES
Walter says angwy, dwainage, Dwedd, favouwite, fwom, gwowing, pwogwamme, stwaight, stwonger, twying, wealise and weally.

At one point, Baby Bob Nicely says "Good game! Good game!" which was one of Bruce Forsyth's many catchphrases.

Dredd chalks up another "Stomm!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
You Bet Your Life was the name of an actual game show presented by Groucho Marx on radio in 1947, which transferred to television in 1950. Morticia's name obviously comes from The Addams Family (1964). This strip was presumably also inspired by pirate radio in general.

MISTAKES
Mega-City One is described as being a "vast metropolis of the 22nd Century", which of course it will be, but not for another two years.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Ian Gibson
Letters: Bill Nuttall/John Aldrich

REVIEW
I like the concept and it's nice to Dredd and Walter working together, but the gameshow itself is a great idea that doesn't quite deliver and the events of the last page ought to take place over a couple of seconds, but because of the dialogue it feels as though it slows everything right down.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Wreath Murders'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Wreath Murders'
(according to The Dredd Files in Megazine 214, this strip is also known as 'Axe Killers')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 24

DATELINE
6 Aug 77

This prog also Invasion, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1, Shako and Tharg The Mighty strips and a supercover by Kevin O'Neill.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 2, The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
A rash of grisly murders occur in Mega-City One with a wreath left at the scene, Dredd is on the trail of the killers.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Mac(k).

INFORMATION
The year is 2099 A.D.

Mega-City One has at least forty highways. Highway 40 heads toward Old People's District. Residential properties have door view screens to enable inhabitants to see who is at the door without opening it. There have been at least twenty murders attributed to the floral wreath murderers and Ambulance 4-2X removed the bodies from the scene each time.

Justice H.Q. is adorned with JHQ in huge letters. The Judge's Central Computer is Macro-Analysis Computer (or M.A.C. for short). Lawgivers are programmed only to fire when they accept the hand print of a specific individual. If anyone else attempts to fire the gun it would engage the self-destruct mechanism instead.

JUDGE DREDD
He has apparently never given the citizens of Mega-City One a reason to doubt him. He uses M.A.C. to link the murders to the Auto-Medic Med-Techs of Ambulance 4-2X and then tracks them down.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
Dredd kills one murderous med-tech with the other's axe, while the other is killed in the explosion of Dredd's self-destructing Lawgiver.


BEST LINES
Med-Tech: "Your ambulance is here, sir!"
Victim: "I don't need no ambulance!"
Med-Tech: "You do now!"

WORST LINES
M.A.C.: "Pal? What is pal? Do not have sufficient data...Please programme data..."

CATCHPHRASES
The potential twenty-first wreath murder victim says "By Stomm!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
A Judge's Lawgivers require a specific hand print to fire, but Judges all wear gloves.

RETROSPECT
Dredd uses a Mac computer in a strip printed six years before they were available to buy.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Malcolm Shaw
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: John Aldrich

REVIEW
Fantastic. This strip feels like a real turning point. The reveal that the Med-Techs are using their position to commit burglary and murder is shocking and shows an increased depth of characterisation and depravity. There is something quite nice about the wreath as a calling card almost being more shocking to the citizens of Mega-City One than the murders themselves.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Smoker's Crime'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Smoker's Crime'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 23

DATELINE
30 July 77

After another Supercover by Brian Bolland, this prog also featured Invasion, Dan Dare, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd (Volume 2, Issue 3), Judge Dredd (Volume 2, Issue 58) and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd tracks down some bank robbers with a little help from their filthy vice.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of the Mega-City One Smokatorium.

INFORMATION
As part of the pollution laws, smoking on the streets is a crime in Mega-City One. The city Smokatorium is the only building where smoking is allowed and smokers are required to wear helmets to help them breathe in the noxious atmosphere.

Tobacco Centre 7 is in Sector 7 of the city. They stock Carribean Zone Cigars and Astrogum.

The control panel on a Judge's Lawmaster bike can detect nicotine and measures distance in yards. There is a bank squad, specifically responsible for looking after banks.

JUDGE DREDD
There are anti-smoking signs on his beat that read: "Remember this is Judge Dredd's beat, so don't try smoking on the street! Smoking on streets prohibited - By order." (also he is presumably not a smoker).

OTHER CHARACTERS
MR RIZZO
The proprietor of Tobacco Centre 7.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
At least three. A bank robber shoots dead a teller during the robbery and a Smokatorium employee during his escape, before he is himself shot by Dredd when he refused to put down his weapon.

BEST LINES
Dredd (after a lawbreaker lit a match on him): "And you just struck an officer of the law."

WORST LINES
Dredd: "Only dead men walk out of doors, Lawbreaker - smart ones use the window!"

What?

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
None.

MISTAKES
Caribbean is mis-spelt Carribean in the artwork.


RETROSPECT
A smoking ban covering indoor workplaces has been in effect all across the United Kingdom since 2007.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Gerry Finley-Day
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Tom Frame/Peter Knight

Tom Frame's first work for 2000 AD was on Invasion in Prog 4. He went on to provide letters for a further 596 Judge Dredd strips, as well as The 86ers, A.B.C. Warriors, American Gothic, Judge Anderson, Apocalypse Soon, Bad Company, Banzai Battalion, Bato Loco, Bec & Kawl, Bix Barton, Caballistics, Inc., Chopper, The Corps, Dan Dare, Dash Decent, Judge Death, DeMarco, Diceman, Flesh, Flesh 3000AD, Freaks, Hap Hazzard, The Helltrekkers, Indigo Prime, Killer, Leviathan, Low Life, M.A.C.H.1, Mean Machine, Mean Team, Mega-City Noir, Mind Wars, One-offs, Past Imperfect, Planet Of The Damned, Pussyfoot 5, Robo-Hunter, Ro-Busters, Rogan Gosh, Rogue Trooper, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales, Robo-Hunter, Shaun Of The Dead, The Simping Detective, Sinister Dexter, Slaine, Strontium Dog, Tales Of Telguuth, Tales Of The Doghouse, Tharg The Mighty, Tharg's Dragon Tales, Tharg's Future Shocks, Tharg's Terror Tales, Time Twisters, Tyranny Rex, The V.C.'s, Whatever Happened To...?, Lenny Zero and he may well have contributed art with Johnstone to a Tharg's Future Shock called Old Quagmires Never Die (Prog 529). When he died in 2006, he held the record for working on more 2000 AD stories than anybody else.

REVIEW
I really like this strip. The artwork is great and it's just the sort of future crime that Dredd should be investigating.

Programme An Order For 2000 A.D. - Our Next Prog Has Extra Thrills!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Mr Buzzz'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Mr Buzzz'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 22

DATELINE
23 July 77

This prog also featured Invasion, Dan Dare, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips, and a supercover by Evi.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd arrests a murder gang and then goes in search of its leader.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First mention of isolation cubes and first use of "Dok!".

INFORMATION
Mega-City One is a giant Metropolis. 3rd Street and Grover Street are in Oldtown (which is not in Sector 4), which apparently has only one cheap hotel and a expensive shop called Sears & Roeb.


The Public Health Act of 2087 protects citizens against unsanitary buildings. Judges can order a demolition order for a particular building and the city will pay compensation.

Harbouring a fugitive is a crime. Committing murder will get you forty years in an isolation cube, but a Judge can use discretion during sentencing.

Mutants are banned from Mega-City One and sometimes carry distinctive throwing knives.

Judge's Lawgivers can be set to rapid fire.

JUDGE DREDD
He reduces a lawbreaker's sentence in recognition of co-operation by one day. He burns down a building containing a lawbreaker's hideout and infers that he could have arrested its owner for harbouring a fugitive.


OTHER CHARACTERS
MR BUZZZ
Mutant leader of a murder gang. He has no eyes, but can see in total darkness. He makes a sound that bzzzzes and it works like a bat's radar. He was based on the second floor of a cheap hotel in Oldtown.


ARRESTS
At least three. Mr Buzzz and two of his murder gang.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Dredd: "I'm burning it down under the public health act of 2087. The place is infested with a rat!"

WORST LINES
Lawbreaker: "It's Judge Dredd! Go for your rods - Aaah!"

Unfortunate.

CATCHPHRASES
"Dok!" appears to mean God, but only in a taking the Lord's name in vain sort of way.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
3rd and Grover were previously mentioned in Judge Dredd: 'The Comic Pusher'. It's obviously not a very nice part of town.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Mr Buzzz is like a cross between Batman (1939) and Daredevil (1964), while his car somewhat resembles the Batmobile from the Batman TV series (1966).

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
It seems unlikely, but the sling wearing bald Lawbreaker would be due out of his iso-cube in 2139 and so a sequel could be a possibility in 2017.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Ian Gibson
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
This strip is a lot of fun. Mr Buzzz himself is a great spin on the mutants and Dredd's reduction of a perp's sentence for his co-operation by a single day is fantastic.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Solar Sniper'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Solar Sniper'
(according to The Dredd Files in Megazine 214, this strip is also known as 'Gorilla')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 21

DATELINE
16 July 77

PAGE COUNT
5

This Prog was the first to cost 9 pence Earth money and featured another supercover this time by Trevor Goring and Kevin O'Neill as well as Invasion, Dan Dare, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 also Shako strips.

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 3 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Judge Dredd is the target of a killer with a solar powered weapon.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First example of space travel seen in Judge Dredd.

INFORMATION
The year is 2099 A.D. (and possibly the 24th of February).

In Mega-City One, violence could be said to have reached epidemic proportions. The British date structure of day, month, year seems to have been adopted in Mega-City One. The city's Weather Congress building is the ground station for Mega-City Atmosphere Control. It also has research rooms and houses the Sunprobe 9 launch pad. The citizens vote for the weather they would like to receive.

The Department of Grand Judges can order a weather warrant to specify a specific type of weather and therefore override the voting of citizens. Named Judges: Judge Abel, Judge Baker and Judge Carter (all deceased).

Sunprobe 9 is a space mission designed to leave Earth for a three year orbit of the Sun. The probe was designed to carry a single chimpanzee passenger aboard as part of an experiment to prove the viability of manned weather station in orbit of the sun. The launch process is entirely automated and a human (ironically named Gorilla) accidentally found himself inside and was launched into orbit. Sunprobe 9 is due to return in 2102.

A solar gun is powered by the sun's rays and capable of incinerating a tank.

Flightline make cars.

JUDGE DREDD
He is targeted by an assassin called Gorilla who has been killing Judges with a distinctive solar-powered gun. He visits the weather congress building and arranges for a cloud to obscure the sun and render the gun useless.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE GRAND JUDGE
His office is officially called the Department of Grand Judges. He visits the scene of Judge Carter's murder and writes Dredd a weather warrant.

WALTER THE WOBOT
He was given a note threatening Dredd's life.

GORILLA
He regards himself as the best hit man in Mega-City One. He is killing Judges in alphabetical order with a solar gun. He accidentally finds himself inside the capsule of Sunprobe 9 as it blasts off for a three year orbit of the sun.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
Three. Judge Carter is incinerated by Gorilla's solar gun and Dredd shoots both of Gorilla's co-conspirators.


BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
Dredd: "No way to get you back, Gorilla. Sunprobe's are fully automatic - You killed by the sun and now you're gonna get the worst case of sunburn ever!"

Nice grammar, Dredd.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Dredd visits the Weather Congress, the ground station for Mega-City Atmosphere Control and a Tharg note directs us to Prog 16 (and therefore Judge Dredd: 'Robot Wars', Part 7).

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
The text gives the year as 2099, but the artwork shows the dates at weather control give the year as 2090, and February 24th 2090 at that.

RETROSPECT
Obviously the use of monkeys in space exploration was at its peak during the 1950's and 60's, but the practice went on much longer. To date the USA sent its last monkey into space in 1985, while the Russians continued to use them until 1997.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Gerry Finley-Day
Artist: Ron Turner
Letters: Jack Potter

REVIEW
An assassin on Dredd's trail recalls 'Judge Whitey', and really needed to be a bit more exciting here. Sadly, storywise this strip is something and nothing. The artwork in the panel depicting Judge Carter's death is very impressive, but overall the artwork doesn't elevate the story.

Experience Future Shock Again Next Week
Experience Future Shock Again Tomorrow

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Comic Pusher'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Comic Pusher'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 21

DATELINE
9 July 77

This prog also featured another Supercover by Brian Bolland and Invasion, Dan Dare, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd Annual 1983, Judge Dredd (Volume 2, Issue 23), Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 3, The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd hunts down a group attempting to sell comics to kids.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Max Normal, first use of Crumb as an insult, first appearance of 2000 A.D. within 2000 A.D.

INFORMATION
Mega-City One boasts streets named Third and Grover. Fat Sam's Soda Bar sells beverages such as Space Soda (150 credits), New Coke - The Surreal Thing (300 credits) and Martian Joy Juice. Skinner and Sloper are importers who own a warehouse. Both these businesses are involved in the illegal sale of comics.

Old comics are worth a fortune and selling them to children is a crime. They are made available as comic slugs: a microfilm containing a single issue. Comic slugs require a viewer to read them. 2000 A.D. is a comic from the twentieth century.

Ricochet Bullets are selection number 4 on a Judge's gun. Named Judges: Judge Strong.

(Fibber's Playtime might be a TV talent show that requires an audition, or similar).

JUDGE DREDD
He considers selling comics to children one of the lowest forms of crime. The arrests he makes close down one of the biggest comics operations in the city and millions of comic slugs are seized.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MAX NORMAL
One of Dredd's informers. Dredd describes him as a pinstripe freak. Dredd pays him 10,000 credits for info. He knew that Fat Sam's Soda Bar sold old comics under the counter to children. He gets away with calling Dredd "baby".





THE GRAND JUDGE
He thinks it important that the Judges are aware of the value of the seized comic slugs and advocates reading them.

ARRESTS
Presumably four: Skinner, Sloper and two henchmen.

DEATHS
None. Dredd shoots two perps, but the medic says says none of them will die.

BEST LINES
Dredd (whilst threatening a perp with a gun): "Open it- Or you get an extra nostril!"

WORST LINES
Dredd (having been lied to): "That's a good one! You two oughta try out for Fibber's Playtime!"

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd says "Stomm!" and uses the word "crumb" as an insult.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None, but the section of 2000 A.D. seen by the Judges in the last panel is the cover of Prog 13 with Dredd obscured.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The idea of youthful rebellion creating a pinstripe freak like Max Normal is an interesting observation, presumably reached as a result of the contemporary punk phenomenon (The Sex Pistols 'God Save The Queen' was kept off the number one spot of the Top Of The Pops chart by the BBC due to worries about embarrassing the Queen during her silver Jubilee), but if all the citizens of Mega-City One already dressed like punks, what would a rebellious youth dress like? Would they identify with an establishment figure of the past?


MISTAKES
I don't think that featuring 2000 A.D. within 2000 A.D. works, but that's just personal taste.

RETROSPECT
Coca-Cola would indeed launch a New Coke in 1985, eight years after this comic was first published.

Dredd thinks to himself "Old comics are worth a fortune. Selling them to kids is one of the lowest forms of crime." Old comics are indeed worth a fortune. Accordingly to this probably slight out of date list, 2000 AD's first prog is apparently worth about £55-60, while due to the debut of you-know-who Prog 2 reaches between £65 and £70. If you purchased the first 21 progs upon first publication is would have set you back £1.68 (Earth money), but if you tried to purchase them now would cost between £214 and £224, up to 133 times that of their original cover price.

NOTES
Dredd goes on to think "After one or two, kids get so they can't give them up, then the price goes up and up..."

Ironically, this appears in a strip featured in the last prog to cost 8 pence Earth money. From the next week the price did indeed go up by one penny...

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Bill Nuttall

REVIEW
The design of Max Normal is so anachronistic on the streets of Mega-City One and all the better for it. The comics as addictive as drugs metaphor is cute, but wears thin very quickly and the reveal of 2000 AD is silly.


The End.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Mugger's Moon'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Mugger's Moon'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 19

DATELINE
2 July 77

This prog also featured Invasion, Dan Dare, Flesh, Harlem Heroes and M.A.C.H.1 strips nestled behind the first of twenty-five consecutive supercovers. They're very nice, but I have no idea what makes them so super. This one is by Brian Bolland.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd goes after muggers and bystanders alike.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First script by Gerry Finley-Day and first art by John Cooper.

INFORMATION
The year is 2099 A.D. (this strip takes place during the night of a full moon, which for the record in 2099 would be either 7th Jan, 5th Feb, 6th Mar, 5th Apr, 4th May, 3rd June, 2nd July, 1st & 30th Aug, 29th Sept, 29th Oct, 27th Nov or 27th Dec).

Mega-City One is the most advanced city on the planet. Anti-litter campaigns have cleaned up its streets. Clean air laws have given it a pollution free atmosphere. Vehicles charged with gross pollution of the atmosphere are condemned to immediate destruction. Petrol burning cars are required to have an exhaust purifier fitted. Drivers are still required to carry licences.

Heat Seeker Bullets, nicknamed 'hot shots', are number 6 on a Judge's pistol and can pass through multiples victims. Judge's carry pollution meters.

JUDGE DREDD
He expects to be busy on a night with a bright moon and calls it a Mugger's Moon. Dredd is clearly appalled with the motorist who abandoned his fellow citizen to die.


OTHER CHARACTERS
F. NIXON
He has no criminal record. He abandoned someone during a mugging. Nixon drives an old twentieth century petrol burning car which cost him a fortune, During the mugging his exhaust purifier is pulled off and Dredd prosecutes him for gross pollution of the atmosphere and destroys his vehicle accordingly.

ARRESTS
None. Although Dredd does destroy a car for gross pollution.

DEATHS
Three. Dredd shoots three muggers, Lou, Gerry and a third unnamed mugger, with one heatseeking bullet.

BEST LINES
Mugger: "We'll take your money, sucker- But we'll hurt you, too- Just for fun!"

WORST LINES
Mugger: "He's got Lou and Gerry with a 'Hot Shot'! I'm getting out of here!"

You might still be alive if you hadn't made a speech about it.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
The car is an old 20th century petrol burner and "cost a bomb", which recalls Judge Dredd: 'Antique Car Heist'.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
This strip may may have been inspired the belief that crime rises dramatically around a full moon. Statistically this has been largely disproven.

MISTAKES
One of the mugger's smashes the headlight on Dredd's Lawmaster, but it seems to be working fine at the end of the strip.

RETROSPECT
The exhaust purifier in this strip pre-dates the particulate filter in Diesal cars and although it didn't come before the catalytic converter it was still published long before they were in widespread production.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Gerry Finley-Day
Artist: John Cooper
Letters: Jack Potter

This is the first of four Judge Dredd strips written by Gerry Finley-Day. He also wrote for Ant Wars, Blackhawk, The Collector, Invasion, Dan Dare, Fiends Of The Eastern Front, The Hand, Harry Twenty, Jake's Platoon, Rogue Trooper and The V.C.'s

John Cooper would go on to draw another seven strips for Judge Dredd, as well as Abelard Snazz, M.A.C.H.1, Armitage, Tharg's Future Shocks and Tharg's Terror Tales.

REVIEW
This strip is bleak in tone and the artwork feels more seventies than other Dredd so far. On the surface this strip wouldn't seem to tell us much insight into Dredd, but the way he deals with Nixon shows that his ethics extend beyond the letter of the law.

Shako Makes King Kong Long Like A Pet Chimp - Don't Miss It!

(It's not here.)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Brainblooms'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Brainblooms'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 18

DATELINE
25 June 77

This prog featured Invasion, Dan Dare, Flesh, Harlem Heroes and M.A.C.H.1 strips, and bore not just a Judge Dredd cover, but a 'Brainblooms' cover by Don Lawrence, which was controversially overlaid with an image of Dredd by Carlos Ezquerra.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Judge Dredd 1 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd is on the trail of a horticultural criminal growing bizarre illegal plants.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Brainblooms and first reference to Maria as Dredd's landlady.

INFORMATION
The year is 2099 A.D. (and set at some before 11.9.2099, but we don't know if that is the British calendar 11th of September 2099 or the American November 9th 2099, to be be fair we don't know that the calendar hasn't changed completely, introduced new months, discarded old ones and that it isn't the 34th of Megtober).

Brainblooms are the result of bio-organic grafting of plant and human. They grow in a similar fashion to flowers. Due of the nature of what they are fed on, their sale is in violation of Section 12 of Mega-City One's Bio-Penal Code and the penalty is closure of premises for a determined period. Brainblooms can imitate any known sound and among the songs they have been taught to sing are: 'Happy Birthday To You', 'O Sole Mio', 'You'll Never Walk Alone', a song containing the lyric: "Me and my inter stella fella- We don't let Venus come between us" and 'The Humming Song' which is a euphemism for a form of hypnotic suggestion.

Judges have riot squads armed with a foam, which hardens around a disturbance. The Judges conduct a series of lightning raids at places across Mega-City One suspected of owning a Brainbloom.

Tower house, in Mega-City One, has a roof garden.

It would seem that human lifespans have lengthened and it's not unheard of for a hundred year old to be fit, healthy and active, but human life expectancy probably doesn't stretch to two hundred.

JUDGE DREDD
It's his birthday (his birthday is at some before 11.9.2099, see INFORMATION above), and Maria has bought him a Brainbloom.

He tracks down Mrs Mahaffy's Brainbloom growing operation and she hypnotises him to forget all about it and commit suicide. He tries to crash his Lawmaster (at least his third so far), but the oncoming traffic swerves and he survives. The near-death experience seems to snap him out of his hypnotised state and he returns to her garden to arrest her.


OTHER CHARACTERS
MARIA
Dredd's landlady (she's done well for herself, maybe she bought Dredd's flat from the previous owner). She has committed a crime in buying a Brainbloom, but Dredd lets her off with a warning.

WALTER THE WOBOT
He is still living with Dredd. He doesn't like Maria and would like to have seen her arrested for possession of a Brainbloom.

MRS MAHAFFY
Born in 1999, Mrs Mahaffy is now a hundred years old. She is a notorious bio-criminal, known as Green Fingers Ma Mahaffy. She grows Brainblooms for sale and has trained them to emit a hypnotic noise that renders people suggestible.

ARRESTS
At least one: Mrs Mahaffy. It's not clear if those featured in the lightning raids panel were arrested or simply had their Brainblooms confiscated. Since Dredd let Maria off, it would be hypocritical of him not to extend them the same courtesy, but there are other Judges involved here as well.


DEATHS
None. The Brainblooms are probably destroyed.

BEST LINES
Dredd: "That's that outa the way. Now to arrange a little accident..for myself..."

The fact that Dredd's hypnosis is more sinister than merely to avoid detection is nicely revealed.

WORST LINES
Dredd: "If you had any real brains, Ma, you'd know that crime doesn't pay. But I guess you'll never learn- If you live to be two hundred!"

CATCHPHRASES
Maria's accent is very evident. Walter says Awwest and Dwedd.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Another criminal identified by their voice print, introduced in Judge Dredd: 'The New You'.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Despite their obvious differences, the sentient plants here put me in mind of the Ents of Middle Earth introduced in The Lord Of The Rings book The Two Towers (1954).

MISTAKES
Mrs Mahaffy is a "notorious bio-criminal", apparently operating under her own name.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
Dredd and Mahaffy both allude to the Brainblooms being fed on something ominous, but we don't find out what it is.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Jack Potter

REVIEW
Any story would seem a little lightweight after the eight-part 'Robot Wars', and at times 'Brainblooms' does, but it's a nice little story with a brilliantly surreal idea at its core and exactly the type of bizarreness that Mega-City One will embrace later.

2000 A.D. Now Available Printed On Heat Resistant Metal For Readers Inside Stars.

(Sadly Dredd Alert is not available to readers inside stars at all.)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Judges' Graveyard'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Judges' Graveyard'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Summer Special Supercomic

DATELINE
There is no cover date, but Barney gives it as 1st June, 1977, which would place it between Progs 14 and 15.

The 2000 A.D. Summer Special Supercomic would have set you back 30 pence Earth money, but in addition to Dredd you got Harlem Heroes, Dan Dare, M.A.C.H.1, Invasion and Flesh strips, a strip reprinted from Swift called The Phantom Patrol, a One-off text story called The Thing From Nowhere and a One-off cover by Kevin O'Neill.

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
A wounded Dredd must prove himself in a potentially fatal assessment course.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first six page Judge Dredd strip, his first appearance in a publication other than 2000 AD and therefore the first time a strip has been published during the run of another, namely between parts 5 and 6 of 'Robot Wars'. First artwork by Kevin O'Neill and the first strip for whom the writer is Unknown. First mention of IPC and the first appearances of a Lawgiver and Dredd's convenient bandage.

INFORMATION
The year is 2099 A.D. (there is no indication of when this strip is set, the absence of Walter implies before 'Robot Wars', and we can infer from what Dredd says that it's not Christmas)

In Mega-City One, Time Square was recently the location of a terrorist attack. There are CBC Public Video screens in the city that feature news broadcasts and adverts.

A Judge determined to be at less than 100% fitness is required to undergo a Re-Assessment Procedure. The Judge's Re-Assessment Centre is in the Washington sector. Nicknamed The Judges' Graveyard, it takes the form of an assult course containing at least 24 androids armed with live ammunition. Judge's guns can fire heatseeking bullets. The Law Rod is a Lawgiver rifle used by the Judges, it has an infra-red sight.

Pan-Martian operate a service to Mars. Pepsi-Coke is a drink. Sony make Holio Vision TVs.

The Schitzo Kid is a piece of entertainment, starring Pat Mills and Kelvin Gosnell made available by IPC for one week only.


JUDGE DREDD
In 2094, Dredd fired a heatseeking bullet in an area he was assured had been cleared of bystanders and the bullet hit Dimitrov in the arm. In 2099, he was critically injured in a terrorist bomb blast. He underwent surgery and was declared 99% fit, but with doubts about his trigger finger. He is required to submit to testing in a re-assessment procedure. Dredd gets 100/100 on the re-assessment test.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE CHIEF JUDGE
He considers a Dredd without the use of his trigger finger to be better off dead.

DIMITROV
Five years ago, lost his right arm when Dredd fired a heatseeking bullet and it hit him. He now has an artificial replacement arm, but still blames Dredd. By 2099, he was in charge of running the Judge's re-assessment centre. Dimitrov lives in a penthouse apartment in the Washington sector and he owns a Vacu-Mat robot. When Dredd is required to undertake the re-assessment procedure he attempts to take his revenge. Dredd breaks his artifical arm, he loses control of it and it kills him.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
One. Dimitrov killed by his own artificial arm.

BEST LINES
Dredd: "Every hoodlum in Mega-City 1's gonna think it's Christmas with me off the streets. I gotta get back fast, Chief!"


WORST LINES
It feels very wrong to hear Dredd say "No way."

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd says "Drekk it!", which is presumably a variant on "Drokk it!" that is short lived. Possibly inspired by the Yiddish word, dreck or drek, which means crap.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
I presume Holio Vision written on Dimitrov's TV was supposed to read Holo Vision.

RETROSPECT
There was only ever one Summer Special.

NOTES
Presumably the use of Pat Mills and Kelvin Gosnell as the stars of The Schidzo Kid is Kevin O'Neill getting his own back after being portrayed as the villain in Judge Dredd: 'Krong'.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Unknown
Artist: Kevin O'Neill

Unknown wrote all seven strips and one text story featured in the 2000 A.D. Summer Special Supercomic as well as providing the artwork for five of them. It was the beginning of a varied career at 2000 AD. He or she worked mostly in 2000 AD's accompanying publications: Summer Specials, Sci-Fi Specials, Annuals as well as Tornado and Eagle between 1977 and 1991. Unknown wrote another five Judge Dredd strips as well as The Angry Planet, The Collector, Dan Dare, Tharg's Future Shocks, Captain Klep, Mega-City One, One-Eyed Jack, One-offs, Rick Random, Ro-Busters, Rogue Trooper, Doctor Sin and Strontium Dog. Unknown also wrote text stories for A.B.C. Warriors, Blackhawk, Dan Dare, Victor Drago, Rogue Trooper, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales, The Train Now Arriving at No. 14 Acacia Avenue, Strontium Dog, Walter The Wobot, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith and various One-offs. As an artist Unknown worked on Captain Klep, lettered much of Charley's War, provided both art and letters one Harlem Heroes strip and both wrote and drew Big E in Action, Invasion, Dan Dare, Victor Drago, Flesh, Tharg's Future Shocks, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1, Moon Runners, One-offs, The Billy Preston Report, Percy's Problem Pages, Shako, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith and Walter the Wobot. In addition to a smattering of covers, Futuregraphs and Star Scans.

Kevin O'Neill was the Assistant Art Editorial Droid of 2000AD and future creator of Bonjo From Beyond the Stars, co-creator of A.B.C. Warriors, Nemesis The Warlock and Marshal Law. He has drawn for all of his creations as well as Judge Dredd, two of Tharg's Future Shocks, Ro-Busters, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales and was one of many artists on Tharg's Head Revisited (Prog 500) and A Night 2 Remember 1 episode (Prog 1280). O'Neill also served as both writer and artist for Dash Decent, another Tharg's Future Shock called Wings (Prog 28) and Tharg The Mighty. Away from 2000 AD, he also created The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Alan Moore. He also has a character named after him in Judge Dredd: 'Krong'.

REVIEW
Less than special. This story feels as though it cheats the reader. We join Dredd after he has been injured by a terrorist bomb, he then recovers between panels and we follow him through a lengthy assault course, controlled by a man with vendetta against Dredd based on an incident that we also don't see, before getting to a hurried finish. We want to read strips about the terrorist attack. There's definitely scope in a strip about Dredd's recuperation. Kevin O'Neill's artwork however is this strip's one saving grace: the busy Mega-City One Public TV screens, Dredd's acrobatics, the schematic-like detail on the Lawgiver and the cheeky bandage across Dredd's face are all great.

The End.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Robot Wars', Part 8

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Robot Wars', Part 8

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 17

DATELINE
18 June 77

This prog also featured a Flesh cover by Brian Bolland and Invasion, Dan Dare, Flesh, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1 strips, and was the first edited by Kelvin Gosnell.

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 2, The Best Of 2000AD, The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
The war is over, but Call-Me-Kenneth is still on the loose. Dredd tracks him down.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First time that a story has reached eight parts (and therefore the first eight part story). First reference to Texas City. First six page Dredd strip to appear in 2000 AD itself.

INFORMATION
Mega-City One has a huge Meg-Oil depot, a Robo-Pound for lost robots. The city's fire department use flying vehicles with nets. Civilians report crimes to Justice Central, while Crime Time is a crime-related TV show shown in the city.

There is a Texas City. Meg-Oil and Texas City Oil are oil companies.

Pleasure circuits are a great honour for robots.


JUDGE DREDD
He follows Call-Me-Kenneth into the Meg-Oil depot and on board a flying oil tanker which the robot has stolen. He is knocked off by a jet of oil, but shoots an oil-covered Call-Me-Kenneth as he falls. The oil ignites are the robot is destroyed and Dredd is safely caught in a Fire Department net. Presumably he has crashed another Lawmaster in the pursuit. It is two days after Call-Me-Kenneth's destruction before Dredd manages to get home.

OTHER CHARACTERS
CALL-ME-KENNETH
Crazed, he heads to the Meg-Oil Depot and steals an oil tanker where Dredd destroys him.


WALTER THE WOBOT
He is granted his freedom for services above and beyond the call of duty (and in bringing the robot war to an end). He is the first robot ever to be free. The Grand Judge refers to him as Robot Walter. The slogan written across his casing now reads 'I'm Walter, Try Me'. Tired of his brief freedom he moves in with Dredd, uninvited, to look after the Judge.

MARIA
She doesn't like Walter and calls him a bug.

HOWARD, STEWART & J70 STROKE 13
They are each awarded pleasure circuits for their part in ending the robot war.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
18 humans, 1 robot. Call-Me-Kenneth kills thirteen oil workers, while four more fall to their deaths when he steals the oil tanker. Dredd kills an oil-covered Call-Me-Kenneth with a shot from his gun and the robot explodes.

BEST LINES
Call-Me-Kenneth: "Fire...hot...burning me...bad pain...not allowed...Call-Me-Kenneth forbids it...Call-Me-Kenneth rules...!"

WORST LINES
Call-Me-Kenneth: "But Call-Me-Kenneth must carry on...Do more bad things!"

CATCHPHRASES
Call-Me-Kenneth calls humans "fleshy ones" twice. Walter says Dwedd, fweedom, gwateful and wepay. Also "Keep 'em peeled." (see INFLUENCES)

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
As Dredd falls from the oil tanker, we see the Statues of Liberty and Judgement from Judge Dredd: 'The Statue Of Judgement'. Also Texas City Oil may well make and market Grade One Texan oil, Call-Me-Kenneth's tipple of choice in Judge Dredd: 'Robot Wars', Part 4.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The presenter of Crime Time strongly resembles Shaw Taylor, the contemporary Police 5 and Junior Police 5 presenter, and indeed uses his catchphrase (see CATCHPHRASES). The series were five minute episodes that appealed to the public for help to solve crimes and ran from 1962 to 1992.

MISTAKES
J70 Stroke 13 is written here as J70Stroke13.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Ian Gibson
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
It's a nice touch that Call-Me-Kenneth's final crime is simply another example of his first crime, but writ large. Ian Gibson's art does here more to cement the world-building of Mega-City One in six pages than the previous fifteen strips have managed. Dredd's first major storyline has made comprisons between Dredd and the robots, whilst also introducing some very emotional robots and so it seems as Dredd's scope as a character narrows, the possibilities of Mega-City One open up.

Another Judge Dredd Adventure Next Week!
Another Judge Dredd Adventure Next Post!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Robot Wars', Part 7


NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Robot Wars', Part 7

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 16

DATELINE
11 June 77

After another M.A.C.H.1 cover by Brian Bolland, this prog also featured Invasion, Dan Dare, Flesh, Harlem Heroes and M.A.C.H.1 strips and was the last prog edited by Pat Mills.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 2, The Best Of 2000AD, The Complete Judge Dredd 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01.


SYNOPSIS
Call-Me-Kenneth attacks the Grand Hall of Justice, but Dredd uses the weather against him.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First time that a story has lasted to seven parts. First use of the word Drokk and the term Chief Judge.

INFORMATION
Mega-City Atmosphere Control, is a floating Strato-Station above the city. Electric storms have been illegal in Mega-City One since 2012.


JUDGE DREDD
He can pilot a sky-bus and rewire both computers and robots. Dredd programs the atmospheric control computer to create an electric storm and the ensuing lightning strikes the heavy metal kids and they turn on each other.

WALTER THE WOBOT
Dredd wires him into the atmospheric control computer to override its inability to create electric storms.

OTHER CHARACTERS
CALL-ME-KENNETH
He declares himself as the king of the robots. He receives a hit from a heavy metal kid and for a while is presumed dead, but his body is missing.


THE CHIEF JUDGE
At one point Call-Me-Kenneth has him, but he has been freed by the time the Heavy Metal Kids turn on their leader.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
The Chief Judge states that thousands have been killed.

BEST LINES
Overly Dramatic Judge: "Look! Look how the very sky grows black! It is an omen - We are finished!"

WORST LINES
Walter: "Walter's feeble bwain does not yet gwasp your plan, Master."

CATCHPHRASES
Walter says bwain, Dwedd, gwasp, twying, weady and wobots. Dredd says "Drokk it!" for the first time and Call-Me-Kenneth chalks up another "Fleshy ones".

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The use of a weather control facility brings to mind a pair of Patrick Troughton era Doctor Who stories, namely The Moonbase (1967) and The Seeds Of Death (1969).

MISTAKES
The 'Continued Overleaf' is odd. Instructions on how to turn a page?

RETROSPECT
The 2012 law against causing storms may seem far fetched but actually causing hostile weather has been illegal in a sense since 1978: Weather modification, particularly hostile weather warfare, was addressed by a UN Resolution "on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques" and entered into force on the 5th of October, 1978.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: John Wagner
Artist: Ron Turner
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
The use of lightning to attack the robots is great, but all the more impressive is overcoming the illegality of bad weather and the bewildered "Wh-what is it?" reaction of someone who has presumably never seen lightning. The rolling rota of artists on 'Robot Wars' invite greater comparison between them. Ron Turner's artwork is in no way bad, but it lacks the visual flair of the work of McMahon or Gibson. That said, the panel of the four Heavy Metal Kids smashing, crashing, bashing and mashing with childlike grins on their faces is terrifying.

Note For Readers On Mercury - Your Delivery Shuttle Delayed By Solar Storm.