Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Judge Dredd: Red Christmas

NAME
Judge Dredd: Red Christmas

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 44

DATELINE
24 Dec 77

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd Chronicles Book 2, Judge Dredd 14, Judge Dredd Volume 2 Issue 6, The Complete Judge Dredd 4 and Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
It's Christmas on Luna-1, Walter has been kidnapped and there is another attempt on Dredd's life.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first strip to explicitly take place at the same time of year as it was published.

INFORMATION
(This strip begins on Christmas Eve and continues into Christmas Day)

Luna-1's weather control creates artificial snow at Christmas. Herman's Hotel is an establishment with at least nine rooms. The penalty for littering on Luna-1 is six months penal servitude.

Flexi-Steel is as strong as steel, but flexible.

JUDGE-MARSHAL DREDD
He attempts to rescue Walter, smashing through the window of Geek Gorgon's hotel room on a hover-bike. Geek threatens to explode Walter's bomb unless Dredd submits to being beheaded. The Judge complies, but his neck breaks Geek's axe. Dredd was wearing flexi-steel around his neck. He was planning to work through Christmas, but he has got Walter a new drink dispenser tap as a present.


OTHER CHARACTERS
WALTER THE WOBOT
He washes Dredd's clothes at the hyper-laundry. Walter is kidnapped by Geek Gorgon and attached to a bomb. He buys Dredd long monogrammed underwear and an electric nose-wiper

GEEK GORGON
A killer, the axe is his weapon of choice and his favourite method of killing is beheading. His face was burned in a fire three years ago. Dredd sentenced him to imprisonment on the Moon. He has escaped, kidnapped Walter and attached him to a bomb. He sends Dredd an ultimatum and attempts to behead the Judge.

ARRESTS
Presumably one: Geek Gorgon.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Dredd: "The penalty for littering is six months' penal servitude. Merry Christmas, citizen."

WORST LINES
Geek: "...Now say your prayers an' close your eyes...Santa's gonna give you a nice surprise..."

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd gives us a "Drokk it all, man"

Walter says (and/or thinks) cwedits, Chwistmas, cwipes, cwy, Dwedd, dwink, electwic, fwagments, gweat, hewo, mewwy, pwesents, vewy, welease, wisk, wubbish, wunny, scwew, thwow and twy. Even his thought bubbles struggle with their R's.

Walter's opening ditty deserves a mention: "Chwistmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in Judge Dwedd's hat...If you haven't got a penny, a million cwedits will do, Judge Dwedd is worth that much to me and you!"


CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
None.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: John Howard
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
Christmas turns out to be just another day for Dredd. This is the third consecutive strip with someone out to kill Dredd and so you could expect it to feel a little repetitive by now. The antidote to this appears to be to dress your killer in a Santa suit. This strip also uses Walter very successfully. Mewwy Chwistmas indeed.

Next Prog: A Madman On The Moon!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Judge Dredd: Showdown On Luna 1

NAME
Judge Dredd: Showdown On Luna 1

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 43

DATELINE
17 Dec 77

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
The Complete Judge Dredd 4, Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 5 and Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd is sworn in as Judge-Marshal on Luna-1 and there is another attempt on his life.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First sight of Dredd's new badge and uniform. First mention of Mr Moonie.

INFORMATION
Luna-1 has a small town which features Moonies Sodas, Moonies Bebop, Moonies Grav Boots, Moonie For Hats, Moonie Sauna and the Last Gasp Saloon. The remains of the Apollo 11 landing craft are in Luna-1's town as a monument to the first moon landing of 1969 with a plaque that bears the names of the astronauts: Armstrong and Aldrin. The ownership of firearms and the consumption of alcohol is illegal in Luna-1's town. Several Judge-Marshals of Luna-1 have died in the line of duty.

There is a Badlands Dome with a ranch at its edge.

Gin, Synthi-Whiskey and Moon Cactus Juice are all alcoholic beverages.

Robo-slingers are gunfighting robots. Nobody ever beat a robo-slinger on the draw.

Due to the low gravity, gravity boots are required and hover-bikes are used on the moon. Moon Pods are lunar transportation which resembles a mule.


JUDGE-MARSHAL DREDD
He is appointed Judge-Marshal of Luna-1. He takes on illegal gun ownership and alcohol consumption in Luna-1, before he is challenged to a duel by a robo-slinger. His new badge of office gave off a signal which the robo-slinger's darts were homing in on. Dredd beats the robot, throws his badge clear and it is destroyed by the homing darts.

OTHER CHARACTERS
JUDGE TEX
He is the permanent Deputy-Marshal of Luna-1. He is Texan. He declines to assist Dredd in arresting gun owners, drinkers or in a duel.

WALTER THE WOBOT
He attempts to take on the robo-slinger himself.

C.W. MOONIE
The noted Moon explorer. He lives on his ranch at the edge of the Badlands Dome, but hasn't been seen in years. He owns most of Luna-1, including Moonies Sodas, Moonies Bebop, Moonies Grav Boots, Moonie For Hats, Moonie Sauna, Moonie Fabications and a company that makes robo-slingers.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Walter: "Be careful, dear master. They look a wuff bweed."

WORST LINES
Ranch hand: "Yip yipyoweee!"

CATCHPHRASES
Walter says bweed, bwutal, Dwedd, dwop, wemains, wobo, wotten, wuff and stweet, but he has no problems with craft or hundred.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
While Dredd pledges allegiance to his new badge he paraphrases the pledge of allegiance of the United States, formerly adopted in 1942. Armstrong and Aldrin are of course Neil Armstrong (1930–2012) and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin who landed on the Moon on the 20th of July 1969. The Moon Pod resembles the game Buckaroo, released in 1970.

Possible Science Fiction Western influences include The Wild Wild West (1965-69), Doctor Who: The Gunfighters (1966), Star Trek: Spectre Of The Gun (1968) and Westworld (1973), while far more probable western influences include High Noon (1952).

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: John Howard
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
This strip is our first proper insight into the new format that the move to Luna-1 has created. From its bullet-riddled title, Showdown On Luna 1, makes no bones about being a western and the Moon as a Wild West. Gone are the crimes of the future and in their place are older crimes with futuristic trappings. The artwork comes into its own during the duel, especially the panel showing a view of the Luna-1 street and robo-slinger through Dredd's legs.


Next Prog: Red Christmas.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Luna 1'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Luna 1'
(Barney implies that 'Marshall On The Moon' is an alternative title)

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 42

DATELINE
10 Dec 77

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Judge Dredd 4, Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 5 and Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd is transferred to the Moon and someone is trying to kill him.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Luna-1 and Judge Tex.

INFORMATION
The Grand Council of Judges is ruled by the Office of the Triumverate (presumably the Triumverate includes a representative of each of the three great cities of North America).

The international treaty of 2061 divided a million square miles of the surface of the moon between the three great cities of North America. A colony was established and named Luna-1. Every six months, one of the three cities would be required to supply a Judge-Marshall to govern the Luna-1 police force. There are at least seven volumes of Luna Law. Those governing weapons on Luna-1 are not rigidly upheld. Killjoy Destructor Missiles (or KDM's) are readily available.


Luna-1's Oxi-Dome Complex only covers a fraction of its territory, but outside there are mines, chemical works, a water collection plant. The Space-Port is within the Oxi-Dome has at least two terminals and houses the Armstrong monument. Teddy Lakers' Spacetrain operates from here.

The shuttle from Mega-City One's Kennedy Space-Port takes a half a day to reach Luna-1.

The Rent-A-Robot Agency rents out robots.

JUDGE DREDD
He has been appointed Judge-Marshall of Luna 1. His ship is shot at en route to Luna-1 and robot Fred 1 tries to kill him upon arrival. His new quarters are above Luna 1's Justice H.Q.

OTHER CHARACTERS
WALTER THE WOBOT
He is not pleased to see Dredd go to the moon and stows away in his trunk.

JUDGE TEX
He is Dredd's deputy.

FRED 1
A robot from the Rent-A-Robot Agency. He is programmed to kill Dredd. When he fails and is questioned about it, he self-destructs.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
None. Does Fred 1's self-destruction count?

BEST LINES
Walter: "A bit wuff and weddy, but there's plenty of woom and - good gwief!...There's a wobot in your closet!"

WORST LINES
Walter: "Kwash! Judge Dwedd's done it!"

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd insults Walter with a "Drokk you". Judge Tex greets Dredd with a "Waal Howdy". Walter gives us awound, cwuel, destwoy, Dwedd, dwive, dwokk, gweetings, gwief, kwash, misewable, pwogwammed, stwange, wascal, weddy, went, wetainer, wip, wobot, woom, wotten and wuff, but he manages say greatest, Servo robot and Dredd without a problem.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Kennedy Space-Port was last seen in The Return Of Rico.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Teddy Laker's Spacetrain is a reference to Freddie Laker (1922–2006), British airline entrepreneur and founder of Laker Airlines, which traded between 1966 and 1982.

Moonbases were seen in the Doctor Who stories The Moonbase (1967), The Seeds of Death (1969) and Frontier in Space (1973), as well as Moonbase 3 (1973) and Moonbase Alpha of Space: 1999 (1975–1977).

MISTAKES
Triumvirate is unfortunately spelt triumverate.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
Luna 1 shares its name with a Russian spacecraft launched in 1959 which was intended to impact on the Moon's surface and send back telemetry. Due to a mistake during launch, it missed the Moon and instead became the first spacecraft to leave geocentric orbit.

CREDITS
Script: John Howard
Artist: Ian Gibson
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
Well, this is a surprise. Mega-City One was still full of possibilities, but maybe we were a little too comfortable there. The artwork is great, but gives away very little of lunar life. The background we are given reveal more political and historical information than anything else. We don't yet know the scope of Dredd's role here, but it's obvious he has gone from big city lawman to small town sheriff in one step.

Next Prog: Showdown On Luna-1

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Mega-City 5000', Part 2

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Mega-City 5000', Part 2

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 41

DATELINE
3 Dec 77

PAGE COUNT
5

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

SYNOPSIS
Dredd and Giant try to prevent the racers from reaching the finish line.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First work by Brian Bolland on the strip and the first use of John Wagner's John Howard pseudonym.


INFORMATION
Cosmo's Emporium in Mega-City One is surrounded by a spiral walkway. The Mega-City 5000 is an annual race across the city to the Westway Beacon.

The Speed Roll is one of the first things taught at the Academy. Named Judges: Judge Hunt.

JUDGE DREDD
He and Judge Giant follow the raceleaders to the finish line. Dredd ends Zoot's race.

OTHER CHARACTERS
SPIKES "HARVEY" ROTTEN
He punctures Flash's front tyre and puts him out of the race. Rotten is in the lead when he enters a game of chicken with Judge Giant. The Judge leaps to safety and Spikes crashes into his bike. He falls inches short of the beacon and winning the race.

BONES
Spikes "Harvey" Rotten's sidekick. He is killed in a collision with a big transit.

ZOOT SMILEY
At one point, he is in the lead while his number two, Flash, is in second place. Dredd puts him out of the race with a baton hit to the face.

FLASH
Zoot Smiley's number two. He is briefly in second place behind Zoot. Spikes Harvey Rotten punctures his front tyre and puts him out of the race.

JUDGE GIANT
He and Judge Dredd follow the raceleaders to the finish line. He finds himself in a game of chicken with Spikes "Harvey" Rotten. Giant puts his Lawmaster on auto and speed rolls out of danger.


JUDGE HUNT
He is thrown from his Lawmaster. Condition unknown.

ARRESTS
Presumably two. Zoot and Spikes.

DEATHS
Bones is killed by a swerving big transit.

BEST LINES
Cake carrier: "Dirty stinkin' thugs! You wouldn't get away with this if there was a Judge around!"
Judge Dredd (as cake Splats face): "Excuse me, Citizen - Official business!"

WORST LINES
Zoot: "As soon as we shake these lawmen I'm going to deal with you but good, Mutie - Dig it?"

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Judge Hunt could well have been the Cadet Hunt listed on the honour roll of 'The Academy Of Law', Part 1.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Rebel Without A Cause (1955).

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
There is a woman with a shopping bag bearing the name Bollo's, a reference to artist Brian Bolland

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

Script: John Howard
Artist: Brian Bolland
Letters: Tony Jacob

John Howard is a pseudonym for John Wagner.

Prior to drawing this Brian Bolland had worked on a Dan Dare strip called Greenworld. This was his first Judge Dredd strip and over the next four years he would draw plenty of him. He contributed to epics The Cursed Earth, The Day The Law Died, The Judge Child and Block Mania alongside shorter tales as well as 12 Walter The Wobots, a Tharg's Future Shock and a Tharg The Mighty. He has also provided artwork for covers, star scans, games, interviews etc. He has a website and a blog.




REVIEW
The artwork on offer here is massive improvement on recent efforts. Brian Bolland's page layouts are dynamic and the facial expressions of his characters are beautifully drawn. The second part of the story has much of the expositionary information that should probably have been in part one.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Mega-City 5000', Part 1

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Mega-City 5000', Part 1

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 40

DATELINE
26 Nov 77

PAGE COUNT
4

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

SYNOPSIS
Dredd tries to stop a deadly race through Mega-City One.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first appearance of Spikes 'Harvey' Rotten. First and last work by Bill Ward in 2000 A.D..

INFORMATION
The Mega-City 5000 is a motorbike race that runs along the entire east coast of the USA and is limited to 5000 riders. A couple of thousand people have been killed so far.

Synthi-marge is presumably a synthetic margarine.

JUDGE DREDD
He mans a barricade. When the race leaders have jumped over it he follows on his Lawmaster.

OTHER CHARACTERS
SPIKES "HARVEY" ROTTEN
Leader of the Muties. The truce until the racers breach the Judges' barricades was his idea. He uses a riot shield as a ramp to jump over the barricade.

ZOOT SMILEY
Leader of the Spacers. He was in first place in the race. He agrees to Rotten's truce.


ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
At least three. A pedestrian is run over by a biker. A Judge is later smashed against a column by Spikes and Zoot. There may be others, but it isn't made clear who dies and who doesn't.

BEST LINES
Dredd: "When was the last time you saw a dentist, creep?"

WORST LINES
Biker: "I'm gonna ram dis bike troo dat barricade...like it wuz synthi-marge!"

CATCHPHASES
Dredd gives us another "I am the law and you'd better believe it!", while a Mega-City One pedestrian lets an "Aaaie!" which is a variation on a theme.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Death Race 2000 (1975), it's presumably no coincidence that Spikes 'Harvey' Rotten shares his surname with Johnny Rotten, lead singer of the Sex Pistols.

MISTAKES
How can something be both lawless and strictly limited to 5,000 entrants?

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: John Wagner
Artist: Bill Ward
Letters: Tony Jacob

Bill Ward only ever drew part one of Judge Dredd: 'The Mega-City 5000' for 2000 A.D., but elsewhere he was very well known for his 'Good Girl Art' and creating the risqué comics character Torchy. He died in 1998.









REVIEW
The geography of the barricade jumping and the Judge slamming double-play set pieces work really well, but there is a distinct lack of motion in much of the rest of the artwork. We have no idea what is at stake here, who is organising this or why when there is a Cursed Eath to race through with impunity these bikers would race through Mega-City One instead.

Continued Next Prog.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Ape Gang'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Ape Gang'
(according to Barney this strip is also known as 'Monkey Business')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 39

DATELINE
19 Nov 77

PAGE COUNT
6 (or 5 1/2)

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: Monkey Business, Judge Dredd 15, Judge Dredd Chronicles Book 2, The Complete Judge Dredd 3, The Best Of Judge Dredd and Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd brings a conflict between Ape and Human gangsters to an end.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Don Uggie and the Ape Gang.

INFORMATION
The year is 2099 (this strip takes place over at least four days).

Most animals were killed in the Great Holocaust with the exception of those in zoos. Later the technology was developed to alter the brain-cells of apes to allow them to speak. The freed apes have all settled in a part of Mega-City One now called The Jungle. The buildings are less uniform and feature staircases designed for ape use. There is an establishment called Banana Brunch there. Mega-City Zoo features Gleeps, Muties and now Monkeys.

The Ape Gang and the East Side Mob control different territories within Mega-City One. Gus's Garage is in the area controlled by the former while there is at least one night club and one warehouse in the territory of the latter.

The Animal Nuisance Act 1987 states that any animal creating danger to human life must be kept in a secure place.

JUDGE DREDD
He has a private office at Justice Central. After a visit from Uggie Apelino he consults the Don's mother for information. Acting on what she told him, Dredd and a group of Judges intercept an East Side Mob convoy carrying illegal tobacco and arrest the drivers. They then drive the convoy to its destination where the Ape Gang expect to attack it. After a firefight, the Judges arrest the Ape Gang.

OTHER CHARACTERS
DON UGGIE APELINO
He is a second generation free ape and the leader of the Ape Gang. He visits Dredd with a warning of trouble if the East Side Mob don't remain in their own territory.


FAST EEEK
He is a second generation free ape and Don Uggie's henchman.

JOE BANANAS
He is a second generation free ape and Don Uggie's henchman.

MAMA APELINO
She is a first generation free ape and Don Uggie's mother. She gives Dredd information on a convoy of illegal tobacco that the East Side Mob are bringing into the city and the Ape Gang are expecting to intercept.

SONNY COSMO
He is Number Two in the East Side Mob. He is drowned by members of the Ape Gang whilst wearing concete shoes.

ARRESTS
At least of the East Side Mob and three of The Ape Gang.

DEATHS
At least three: The Grunt Brothers during the attack by the East Side Mob on Gus's Garage and Sonny Cosmo is drowned wearing concrete shoes in a retaliatory strike.

BEST LINES
Uggie: "Okay, youse apes - You know da plan. We let dem skinface punks drive in an' den we put 'em to sleep wit' dese tommy guns."

WORST LINES
Uggie: "I only got one ting ta say to ya, Dredd - Nuts!"

CATCHPHRASES
A member of the East Side Mob shouts out a "Drokk it!". The Apes refer to humans as Skinfaces three times and we get three Eeks (not including references to Fast Eeek) and five Grunts from them as well.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Illegal tobacco fits with Judge Dredd: 'Smoker's Crime', while Mega-City Zoo was previously mentioned in Inferno, Part 20.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
This strip is like a cross between Planet Of The Apes (1968) and The Godfather (1974), while the ending takes its inspiration from sources like the PG Tips adverts featuring Chimp's tea parties broadcast between 1956 and 2002. Yes, 2002.

MISTAKES
Fast Eeek is extended to Fast Eeeek when Dredd shouts it.

RETROSPECT
Ten Four Good Buddy is written on the front of the vehicle at the head of the convoy. It will be CB Radio slang like this that will partly inspire Ace Trucking Co.

NOTES
It would take more than brain alteration to give apes speech, because primate vocal cords do not fully close and would require some form of augmentation to make speech possible.

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

REVIEW
A strip that uses talking apes to examine organised crime. What's not to love? 'The Ape Gang' eschews many ape related puns in favour of a genuine mafioso storyline which takes in issues of second generation immigration and gang warfare, with apes. The artwork of the opening page that introduces Don Uggie and his henchman is brilliant, the explanation of how apes came to talk is great (although it glosses over the far more interesting why) and the suggestions of the architecture of The Jungle make for a very interesting part of Mega-City One.

New Adventure Next Prog.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Star Pin Up: Artie Gruber

And now the brief return of a character from both Harlem Heroes and Inferno...

NAME
Star Pin Up: Artie Gruber

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 74

DATELINE
22 July 78

PAGE COUNT
1

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Artie Gruber back from the dead.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First 2000 A.D. Star Pin Up.

INFORMATION
None.


ARTIE GRUBER
Somebody buried Artie Gruber, but he rises from the grave.

OTHER CHARACTERS
None.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
Artie Gruber would indeed return to the nineties version of Harlem Heroes.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following is taken from The Complete Harlem Heroes.

Artist: Massimo Belardinelli

REVIEW
I debated whether this was worth posting and casting an eye over the repeated Nones, but I've been posting daily for 114 days, I really like this image and this is as close to a day off as I'm going to allow myself.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Judge Dredd: 'Billy Jones'

It's been a while, but here's where we left off with Judge Dredd...

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Billy Jones' (according to Barney this strip is also known as 'Bogie Man')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 38

DATELINE
12 Nov 77

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
2000AD Annual 1984, Robo-Hunter 4, Judge Dredd (Volume 2, Issue 52), Judge Dredd: The Early Cases 3, The Complete Judge Dredd 3 and Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd and Giant go in search of Billy Jones and his kidnapper.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of a robot replica and a serious crime perpetrated against children.

INFORMATION
At least 312 television channels broadcast news in Mega-City One.

Plastoid Industries is one of Mega-City One's top twenty industries.

The Howards Building is where Hugh Howards controls him business interests from and boasts a large penthouse.

There is machinery available that can wash, dry and feed a restrained individual.

JUDGE DREDD
He and Giant put the Billy Jones Robot out of action and set a trap for whoever put it in place. Dredd gets information from an engineer sent to fix the broken robot and moves to arrest Hugh Howards for the kidnap of twenty children.


OTHER CHARACTERS
JUDGE GIANT
He assists Dredd with putting the Billy Jones robot out of action and then later in arresting the perpetrators. He has very quick reactions and catches the real Billy Jones as he falls off the roof of the Howards Building.

BILLY JONES
He is a little boy. His father is the chairman of Plastoid Industries and they lives atop one of Mega-City 1's highest strato-scrapers. His mother uses Judge Dredd as a cautionary tale to threaten him into behaving. He has been kidnapped and replaced with a robot by Hugh Howards for industrial espionage purposes.

HUGH HOWARDS
He is a trillionaire businessman. He has kidnapped the children of the chairmen of Mega-City One's top twenty industries and replaced them with robots which transmit information to him. Dredd and Giant attempt to arrest him, but he flees to the roof with one of the children and falls to his death.

ARRESTS
Presumably Howards' robot engineer and the rest of Howard's board of directors, his men and Haskins. At least eleven people.

DEATHS
One. Hugh Howards falls to his death.

BEST LINES
Billy Jones' mother: "My boy! What are they doing to my boy?"
Dredd: "We're trying to rip his head off, ma'am."

Giant: "Taste the strong knuckle sand-wich of the law, Dude!"

WORST LINES
Dredd: "I kinda lost the urge!"

You keep your urges to yourself whilst you're hiding in a child's bed.

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd exclaims a "My Dok!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Giant has "inherited the lightning reactions of his famous father..." which is a reference to Giant of Harlem Heroes, Judge Dredd: 'The Academy Of Law' Part 2 and more recently Inferno. Speaking of Inferno, it featured robots so lifelike that they were indistinguishable from people, but they required a constant signal providing them with instructions. Billy Jones' Robot Replica would be next logical step as it seems more autonomous.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Hugh Howards is obviously a reference to business magnate Howard Hughes (1905-1976).

MISTAKES
Scary is misspelled as scarey in both the first and last panel of the strip.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: John Wagner
Artist: Ian Gibson
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
The artwork is great throughout and impact of the first page is particularly impressive. The story is slight, but expertly makes some sinister implications about Mega-City One society: kidnap victims that weren't missed, using children to get to their parents and force-feeding in addition to the acknowledged industrial espionage.

+ + Sequence Ends + +

Monday, 22 April 2013

Inferno, Part 40

NAME
Inferno, Part 40

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 75

DATELINE
29 July 78

This prog also featured Ant Wars, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd and M.A.C.H.0 strips, a Judge Dredd cover by Brian Lewis and the first part of the Cursed Earth Board Game.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
The Harlem Hellcats play their final game.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The last appearance of Slim, Zack, Louis, Moody Bloo, Cindy and Inferno itself. For obvious reasons this is the last work by Tom Tully, Massimo Belardinelli and Peter Knight on the strip.

INFORMATION
With the exception of Giant and Cindy Lamont, the Harlem Hellcats are dead.

GIANT
He is forced to watch as Slim, Zack, Louis and Moody die. He is later freed by the police. A week later he attends a joint funeral for the Harlem Hellcats.

SLIM
He is killed in a crash that sandwiched him between two of the bikers of the Wolves Of Death. He is buried alongside the other Harlem Hellcats a week later.

ZACK
He dies as a result of injuries sustained when he is bitten by a Wolf flyer. He is buried alongside the other Harlem Hellcats a week later.

LOUIS MAYER
He manages to intercept the radio-signal being sent to the Wolves of Death and reverse it. Louis sets the droids to attack each other. He is shot dead by the faceless representative of the Syndicate. He is buried alongside the other Harlem Hellcats a week later.

MOODY BLOO
He is shot dead by the Syndicate's representative. He is buried alongside the other Harlem Hellcats a week later.

OTHER CHARACTERS
CINDY LAMONT
She has been released from hospital. Cindy attends a joint funeral for the Harlem Hellcats a week after they were killed.

DEATHS
Four. Slim dies in a bike crash, Zack on the fangs of a Wolf flyer, while Louis and Moody Bloo are both shot by the Syndicate's representative.


BEST LINES
Moody: "Not gonna conk out...just yet...gonna free ya, before...I..."
Giant: "...He's dead...No...Not after all this...It can't end this way!"
Syndicate's Representative: "I'm afraid it can...and it will..."

Moody's last words are followed by an acknowledgement of how the reader must be feeling.

WORST LINES
Louis: "Well, well! My little experiment worked, Giant!"

We don't have enough time to waste on lines like this.

CATCHPHRASES
Zack calls Louis "Gristle-head", which conjures up rather an unfortunate image.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
There is a Tharg note to point out that Cindy was hospitalised in Prog 67, or Part 32.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
Louis Mayer (nee Meyer nee Mayer) has returned to the Meyer spelling of his surname.

RETROSPECT
Inferno may not return, but we do find out whatever happened to John 'Giant' Clay in Whatever Happened To...John 'Giant' Clay? in Meg 216.

NOTES
Here's a link to David Bishop writing about the controversy Inferno caused.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
Crikey. As with the penultimate part, the 'off-screen' deaths for Slim and Zack are unsettling and give a rushed feeling. Tharg's odd cameo is a surprise. Inferno often repeated the storyline of its parent strip, but where the Harlem Heroes ultimately win, albeit at a very high cost, instead the Harlem Hellcats lose. It subverts your expectations to let the bad guy win and end on a sombre note. It's this sense of loss that the last page hopes to achieve, but it's all undermined by the hurriedness of its three predecessors. I didn't warm to Inferno as a sport, but if the strip had had more of the flavour of these last few parts I think it would have been an absolute classic.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Inferno, Part 39

NAME
Inferno, Part 39

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 74

DATELINE
22 July 78

This prog bore a Judge Dredd cover by Mike McMahon and featured Ant Wars, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future Shocks and M.A.C.H.0 strips as well as a Star Pin-Up featuring Artie Gruber.

PAGE COUNT
3

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.



SYNOPSIS
The Harlem Hellcats try to keep Giant alive.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first (and last) three page Inferno strip. The last appearances of Teejay, Junk and Marvin.

INFORMATION
A Ref-Blip is a robot operated by an Inferno match controller.

GIANT
He watches as Teejay, Junk and Marvin are all killed.

OTHER CHARACTERS
TEEJAY
He destroys one the Wolves Of Death with his flick-pick. He is killed in a collision with another.

MOODY BLOO
He smashes the droid that killed Teejay. The Syndicate's representative considers this a foul and burns his left arm to supposedly reduce his capability by fifteen per cent.

JUNK
He was the second member of the Harlem Hellcats to be killed in the Death-Bowl.

MARVIN
He died third in the Death-Bowl.

DEATHS
Three. Teejay is killed crashing into a Wolf of Death. Junk and Marvin both die between panels in unexplained ways. Three of the Wolves of Death are destroyed as well.

BEST LINES
Moody: "Us Hellcats never say die!"

Well...

WORST LINES
Giant: "Admit it, Junk - You can't win! For cripes sake, get out of here! I...I'm done for, anyway..!...One of their bikers has broken through!"

If Giant is so worried about the others then they would be better off if he died and maybe he shouldn't draw so much attention to the biker.

CATCHPHRASES
Zack says "By Shastrak" in the final panel. I have no idea what that means.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
After weeks of building towards cliffhangers that risk life and limb, here we are with a three part strip that kills off three Harlem Hellcats and two of them between panels. It's nice that even in this chaos Moody Bloo is punished for a foul, but the strip dwells on his burnt arm more than any of the deaths. It looks like Inferno is going to be a rush to the finish.

Next Prog: The Hellcats No More!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Inferno, Part 38

NAME
Inferno, Part 38

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 73

DATELINE
15 July 78

This prog had a M.A.C.H.0 cover by Kevin O'Neill and also featured Ant Wars, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd and M.A.C.H.0 strips.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
The Harlem Hellcats must score sixty points against The Wolves Of Death to secure Giant's freedom.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First time Moody Bloo uses a jet-pack.

INFORMATION
Heavy-Duty Jet Packs carry heavier loads.

No Inferno team has ever scored sixty points in a single game.

The Wolves Of Death have the brains of killer wolves in android bodies. They are programmed with one objective: to get the ball past Giant. The game is over when one of four outcomes is achieved: if the Harlem Hellcats can score sixty points against The Wolves Of Death, if the Harlem Hellcats concede the game, if the Harlem Hellcats destroy The Wolves Of Death to the last android or if Giant is killed.

GIANT
He owes Slim thirty bucks. Giant orders the Harlem Hellcats not to participate. They refuse.

MOODY BLOO
He wears a heavy-duty jet-pack because the Harlem Hellcats do not require a cave-man. He manages to prevent a cave-in and destroy one of The Wolves Of Death.


DEATHS
None. Well one android is smashed by Moody Bloo.

BEST LINES
Teejay (after Moody Bloo destroys an opposition player): "Blew it to blazes! Hoooeeeee! First blood to the Harlem Hellcats..!"

WORST LINES
Zack: "Don't go away, Giant!"

It's funny, because he can't.

CATCHPHRASES
Giant gives us another "Jupiter's moons!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
The Wolves Of Death are an impressive design and the set pieces are great, but the brains of killer wolves in android bodies programmed to play Inferno stretches credulity much further than necessary.

Next Prog: Doomsday Minus One!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Inferno, Part 37

NAME
Inferno, Part 37

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 72

DATELINE
8 July 78

This prog also featured Ant Wars, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd and M.A.C.H.0 strips, and a Judge Dredd cover by Mike McMahon.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.





SYNOPSIS
The Harlem Hellcats head to the Death-Bowl to rescue Giant and discover that they have to play Inferno for his life.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first sight of the faceless representative of the Syndicate.

INFORMATION
The Harlem Hellcats must defend Giant and the cave that he is tied to from The Wolves Of Death.

GIANT
There is a statue of him by an open grave in the Death-Bowl. He has been spread-eagled across the cave and tied to explosives. A single touch and his body will act as the detonator.


OTHER CHARACTERS
THE SYNDICATE'S REPRESENTATIVE
The Syndicate uses a hologram of a faceless Inferno match controller to represent itself to the Harlem Hellcats.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Junk: "You mean...we've got to defend the cave...against another team?"

Junk cuts to the chase.

WORST LINES
Moody: "Quit blabbin' ya faceless freak an' roll out the opposition!"

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
There's a Tharg note to remind us that the Washington Wolves were massacred in Progs 39 and 40, or Inferno Parts 4 and 5.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
The years on Giant's potential grave are 2150-2178, but they cannot reflect the actual year of his birth or the time when the strip is set. Inferno must take place between Aeroball's 2050 heyday mentioned in the first part of Harlem Heroes and Giant's 2099 appearance in Judge Dredd: 'The Academy Of Law'.


RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
This is a very odd, but very exciting development. This part successfully uses the imagery of Inferno to create something far more sinister and the sight of Giant lashed to the cave is very stark indeed.

Next Prog: The Last Battle! (again)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Inferno, Part 36

NAME
Inferno, Part 36

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 71

DATELINE
1 July 78

This prog also featured Ant Wars, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd and M.A.C.H.0 and an Ant Wars cover by Kevin O'Neill.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
The Syndicate kidnaps Giant and calls the rest of the team to the Death-Bowl.

FIRSTS & LASTS
Last appearance of Rip Venner and Artie Gruber's Android Replica.

INFORMATION
'Funny-Pods' are hoven-driven vehicles designed for city-centre commuting.

Since the Washington Wolves stopped playing their Firebowl has fallen into disrepair and is now derelict it is known as the Death-Bowl.

GIANT
He is awoken by his android replica of Artie Gruber. The remote control doesn't seem to be working. They fight and the android knocks him out and carries him out of his apartment and into the night.

ZACK
He didn't get back to the flat he shares with Giant last night.

LOUIS MAYER
He can pick up terminal relay signals which send information to androids programmed to self-destruct.

OTHER CHARACTERS
RIP VENNER
He is killed when the Syndicate's android replica of Artie Gruber self-destructs.

ARTIE GRUBER'S ANDROID REPLICA
On the instruction of the Syndicate it fights Giant, renders him unconscious and kidnaps him. It delivers a message to the remainder of the Harlem Hellcats, that the Syndicate has Giant, and an ultimatum that the entire team be at the Death-Bowl at midnight. It explodes taking Rip Venner with it.


DEATHS
One. Rip Venner is killed by the explosion that destroys the Artie Gruber Android Replica.

BEST LINES
Junk (of the Funny-Pod's driver): "Probably an autograph-hunter!"

It's probably not.

WORST LINES
Moody: "If there's a chance of saving Giant, I won't just walk- I'll blasted well run!"

This isn't how Moody speaks at any other time in the strip, least of all about something as emotive as this.

CATCHPHRASES
Giant let's out a "Jupiter's Blood!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The real Artie Gruber has already been compared to the monster from Frankenstein, but the sequence here of Giant's unconscious abduction is akin to the sequence of the drowned girl being carried by her father in the 1931 film.

MISTAKES
Rocheville used to be spelt Rochville.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Pete Knight

REVIEW
One down. Rip Venner's death gives this latest threat from the Syndicate a bit more bite, but it's a shame that we lose Artie Gruber all over again. It's obvious that this a building to a showdown of some sort.

Next Prog: Death Stalks The Stadium!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Inferno, Part 35

NAME
Inferno, Part 35

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 70

DATELINE
24 June 78

The strip featured alongside Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future Shocks, Death Planet and M.A.C.H.0 in a prog with a Death Planet cover by Garry Leach.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Giant has an android replica of Artie Gruber made.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Artie Gruber's Android Replica.

INFORMATION
It is possible to make an android replica of someone from photographs.

The Harlem Hellcats' Firebowl has holographers.

GIANT
He is cleared of match-fixing. He has an android replica of Artie Gruber made to keep him on his guard.

SLIM
He is cleared of match-fixing.

ZACK
He is cleared of match-fixing.

OTHER CHARACTERS
WAGNER
His full name is Winsome Wagner.

CHUBB
His full name was Ernest Chubb. The police described him as a front man for a gambling syndicate.

TORSO
His full name was Alphonse Torso. The police described him as a front man for a gambling syndicate.

ARTIE GRUBER'S ANDROID REPLICA
Giant has it made from photographs of Gruber. It can walk, talk and is remote controlled. An hour after Giant goes to sleep it makes its way into his room.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Zack: "But why, Giant......Why?"

We're all wondering.

WORST LINES
Giant: "To keep me on my guard! Every time I look at his face, it reminds me that...Artie Gruber might still be alive!"

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
The spelling of Slim's surname has changed from Shafto to Shafro.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
Giant's actions and motivations are staggeringly odd and ultimately unsatisfying, but the art of Gruber's android replica is great and the last panel in particular is fantastic.

Next Prog:- Revenge!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Inferno, Part 34

NAME
Inferno, Part 34

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 69

DATELINE
17 June 78

This prog also featured Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Death Planet and M.A.C.H.0 strips and a Judge Dredd cover by Mike McMahon.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
An Artie Gruber in agony takes it out on his masters.

FIRSTS & LASTS
This is the last five page Inferno strip.

INFORMATION
Artificial waterways are fitted with pollution-filters.

The Harlem Hellcats' Firebowl overlooks an artificial waterway.

GIANT
He has been doused with jet-pack fuel by Artie Gruber, but Louis prevents it from being lit.

LOUIS MAYER
He can channel his brain-power into the aerial in his left arm and increase the strength of the signal he was intercepting. Louis activates the discipline-cell implanted in Artie's brain causing him great pain.


OTHER CHARACTERS
ARTIE GRUBER
Just as he is about to set Giant alight with his jet-pack, Louis Mayer activate the discipline-cell in Gruber's brain and causes him agony. Gruber assumes Chubb and Torso are responsible and attacks and kills them. He is shot by a member of the stadium police and enveloped in flame. He smashes through a window and flies into a neighbouring waterway. His body isn't found.

MR. CHUBB & MR. TORSO
Artie Gruber attacks and kills them.

DEATHS
Two. Gruber kills Mr. Chubb and Torso with a power-bat.

BEST LINES
Louis Mayer (about Artie Gruber's discipline-cell): "But it only works up to a point...as long as you don't exceed a certain threshold of pain...because then the victim is apt to hit back!"

WORST LINES
Artie Gruber (on fire): "Oh, no! Nnnnnoooo..! Not again..."

I agree.

CATCHPHRASES
The phrase "Jumpin' Jupiter" has catchphrase written all over it.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
The artwork of Artie Gruber is fantastic throughout and the story flows very well, but the cliffhanger is a bit of a damp squib: Zack thinks the Harlem Hellcats troubles are over, but it's possible that they might not be...

Next Prog: The Return Of Gruber..?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Inferno, Part 33

NAME
Inferno, Part 33

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 68

DATELINE
10 June 78

This prog had an Inferno cover by Dave Gibbons and also featured Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Death Planet, M.A.C.H.0 and Walter The Wobot strips.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Giant attacks Artie Gruber and unmasks him.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first time we see the ubiquitous commentator.

INFORMATION
The Harlem Firebowl has stadium police.

Synthi-skin is synthetic skin.

GIANT
He and Artie Gruber fight. Gruber douses Giant with jet-pack fuel and threatens to set him alight.

LOUIS MAYER
He can determine Artie Gruber's strength with his aerial.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ARTIE GRUBER
His Dimples Devine disguise is a synthi-skin mask. He is unmasked during a fight with Giant. He knocks Giant to the floor and pours je-tpack fule over him.


DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Commentator: "I'm as much in the dark as you are, folks! These two players seem hell-bent on settling some private feud!"

WORST LINES
Artie: "Now you're gonna...burn...just like...Artie did! Don't care if it...was an accident..."

Thus undermining Artie Gruber's sole motivation.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
This strip features the second use of the word "maimed" in as many parts.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Tom Frame

REVIEW
Artie Gruber is unmasked again as Inferno seeks to repeat as many Harlem Heroes tropes as possible, but as he crashes into the barrier again it begins repeating itself. That said, it is a relief to see Giant and Gruber having a scrap and the artwork is great.

Next Prog: Burn Hellcat Burn!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Inferno, Part 32

NAME
Inferno, Part 32

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 67

DATELINE
3 June 78

This prog also featured Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Death Planet, M.A.C.H.0 and Walter The Wobot strips with a M.A.C.H.0 cover by Brian Bolland.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Artie Gruber takes on Cindy Lamont.

FIRSTS & LASTS
Last work on the strip by John Aldrich, credited here as Johnny.

INFORMATION
The Harlem Hellcats Firebowl has a sick-bay.

The score so far: Harlem Hellcats 2 cave ins (4 points) to the Philadelphia Freaks 0 (0 points).

GIANT
When he realises that Dimples Devine is really Artie Gruber in disguise, Giant challenges him to an Inferno fight to the death.

LOUIS MAYER
He can receive closed-circuit computer messages using his photo-receptor-unit. He adapts his wrist circuits into a makeshift aerial to track these messages during the match against the Philadelphia Freaks and discovers that Artie Gruber is masquerading as Dimples Devine.

OTHER CHARACTERS
CINDY LAMONT
She scores a cave-in. Later when Gruber has possession he challenges her and she obliges, firing her flick-pick at him. He hauls her up by it and drags her into the path of a Philadelphia Freak biker. He swerves, but she is still injured.


ARTIE GRUBER
He receives instructions from Mr. Chubb via closed-circuit computer messages.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Artie Gruber: "Das...jusss what I was...hopin' ya'd do, lady..!"

There is something so sinister about this.

WORST LINES
Giant: "Gruber! I should have known! I should have known that animal was still alive! Still gunning for me!"

You did know. You barely shut up about it.

CATCHPHRASES
Rip Venner exclaims a "Jupiter's blood!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tul
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Johnny Aldrich

Tom Tul is short for Tom Tully and Johnny Aldrich is long for John Aldrich.

REVIEW
Artie versus Cindy is horrific and the moment that he gets the upper hand is terrifying. The sight of Cindy hanging helplessly from Artie is impressive and the artwork doesn't disappoint.

Next Prog: The Last Battle!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Inferno, Part 31

NAME
Inferno, Part 31

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 66

DATELINE
27 May 78

This prog featured Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future Shocks, Death Planet and M.A.C.H.0 strips, behind a Judge Dredd cover by Mike McMahon.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Artie Gruber is forced to leave Giant alone and kill Cindy instead.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First work of the strip by John Aldrich.

INFORMATION
A soccer-shot involves a player kicking the Inferno ball with their foot.

Global Films make horror movies.


Score so far: Harlem Hellcats 1 cave in (3 points) to the Philadelphia Freaks 0 (0 points).

GIANT
He scores a cave-in from an assist by Cindy Lamont.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ARTIE GRUBER
He successfully catches a ball in white heat.


MR. CHUBB
He suggests that Artie Gruber's hatred of Giant makes him stronger. He tells Gruber to postpone killing Giant and to end Cindy Lamont's life first.

CINDY LAMONT
She angers Artie Gruber enough that he throws the ball directly at her and she gains possession for the Harlem Hellcats.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Artie: "Stop it, ya hear? Ain't...nothing wrong with my face!"
Cindy: "Nothing that a new head wouldn't improve!"

WORST LINES
Slim: "Now I know why you took a chance on her, Giant! Cindy had a crush on Hale Eegle..!"

So that's how she got the edge on Louis and Marvin. Also how could Slim tell from the way she played Inferno?

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None, but Artie Gruber has a beautiful line in exclaimations with a "Fnuurrrggle!", an "Aaaauulgh!" and a "Gyeeeeeaaah!".

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Cindy mentions Frankenstein Meets The Blood-Beast From Mars referencing Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which has frequently been filmed most notably as Frankenstein (1931) and Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), but also as Cindy hints at it was frequently combined with other intellectual properties such as Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943), Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster (1965), Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966), Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971), Dracula: Prisoner Of Frankenstein (1972) and Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974). I have nothing on The Blood-Beast From Mars.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
Massimo Belardinelli draws a self-portrait into the crowd on the first page, with his spectator thinking "What am I doing here?"

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: John Aldrich

REVIEW
The Philadelphia Freaks are a lot of fun and this is the first part to really show off the great design of their cave-man. The second white heat ball in as many parts feels a bit repetitive, but serves to show Artie's superhuman strength in contrast to Eegle's human frailty. Putting Artie versus Giant on one side in favour of Artie versus Cindy is a nice departure from the Harlem Heroes remake of recent parts.

Next Prog: Death Play!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Inferno, Part 30

NAME
Inferno, Part 30

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 65

DATELINE
20 May 78

This prog also featured Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Death Planet and M.A.C.H.0 strips and a M.A.C.H.0 cover by Ramon Sola.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Artie Gruber's attempt on Giant's life backfires with fatal consequences for someone else.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First real appearance of Cindy Lamont.

INFORMATION
Presumably there is nothing in the rules of Inferno to preclude co-ed teams.

GIANT
He is nearly killed by Artie Gruber's white heat ball, but is pushed out of the way by Wagner.

ZACK
He has his doubts about Cindy's abilities.

LOUIS MAYER
He is a substitute.

REGAL EEGLE
He is hit by the Inferno ball whilst it is in white heat and killed.


MARVIN BLOO
He is a substitute.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ARTIE GRUBER
He is apparently stronger than the late Dimples Devine. He throws an Inferno ball at Giant, but throws it hard enough to make it go into white heat.

WAGNER
He plays for the Philadelphia Freaks. He saves Giant's life, pushing him out of the way of Artie Gruber's white heat Inferno ball.

CINDY LAMONT
A former cheer-leader she offers to replace Regal Eegle after his death and Giant accepts. She says that Hale Eegle meant a lot to her.

DEATHS
One. Regal Eegle hit by Artie Gruber's white heat ball.

BEST LINES
Chubb: "Artie, you'd better go and apologise to the Hellcats about Eegle! People might get...suspicious if you don't show a little remorse!"
Artie: "Yehhhhh, right! I...oughta feel...sorry for da guy..!"

WORST LINES
Artie: "Hey, you guys...I sure am sorry about Eegle! Give my right arm if it would..."

CATCHPHRASES
The commentator and a match official give us another "Holy Inferno" each.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Presumably Cindy Lamont was also in Part 13 and posssibly 14 as well, but she isn't mentioned by name.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
Louis Mayer had to be listed as a substitute to play in Part 22, but here Cindy just decides she's going to play.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
Regal Eegle's death is oddly undramatic and the cliffhanger is hugely unimpressive, but Artie Gruber and the Philadelphia Freaks still manage to entertain.

Next Prog: Gruber Goes Wild!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Inferno, Part 29

NAME
Inferno, Part 29

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 64

DATELINE
13 May 78

This prog also features Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Death Planet and M.A.C.H.1 strips and a cover by Kevin O'Neill. It was published alongside the first issue of Starlord.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
The Harlem Hellcats begin their match against the Philadelphia Freaks and Artie Gruber attempts to kill Giant.

FIRSTS & LASTS
This strip may well include the first ever extreme close-up of a thumbnail in comics. It may not.

INFORMATION
The Harlem Hellcats' Firebowl has a capacity of ninety-thousand spectators.


GIANT
His dream about Artie Gruber is still bothering him.

SLIM
Artie Gruber elbows him in the face.

ZACK
He gets first possession, but loses the ball very soon after to Artie Gruber.

LOUIS MAYER
He is still acting as a reserve.

OTHER CHARACTERS
DIMPLES DEVINE
He was the squad-leader of the Philadelphia Freaks.

ARTIE GRUBER
He has an implant in his brain which allows Mr. Chubb to speak to Gruber, cause him pain and also includes a miniaturised bomb.

MR. CHUBB
He has control over Artie Gruber's implant and the bomb it contains. He can activate it with a control under his right thumbnail.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Torso: "The pain-cell tamed him that time, Mr. Chubb...but the punk's pretty unstable! He could still foul it up!"

WORST LINES
Artie Gruber: "Yehhhhhhh! At laaaast here it comes, pussy-cat...wid...love from...Artie!"

CATCHPHRASES
One of the Philadelphia Freak paraphrases Dimples Devine's line from Part 28 "save that hot stuff for the game" back to Artie Gruber.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
Chubb talks about his finger nail whilst peeling back his right thumbnail.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from The Complete Harlem Heroes.

Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Massimo Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
This is essentially a three page strip that follows a very empty introductory page that is surrounded by beautiful headshots for each of the Harlem Hellcats despite only half of them being featured here. Artie Gruber can hear the villain of the piece as a voice in his head, again. This is getting even closer to being a bad remake of the Gorgon's Gargoyles section of Harlem Heroes.

Next Prog: Death Of A Hellcat!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Inferno, Part 28

Astonishingly, we've reached one hundred posts...

NAME
Inferno, Part 28

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 63

DATELINE
6 May 78

This prog also featured Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Death Planet and M.A.C.H.1 strips and a Judge Dredd cover by Mike McMahon.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
Artie Gruber takes the late Dimples Devine's place on the Philadelphia Freaks team ready for their game against the Harlem Hellcats.

FIRSTS & LASTS
Last appearance of Dimples Devine.

INFORMATION
The Harlem Hellcats are about to play the Philadelphia Freaks at home.

GIANT
Giant shares a flat with Zack. They own a coffee-making robot. He has a nightmare about Artie Gruber.

ZACK
He shares a flat with Giant. They own a coffee-making robot. He regards Dimples Devine as the Philadelphia Freak as "the guy to watch".

OTHER CHARACTERS
TORSO
He swapped the ultra-violet ray with a laser blast beam on Dimples Devine's solar-bath bed. He seems to have dropped the Mister.

MR. CHUBB
He likes lollipops. He plans to blow Artie Gruber to pieces while he is surrounded by Harlem Hellcats if he doesn't kill Giant.

DIMPLES DEVINE
Right-flank flier for the Philadelphia Freaks. Giant thinks he has a resemblance to Artie Gruber. He takes a lot of solar-baths, but is killed when Torso replaces his ultra-violet ray with a laser blast beam.

ARTIE GRUBER
He has had cosmetic surgery to appear more like Dimples Devine and assumes his identity once Devine is dead. His brain is still unstable. He seems to have been fitted with an explosive device should he fail in his mission.

DEATHS
One. Dimples Devine lasered during his solar-bath.

BEST LINES
Mr. Chubb (As Mr. Devine burns to death): "Torso, Mr. Devine does not look very well. You did a good job..."

WORST LINES
Zack: "Say, that's the wildest Inferno I ever heard- but it gets results..."

CATCHPHRASES
Dimples Devine lets out an "Aaaaaaaaahieeeeeee!" as he burns to death on the roof.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Artie Gruber takes Dimples Devine's place in exactly the same way that he took Joe Mugglie's in Harlem Heroes.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Mr. Chubb has lollipops lined up in the last panel in a manner that reminds me of Kojak (1973).

MISTAKES
Zack is decribed as "the 'babe' of the Harlem Hellcats", despite being at least a year older than Teejay, probably more.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
From this part onwards, Inferno has outlasted Harlem Heroes.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
The artwork on the first page is fantastic and it's nice to get an insight into Giant and Zack's domestic life, but it's a criminal shame that Artie Gruber taking Dimples Devine's place is played exactly as it was with Joe Mugglie when there is absolutely no need. Giant has already noticed Dimples' somewhat unlikely resemblance to Gruber and so the reader could be forgiven for thinking that Artie was already in place, but instead he has surgery to look more like a man he already looks like. It stretches credulity unnecessarily, but still manages to be enjoyable.

Next Prog: Hellcats Vs Freaks

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Inferno, Part 27

NAME
Inferno, Part 27

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 62

DATELINE
29 Apr 78

The prog also featured Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Death Planet and M.A.C.H.1 strips and a Death Planet cover by Brian Lewis.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.





SYNOPSIS
Artie Gruber is revived and the Harlem Hellcats draw the Philadelphia Freaks in their next match.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first appearance of the Philadelphia Freaks.

INFORMATION
The draw for the quarter-finals of the East Coast Cup take place at the New York Inferno Headquaters, with each team given a number and numbered balls being fired around a firebowl for Inferno-chicks to pick up.

The Harlem Hellcats draw the Philadelphia Freaks. They used to play Aeroball as Gorgon's Gargoyles.

GIANT
Years ago, during an aeroball match against the Florida Fiends, he attempted to score, but the ball rebounded and hit, opposition player, Artie Gruber's jet-pack damaging it and setting him on fire. Giant can see a resemblance to Gruber in one of the Philadelphia Freaks.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ARTIE GRUBER
He played Aeroball for the Florida Fiends. During a game against the Harlem Heroes, a shot at the score-tank by Giant rebounded into Gruber's jet-pack and exploded. Gruber was badly burned. He is revived from having been frozen, breaks out of his tank and attacks Mr. Chubb. He is conditioned to revenge on Giant once more.


DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Medic (during Gruber's attack on Chubb): "No cause for alarm, Mr. Chubb! We are scientifically and medically prepared to deal with emergencies such as this...take this, Mr. Gruber!"

This medic might just be my favourite character in Inferno, the set-up line is funny and the bludgening of his patient is funny, but sadly the next line ruins the gag...

WORST LINES
Chubb: "A sterilised Inferno bat..?!"

Oh, shut up.

CATCHPHRASES
When Gruber burns he lets out an "Aaaahieeee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
The film of Artie Gruber's accident shows the Harlem Heroes at a point before Harlem Heroes and Gorgon's Gargoyles played the Heroes at Aeroball in Parts 16 to 21 of that story.

Zack describes the Philadelphia Freaks as "a mix of androids, muties and just plain uglies", while the Dredd-verse definition of the former varies, muties could well be members of the same group seen in Judge Dredd: 'The Brotherhood Of Darkness' and 'Mr Buzzz'.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
The uglies mentioned in Zack's description of the Philadelphia Freaks (see CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS) could well be a pre-cursor to the dedicated followers of Otto Sump's fashion.

NOTES
The medic shows Gruber footage of himself before his accident and states that it took place "two long years ago", which either means Inferno is set less than two years after Harlem Heroes or the medic has decided not to inform him of the time that passed during his frozen and therefore Gruber's accident took place two years before his freezing.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
It's great to have Artie back. The glimpse of his accident is tantalising and the art of Gruber and the Freaks is great. Here's hoping that history isn't going to repeat itself too closely.

Next Prog: Nightmare!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Inferno, Part 26

NAME
Inferno, Part 26

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 61

DATELINE
22 Apr 78

This prog also featured Colony Earth, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, M.A.C.H.1 and Walter The Wobot strips and a Judge Dredd cover by Mike McMahon.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
The Harlem Hellcats top their division, while the Syndicate steals Artie Gruber's body.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First mention of Hairy in Inferno.

INFORMATION
Influenza is a rare disease now, but there is still no cure.

Undertakers use hover-hearses.

The Harlem Hellcats play the Virginia Vics. Score unknown, by the Harlem Hellcats won by at least one cave-in. Thee Harlem Hellcats are now top of the fourth division.

GIANT
He scores a cave-in against the Virginia Vics from an assist by Teejay.

OTHER CHARACTERS
TEEJAY CASH
He makes a flame-leap over burning bikes to reach the Virginia Vics' score-semi and passes to Giant.

HAIRY
The late Harlem Hero. He was killed playing aeroball, but his family had his body frozen and placed in the Institute of Cryogenics' Hall Of Future Life. The Harlem Hellcats reached the top of the Inferno fourth division on the anniversary of his death.

MR. TORSO
He poses as the late Robert Bartholemew to get into the Hall Of Future Life. Once inside he kills three staff and steals Artie Gruber's body.

ARTIE GRUBER
He wasn't quite dead when a medi-scientist had him frozen, so a cure could be found for his insanity. He was in Tank Eighty-Nine at the Hall Of Future Life. His frozen body was stolen by Mr. Torso and taken to an underground laboratory in New York where he was to be revived.

MR. CHUBB
He supervises the revivification of Artie Gruber.

DEATHS
Three. Mr. Torso shoots three staff at the Hall Of Future Life.

BEST LINES
Unidentified Harlem Hellcat: "Hey that's one of them cryogenics centres, ain't it, Giant?"
Giant: "Yeah! But it's just an upholstered morgue, as far as I'm concerned!"

WORST LINES
Fan: "Top of the fourth division...and they got there fair and square!"
Fan 2: "Maybe they ain't the low-down schmuks we been lead to believe.."

How have the Harlem Hellcats managed to clear their name?

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Hairy's death was seen in Harlem Heroes, Part 27.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Sleeper (1973) maybe.

MISTAKES
It's odd that Giant singles out "the anniversary of Hairy's death!", because Conrad King died on the same day, in the same game and in the same panel.

The act of freezing human tissue for later revivification is not cryogenics, but cryonics. Cryogenics is simply the study of low temperatures, how to achieve them and how materials behave at them.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
The Virginia Vics' distinctive pointy helmets are similar to the Boston Bullets ' distinctive pointy helmets.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
This is fantastic, even though it's essentially a build up to the same cliffhanger as last time, the conspiracy element is driving the story and doing it well.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Inferno, Part 25

NAME
Inferno, Part 25

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 60

DATELINE
17 Apr 78

This prog also featured Colony Earth, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future Shocks, M.A.C.H.1 and Walter The Wobot strips and a M.A.C.H.1 cover by Brian Bolland.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
The Complete Harlem Heroes.




SYNOPSIS
After surviving another attempt on their lives, the Harlem Hellcats decide not to withdraw from the Inferno league.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Artie Gruber in Inferno.

INFORMATION
Judge HQ may has alarmed links to garbage robots.

Zanies try to live in peaceful isolation.

The Boston Bullets play in pointed 'bullet' shaped helmets.

The Harlem Hellcats play the Boston Bullets in a knockout cup-match, score unknown, but the Hellcats get at least one cave-in (3 points).

GIANT
He gives the rest of the team the option to withdraw from the Inferno league rather than risk the syndicate's wrath. They all elect to play on.

SLIM
He is fit to play again.

LOUIS MAYER
He can fly the chopper.

REGAL EEGLE
He overheats the energy-infusion cell on his bike and steerit into the path of Gee-Nine, the garbage robot, jumped clear and let it crash and explode, stopping the robot in its tracks and saving Giant, Louis and Moody Bloo.

MARVIN BLOO
He scores a cave-in against the Boston Bullets.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MR. CHUBB & MR. TORSO
They were responsible for the the garbage robot wielding assassin. They plan to revive Artie Gruber to kill giant.

ARTIE GRUBER
His body is in the Institute of Cryogenics' Hall of Future Life.


DEATHS
None, but Gee-Nine is destroyed.

BEST LINES
Regal Eegle: "So now we're in the cler. Perhaps one of you will thank me for saving your lives!"

WORST LINES
Moody Bloo: "Musta been like eatin' a bomb!"
Giant: "Yes, now let's take a look at the guy who started all this...Cold turkey! That chunk of masonry crushed his chest!"
Moody Bloo: "Ya mean...he won't be able to tell us anything, Giant?"
Giant: "You've got to be joking, Moody!"

Just how stupid is Moody?

CATCHPHRASES
Moody Bloo chalks up another "Holy Inferno!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Artie Gruber was last seen in the flesh in Harlem Heroes, Part 22 (and later as a hallucination in Part 24).

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Belardinelli
Letters: Pete Knight

REVIEW
The Gee-Nine sequence had gone on long enough, but Regal Eegle's presumption of gratitude is great. It's interesting that the Inferno game shown here is limited to single page and we aren't expected to follow the action as closely as usual. It acts as a backdrop for the discussions of Messrs Chubb and Torso. The reveal of Artie Gruber is a very welcome sight indeed.

Next Prog: Back From The Dead?