30 December 2011

The Judge Dredd Collection (Daily Star)



In 1985 the first of five soft cover collections from the Daily Star arrived in stores, after these ended we were treated to a Mega Collection in 1990 and that was that! Sadly we never saw any more of these and as far as I'm concerned we could do with a massive hardback of all the strips. Why you may ask! It's quite easy really, these are some of the best strips that Wagner/Grant/Smith/Gibson ever let loose on the public. Just for completists, the letterers over these volumes were Tom Frame/Steve Potter/Tony Jacob/Peter Knight & Gordon Robson.

Anyone wanting to get into reading Dredd should really look here first, in these few collection there is everything a potential (and long time) fan could ever ask for. The strips are short and to the point but later on there are a few multi part strips, leading to No5 which is one continuous story!

Inside No1 and the Mega Collection there is a forward which says it all really. I've copied the most pertinent part for you -

The origins of Judge Dredd date back to 1977 and the launch of 2000 AD, Britain's award winning comic-strip magazine. Judge Dredd quickly became 2000 AD's most popular character, firing the readers' imaginations as, each week, he revealed new facts about crime and punishment in the nightmarish future city he patrolled.

It was not long before Judge Dredd's fame spread, not just in Britain but also across the Atlantic. Back in Britain, he went a step closer to becoming nationally recognised as the 80's answer to Dan Dare whe, in Augus, 1981, his adventures began to appear weekly in the Daily Star.

For writers John Wagner and Alan Grant, the newspaper spin-off was an exciting new challenge. Their Judge Dredd scripts for 2000 AD are written to thirty pictures, sometimes more. The format for the Daily Star strip called for complete adventures of not more than eleven pictures at most. Added to that was the problem of introducing the five million Daily Star readers to the intricacies of life in Mega-City One.

Suffice it to say that Wagner and Grant succeeded admirably. Aided by Ron Smith's powerful artwork, they took  their new readers on a crash-course in the lore of Judge Dredd, constructing in mere months the future world that had taken years to establish in 2000 AD.

Steve MacManus
Editor, Judge Dredd - The Megazine

It says everything there, although it doesn't credit Gibson (this was copied from No1 and placed in the Mega Collection) and it should have done in the latter collection!

No1



This came out in 1985 and was priced at £1.25 and 52 pages in total, you can't go wrong. It contains the forward by MacManus from above plus a bit about Dredd and Mega-City One, explaining both. Then it's straight into the action for 48 pages before an advert for 2000 AD and a back page showing the city (notice where Liberty is, next to the statue of Judgement and that's right outside the Grand Halls of Justice).

No2



This came out in 1986 and is the same as No1, 52 pages at £1.25. This also mentions specific items from Dredd's world in the front. These include the Hotdog Run & Block War, with a bit more on Dredd and the law. Another advert for 2000 AD is on the inside rear but on the back we have the LAWMASTER and it's complete breakdown, what a beast!

No3


In 1987 the third collection came out, sam as before £1.25 with 52 pages of thrills. On the inside cover we have more info on Dredd's world, this time it includes transport, post and banking services, power, information and weather. Inside this collection we see our first multi part strip, called 'They Came To Conquer!' Again on the inside rear it's another advert for 2000 AD.
On the back though is another superb piece on Justice kit, this time it's the LAWGIVER. If you can't quite read all the info in the boxes don't worry, I've enlarged those after the back cover. Enjoy the fanboy info!






No4



In 1989 the price went up to £1.50 for the same amount of pages but both inside sleeves were left blank. We also saw the first repeats from the other collections but strangely under different names. The 'Rookie Test' from the 2nd collection goes under the name of 'Test of the Law' in here.
The advert for 2000 AD had also moved to the back cover itself, with a strange Judge team up!

No5



This collection stayed at £1.50 but only has 42 pages You would think that you would get 38 pages of strip but the 38th page is taken up with an advert for the Judge Dredd Megazine, cheeky buggers!. The inside sleeves are still blank and the 2000 AD advert is on the rear.
What is really interesting about this collection is that it is one continuous story about fatties and the artist is now Ian Gibson. I don't think many people know this, as these collections have always been talked about as the Wagner/Smith Daily Star stories.

Mega Collection



This hardback collection came out in 1990 and cost £6.95 for 192 pages of which 181 were actual strip. The inside sleeves were a double pic of Dredd's head with the name splashed across both pages, so that ate 4 pages up. The rest was taken up with general info and the MacManus forward.
This collection is just reprints from the first 4 collections (I've not checked every story but I reckon there isn't anything new in this one) and there is no Gibson in it (obviously as that would eat up a quarter of the book due to it being one story)

I wonder why there has never been a reprint of Daily Star stuff as like I said at the beginning this is a great way to get into the character and quickly see what madness Mega-City One holds without years of reading intricate stories from the pages of 2000 AD and the Megazine.

Now for a few panels from the strips just to show a few interesting things. Yes the Lawgiver is voice activated but I bet many don't know that MK1 was also thumb activated for the different rounds.


We also get to see what happens to Judges when they go bad, 20 on Titan, poor Jansen!


Again Wagner shows the world that he is a visionary with the Smokatorium!


Finally after a few appearances on the 2000 AD forum about how many Judges Mega-City One has!


Judges even have to pass their Sky Surfing practical.


Now for a few complete strips.
My favourite is this. Wagner shows how to compress the whole of the Apocalypse War saga into one page, how clever is that!





Finally one of the Gibson strips, this actually starts the whole story from the fifth collection.


As you can see, these strips don't leave anything out. In fact through the collections you see Walter, Otto Sump, Anderson, Hershey, find out citizens arrests are illegal, watch Block Wars, see the Time Stretcher in action, find out about the insidious menace of soap, see the Lawmaster acting independently, Boing, Spy in the Sky, etc...

Like I say, if you want to see Dredd in action and learn a load of history fast then buy these and then follow them up with the Case Files. You'll always fiind these on ebay, so get searching and enjoy!



16 December 2011

2000 AD Fridge Magnets



At this present moment in time 2000 AD have only produced 4 'official' fridge magnets. There are other 2000 AD magnets out there, including the ones given away with COMIC HEROES but more of them in a later article.

I'm not absolutely 100% sure with this set but I think you could buy 3 of them through the shop but you had to be a subscriber to get the 4th. I can't remember which one was the subscriber one though as it was a while ago!

They are just pictures printed on a flat plastic material with a thin magnetic rear. Something so simple yet no more were made since these came out in 2003.

DREDD


MONGROL


KANO


MEAN MACHINE


Here is Dredd with a 2 pence coin to show the size of the magnets. 



9 December 2011

ABC Warriors Novels (Black Flame)



These two books are taken from the long running comic series created by Pat Mills and have been superbly transferred to this medium. The first novel is a collaboration between Pat & Alan Mitchell, while the second is by Mike Wild.

The ABC Warriors - hard-drinking robotic soldiers designed for combat in the worst Atomic, Bacterial and Chemical theatres of war. They are a tough fighting force that has slipped into legend. led by the fearless Sergeant Hammerstein, the elite unit of warriors carry out thye worst suicide missions available.


Story by
Pat Mills & Alan Mitchell
Cover by
Kev Walker

'On the dead plains of Mars, human terraformers awake an ancient life-force known as Medusa that is determined to stop the planet becoming an alien world. When the ABC Warriors learn of this new threat, a two thousand year-old programme is activated that compels them to return to the red planet, but in doing so they know that they will be rendered obsolete and self-destruct. Facing a guarenteed suicide mission, the ABC Warriors lock and load and begin the Medus War!'


Story by
Mike Wild
Cover by
Karl Richardson

'When the tide of war turns against them on the Martian battlefield and all hope of victory slips away, the ABC Warriors are forced to disband their unit. They must go seperate ways in a final, desperate attempt to save mankind from the alien terror.'

Again with having some favourite characters appear in prose helps expand the story. We all know what they look like, so we can visualise the goings on with ease, as both books take us deeper into the war on Mars.
I read these as soon as they came out and I now feel as though I should dust them both off and endulge myself again! Something I never do with books but I might actually have a 2000AD marathon session.

2 December 2011

Caballistics, Inc. Novels (Black Flame)



These two books are from the series of the same name from 2000AD by the creative team of Gordon Rennie and Dom Reardon. If you want to have a look at the official website of the agency, then have a look here!

'Originally known as Department Q, a secret department within the British Ministry of Defence was tasked with investigating the supernatural on behalf of the Government. But times are hard and Department Q has been sold off as a private company and renamed Caballistics, Inc.'


Story by
Mike Wild
Cover by
royalty free/corbis

'When the Caballistics are attacked in London, they are forced to use powerful magic, breaking The Accord - a long-held pact that forbids the use of sorcery. They've been set up and someone wants them out of the way, but who? To find the answer, Caballistics, Inc must form unholy alliances with the "dead of London" and the shadowy organisation know as the Dark Parliament.'
London is about to become a war-zone...


Story by
Mike Wild
Cover by
royalty free/corbis

"SHOW ME YOUR SINS" - the last words heard by the residents of Boswell before incineration by a powerful force in 1944. Old news until a forgotten biblical being is awoken by an apocalyptic cult. Facing explosive ley-lines, Boswell's reainimated dead and a fallen angel intent on bringing about Judgement Day, it's another busy day at the office for Caballistics, Inc.

I was never a fan of the series in the prog, the art I liked but the stories just didn't do anything for me. Once I had read these, especially the first with the London scenes, I went back and found a new respect for them and enjoyed them a bit more. I personally think these types of stories are better suited to novels but then again that's just my opinion.