15 March 2010

The Dredd and Death candles

These are items that I found by pure chance. Yet again there was nothing advertising these anywhere at all, so if I hadn't stumbled upon them I would never have known about them, simples.
I was with Carolyn in London many years ago and being the loving husband took her to Covent Garden, yawn! Anyway I followed her around as she flitted from one shop to another, bored out of my head. Sometimes I just waited patiently outside people watching (mostly the ladies) but for some unexplained reason I followed her into a candle shop in the lower area of Covent Garden itself.
As we entered she said to me "I don't know why you're coming in here. There won't be any Judge Dredd candles!" (I have just verified with Carolyn what she said and she agrees, those are her words)
Well, as soon as I stepped through the door my Dredd Radar made my head turn to the left and my eyes popped out on stalks. Two shelves stacked with Dredd candles on the top and Death candles on the one below. I quickly tapped Carolyn on the shoulder and pointed and she could not believe it as her eyes rolled back.
I left her to buy her stuff as I rummaged through all the candles to find the best ones of each character, once done I quickly paid for them and we left. I only wish I had bought the bloody lot!
Once home I put them on the mantlepiece for a few days, just to wind Carolyn up before I put them into storage, as this was before the Cellar of Dredd became a reality.
Anyway here are the two candles and as you can see they are not brilliant but they exist and I have them, that's all that matters (queue manic laughter).
By the way I won't give them name tags as I think you may guess who is who!

Keep an eye out for what I upload next as you never know what it may be. It could be something well known, something obscure or something I have had made!!!

9 March 2010

A bedroom decked out with Dredd!

What I would have given to be able as a young lad to have had my bedroom decorated with Dredd items and by this I mean quilt covers, pyjamas, wallpaper, etc.... Since the movie came out a trickle of items hit the shops with a fanfare so quiet no bugger could hear it. Luckily through the years with the help of family, friends and eBay I have managed to acquire enough items that would decorate a 10 year olds room perfectly! Not that I would waste these precious items on my son.

Wallpaper & Borders

These rolls were found by my sister Dawn, who I am eternally grateful to. One day out of the blue she rang me up from Hartlepool and said that she had found some Judge Dredd wallpaper, my heart skipped a beat. I inquired 'what, how, where.' To which she replied that she had just seen a pile in a local decorators and picked one up for me and was about to send it down. I asked 'how many more are there?' and she replied 'about half a dozen'. That was it 'Buy them all Sis' and she did, plus she sent them down and didn't ask a penny for it (I suppose I didn't bully her enough as a kid). The borders were spotted on eBay, nothing more to say really!

Quilt cover & Pillow case

This is a fantastic item, in fact it's so fantastic I have three of them. Of which one is sealed still, this has Dredd sat astride his Lawmaster on the front while on the rear it shows a layout of a child's bedroom with the quilt being used. It also shows a pair of Judge Dredd curtains? The other two have been used, Sam has one and I bought another one off eBay for a laugh.The Quilt has Dredd on one side reaching out of the picture and saying "Sleep is no refuge from Justice, Creep!" On the reverse it is the world map from Dredd's time, with Joe's head all over the place.

The pillow case has Dredd's badge on the front with Judge Dredd written across the middle and the reverse has the map on it like the quilt cover.


These I found in a children's clothes shop and it was the only pair, if there had been more I would have bought various sizes and actually have let Sam wear some. Alas there was no more in the shop (I did ask) and so Sam never got the chance to wear them. The top is Ron Smith's work I think, the back has nothing on it and the bottoms are plain also.


This towel I found in Maidstone market a few years back, I think it cost a fiver. Last year (2009) I watched one go for over £50 on eBay!


This was another find in a cheap shop in town, just a chance turn of the head and I saw it, otherwise I would have walked straight past it. I was also given another of these at Thought Bubble by John Wagner himself!


These again I picked up off ebay. The round clock is quite flimsy and cheap, the sort of thing you would pick up in the pound shops. The Tharg clock is something that the 2000AD shop sold many moons ago if I'm not mistaken.

These I'll put into a couple of separate blogs, as this one would go on for a long time otherwise! I could have put the Dredd Dressing Gown up but alas I don't have one (as of yet!). Another showing on how well advertised the stuff was when it came out. Another collector, Rob Stewart has one on his site 2000adcollectables have a look around and say I sent you.

Legendary Heroes

This series came out around 2007 from Marvel toys (Boo Hiss) and was made up of various comic characters taken from numerous comic houses. The anticipation was unbelievable, as yet again we were going to see some more affordable 2000 AD characters hit the shops. Sometimes the anticipation is better than the reality!

This consists of Judge Dredd, Ripclaw, Superpatriot, Madman, Savage Dragon and Witchblade. If you collected all six then you could make Pitt, as he was made up from a piece that was included with each figure. With Joe was packaged the right leg!
These characters came from the following publishers Rebellion, Image, Dark Horse, AAA comics & Top Cow.

As you can see from the the packaging Joe takes up about a third of the overall container. The top part behind the logo is empty, the right part contains the right leg and the left part contains old stony face himself. He is supplied with both Lawgiver versions (to keep the fans happy) and his trusty boot knife.

Looking around the package you will notice that underneath are the instructions to build the Pitt figure and  on the right there are actual comic covers for all seven characters.

When you turn the package over you will notice how full of information and pictures it is. From top to bottom we have the Legendary Heroes logo and Judge Dredd's side by side. Underneath is a history of Mega City One and below that you have the six comic covers lined up. Below that, pictures of all six figures and to the right the figure of Pitt, that is made up with the extra pieces supplied with each character.

This consists of Judge Death, Marv, Star, Stryker, Darkness and Ann O'Brien. Same as the first series, you collect them all and with each figure you have an extra body part of a much larger figure. This figure is, as the title of the series says, Monkeyman. With Judge Death is packaged the left leg.
These characters came from the following publishers Rebellion, Image, Dark Horse, AAA comics, Top Cow & for some reason they have added Dynamic Forces which is just a retailer but as it is on the packaging I have added it.

The packaging is the same as Joe's, you have the top part showing the logo and yet again behind it is nothing (what a waste of materials). To the right is Monkeyman's leg and to the left is Judge Death. I won't bother boring you all with repeating the rest but on the back is a small piece about Judge Death's (or should I say Sidney De'ath's) history.
There is a variant Judge Death available and the packaging is exactly the same but the figure itself is translucent. There is nothing at all to say that he is translucent on the packaging, even the picture on the rear shows the normal Judge Death. You can see he's different just by looking, seems a bit cheap as far as I'm concerned plus what is the point, he is either in a decaying body or in spirit form, so I don't know where in the folklore this comes from. Still I had to buy two (one to open and one to leave sealed up).

Okay the models themselves didn't live up to my expectations. This was mainly due to various factors:-
We have the yellow elbow pads, silver name on his shield, the eagle on his right shoulder being way too big and that holster on the rear of his belt, WHAT ON EARTH! It's the little things like this that spoil a good effort. I don't expect an amazing piece for the price I paid for this figure but Grud on a Greenie I expect the costume to be correct at the very least. The paint job on the zip, on the leathers overlaps onto the actual leather either side, I can live with that after all it is mass produced. Anyway lets move on to Judge Death shall we.

This is a better figure all round than poor old Joe. There are a few minor faults with this one but they are not major costume disasters. We have the pterosaur on his right shoulder, it should curve around the arm and shoulder, instead the wings curve outwards and the on the other shoulder is the largest shoulder pad in the world. It actually reaches halfway up the side of his helmet. Still the rest of the figure is reasonable enough as he's nice and thin and has the perfect Death smile. The translucent one, well the less said about that the better. Saying that after taking the pictures for this blog it looks, well translucent!

Now there was going to be a third series but it never managed to be released and in this was going to be Mean Machine and this figure looked stunning compared to the other two. After trawling through the net I managed to find this picture which shows how good he would have been.

Now as a small treat I shall show you two prototypes of Judge Dredd that I managed to buy off ebay. The white figure is extremely loose and came without a helmet. Amazingly as I sit here looking at it I have just noticed that it has green elbow pads, I suppose I could swap them over with the finished model. The black figure is more rigid, like the finished item and has a transparent helmet but no other protective pieces on his body.

Well I hope you have enjoyed looking at these figures, I'm sure many of you already have them. It's just a pity Mean didn't go into production. My personal belief why this series of models failed is quite simple really.

Why on earth as a 2000 AD fan would I want to buy 5 other models in a series to make up a bigger model of another comic character I don't want. What was in the minds of these marketing men.

Now if they did an ABC Warriors series and the six figures had an extra piece that made up Mek-Quake, ah! but that is only in my dreams!!!!!!


These are stored in the attic (sacrilege) but they are so large that they would take up too much room down there! Let me tell you that the last time I brought them down (for these pictures) was a right old carry on, especially trying not to bend the corners.
Anyway lets get on with them:-

The one at the top is for the PS1 system and as you can see, it's drawn by Simon Bisley and looks superb. It folds over just below the crotch and the sides of the white background fold back to give it stability. The bottom also has a few extra pieces added to help the whole thing stand up.

I managed to get this one from Game and at the time I didn't have a console. I inquired about when the game was coming out and added that if they gave me this standee I would buy the game and a console to play it on. They agreed and so the day the game came out I was down there like a shot!
Let me add that carrying all that lot back home was quite a laugh, even with the standee folded over and in a cardboard delivery box.

The next one is for the PS2 and features Dredd and Death from the games story. This standee comes in two parts:- the back is a complete figure Judge Death reaching out  to the buyer while standing in front of Mega City One. The front being Judge Dredd and the advertising for the actual game. I acquired this in the same way I did the previous one. I reminded the shop how I managed to get the previous one and said I'd buy the console and the game when it comes out if I can have the standee, deal done. It's an expensive way to get them I know!

Next up is the Nintendo version that came out (from what Dredd is wearing it's obvious) for the release of the film. This one I managed to just ask in the shop and they gladly gave it to me (just to get rid of the thing, I think) and I gladly took it. This bends in half just above the name and was quite easy to carry home from the town, very light. At one stage I had this looking out the bedroom window, much to the wife's bemusement.

Finally I have the biggest one out of the lot. This is the movie quad stand and comes in two pieces. We have Stallone and the films title that slots into the main piece and the actual main piece folds over on itself and shows the cityscape of Mega City One and also all the credits. This was going to be (as all are apparently) put up for auction at the Odean cinema in the town, as I found out when I went to inquire about it. I asked what something like this normally goes for and then put in my offer and left it at that. A couple of weeks later and £20 out of pocket and it was mine. Now this was a bloody nightmare getting home, as the size and box it came in were just so awkward but home it went to join the rest.

Since collecting these I think I have managed to obtain another but I can't be arsed going into the attic to find out at this moment in time, so I'll have to include that (if indeed I did get another one) when I put a piece up about the movie banners that I have managed to get my hands on.

6 March 2010

3 Weeks to the Hell-Trek

What a few days I've had! Everything I've had to sort out about the trek has been sorted and then I get a phonecall from the BBC (a nudge from Richmond and Vicky helped) and then I have the local paper and radio onto me. So I'm doing more things, you have to laugh but saying that it has been very enjoyable (and anything that helps Hi-Ex! out in any little way can only be a good thing).

Firstly lets see what has happened on the Hell-Trek as of now.
Okay the Rad Wagon (mini bus) is fully booked and paid for, just got to collect it at 15:00 on the day and then fit it out with everything.
Firstly the finished magnetic banners that will adorn the sides (hope they don't fall off) and advertise who we are. Here is Sam holding one (in the actual 'Cellar of Dredd').
Next up I started putting out calls for tops for the trek, mainly Polo tops but we've had one T-shirt and one Hoodie made as well. You will see us wearing the following colours bottle green, blue, red, black and  grey and they look superb! These I had made at a local shop and the design for the embroidery was sorted for us by Michael Carroll who also designed the magnetic banners, for free. What a superb bloke, due to his help I have had a top made for him (he'll be the other person in bottle green) as a thank you.
After I picked the tops up I decided for a fun thing to get some rations made. I did know of a website that produced personalised chocolate bars and I thought it would be fun to get something made for the trekkers and dish a few spare out to people up at Hi-Ex! I sent off the Polo top design and they sent an email with an attachment back showing how it would look with a note saying I can put some words on the back. I decided to put some relevant words on the back about the trip!
As you can see these look excellent and I'm thinking that some people may be keeping their wrappers or even the whole bar. Obviously I will keep one behind for the Cellar, which leaves fifteen for the trek, take another eight away for us lot and you are left seven. By the way a few are already reserved for certain people up there but a few other people will be lucky!
Just the other week I asked Richmond Clements to email me the convention poster so I could run a couple up and put them around the rear windows of the mini bus. I also had a couple of others ran off at the same time. The three convention ones are A4 so you can see how big the others are.
Now all I was doing was counting down the days till the trek, that was until the BBC phoned me up about it! I had a chat with the reporter and later that week the piece appeared on the BBC website. Since then I have had the Kent Messenger ring me up about it, this should appear next Friday. I also had Andy Walker from kmfm phone and we did a pre recorded piece for his breakfast show which aired on the 5th of March at about 07:40. I recoreded it on Real Player but have no idea how to upload that onto any site to be listened to, damn! Still who knows what will happen next. By the way you can see what happens on the night of the trek and over the weekend by following us on the following twitter accounts John Burdis and Gavin Leahy.
I'm really looking forward to this trip and hope to see many from the 2000AD forum up there along with many new friends to be made.
See you there!

The Prog that started it all.

Lets' start from the beginning with Prog 1 (in those days it was actually programme 1) as this is how my love of 2000AD and Judge Dredd and therefore the Cellar of Dredd came about.

The cover was nothing much to go by as at least 50% of it was taken up by the red space spinner and the rest was the 2000A.D. logo. With a box mentioning Dan Dare was inside and he was the 'NEW' Dan Dare. M.A.C.H-1 also had a box on the cover and he looked just like Steve Austin! Still, I bought it and read it as soon as I finished my paper round before school.

What a read it was Russians invading Great Britain, cowboys and dinosaurs, Dan Dare, the six million dollar man and a sports story involving jet packs. What more could a 10-year-old want (and still Judge Dredd was yet to appear).
The violence was on a par with Battle and Action and that was fine by me, as I also read those! Looking back through prog(ramme) 1 as a 43-year-old I’m amazed at what was crammed into the first issue.

First up we have the Volgans (Russians) invading Britain in Invasion and on the first four pages we had already surrendered. In these panels the Volgs are shown parachuting onto London, tanks and fighters wiping out our forces and the midlands wiped out by a fifty-megaton bomb, phew! We also see our hero Bill Savage blast an enemy trooper in the chest with his shotgun after stopping an armoured personnel carrier.
Now having just reread the story I have realised that the Volgs actually invaded Western Europe from the paper at the top of page two, I always thought it was just Britain. Even so I do laugh at the way that the paras are firing anti-tank weapons as they descend and that Bills shotgun manages to stop an APC. The innocence of youth and now having served in the military (members of the 2000AD facebook groups know I love to nitpick the military stuff) means I rip things like this to pieces.
We move on to Flesh, the story about a time travelling food corporation. Before you know it a cowboy is being eaten by 16-metre long crocodile, a Tyrannosaur gets its head blasted off and tramples on another cowboy. A stampede of Styracosaurs tramples more men and impales one on its horn. Absolutely thrilling for a boy who loves dinosaurs and what boys didn’t!

Next up, Dan Dare the story that drew me to the comic, apart from the space spinner. The centre spread shows the space freighter “Sirius” commanded by Dan being sucked towards Jupiter’s Red Spot, upon turning the page it’s ripped apart, with one scream of AAAAGH! to show the plight of the crew. Luckily only Dan manages to survive. He’s now up for a court martial for the loss of the ship but before the day is out he’s managed to stow away on a ship that will be passing Jupiter.
Two facts that I have just learnt by reading this strip again. The first, Dan Dare says DROKK IT! Now I always thought that this was Dredd’s word. The second, having read articles about 2000AD and the way no-one was credited in the early days I notice that Belardinelli manages to get his name on the last panel as it says (in a sort of computer print) Art: Belardinelli.

Now we have the six million dollar man, oops I mean M.A.C.H-1, which is just, like the former and you can actually hear the telly sounds in your head as he does his superhuman stuff. He manages to kick in a nuclear blast-proof door, out accelerate a Trident motorbike and kill a load of terrorists but we have to wait till the next prog for the outcome as this was all a diversion. Great way to get us to come back next week!

Finally we have the Harlem Heroes, a violent sport that is played while wearing jet packs (another kids dream). It was just the Harlem Globetrotters playing a futuristic sport, but most of this team are wiped out on the 4th page and so in next weeks prog they will have to rebuild the team so that they can win the World Aeroball Championship.
I remember reading it again once I got home from school and during the following week talking to my mates about it, constantly.

Remember, Dredd had still to appear and once he did I must admit he was second best to Dan Dare in my eyes for a very long time. Now that's all changed!