17 September 2012

The Art of Judge Dredd (coffee table book)


Not long ago Tharg, in his infinite wisdom decreed that us earthlets should have a coffee table style book covering the artwork from numerous progs of 2000 AD that have featured Dredd on the cover, hence the title!

There were to be two editions of this book. The Standard Edition and the Limited Edition (200 copies but not actually numbered inside). The Limited Edition is only available through the 2000 AD Shop and is priced at £50 plus p&p. For this the book has a different dust jacket, different binding and no bar code. The Standard Edition is priced at £40 but if you look around you can buy it for less than £25!

The book starts off with an introduction by John Wagner and the rest of the book is broken down into three sections:-

The Newsprint Era   1977 - 1987
The Painted Years    1987 - 1999
The Digital Age         1999 - present

Having now looked at both editions, I think Tharg is onto a winner and we definitely need a general 2000 AD Art of Book!

If you would like to know more about the covers and see how many of the latest ones were thought up, then why not look at Pete Wells blog (he's also written about certain covers in this book) which you'll find here 2000 AD Covers Uncovered

Enough of all this waffle, time to compare the books. First up will be the standard edition, followed by the limited edition. If you click on each picture then you will see it enlarged for your enjoyment. My photos don't do the book justice but they give you a feel of it!

Standard Edition Slip Case Cover
 Limited Edition Slip Case Cover
 Rear cover

This shows the books actual cover without the slip case and the standard edition feels just like one of the old annuals.

This has all the black areas embossed and they feel (but are not) like a very smooth velvet. The red area has the feel of your average hardback novel. I don't know the technical terms, so those descriptions will have to do!

Open the book up and you have your area to get signed at conventions!

What follows now are the three sections and just one page from each, don't want to show you too much now do we!

There you go folks!
It looks good and it feels very nice in your hands when you hold it.
My two tiny niggles are that towards the end there aren't enough contributions from the artists and writers about certain covers but I can live with that.
My other niggle is that I would have preferred, if possible to have had the cover as plain art and not cluttered with the logo and words. The original version could have been shown on the left hand page as a small box but again, I can live with that!
Just for anyone who wants to know, here are the covers:-
PROG 5, 10, 18, 44, 51, 69, 74, 82, 85, 89, 98, 105, 134, 148, 160, 161, 168, 169, 172, 182, 186, 193, 199, 204, 210, 216, 224, 225, 236, 240, 256, 267, 273, 280, 281, 284, 291, 305, 310, 316, 328, 360, 364, 375, 377, 390, 397, 403, 405, 424, 441, 446, 454, 473, 474, 477, 488, 494, 503, 507, 511, 533, 534, 551, 575, 585, 589, 593, 609, 624, 661, 668, 669, 674, 727, 786, 848, 859, 950, 1006, 1043, 1067, 1109, 1125, 1148, 1157, 1168, 1194, 1203, 1208, 1242, 1253, 1255, 1258, 1262, 1271, 1272, 1273, 1304, 1322, 1324, 1330, 1335, 1380, 1385, 1393, 1446, 1463, 1465, 1505, 1512, 1514, 1536, 1561, 1579, 1584, 1593, 1607, 1610, 1639, 1659, 1681, 1690, 1713, 1738, 1750, 1763, 1770, 1776 & 1781
Now what are you waiting for, buy one now!

15 September 2012

Dredd & Anderson Mega-Mugs

These two pint mugs (they only hold ONE pint) are the second pair of mega-mugs from 2000 AD who have produced many excellent LRD's (Liquid Refreshment Dispensers) but these are right up there with the best, due to the design work. Again these two were only available from the 2000 AD shop and were a limited edition.

Once you've added your postage and packaging, they came to £25:49 but I must say that the packaging is superb and there would be no way that these beauties would be broken on arrival. By the way, these took less than 5 days to arrive!

Again we have two of the 2000 AD greats on these mugs. On Dredd we have Mick McMahon while on Anderson, we have Dave Roach! I do love the background artwork on the Anderson one!

As with the other two if you look in the base you get an extra surprise, which you will see when you scroll down the photos.

Don't forget to click on any photo to enlarge it!

Again, I've included a normal LRD just to show the size difference!

6 September 2012

DREDD 3D - Urban IS Dredd!


At last we have the DREDD film that all the fans have been waiting 35 years for. If you don't know much about the character, then don't worry! You don't need a long winded origins story to bring you up to speed, as Karl gives a voice over to the opening shots that tells you all you need to know. Once he's finished it's time for 90 plus minutes of action.

Urban nails old stoney face perfectly, his mannerisms, his voice and his general bearing. When he talks it's in a way so that people listen. Why waste fifty words when five will do to get your point across and he doesn't need to shout to hammer the point home. He handles the action sequences like a pro and his weapon drills are spot on, along with his precise unarmed combat skills. What you see is believable and a joy to watch as he goes about his job!

Thirlby brings Anderson to life with a superb display of empathy and controlled aggression, as she has to prove in these 24 hours that she has the determination and skills to be a Judge in Mega-City One! She goes about this even when she feels and sees the consequences of her actions at certain stages through the film and sometimes it can be quite heartbreaking for her!

Headey plays a brilliantly villain as Ma Ma. Brought up in the slums and decides that she needs to be Top Dog and takes to that role easily. There's none of that insane crime boss stuff here. Understated is how I would best describe her and at some stages you could actually feel sorry for her! Could I describe her as a victim, that's for Dredd to decide!

As for the action sequences, I thoroughly enjoyed them and couldn't pick any faults. The training that Karl and Olivia have done shows on the screen, as they never put a foot wrong as they progress through the film. They are brutal, methodical and clinical in their pursuit of bringing Ma Ma to justice!

The Slo Mo is cleverly shot and even when you are watching horrendous round impacts on flesh, or glass shatter it brings a vivid beauty to the eye and you forget about the carnage you are witnessing but rather pick up on the tranquillity of it all! Think the Discovery Channel but up a few notches!

Alex Garland has brought a Dredd to the screen that is just what the fans have wanted and his script is lean, never lets up and is right to the core of the character. What you get on screen is what the fans have been reading in 2000 AD for 35 years. Also, one amazing nod to many of the writers, artists and fans is that Alex has crammed names in places throughout the film and it is a pleasure to catch a glimpse of names you know but obviously this only works if you know them in the first place!

At last John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra have a film that does 'justice' to their creation!

To me this is the best adaption of a comic book character since Christopher Reeve was and always will be, Superman!

5 September 2012

DREDD - Innocent by Campbell & Williams


By now you will have all bought your Prog 1799 and will have read the final part of this strip. If not, do not worry as there are no pics from part two in this article!

This is all about how Laurence Campbell decided to draw this strip and very interesting it is indeed and don't forget to have a look at his blog here!

The seed for this interesting idea was sown at Demoncon3, where I was on patrol as Senior Street Judge Burdis! Laurence saw me a few times breaking heads, drokk! I even Judged him at one stage. He also did an excellent Dredd head for my A2 page of 'Dredd Heads' and I also bought a page of original art from him.

 The Dredd head by Laurence joins some illustrious company
A DeMarco page pecilled by Laurence and Inked by Dylan Teague

Anyway, a few months had passed and the Mighty Tharg had decreed that it was time for Laurence to enhance the prog with his dramatic and stylish artwork again, on none other than a DREDD tale! This was to be written by Rob Williams and be set after the 'Day of Chaos' storyline, which nigh on destroyed Mega-City One! This got Laurence to thinking about when I was wearing my uniform and he asked me if he could take some reference shots of me dressed as a judge. In return he would let me have some of the art from the strip. How on earth could I refuse such an offer!
Due to us both attending the convention in Maidstone it was obvious that we lived within a reasonable distance of each other. Then again, when has distance ever got in my way for a bit of Dredd! We sorted a day out for me to come over and so one Saturday morning, straight after work (I did shower) I drove across to Laurence's house.
He showed me his prelims of the strip and it looked excellent, it really had the feel of how the Wagner storyline had left the city and the Judges. Just looking at this showed me how well his finished strip would look in the prog. Now was the time to get into character and don the uniform.
Laurence wanted me to act out certain panels and poses and do it under different lighting, so that he could compare what it looks like in real life to what his artistic eye picks up when he draws a strip. As a reader and fan of Dredd, I found this fascinating and it opened my eyes up to why artists draw figures in certain ways. One of the main things I learnt from Laurence, was the Lawgiver placement for when firing towards the reader and I now use this stance when being photographed at conventions. I would always place it in front of my face in line of fire towards the target but Laurence wanted me to place it slightly to the side, so that my face was not obscured. I'm sure all you artists know this but it was all new to me!
The time flew by and everything Laurence envisioned was done and so it was time to depart. All I had to do now was wait till the story was about to appear in the prog (which as you all know now, it has). I contacted Laurence over the summer, as I would be in his area during that time with the family and so organised a day to choose my pages. To say this was hard was an understatement, it took me DROKKIN' AGES! Every page had something on that I really loved and I could see little bits of me in certain panels. Laurence had said that I could pick two pages from each part. I knew that these pages were in demand, as I had seen a few people enquire about this upcoming strip on his facebook page. By the way, If you want any of the pages, then they will be in GOSH and for sale through them, so best contact them quickly here!
Here are two pages for you to look at from part one, these include the rough layouts as well.
Page 3 Roughs
 Page 4 Roughs
I wonder how many of you could see me, if at all! My wife recognised my stance in some of the pics which was a relief!
As I said this was a very enjoyable experience and has helped me see artwork and how it progresses in a new light and I can't thank Laurence enough for that!

3 September 2012

Dredd Day - Forbidden Planet London and beyond!


Saturday 1st September was the day that 2000 AD held its very first national signing event for all their fans. This was held at Forbidden Planet and Travelling Man at the following locations - London, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Belfast and Edinburgh. Numerous droids from the House of Tharg would be in attendance. Obviously London was gonna have the biggest droid count, it's just the way the world works!

A few fans from the 2000AD on line community got together and organised a meet at the London event!

I had been approached a few weeks earlier by Danie Ware, to see if I would be the resident Judge for the event and I accepted straight away. This was going to be a great day and it meant that I could patrol some of London's streets afterwards.

After another nights work I quickly showered and set off to the big city on the train, towing my uniform in it's boxes. When I arrived I decided to pop along to the Empire cinema in Leicester Square and see the manager. Long story short, I asked her if they were doing anything for DREDD, she replied not really. I showed her some pics of me as Judge Burdis and said that I'd be up for anything to help out. She was up for it and I'd said I'll be down later in uniform and we can chat more.

I continued onwards to Forbidden Planet and introduced myself and I must thank all the staff, especially Jon Harrison as he let me have the run of the place and get on with dispensing justice to everyone. I did a recce of the place, so I knew where the toilets were and changed into uniform. When I was doing this some of the new Dredd posters (where he's stood on the building) turned up and I asked for a couple of these massive brutes (they are safe in the cellar now).

It was time to JUDGE the store and await the droids.

It's always nice to see the expressions on peoples faces when I sneak up wearing the uniform, as quite a few issue an expletive from the shock of it but many of the children's reactions are priceless. I had some cry, I stopped one cry but most enjoy it and want their pictures taken. Some parents want the children to be pictured with me more than the child actually does. Some ladies want to be pictured with me to show their other halves, as they are big fans. The reasons are varied but they all love the Law!

Art droid Ben Willsher needs to be escorted into the building!
The 2000 AD droids assemble with their officially sanctioned protection!

Thargs droids turned up and numerous forum members were on hand to grab sketches, goodies, signatures and have a good old chat, along with so many other people that the signing went on for an extra two hours easily! Poor Boo Cook was the last droid sitting, demand is hard sometimes and his sketches were equally as good at the end as they were at the begining, what a star!

Keeping the fans in check!

I notice Boo is under pressure due to being in demand!
 So I gently encourage him to speed up!

2000 AD PR Droid is being checked on, by order of Tharg!
During the signing I wandered around the droids, beat people up and also patrolled the whole store. Every so often I would wander outside for a bit of air and entice people in. During one of these periods a police car signalled that they were going to do a U-turn and park alongside.
Two armed police climbed out (I had informed the police via 101 what I was going to do) and asked about the film, it seems all the police I talked to are going to see it. They then wanted a photo and another cop appeared from the rear of the car and obliged. I asked if they wanted me to draw my Lawgiver and they replied "best not!"
Just before they left, they did say that they would love to patrol wearing the helmet. Sadly no-one saw this happen but through the magic of twitter, Steve Green found this one photo!

Escorting some eldsters down the street!
Look at those DROKKIN' spines!

After it was finished I went across to the Crown and Anchor in Neal Street, this is the Southern Contingent's pub of choice. The funny thing is not many people batted an eyelid. One lad asked about the film as we left and we gave all the relevant info and told him and his mates it was excellent. This happened throughout my patrol.

I then wandered into Leicester Square where a couple of police were stood watching the crowds, we had the obligatory photo and they wanted one also.
Next up was the Empire cinema and I caught the manager before she finished and let's hope something can be arranged this weekend. I did like some of the ideas that she initially had but again, let us wait and see what happens!

We left and did a bit of a photo shoot outside the cinema with the Dredd poster in the background. As Steve and Tony took these pics, I noticed the amount of people gatheringing round taking more pics. This can only be good for the film if it gets people talking about it!


Resuming patrol
What are you doing citizen, that's Judge assault!

We finished of in the square and headed off to Trafalgar Square and then Covent Garden for some more fun.

After this it was back to Forbidden Planet to get changed and collect my goodies, what a day!

When I arrived home I was physically exhausted. I think this weeks screening of Dredd, work and today finally caught up with me. I showered, did a bit on the computer and then fell asleep bolt upright on the settee, with remote in hand, which is how my wife found me at 06:30 on Sunday morning!

Just a couple more pics to show you that I did meet a couple of so called superheroes!

Finally a very BIG thank you to Steve Green and Tony Richards who supplied nearly all these photos. I wouldn't have anything to show of the day if it wasn't for the kindness of these two excellent chaps!