Read the latest Dredd episode just now. My immediate thoughts are John Wagner has been writing this strip for 42 years, he’s 70 years old, and he’s better than ever.
Mort Walker, Charles Schultz, Hal Foster, heck - Stan Lee! Mr. Wagner is in fine company.
Wagner doesn’t work for 2000ad. He is 2000ad!!
Anyway, I’ve been thinking lately: who would be perfect director for future potential Dredd film? My pick would be Guy Ritchie. Possibly from a script by John Milius. That’d be awesome.
Looks like it.
He’s such a brilliant writer. In most cases when a writer hits their 70th birthday they are long off the boil and just get given the odd job for nostalgia’s sake. See his contemporaries in the US like Claremont, Byrne and Wolfman.
Reading the last Strontium Dog and this Dredd series he’s just on top of his game, they are like masterclasses in how to write comics.
True. However, I must mention that Mike Moorcock, just rolled over his 79th birthday, has a music project (Moonhawks) out next month and a couple novels “on the boil”. And m’man MM is not any too particularly healthy - just keep rollin’ along!
(Did Mike ever write any Dredd or 2000AD? Seems he would have been in the opposing camp.)
The joy of Dredd is that it can be written from the perspective of whatever camp you want.
It seems though he was already in old fart mode in the late 1970s.
That was around the time he cut loose on Heinlein with the Starship Stormtroopers thing. Oh, yeah, he’s well into the “radical” area. Delightful fellow, though!
(And could you find a smaller picture?)
I’m behind on 2000ad, despite being desperate to read this series (I couldn’t be arsed with the others) I’ll need to get caught up before I read that spoiler
The spoiler is only one small thing about Machine Law that makes it brilliant. Its not hyperbole when Gar say Wagner is on top of his game.
Well now I just want to read the Dandy.
Posted a couple paragraphs about this in the book thread but not sure if the same people frequent that as this 2000ad thread.
You folks will remember that Michael Carroll has a strip recently that went back to the first days of the Judges and that there was also bunch of novels scheduled that cover the same subject.
I missed the first paper back editions of the single novels, maybe just as well as they are pretty short. The Judges volume 1 came out a few weeks back which collects those first 3 volumes.
The first, by Carroll, is superb and I would have to say essential reading for anyone who has been a long term or completionist Dredd fan.
It deals with the very early days of the Judges as the country struggles to adapt, literally at a sort of handover point where cops, lawyers and courts don’t fully appreciate that days have changed and their time is up.
It’s completely fascinating, and Carroll has put a lot of thought into it. He even covers off the problems with lack of prison space (which will lead to cubes) and touches on the origins of ‘Grud’ and “drokk’.
More than that, in a brief 150 ish pages he covers a lot of territory with the conflict and ethical questions that the judges system raises, but also goes fairly hard on the current corrupt system which serves greedy lawyers above all, to the detriment of everyone else.
I really strongly advise picking it up. Not sure how the other 2 books read, as I’m going to flit between these and Danse Macabre and Cujo, which are next up on my chronological King re-reads, but this is definitely worth your time.
Carroll is a brilliant author, I have most of his year 1 and year 2 stuff so I’ll be getting to that soon if this is any indicator of the quality of the writing.
I’ll be very interested to hear what you make of the non Carroll stories in the book, perticularly the third one.
Have you read it Bruce?
What did you think of the Carroll effort?
I got them in individual volumes as they were released (was a relatively expensive way of doing it so I think I’ll hold on for the omnibus with future releases) so its been a whole since I read Carroll’s one but I do remember enjoying it. He has a solid view of Dredd’s world and enjoyed his year zero and one books.
Which seems to have prompted a drop in price
If you haven’t got it now’s a great opportunity!
After a great spell before the end of the year, there was a dip, which continued into the Xmas prog (the most disappointing Xmas prog that I can remember) and really uninspired start to the new year. Typically 2000ad starts the year off with a bang, but this was more of a whimper and not a great jumping on point at all for new readers.
It was getting me down, so for the first time in around 8 years I let my progs stack up with the intention of reading them once this current group of stories was at an end. My hope was that things like Skip Tracer and Jaegir would read better in one sitting because Skip Tracer wasn’t registering with me at all (I also skipped the second half of the last series) and I find Jaegir really difficult to get into. I always have done. It’s a problem with a lot of Rennie’s work; a writer who I don’t rate as highly as many other 2000ad fans do (I find him really hit and miss, mostly miss sprinkled with the odd moment of cracking storytelling). I just tend to forget what happens week to week.
So I thought I’d try a different approach because 2000ad is a big loss for me if I’m not enjoying it.
The results were mixed but it didn’t change anything drastically.
Here’s a summary of the series over this year so far.
skip tracer: louder than bombs
- Peaty & Marshall
- Reading in one sitting elevated this from poor to average, which was at least something. Its very similar to the current Books of Magic series in that very little happens and it’s a very brief read. As a result it’s hard to follow from week to week because it is so utterly forgettable. It’s readable. It’s recommend reading in one go if you want to get anything out of it at all. I should stress though that **Paul Marshall’s art is superb, as always. He sits somewhere between Gibbons and McNeill in his style and I don’t often see his name mentioned despite the fact he’s been a stalwart of the comic for about 20 odd years and he’s an incredible storyteller and really brilliant artist. So that’s a plus. he deserves a better series though. Which gets me thinking, he’s never been really associated with any particular character or series which is perhaps why he’s is less discussed.
brink: volume 3: high society
- Abnett & Culbard
- Abnett does it again. Albeit this is every bit as much Culbards book too. Just an incredible series from start to finish. I think I described the start of this volume as downtown abbey on a space station, it’s gone from that to a to a tintin style adventure full of intrigue to a mind blowing high concept epic. The last 5 chapters really pay off the brilliant build up in a way I didn’t think possible. Abnett has done some amount of research here and the idea is brilliant. A modern day classic. Once this is collected in a full volume with all books in it I think I’ll pick it up for the shelf as one to come back to again. Honestly one of the best series I’ve read in 2000ad in 40 years, right up there. There’s a mindfuck of a few pages when everything kicks off and the writer and artists pull it off incredibly well. So well paced between the panels to deliver the desired effect. Abnett is on fire just now.
Fiends of the Western Front
- Edington & Trevallion
- Classic style 2000ad horror romp as Fiends of the Eastern Front meets Black Max. It’s good but story wise there’s not much to it and the art is confusing places trying to tell people, or indeed bats, apart
I’ve commented already on The Scorched Earth 3Riller by Robson & Brokenshire (meh), Dredd: The Eternity Hotel by Mcconville & Cornwell (great art shite script) and Dredd: Block Buds by Niemand & Anderson (terrific)
Special nod to Cliff Robinson’s cover for 2115 and the start of Machine Law, brilliant stuff
3rillers: keeper of secrets
- robert Murphy & Steve Austin
- Was it Drew who mentioned Matt Smith being less and less interested in sci fi and going more down the horror and fantasy route with 2000ad? Or maybe someone I spoke to at the 40th anniversary con. I think there’s something in that. It’s a pity most of the horror isn’t that great because it’s probably my favourite genre.
- This is ok, it’s like an issue of Hellblazer from the early 90s with dialogue from the 90s. Nobody speaks like this. It’s stale and like the writer has never left the house and his only reference for dialogue is 90s British movies and comics. The art is perfectly serviceable but raw.
- A bit of desperate attempt to create a new ongoing character with the woman with the snake tattoo. I’m in no rush to see any more of this.
dredd: Machine Law
- Wagner & Oneill
- I was actually looking forward to reading this so much that it was part of the reason I held back. Wagner is now so few and far between that I feel reluctant to read his stuff because I know it’s going to be ages until he does anything else. Especially now the fans have spoken and it appears Strontium Dog is to be retired, which is a decision im 100% against. And I hope John hasn’t been influenced by some fuckwits writing in to the comic or posting on the forum. I hope the decision is entirely his, because that’s the only way I will respect it.
- I see continuing the story as the best way to tip the hat to Carlos. 2000ad needs as many of its core characters as it can get in order to survive and all of those years of passion and effort from Carlos going into Strontium dog should be respected by a continuing legacy that gives the comic a chance of survival, because right now it’s on a shoogly peg in terms of the overall quality of the weekly prog.
- Let’s use that as a segue into Machine Law. With the exception of Brink, I enjoyed the opening page of this series more than the hundreds of pages of the other strips added together. In terms of characterisation, the history and weight of 40 years of Dredd, it felt tangible - like tuning back into the best soap opera of all time and instantly being pulled in. Wagner does this so well. The world building in this one page alone is huge. The consequences of Chaos Day, the relationship between Hershey and Dredd, the future of the two of them and the future of Mega City One. Wagner still is Dredd.
- McNeill, another 2000ad legend, clearly knows this and understands the gravity of this storyline. McNeill is never less that great, on this occasion he’s incredible. Just servicing the story with every panel choice and every shadow absolutely perfect.
- I’m glad he never got on well with American comics because he’s their loss and our gain. I spoke to him at the con a while back and he had about 2 years of work lined up, hopefully that’s the case still and hopefully it’s all in these pages.
- I could go on and on about this story but this post is long enough. Happy to chat in depth if there’s any demand for it. Needless to say this was amazing. Stick yer point scoring Eisner’s up yer hole, this is what a top comic looks like. I do wonder when America will wake up to it.
- Rennie & Colby
- Reading in one sitting didn’t help. It’s hard to care about these stories and I don’t have the patience for all the boring military terminology babble. It doesn’t help that Colby is really a great cover artist who is a very difficult to follow in sequential form. This is due to his heavy use of shadow and his characters all looking murky and difficult to tell apart. I also think he makes poor choices in his composition. It all adds up to a storytelling technique that I have issues with. I feel like I’ve been reading these stories for about 15 years and I still have zero clue who any of the characters are. Nor do I care. I never finished this. Zero idea what was going on, from a really experienced writer and artist team who have worked together numerous times, they get worse as time goes on. The antithesis of Wagner and McNeill. Unreadable.
- Abnett & Harrison
- No messing around, Grey Area gets straight back into the thick of it after the various revelations in the last series RE Kym and Resting Bitch Face.
- I get the feeling Abnett has a whole load of these scripted up and they just wait for when Harrison is ready to bring them to life. The art here, especially in the ‘Hunted’ chapter, is a visual feast that demands the reader spends time absorbing it. The atmosphere he brings to this section is incredible, as is the depth in the panels with the backgrounds seemingly stretching on for yards and yards thanks to an abundance of cleverly used effects. It is a bit busy and hard to follow in places, however because the desire is there to soak it in any storytelling problems resolve themselves fairly naturally.
- It’s another very good strip from Abnett and Harrison is one of a kind, contributing to the wealth of variety we find in the art in 2000ad each week.
future shock: grave encounter
- Mcconville and Duane someone
- Aye whatever
3riller: Tooth and Nail
- andi ewington and Staz Johnston**
- Tharg must have a backlog of strips he’s paid for and needs to get them in the comic to use up some of the inventory. Not sure what the point of this was but looks like it was originally designed to be a potential tester for a new series. God I hope not.
New set of strips and again a mixed bag
Dredd: Citizenship by Mcconville and Lynch is a tell don’t show tale of immigration. The idea is fine but the execution isn’t great. Lots of narrative as the full story is told through exposition as we are expected to care about a citizens plight when there’s been zero characterisation. After the high of Machine Law we are back to reality.
Survival geeks: dungeons and dating by Rennie, Beeby and Googe is highly derivative, with an idea you’ve seen multiple times before. But I managed to read the entire 5 pages which is progress.
Kingmaker: Ouroboros by Edington and Gallagher could have done with a nice big recap, because it’s been quite some time since the last book. However the mini recap of sorts in the ‘in this prog’ section was more helpful that it usually is.
It’s great to see the strip back, even if it is only partial fantasy blended with sci fi, it is good to see a bit of fantasy in the prog to break things up.
As expected from a quality creative team, it is off to a very good start. Gallagher is another of these guys who has really become established in the prog alongside other contempories who feature regularly like Goddard, Wilshere, Flint, who all have their own recognisable style and all tell a story very well. The acting from Gallagher’s characters is outstanding. With a look or a facial expression both telling a story and sending us as readers a signal that all is not as it seems, a technique used very well in the most recent issue of Shazam.
A word also about Edington’s dialogue, he always has such a great ear for this stuff, I love how these guys have so many turns of phrase that really help set a tone for a series. Definitely one if his key strengths as a writer.
This is really good but they will need to move beyond the fun Lord of the Rings piss take if the series is to be seen as anything more than a lampoon - and I think they will, but there’s a bit of a Black Hammer approach going on here, which needs to be finely balanced or else it just becomes barely disguised plagiarism.
Deserving of the stand out wraparound cover from Gallagher.
Grey area: making history by Abnett and Harrison. Well it all kicks off again here, Abnett wastes no time in getting right to it.
Too much military chat for me though, I just Switch right off when I read it. It adds nothing to a story other than tedium.