Saturday, 18 April 2015

Greg Staples - Stix in the Mud!

 
Hot on the heels of Dark Justice, master painter Greg Staples is back with this wonderful Strontium Dog cover. This cover does a wonderful job of capturing the Western feel of Strontium Dog with those arid plains, hungry looking vulture and cool gunslinger pose. The cover also features (some of) the Stix Brothers, a clan of cold, identical bounty hunters who boast superhuman strength and mind reading abilities. Alpha has come across many Stix brothers in him time, let's just say, it never ends well...
 
Of course, this isn't Greg's first Strontium Dog cover as he has worked on a number of covers featuring Alpha. The Best of 2000AD, published in 1999 carried this cracking cover...
 
Dredd gets his phone and his gun mixed up again.
 
Then Prog 1305 in 2002 featured the image below, which was later re-used for the Kreeler Conspiracy Graphic Novel.   
 
Cool as der cucumber...
 
A bit of a rarity next, a cover that was rejected back in 1992. I assume it's Greg's take on the "He's Out!" cover of Prog 794 which was done by the late Brett Ewins. I really, REALLY like Greg's take on it, Dredd's chin is amazing!
 
"He's Out!" The rumours were true!
 
While we're on about Greg's covers that never were, I've always adored this and would absolutely love to see it fully realised one day...
Stomm!

Here's another rarity, a commission for my mate Mark Willis which serves as a lovely accompaniment (and I believe inspiration) to Greg's recent Dark Justice epic. 
 
 Mortis blows his top

Here's how that there prog looks in yore fancy pants book shop, pardner...

Buncha Stix.

Mega thanks to Greg for sending the cover, yet another cool image by quite simply the best painter in the west, yeeehawwwwww!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Siku - Anderson Assemble!

 
I am absolutely delighted to see Siku back on the Megazine! This popular droid made his Megazine debut on an Anderson strip 23 years ago so it's great to see him return to the character. His debut strip, 'Reasons to be Cheerful,' was a satirical story lampooned the Rodney King riots of 1991. The story introduced the thuggish Judge Goon, whom Anderson would bat heads against over several years.
 
Meg 359 sees Anderson in the Cursed Earth with Rookie Judge Flowers, on the trail of some missing judges. Below are Siku's sketches, I must say, I love that first one...
 
Judge Carrie?

It was Weather Control's time of the month...

 Anderson had a bugger of a headache...
 
Anderson fell for the old 10 creds glued to the pedwalk trick. 
 
With sketch number 4 chosen, Siku gets to work, starting with that fantastically graphic city of blood. I love it!

Melta-City One?
 

Mega Shitty One?
 
Jaffa City One?
 

Erm... Plasma City One?
 
With the grimy city sorted, it's time to get to work on Anderson, below are the inks...

Anderson loved playing Twister!

And here's the under painting against the background...

Cass had been down't pit...

With the inks on top...

Get a wash Anderson you scruffy cow!

The painting begins...

Peekaboo!

Next Siku starts on the greens - that's right GREEN kneepads! Always green dammit!

 "Psi-flash! A dog vulture is going to crap on my head? Fire!"
 
More uniform details added...
 
Anderson in her brunette phase
 
Almost there as the pads and badge are added...

Anderson prepares to do a Paula Radcliffe...
 
Siku gets the digital peroxide out as well as adding highlights to the piece. That's a really stunning painting...

Anderson Assemble!

And finally the complete cover image, absolute excellence!

Oooh Vic, I've fallen!
 
And here's how it looks in your local thrillmerchant's store, lovely!
 
On your marks, get set, go!  
 
HUGE thanks to Siku for sending these beautiful images, such a cool cover that doesn't resort to cheesecake. Be sure to check out Siku's website which has some breath taking images on it. Meg 359 is on sale now!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Henry Flint - Aimee Nixon, a right 'un from Titan!

 
 
Mean and green, the latest cover from bone fide genius Mr Henry Flint. Sadly, Henry's hard drive recently died, meaning he'd lost ALL of his roughs, WIPs etc. for this storming cover - booooooo! Thankfully, ace design droid Simon Parr stepped in and saved the day, hooray!!!
 
Below we see Henry's lost roughs, as a grumpy looking Dredd looks furious under the shadow of Titan escapee and all round shithouse, Aimee Nixon...   
 
Lilliput's premier law man... 

 Aimee wasn't happy with her heavy armoured super cop...
 
"Oh no she isn't!"
 
With the composition decided, Henry inks and colours the piece, sadly losing the moon in the background...
 

It's a frigging nightmare when Aimee gets a cold...
 
Pye offered some wonderful bonus material for this post, he said "I have a slightly different version of this weeks cover that Henry sent. The cover of 1926 came in the same week I was redesigning the Newstand app advert and I needed a new Dredd image, so he modded it for me all special like so I could use it as a background! Excellent chap that Henry!"

I'm certain all readers would agree!

 Mean green justice machine...
 
 Rumour has it they were going to use Giant for this ad but weren't allowed.
 
We now interrupt this blog post for an ad break...
 
2000 what now? Never heard if it...
 
And here's how the prog looks on your progshelf...
 
 How does she smell? Awful!
 
Huge, huge thanks to both Henry and Pye for their support, I really thought this article wasn't gonna happen!
 
+++ 2000AD Covers Uncovered Bonus feature +++
Enceladus Series Recap
Nixon, Gerhart and Titan.
 
Here's a reminder of the characters and events leading to the current storyline, for anyone who may be a little bewildered!
 
Nixon...
 
Dredd prepares for the mother of all enemas
 
Let's start with Aimee Nixon, Wally Squad Judge in the crime-riddled Low Life. Tough, jaded and uncompromising, Nixon voluntarily had an arm removed and replaced with robotics as part of her cover. During her miserable time in the Low Life, she had a run in with Dredd following a bombing in a Shopping Mall - let's just say the two didn't get on...
 
 Mr Living Legend? Meet Good-For-Nothing-Liar...
 
Disillusioned with the Justice Department, Aimee switched sides, covertly controlling the criminal underworld of the Low Life under the guise of 'The Big Man.' Eventually, she sold out to the yakuza who were trying to get a foothold in the Big Meg. Aimee betrayed her Wally Squad family having each one murdered before staging her abduction by Yakuza droids.
 
Dirty Frank, believing Nixon had been kidnapped, travelled to Hondo to get his friend back. Learning the awful truth about Aimee, Frank arrests her and brings her back to Megacity-One to be punished.
 
Initially, Nixon escaped being sentenced to the penal colony of Titan by cooperating with the Justice Department and spilling the beans on the Yakuza. Unfortunately, dwindling cube space and resources as a result of the Chaos Day bug saw Aimee shipped off to the inhospitable moon where she was surgically altered to survive the harsh conditions...
 
Gerhart...      
 
Gerhart Bugger

SJS Judge Gerhart was introduced in the 'Innocent' storyline. In the tale, a cocky Tek Judge called Wilson creates a drug which renders the citizenry unable to commit crime and wishes to test it in the aftermath of Chaos Day. Despite Dredd's furious and very vocal reservations, the drug is trialled on three city blocks for a short period. However, as the trial is underway, Wilson is brutally murdered. With the populace unable to commit any kind of crime, it is reasoned that the killer must be one of the eight judges who making up the Justice Department control team, of which Dredd is a part.

SJS Judge Gerhart is assigned to question the suspects. Gerhart's line of questioning is extremely harsh and provocative. He knows just the right buttons to push, blaming Dredd's actions during the Apocalypse War for the high death toll of Chaos Day.

Hmmm, I wonder how the annoying prick got those scars?

Despite himself, this gets a rise out of an already furious Dredd, but he ultimately satisfies Gerhart that he is not the killer.

The pair next meet in the 'Skulls' storyline, as a battered Dredd is out gunned and pinned down by a gang of Judge Killers called the Bug Boyz. With the shortage of street judges still a problem, Hershey orders the SJS to take to the streets to swell the ranks. It is no coincidence that Gerhart chooses to monitor Dredd, who may or may not be showing signs of excessive anger following Chaos Day.

As the pair storm the Bug Boyz' position, a missile is fired directly at Dredd. Gerhart shields Dredd from the blast, taking the brunt of the explosion himself causing incredible damage to himself. However, this is no great act of heroism from the SJS judge, he still holds Dredd responsible for 'killing' the Justice Department and fully intends to make him pay...

How to win friends and influence people...

Titan...

When all contact is lost from the penal colony of Titan, Dredd leads a squad of marines into deep space to find out why. Accompanying him on the mission is disgraced ex-warden McIntosh and, you guessed it, SJS Judge Gerhart.

Surely no one would be crackers enough to go back to Enceladus! Oh...

 As the squad freefall into the atmosphere of Titan, Dredd collides with a floating corpse and blacks out. As he begins to burn up, he is saved by both Gerhart and McIntosh. Once on the surface of the moon, Dredd's squad rig the prison's escape craft with explosives before attempting to enter the facility. Sadly, they cannot bypass the prison's impenetrable security systems.

McIntosh leads the group through the mining system beneath the penitentiary to an alternative entrance. As they negotiate the miles of tunnels, they pass a number of failsafe explosive caches buried deep beneath the prison to be used in case of emergency. On reaching the secret entrance, the traitorous McIntosh cuffs Dredd to a pipe and floods the mines, washing the Marines and Gerhart away...

A battered and bruised Judge Dredd comes to in an open prison cell, with a gun just out of reach. Aimee Nixon watches over him, goading him as he fights four embittered inmates who stand between him and the weapon. She reveals that she has been repeatedly drugging Dredd with the same memory wipe drug they cruelly give new inmates following the brutal respiratory operation they receive on arrival. Dredd has been fighting for hours and hours, and is not in good shape...

Back in the mines, Nixon's men find the only two survivors of the flood, Gerhart and Marine Sergeant Austin. Gerhart overpowers the inmates but is badly shot up in the process, showing the extent of his reconstructive surgery following his encounter with the Bug Boyz. After overpowering Aimee's henchmen, a badly injured Austin goes in search of the explosives cache, intending to bring the entire prison down and putting an end to the mutiny. Meanwhile, Gerhart goes after Dredd.

It's just a flesh wound!

While Nixon continues to break Dredd, disgraced former Chief Judge Sinfield attempts to negotiate a treaty with Hershey. The inmates demands are that Titan is recognised as an independent colony outside of  Justice Department jurisdiction. Hershey steadfastly refuses so Sinfield suggests they relocate to the moon of Enceladus instead, allowing the Justice Dept. to save face. The debate is soon moot as Sgt. Austin blows the charges beneath the prison, causing chaos and catastrophic structural damage to the prison.
   
As the inmates flee to the booby trapped prison ships, Gerhart searches for Dredd amidst the crumbling ruins of Titan. Suddenly, the ground gives way and Gerhart falls, but is saved by a weakened Dredd. As the two judges escape the colony, Joe reveals that Nixon gave him the remote detonator that will blow the ships, killing herself and the escaping convicts.

Dredd and Gerhart arrive in time to see the ships take off. As Dredd's finger hovers over the detonator, Gerhart reasons that by giving Dredd the detonator, Nixon is trying to make break him by making him a murderer. The physical and mental torturing was a means of weakening the judge before giving him the means to kill prisoners who were not part of the uprising. Aimee knows that if Dredd presses the button, he will condemn himself, and she would be responsible for that.

Dredd does the right thing and let's the ships go. Nixon has lost, she did not break Judge Dredd. The story ends with the inmates arriving on Enceladus, ready to make it their new home...

Aftermath...

In the story 'Fit' (read the script here, it's brilliant,) Gerhart continues to monitor Dredd, noting the effects of the Titan mission on his already explosive temperament. Hershey has a tense meeting with the SJS judge, asserting her unwavering loyalty to the city's premier Law Man, while admitting the slightest element of doubt. While it seems that Gerhart has a new found respect for Dredd, it would appear that he is still very much on the law man's case...

Gerhart hearts Dredd xxx - IDT.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

SB Davis - Portrait of a Sassairian Killer.


There can be no doubt that award winning portrait painter Simon Davis' current run of Slaine has been simply amazing! Panel (or rather page) layouts to die for, creature designs to terrify and a level of class rarely seen. Every week is an absolute joy.

Unsurprisingly, I loved this cover, a really moody version of the warped one that bears more than a passing resemblance to the artist!


Celtic cross? He's bloody furious!
 

Here's how the cover looks on your Progshelf, hat's off to the droids of the, erm... Gakaxy's Greatest comic for their creative use of the Ogham alphabet!



The Gakaxy's Greatest Comic!
 
Thanks to the wonderful Pye Parr for sending the image!


Friday, 3 April 2015

Briand Bolland - Big Guns!


Prog 1924 is a glorious jumping on prog so as ever, Tharg has re-activated a classic droid to bring us a dangerously thrilling cover image! That droid is the wonderful Brian Bolland who has literally brought out three of 2000AD's big guns. To my knowledge, this is the first depiction of Slaine by Mr Bolland and it's an absolute doozy!

Below are Mr Bolland's impeccable inks, amazing!!!

Never bring a Brainbiter to a gun fight...

Of course, Tharg's PR droid has been on overdrive plugging the prog, however, I have to disagree with the cheap tactic of using such uncouth language to get attention. Come on Molch-r, you're better than that...

Will nobody think of the children!?!

And here's how the Prog looks on your shelf...

Johnny, Joe and Slaine hated having their photo taken.

There is lots of Bolland goodness on this blog, check out this Bolland special right here!

Of course, Brian has a beautiful blog of his own which is full of absolutely eye-popping images including this hilarious Judge Fear sketch...

Wagner, headshot, grim.

Brian has also been kind enough to share his inks and coloured versions of his amazing cover of Megazine  350, wow...

 Thankfully, they only get together at weddings and funerals. Unfortunately, there's and awful lot of funerals...

Wow! The secret origins of Walter... like... who knew?

Go and check out Brian's blog immediately citizen, I promise you'll love it!