Ouch! Mark Sexton brings us this rather painful looking cover of jumping on issue, Prog 1973! The Mad Max storyboard and concept artist, and artdroid on the magnificent Dredd tale Ghosts, has given us an amazing cover fit for a jumping on prog! There's loads to discuss in this cover, so over to Mark to tell us more!
"Tharg (or his earthly incarnation, Matt Smith) requested an illustration - an iconic shot of Dredd, waist up, to be graced by appearing as a cover for the mighty Tooth!" Waist up because Dredd had no trousers on was my initial reaction here, which worries me - Pete.
"Had a bit of a think - there’s been some many iconic Dredd covers, where do you start?!? But it occurred to me that an iconic Dredd image would probably be a common thing that a very large number of perps in Mega-City One see - just after they’ve been shot… So with that morbid idea, I sketched out that idea (bottom left version)."
"I always like trying to tell a little story in every illustration if I can, so that felt like the best idea. I sketched out a few other possibilities - most of them terrible - and sent them to Matt. As is so often the case, the first idea is the strongest and that’s what he wanted..!"
I love all of these sketches, the top left is particularly cool, with the crowd all obviously looking at whoever, or whatever, Dredd has just shot. Very clever! The top right is terrifying too!
"A macabre version of the Brady Bunch titles for the Dreddy Bunch was soon shelved"
"Sadly for buyers of original art, I did this digitally (straight after I finished the art for the recent Judge Dredd: Ghosts storyline written by the very lovely Michael Carroll)."
"So - take the sketch and attempt to make it pretty. Many, many sketchy trial and errors between there and the next, trying to get elements of Dredd right. He’s a tough character to make “feel” right - where everything looks balanced, and practical. I like trying to make things look like they exist for real..."
Judge Dredd: Ghost.
I know Mark is a huuuuuge Dredd fan and he's obviously stressed over ever detail, as evidenced in his next quote: "Awful… Then inking, which takes me a while. Fixing many things on the way, as is evident… I had real problems with the head, no matter what I did, it felt wrong with Dredd bending his neck down to look at us. So eventually I finally did him looking down his nose at us with a sneer and bingo! Instant Dreddishness. Huzzah!"
Dredd gets lost in the giant dildo factory...
Next up, some blatant cheek and provocation from the Antipodean artist!
"Then background bits - SO much easier after Dredd! Included are various jokes, including a certain chainlink obsessive and Pete Wells’ Sausage Surprise…
As many fans will know, second biggest Dredd collector John Burdis (quite rightly) has a campaign to establish that the correct number of links in Dredd's chain is seven. Got it? SEVEN and only seven! Great to see Mark did six, just to wind him up!
Please note: Pete Wells' Sausage Surprise has since been renamed Pete Wells' Chipolata Disappointment, following a libel claim by my wife...
Mark obviously had lots of erm... fun inking the background, his only comment being "…and then the f#¢&ing buildings in the background!"
Note the abundance of Star Wars vehicles in Megacity One, however, one has to ask why Luke's X-34 Landspeeder is flying upside down? I wonder if Dredd is looking at a Skywalker shaped stain?
"Dredd... you've got an erm... you might wanna just... wipe your nose a bit. Yep, it's gone."
"…aaaand then colour! Usually colour takes me bloody aaaages, because I’m not a natural colourist - but this one came together much quicker than usual! And there’s a blood splatter on Dredd’s uniform. You have to have a bloody splatter on Dredd’s uniform, it’s an unwritten law, isn’t it?"
I thought it was tomato sauce...
"You've got red on you..."
I couldn't possibly publish this post without referencing Mark's previous IDW Dredd cover. Again, this image is an absolute stunner, one of my very favourites of recent years. I adore the blood splatter on the pedway...
He's just not a people person...
A huuuuuuuge thanks to Mark for the files and excellent write up. Mark is genuinely one of the most exciting new Dredd artists around at the minute, his love for the character absolutely shining through in his work. As a fan, it means a lot.
I'd also like to thank Mark for putting my sausage on the cover (where it belongs) and for taking the piss out of Burdis (which is what he deserves!)