Wednesday 23 December 2009

Twelve Progs of Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! To celebrate the festive season, let's look at some of the Christmas covers Tharg's droids have given us over the years. This post is kicked off in fine style with the wonderful cover of the current Megazine (292) by the legendary John Higgins. The printed version of this cover suffers from having the Megazine logo obscuring most of the clock tower which is a big feature of the story within so I'm happy to be able to show you the 'clean' version.

Okay, below we have two covers by the wonderful Carlos Ezquerra. A fine double page cover for prog 192 featuring a wealth of 2000AD characters and the cover of Prog 297 depicting the classic Dredd tale 'Night of the Rad Beast.'

Classic artist Eric Bradbury provides us with the cover of 348 showing Tharg and his droids sticking it to the Dictators of Zrag once again!
Next, one of my (many) all time favourite covers, Prog 658 by Richy Pickle (or Richard Dolan to give him his proper title.) This is followed by Prog 763 which followed two years later...

Next we have two festive offerings from superdroid Colin MacNeil. The first one (Prog 815) is a particular favourite for mine and I've recently acquired the original artwork for it, so I'm a very happy blogger! The second one is for Prog 710 and features a host of much loved characters including Chopper, a character who Colin (almost) killed off in Song of the Surfer.

Next we have a cutie for Prog 920 from Jason Brashill (who now works for Valve Software company and was part of the design team for the mind-bending Portal game) and the cover of 1023 by Paul Johnson, featuring the Men in Black (Boo! Hiss!) from Vector 13. The less said about them the better I think...

Onto the Megazine now and I'll start with this camply festive offering from covers legend Cliff Robinson. I love this man, sorry droid's, work so much I'm actually putting off writing a blog entry about him as I fear I won't do him justice!
And another beauty from uber artist, Greg Staples (or 'Joe Dredd', as he'll be known in the forthcoming Judge Minty fan film) who's work formed the subject of the previous blog entry.
Finally, as a special Christmas treat, here is a Kev O'Neill cover for Speakeasy Magazine featuring Santa and Mashial Law - cool!
So, a Merry Christmas to all readers of the blog and a HUGE thank you to everyone who's contributed over the year, added comments, sent nice emails and the wonderful staff and artists of 2000AD who have been so kind and generous with their time and talent!

NEXT WEEK - Cover of the Year 2009 as voted for by the members of the 2000AD Messageboard. Go here to vote!

Sunday 20 December 2009

Prog 2010 - Your Move Earthlets!

Here's Greg Staples' cover for this years' fantastic end of year spectacular, Prog 2010! Easily one of my favourite 2000AD artists, Greg's style is another we've been lucky enough to watch develop in his years working for 2000AD. The cover above, which was Greg's idea by the way, was not Greg's first end of year spectacular as he was also responsible for this portrait of Tharg for the cover of Prog 2003.
Speaking of portraits, here are a couple of beauties he did of Dredd for progs 1273 and 1600, stunning! Here are the gorgeous covers of 1446 and 1305 too. A droid at the top of his game I think!

Next are the inks for the Strontium Dog cover of prog 1305 and the amazing painted cover of prog 1446...
Moving on, here are a couple of images featuring Dredd's undead nemesis Judge Death. The first is the cover of Megazine 209 and below that is Gregs beautiful promo image for the Dredd vs. Death game - one of my favourite Dredd images ever...

Finally we have a couple of posters. The first is available as a giveaway in this month's Judge Dredd magazine (on sale now earthlets!) and the second is the cover of the first 2000AD poster prog - enjoy!

Greg's site is at Take a look!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Neil Roberts - Sinister Dexter!

Thanks to friend of the blog Neil "Skinny Elbows" Roberts who has done my work for me this week!

He's posted the sketches, refs and finished artwork for his fantastic Sinister Dexter cover of Prog 1665 on his excellent blog. However, I couldn't resist posting the sketches and hilarious reference photos, you have to admire the fella for really living his work!

Please visit his blog here for the official version of how the cover was done. There's masses of other breathtaking artwork on there too!

Monday 30 November 2009

Carlos Ezquerra - Who the Hell's gonna mess with him?

Gulp! There simply aren't enough superlatives to describe this week's cover artist and the contribution he's made to British comics, particularly our beloved 2000AD. King Carlos Sanchez Ezquerra, co-creator of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and countless other fantastic characters, provides the amazing cover for Prog 1664.

The cover, which accompanies the current Dredd Epic, depicts Dredd and his clone brother Rico (2) in an homage to the classic "Who the Hell's Gonna Mess With Us?" final page of the controversial Mega Epic, Judgement Day.

As well as the coloured version above, Carlos was kind enough to send me the inks, which you can see below. I've included a scan of the Judgement Day page just in case any readers haven't seen it, but also because it is one of the most wonderful pages ever printed in the Galaxy's Greatest!

Carlos' British comics career began in the early 1972 (the year I was born!) where he drew strips such as Major Eazy, El Mestzo and The Rat Pack for Battle Picture Weekly. During the development of 2000AD he designed future Lawman Judge Dredd as well as much of the look and feel of Megacity One. A year later he designed the immensely popular characters from Strontium Dog for Starlord comic, which would soon find it's way into the pages of 2000AD.

Since then, Carlos is credited with designing a host of popular characters and strips such as Durham Red, the wonderful Al's Baby, Fiends of the Eastern Front, Bloody Mary, The Rifle Brigade and Just A Pilgrim. Below we can see some of his more famous creations...

Below we have Carlos' first ever 2000AD cover, Prog 4, which shows a minor character from Dan Dare being 'crushed to a dot' by the gravity of Jupiter! Following that we have a painted cover for Prog 118 depicting the popular Strontium Dog strip Journey To Hell. Beneath that is the cover of Prog 124 showing alien assassin Kil-Gor who we learn was sent by the Dictators of Zrag to kill Tharg!

The latter covers both feature Ezquerra's trademark dotted outlines, something fondly remembered that featured heavily in his work for decades!

EDIT - Carlos tells me he didn't do the cover of Prog 4, apologies to all!

Below is a cover for The Stainless Steel Rat. The story was adapted from a set of novels by Harry Harrison and spawned three adventures for the James Coburn-a-like conman, all illustrated by Ezquerra.
There are few 2000AD artists that can boast that they have drawn entire Dredd Mega Epics, however Carlos can claim to have single handedly completed at least a staggering six (The Apocalypse War, Necropolis, Purgatory & Judgement Day, Tenth Planet and Wilderlands, Helter Skelter (minus two episodes) and Origins!) Add to this his numerous mini-epics (Beyond the Call of Duty, Sector House, etc.) and dozens of one off and multi-part stories and you have an amazing body of work...

Below we have an Apocalypse War cover and three covers from Destiny's Angels (the covers are numbered 284, 286 and 288.) It is almost inconceivable today that artist would provide three covers in six weeks as well as fifty pages of strip - wow!

As well as chronicling Dredd's major developments and working on most major 2000AD characters, Carlos has provided almost 2000 pages of Strontium Dog artwork! Below we have Prog 339, possibly my favourite Alpha cover ever, and below that, the shocking cover of Prog 445 from the prelude to The Ragnarok Job, forerunner of the amazing Rage storyline.

In recent years, Carlos has began using computers to colour his work. Below we can compare the painted cover of Prog 799 with the computer coloured version for the Judgement Day graphic novel...

Here's the cover of Prog 1353 from the hilarious Tax Dodge story.
And here we have the prelims and inks from the legendary 'Three Dredds' cover of Prog 1380.

Finally, we have Carlos' latest co-creation, the outrageous Cursed Earth Koburn, a disgraced Judge who inhabits the Cursed Earth getting into all kinds of scrapes. The character is loosely based on Major Eazy, bringing this blog entry full circle!

Great big fanboy thanks to Carlos for sending me the images and making me smile like a loon for an entire weekend and beyond! Long may he reign!

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Mark Harrison - Storming Heaven!

Wow, the beautiful cover of prog 1663! The cover features Uriel the Seraphim burning up on a visit to Heaven. Mark didn't set his long-suffering brother on fire for this one (see here) he actually based the image on an Olympic high diver!

Below we see his wonderful roughs...

Before being treated to a glimpse of Heaven itself...
Here is the image without the flames, Mark explains "The hardest part was showing him on fire. Flames were constantly being added and subtracted, so as not to look insubstantial but not so you lost the character. A happy compromise in the end."
I think this cover is stunning, one of my favourites of the year. Thanks (again!) to Mark for sending me the files!