Jun 242011
 

Today I have a really weird piece for the comic book fans among you. But first a little backstory;

From 1985 to 1997 London was home to the United Kingdom Comic Art Convention. The UK didn’t have many comic cons and this one, while far smaller than many American shows, was eagerly anticipated every year by UK comic fans as an unprecedented opportunity to talk to the major comic companies and to rub shoulders with British and American creators, though in the case of the creators, you usually had to track them down in the on-site bar. No, really.

These were amazing cons. I got to meet Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben during the height of their work on Swamp Thing and was at the talk where Moore first revealed his idea for a little upcoming comic called Watchmen. I got to chat to Brian Bolland, whose linework I’d long worshiped on such strips as Judge Dredd. Anyway, I could goob for days but let’s get to the point of this tale…

Like most comic cons, there was an accompanying con-booklet bursting with new images from fresh and established talent. One year I decided to give it a try because I’d gotten a mad idea that didn’t want to shut up and leave my brain.

Tidbit #1; By now you’ve probably heard of Neil Gaiman. At that time, he was mostly known for his comic book Sandman which features Dream, the personification and master of dreams and his six siblings collectively known as The Endless. The most popular and enduring of these personifications is Death, who appears as a cute gothy girl with an unusually sunny disposition given her rather harsh vocation.

Tidbit #2; 2000AD has been the most popular comic in the UK for decades. And no character is more popular than Judge Dredd, the toughest cop in the harsh Mega-City of the future. From a rich rogues gallery that’s been developed over 34 years, no enemy deserves the rank of nemesis more than Judge Death, a member of the Dark Judges, a dark mirror to Dredd from a dimension where it was decreed that all crime was committed by the living and so their perverse logic made life a crime.

See where I’m going with this?
Stare into the face of…

May 302011
 

Also known as Joe Dredd, and Old Stoney Face.

I’ve read comics regularly since I was three or four, and as much as I love the DC Comics characters I grew up with, my weekly thrill power hit came from 2000 AD and nothing was more eagerly awaited than the latest half dozen pages of Judge Dredd.

I was one of those kids that trudged down to the newsagent in Feb 1977 and picked up issue one. I never stopped after that. Though living in Seattle these days has certainly made it harder to get hold of new issues. I could buy them in a digital format but I’m not so sure I want to say goodbye to the physical artifact (though my groaning bookshelves would certainly thank me).

I actually did a couple of episodes of Judge Dredd for the Judge Dredd Megazine way back in 1993 and I bought my first ticket to the U.S. with those earnings and that’s where I met WotC. So I owe the old fascist curmudgeon big time.

And occasionally I like to sketch him and think idly about asking the guys at Rebellion if I could do another Dredd episode…

Judge Dredd pencil sketch

Such a grumpy old bastard! And such fun to draw.

P.S. My favorite story was Block Mania and the subsequent Sov Apocalypse. I always thought Block Wars were the coolest damn idea (Narratively. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to see one in real life).

P.P.S. Brian Bolland is the Man.

P.P.P.S. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the new Dredd movie starring Karl Urban. I try not to think of the Stallone version which was a squandered opportunity.