Prog 435 – Back On the Streets

Story: Back On the Streets
Appears: 2000AD Prog 435
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Cam Kennedy
Dated: 14 September 1985

Sadly we have another filler story. Clearly written by those who understand the world but who lack the time or energy to do something wonderful with it this week.

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Prog 434 – West Side Rumble

Story: West Side Rumble
Appears: 2000AD Prog 434
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Cliff Robinson
Dated: 7 September 1985

A Westside Story parody sung in rhyme complete with Judge Krupke. It is definitely a new direction and predating Joss Whedon’s musical TV episodes. There are lot of in-jokes and references to composers as well as the source material. A great idea.

Progs 430 to 433 – Nosferatu: Write His Name in Blood!

Story: Nosferatu: Write His Name in Blood!
Appears: 2000AD Progs 430-433
Issues: 4
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Ron Smith
Dated: 10 August 1985 to 31 August 1985

This could easily be written off as a space vampire type cliché. But it works hard to invoke the B-Movie, True Crime or even Pulp Fiction genres. The narration is so matter-of-fact it really grounds this alien killer story. And despite being called “the Evil One” it is just a sentient being (whose race has been hunted to extinction) pursuing its desire to survive.

Progs 424 to 429 – Midnight Surfer

Story: Midnight Surfer
Appears: 2000AD Progs 424-429
Issues: 6
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Cam Kennedy
Dated: 29 June 1985 to 3 August 1985

This is a fan favourite and one of the many coming of age milestones for Judge Dredd. It is a wonderfully decompressed story with the gentle introduction taking up the whole of the first Prog. The language used for the narration is delightfully poetic and not something you normally see.

 Bravely, Dredd is barely in it and we focus on returning character Marlon Shakespeare who has gone from scrawler to sky surfer. Possibly inspired by the illegal rave scene at the time it typifies the struggle for young adults to form their own culture and independence. Skysurfing is a noble pursuit where those on the inside or the outside share a common bond. And as always the law does not matter when achieving your own personal freedom.