Prog 586 – Hottie U

Story: Hottie U
Appears: 2000AD Prog 586
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner
Art: Brett Ewins
Dated: 6 August 1988

The hazards of a weekly deadline mean that you get stories like this that you have already forgotten.


Progs 523 to 524 – Pit Rat

Story: Pit Rat
Appears: 2000AD Progs 523-524
Issues: 2
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brett Ewins & Jim McCarthy
Dated: 23 May 1987 to 30 May 1987

A plain little action story with a classic Mega-city twist. Unusually we see Dredd expressing enjoyment at a tasty burger. A burger made from rats. Also unusual is the fact that artists Ewins and McCarthy sign the opening pages in addition to the usual credits box. Possibly the sign of something amiss at head office.

Prog 521 – What If… The Judges Did the Ads?

Story: What If… The Judges Did the Ads?
Appears: 2000AD Prog 521
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brett Ewins, Ian Gibson, Robin Smith, Kevin O’Neill, Cam Kennedy
Dated: 9 May 1987

Possibly inspired by the Marvel “What If…” comics of the period this is a series of parodies of advertisements that would have been on British television at the time. Because the title prefaces the nature of the stories you know not to take it seriously. Unlike the clanger “A Real Xmas Story” from Prog 502.

If you aren’t familiar with the actual adverts themselves, which are now at least 20 years old they won’t make any sense. But if you are there is some sharp humour in here. Each of the five stories is drawn by a different artist helping to keep them separate.

Prog 393 to 406 – City of the Damned

Story: City of the Damned
Appears: 2000AD Prog 393-406
Issues: 14
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brett Ewins, Ron Smith, Kim Raymond, Ian Gibson
Dated: 24 November 1984 to 23 February 1985

This is a strong mini-epic that despite digging up and beating the dead Judge Child villain is a tense and rewarding read.

The alternate/ future setting allows the writers to run riot and kill off major characters to up the stakes. Despite the citywide disaster backdrop this feels extremely personal. Anderson gets a chance to shine and behave like a real human being which is something we rarely have opportunity for in a Dredd story.

For the unique tone and creepy setting this is definitely a classic.

Prog 390 to 392 – The Wally Squad

Story: The Wally Squad
Appears: 2000AD Prog 390-392
Issues: 3
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brett Ewins
Dated: 03 November to 17 November 1984

Two undercover Judges go off the rails.

This story not only broadens the depth and detail of the Justice Department but it also allows Wagner a different perspective to write from. What we have here is a gangster story in which Dredd is supporting actor rather than the lead and it works just fine.

The art is strong stuff with plenty of cinematic close-ups and bizarre Mega-city fashions. There are some stereotypical accents for the foreign criminals but nothing that you haven’t seen before.

Prog 359 to 363 – The Haunting of Sector House 9

CF07Story: The Haunting of Sector House 9
Appears: 359-363
Issues: 5
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brett Ewins
Dated: 10 March 1984 to 7 April 1984

This is a fantastic story and one of my all-time favourites. Dredd rarely does horror but this is a superb execution. This was released about the time the Amityville Horror films were on VHS and Tales of the Unexpected was on TV. You can see both influences and possibly something of Richard Matheson’s Hell House too.

There are plenty of established horror tropes, such as the bleeding walls, but because they are new to Dredd they feel fresh and chilling as opposed to cliché. The reason for the horror is believable and forms a nice twist at the end.

We get to learn more about Psi Division, meet our first Sikh Judge and get another peek into how the Judge system works on a practical level. This kind of world-building is always welcome. It also helps anchor the supernatural premise and makes it believable for the reader.

The art is good with the manifestations feeling visceral and threatening. There are a couple of disembodied heads/ badges for dialogue which does break the mood somewhat but the action and horror certainly make up for it. Ewins does a great job of conveying a creeping menace in static panels. 

2000AD Annual 1979 – Dr Panic

CF03Story: Dr Panic
Appears: 2000AD Annual 1979
Writers: (uncredited writer)
Art: Brett Ewins and Brendan McCarthy
Dated: 1979

This is uncredited and probably justly so as although there are plenty of Dredd elements, such as Walter and Max Normal, the whole thing lacks any kind of sparkle. Dredd utters nonsense about how synthetic caffeine is illegal and Max Normal speaks far too normally.

The premise of a suicide arcade where people risk their lives against deadly slot machines was done better as “You Bet Your Life” in Prog 25. This has a longer page count than usual but doesn’t do anything notable with it.