Review by Eamonn
I visited that London again to get Ben Willsher to sign my ongoing Art of Dredd charity project book and popped into Orbital comics to check out their Pre-Code Horror gallery exhibit and to buy a couple of ancient Progs from their £2 box. Here is 218 from May 1981 with a Brian Bolland cover that is linked to a simple half page text story buried in the middle of the comic. It’s not one of the iconic Bolland images but it does have a nice Flash Gordon feel to it.
The first strip is Strontium Dog: Portrait of a Mutant part 11 by Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra and Steve Potter, and it’s lovely to see those jagged black edges on the panel borders that have made a major reappearance in the current Judge Dredd story. It’s an all action episode as young Johnny finally comes up against the oppressor of mutant-kind, Nelson Kreelman.
After a full page ad for some amazing train-spotting binoculars there’s a Steve Moore Future Shock with art by Mike White and letters by Pete Knight. The twist can be seen a mile off but it’s all done with the usual black and white verve and ends with a bit of fun.
The Nerve Centre has some high praise for Meltdown Man as well as details of the Buck Rogers stickers given away with this issue. That explains why every cover image I can find had sellotape on it, mine own included. There is also a half page ad for the battle holiday special which was probably worth picking up for Charley’s War alone.
Ron Smith gets the colour double page centre spread on Judge Dredd who is after Umpty dealers in a story written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, with lettering by Tom Frame. Classic Ron Smith mayhem ensues with one particularly lovely image of Dredd and a host of fellow Judges all on their Lawmasters.
The half page text story that explains the cover follows, along with a listing of the comic and science fiction convention going on in 1981. Now if only I had gone along and bought some original artwork back then.
Return to Armageddon is next by Malcolm Shaw, Jesus Redondo and Bill Nutttall and I’ve blogged about this elsewhere. And then it’s the weirdness of Meltdown Man as Nick Stone uses some unorthodox techniques to board a train to Snow City which he has to reach for some plot point or other. Written by Alan Hebden, art by Belardinelli and letters by Tony Jacobs, it’s more whacky and wonderful stuff from those heady days of the Prog.
On the back cover we get more Brian Bolland art although I suspect they are two images lifted from the first Judge Death story and then neatly coloured for this pin up version. The pick of the Prog has to be Judge Dredd with that wonderful Ron Smith art, and there is a Whittle circular panel count of two.