1983. What a year that was. The launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle, Stanislav Petrov narrowly averts a nuclear war and Return of the Jedi is released to a public who don’t call bullshit on it. Oh and Orlok finally gets to put a body part inside Mandy from number 61. Let’s hope Prog 1983 can live up to these events. Join Orlok as he turns the pages with his smelly finger…
Orlok reviews the fifth published issue of the ongoing IDW Dredd series. Technically this makes it the Attack Of The Clones of the series. In more ways than one…
Prog 257 from March 1982, a happier gentler time when progs were 16p and all was right with the world (well apart from the fact that we were about to go to war with Argentina). As ever I picked this one up on a jaunt to Orbital comics in central London after stopping off to see the exhibition at the Cartoon Museum first.
Cover is by Jesus Redondo and it’s a stunner with Spider-Nemesis hauling Purity Brown up into his web of despair. Ian Gibson might have had this at the back of his mind when he did his beautiful Halo Jones Tarantula cover on 466. American comics with mostly black covers tend to show their age with every little crinkle or blemish distorting the dark gloss. No such problem back in the bog-prog era so this one still looks great. And there’s a cover speech bubble to add to the fun.
Inside the letter page includes some awesome alliteration from Jim Alexander in Ayrshire. Wonder if that’s the same chap who would go on to write Calhab justice?
Ace Trucking Co by Alan Grant, John Wagner, Massimo Belardinelli and Steve Potter.
It’s the great Mush Rush and Ace and his crew are involved in a huge space assault course race to see who wins a lucrative mail run service. Thank goodness the Royal Mail would ever get involved in something so totally illogical or madcap, or would they?. It’s mayhem all the way with Fatty Arkl pulling the short straw to distract the mighty Titan of Peem so the rest of the space luggers can deliver a letter in a dangerously sited location. Ace Garp can always be relied on for some space laughs and this episode is no exception with Belardinelli’s wonderful art stealing the show.
After an Airfix advert it’s on to.
Future Shock: The Wages of Sin by Alan Moore, Bryan Talbot and Tony Jacob.
One of the classic future shocks from Moore’s planet sized brain, back when he used to be a funny guy. This witty tale of an ordinary bloke’s training at a school for super-villains is beautifully drawn by Talbot and it is one of the most memorial future shocks printed in the history of the prog. It doesn’t quite hit the heights of his Time Twisters ChronoCops or Man Reversible The but it is still marvelous. If only the wizard of Northampton could give us a few of these now and then while he’s working on those 1000 page novels.
Anthrax caught monologuing.
Judge Dredd by Wagner/Grant, Carlos Ezquerra and Tom Frame.
Apocalypse now! Chapter 13 of one of Dredd’s defining epics and it’s the battle of Dan Tanna junction. Every episode of this story is packed with classic moments and this one is no exception. Dredd on his Lawmaster, Stub guns overheating, and Judge Souster’s famous sacrifice play as he takes out the last road links with his Stubby while plummeting to his death. Poor Souster, someone should write a short story about his last moments for the forum competition.
Honestly it is exhilarating to re-read this prog. King Carlos’ art is just lovely to behold, quite how he kept up this level of quality for 25 weeks is beyond me. Top thrill.
Nemesis the Warlock by Pat Mills, Jesus Redondo and Steve Potter
The final episode in Nemesis book 2 delivers pretty much everything we saw on the lovely cover. Torquemada is suitably creepy with his mind transplanted into a spider of Shelob proportions who carries Purity off to his web while Nemesis goes sword to sword with Baruda. There is a little bit of magic hand switching with swords jumping from right to left and back again but it’s all lovely to behold. This old prog goes from strength to strength.
A full page ad for the all new Eagle next with Doomlord, the Mekon, and that silver space spinner to lure us in.
Rogue Trooper by Gerry Finely-Day, Mike Dorey and Bill Nuttall
Bit of strangeness to finish the prog as Rogue is hunted through a forest along with some slave apemen, one of whom tries to finish our hero off but Gunnar saves the day. Not a top installment of Rogue but Tharg was always allowed one slightly sub par strip out of five. However the rest of the prog is sadly lacking in circular Whittle panels but Rogue Trooper saves the day with no less than five!
Pick of the prog is really tough with any of the first four having the right to claim the prize. Dredd just edges out Moore and Talbot for the win. Ah those heady days
Orlok is counting the stories out and then counting them back in again. It’s 1982, the Argies have a foothold in the Galaxy’s Greatest and only Pat Mills leading a bayonet charge can save the day…
The Poseidon Complex
Antonio Barretti & Louis Schaeffer
(Guy Adams & Jimmy Broxton)
Review by Seth
Okay, before we go any further, I’m not going to bother with the pretence that this is an authentic collection of a long lost 60’s newspaper strip. What it is, is an affectionate homage to the newspaper serials that I remember as being stylish, dynamic, perhaps a wee bit baffling and if I were honest, a tad titillating.
This is also notable for being the first completely original 2000ad fat comic (copyright Kev O’Neill). Not printed before in either the Prog’ or Meg’ publication, originally a Kickstarter project, Rebellion tooks a fancy to it and its not hard to see why.
If you have been off planet for a while, you will not know that this is indeed a completely made up collection of a fabriacted newspaper strip fromthe 1960s, credited to a completely fictitious yet compellingly dysfunctional creative team
It begins conventionally enough. Lily Gold and Jack Tiger are swinging sixties adventurers working from their fashion house in London. Reports of boats going missing on the Thames pique their curiosity and they are soon drawn into a web of intrigue and an international conspiracy led by a master criminal. Along the way they meet monsters, visit exotic locations, whilst taking a few side steps into the creative process and interludes hosted by some rather unexpected guest stars.
All very meta.
It isn’t just a “reprint” of the newspaper strip. There are cuttings, interviews, roughs of “missing” pages, and copies of correspondence between the writer and artist, charting the breakdown in their working relationship. If this was a DVD it would be the special edition with the behind the scenes material, cut scenes and directors’s narrative. Except you know, it’s all fake.
Guy Adams is known for some cracking “Rogue Trooper” one offs in the Sci Fi specials and the successful revival of the frankly quite obscure “Ulysses Sweet”. All of these made me think this was worth a punt I’ve only come across Jimmy Broxton via the “Batman” spin off “Knight and Squire”, but he’s made a fantastic job here. Not just in the art style, but in the design of the package.It really does feel like one of the collections of old newspaper strips back when they was popular.
Adams and Broxton have lovingly chronicled the creation of the strip. The increasingly desperate touting of the strip, its failure, cancellation and the misfortune the creative team experienced post the “publication”.
The combinationof a sharp script and carefully stylised art evokes the spirit of the the spy adventure type strips of the 60s and 70s. The strips that I remember from my childhood, such as Garth and the oddly prurient air of things like “George and Lynne” – where the female star always seemed to be at most half naked and in the most unlikely poses. Quite satisfying for your average teen aged boy. Broxton fulfils those requirements particualrly on the “Barberella” alike “Goldtiger 2000” found in the rear (fnar) of the package, Barreti’s “submission” to the House of Tharg, and his final roll of the dice.
I will confirm that it this is indeed brill’, and everyone should buy a copy.
Tidy. As we say around these parts.