From the 1985 2000ad Annual!
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No messing about…straight into the Prog review!
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In the following article there are several photos by a variety of people. Unfortunately I have only been able to credit a few. If you see your photo here, let me know, so I can add you to this list.
Special thanks to:
Bartosz Nowicki (square B&W photos, colour mobile photos)
Peter Evans (rectangular B&W photos)
Mick Ramsey (Judge Purcell with artwork photos, plus leaflet photo)
John Burdis and Caz (for supplying photos of himself with Bartoz, Iz McAuliffe etc, plus several shots of the artwork)
From August the 1st to 16th a special exhibition came to Cardiff. Attendees of the exhibition were treated to one of the largest collections of Judge Dredd artwork in the UK, from the pages of 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine.
This was the brainchild of Bartosz Nowicki, a Polish born photographer, curator, and enormous fan of Judge Dredd, living in Cardiff since 2005, and Lloyd Bailey, a Welsh designer living and working in Cardiff. Their concept was to feature renowned artists throughout the history of Dredd, but also to heavily feature local talent, those in and around Cardiff who have contributed to the character over the years.
Getting such a local talent involved at the early stage in the form of David Roach was a massive coup. David was able to create an image for the leaflets that featured both Dredd and a recognisable Cardiff landmark – it’s castle!
As you can see from the striking image above, the leaflets alone were a work of art. However, Bartosz and David Roach were also able to get this on the cover of Cardiff Life, one of the local free magazines, with an accompanying article on the exhibition.
Bartosz also created an impromptu three panel strip for Facebook, with judicial assistance from Judge Pal.
Then 2000AD got behind it, meaning a hell of a lot of publicity!
This boded well for the opening night, featuring a panel of established Dredd and 2000AD artists. These were:
From L to R: Dylan Teague, David Roach, Mike Collins, Grant Richards, Will Simpson, and Patrick Goddard, plus host/interrogator, Judge Pal.
As you can see from these pics, the exhibition was packed with attendees, and also included one very intimidating Judge Purcell to keep folk in their seats.
The panel were very funny and engaging, discussing a wide variety of subjects. Dylan talked about his days under the tutelage of David and Mike (with some gentle joshing from both), before his first success drawing Dredd. Mike and Will discussed how drawing for 2000AD gave them essential skills they would carry over into storyboarding, for Dr Who and Game of Thrones respectively. Will, Dylan and Patrick discussed the highs and lows of either inking the work of others, or having their work inked themselves. Will was particularly vocal on this point, and took us through one particularly grim experience where his artwork was modified beyond all recognition once the inker was done with it.
Grant has yet to be published in 2000AD, but his exhibited work at Lawgiver Mk II so impressed Bartosz he had to invite him and his art to this exhibition. During the panel he discussed what made him think Marv from Sin City would be a good opponent for Dredd, and also revealed that although he had painted the 2012 film Dredd previously, he’d much prefer to work on comic Dredd if ever considered for 2000AD.
At the end we dragged Bartosz in for this photo opportunity. It’s not often you can lay claim to being throttled by a Dredd artist! You may also notice a wee green mascot, there at David Roach’s request.
After the discussion was a chance to mingle with the artists while browsing the excellent collection of work. Patrick discussed his three pages of characters, art created especially for the Judge Dredd Mega Collection, which will feature prominently on the spine when all volumes are laid out together on a shelf. We were able to take a much closer look at Grant’s incredible brushwork, with some thoughts from him on it’s creation. Will pointed out the graffiti he had planted in his Banana City pages. David talked some more about his work on Anderson and Nemesis.
Eventually David, Mike, Patrick and Dylan headed out for a curry, while Judge Purcell, Will Simpson, Bartosz and I hit the pub for a miniature Dredd Screening Drinking Club meeting. Drinks flowed, and we got an extra opportunity to discuss Will’s work with him, including his photography and work on Game of Thrones.
It was inevitable someone was going to strip that night, even if just to show off a Dredd tattoo.
So how did the exhibition go after that night? The answer is ‘very well indeed!’ Bartosz reported several visitors every day, and pretty soon his Guestbook was crammed with comments, sketches, and praise for the exhibit. Dave Taylor also visited to do a talk mid-way through the exhibition. Many of you will remember his incredible Mega-City One cityscape, and his recent caricature of a well known ‘politician’ for the Megazine.
While I was unfortunately not able to attend this, Bartosz said it was very well received. Apparently Dave talked extensively about his life, and how his artwork, and work for 2000AD fitted into it.
He discussed his frustrations with American comics, including another tale of how the American system of inkers and colourists do their own thing, meaning at the end of the process he often couldn’t recognise his own artwork.
He included comments on Moebius, and how this artist affected Dave’s own style. He praised 2000AD a great deal for allowing him the freedom to find his own style and voice in comics.
He also spoke a little about his plans for the future, but he was just not allowed to say too much for fear of spoiling it for everyone else – and getting into trouble for spilling the beans!
Included in the visitors to the gallery were Mick Ramsey and Gilly Robinson of DSDC fame. They were taken on a tour of the gallery by Judge Purcell, who was quick to point out a certain clown on the Cursed Earth page, missed by the multi-nationals that be.
Judge Purcell also took the opportunity to give Bartosz a caution.
Also hoving into view were miscreants from these very pages! John Burdis (stood next Vern Griffiths, an interviewer from BBC Wales), Iz, and Richard McAuliffe were taken on a tour by Bartosz (middle), with expert guidance from his daughter. Grant (far right) also swung by for another visit, including a wee sketch in the guestbook.
John was later interviewed for the BBC by Vern, about his thoughts on Dredd and the exhibition, which no doubt we will hear more from him about shortly.
So what of the actual art then? John has kindly allowed me to post his photos of some of his favourite pages, so you can see for yourself. Clearly there is some excellent work on display – and there was more besides!
Here we go folks – pop quiz! Can you name the artists?! Put your answers in the comments box below, going from left to right in each picture, top to bottom.
I’ll give you the answer to one of them – Chris Weston, if only for this opportunity to show off my picture of my model of Sensitive Klegg next to Chris’s original artwork of the same story.
If you missed this exhibition you missed a remarkable opportunity to see first hand the truly stunning work that has gone into Judge Dredd over the years. Looking closely at each page you can see the deft inkwork, the ridiculously detailed painting, and even the mistakes covered up so well you’d never suspect it was on the page without close inspection.
Fair play to Bartosz, Lloyd and David Roach, this was a sterling achievement. How they managed to beg, borrow, and coerce the various creators and owners of this art to display for us at this exhibition is beyond me. It was a success on every level, from the panel, to the framing and displays, to the numerous visitors of all kinds (some from very far away indeed), and of course to the sheer size, quality and variety of artwork on display. A big congratulations and thanks goes out to them from everyone at the ECBT 2000AD team who had the opportunity to see this fine exhibit.
One final pic – here is Bartosz with his lovely family.
So, Bartosz, when are you doing the next one? :D
For more information on this event, including creator interviews, please go here: