Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Retro review - Prog 390

This one was from the LSCC. Again it's the cover image, the newsprint, and the fact that this one was in pretty good nick for a pound that made it irresistible. Prog 390 from November 1984.

Cover by Brett Ewins and it's the first appearance of the Wally Squad Judges. I like to think that one of those youngsters may go on to become Dirty Frank.

The Nerve Centre features letters all about the problems of storing back issues of the comic with writers mentioning their husbands and their jobs. Those 12 year old readers grew up fast.

Rogue Trooper by Gerry Finley-Day, Cam Kennedy and Clive McGee.
Rogue is close to catching the Traitor General but an attack by Nort army droids leads him into a desperate game of cat and mouse in the trenches. Black and white art and this newsprint paper were made for each other and Kennedy's work here looks effortlessly good, despite the fact it must have taken him days to produce. Still can't remember why the Traitor General always looked like he had paint dripping over his scalp though.

Then there is a full page Belardinelli scar scan of Princess Gadarina from the Ace trucking strip, and an advert for Dungeons and Dragons from back when we had to make up games by ourself.

Nemesis the Warlock by Pat Mills, Bryan Talbot and Stave Potter.
If Kevin O'Neill produced bizarre alien landscapes and characters then Bryan Talbot takes the strip into the realms of Gothic horror as Nemesis stalks Torquemada through the streets of an alien recreation of Whitechapel. With top hats, sword-sticks and a proper pea-souper, guv'nor. Plus Talbot works in face checks for a variety of 20th century celebrities and there even seems to be a TV set showing The Tube which is appropriate enough for where this saga began back in Prog 167.

Future Shock: The Castaway by Peter Milligan, Geoff Senior and Pete Knight
One of Milligan's earliest works for 2000AD. It's a one page story which rather spoils the shock ending because you can see the last panel straight away.

Judge Dredd: The Wally Squad by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Brett Ewins and Tom Frame.
The undercover Wally squad Judges who look as freakish as the Mega-Citizens they encounter are introduced and Ewins takes full advantage with some weird and wonderful character designs. They are on the trail of some arms dealers and in classic Wagner and Grant fashion the perps are organ leggers who are selling actual body parts. Dredd barely tolerates the Wally Judges and their bizarre appearance, but then he is, as he likes to remind people, a bit of a stickler.

Ace Trucking Co by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Massimo Belardinelli and Tony Jacob
The workers have taken over the company and Ace Garp is being squeezed out by their calm efficiency. Well that's not going to last long and soon Garp is up to his old tricks with a madcap scheme to put himself back in charge. As ever Belardinelli's artwork is worth the price of admission here. Nobody can draw funny aliens like he could.

The Hell Trekkers by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Jose Ortiz, Horacio Lalia and Tony Jacob
I don't recall ever reading any of this series about a group of pioneers making the dangerous journey from Mega-City One across the Cursed Earth in the hope of a better life on the other side of the country. In this episode they are dealing with the horrific consequences of acid rain. Feels just like filler to be honest and really bringing up the rear in this Prog.

Under the back page ad for the Tucker's Luck Christmas annual there's a tiny notice about the Eagle comics reprints of Dredd and Nemesis stories for the American market. That didn't work out so well for them.

Pick of the Prog is Ace Trucking which outdoes the craziness level of Dredd, and the Whittle circular panel count for this issue is 3.

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