Here from December 1981 is another slice of golden age goodness courtesy of the back issue bins at Orbital comics.
Cover is by Brian Bolland and its another beauty. The dynamic posture of Orlok and his red jumpsuit fit perfectly against the yellow and blues of the backgrounds. This one would have leapt off the shelves for me in 1981 just like it did in Orbital.
The Nerve centre has a few moans and niggles from readers about Ace Trucking Co, whether Dredd should remove his helmet, and reporting that 2000AD is popular down under.
Ace Trucking Co by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Ian Gibson and Tony Jacobs
I'm not used to seeing Gibson handle the art on Ace, it's a change from Belardinelli but Gibson can draw really whacky aliens so it's not too much of a shift.. Ace and Feek are about to be impaled by some belligerent Yaaga so GBH releases concentrated Macmac vapour which intoxicates the aliens and allows GBH to launch a rescue bid. It's fun stuff as Ace Trucking always was back in the day. Entertaining kids' comics.
The Mean Arena by Tom Tully, Mike White and Pete Knight
First time I've read a Mean arena in a long time. Mixing a sport strip with some futuristic war elements must have seemed like a sure winner for the editorial team. Matt Tallon takes on the Roy Race role and scores a perfect volley portrayed in classic British footie comic style. It's like Rollerball but played on the mean streets of Edinburgh.
Tharg's Future Shocks. Love Thy Neighbour by Kelvin Gosnell, Jesus Redondo and Steve Potter
A grumpy old git invents a machine to stop his neighbours annoying him with all their electronic gadgets. But there is typical twist in the tale and it's probably a good job he wasn't around once we all got smartphones.
Judge Dredd. Block Mania by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Steve Dillon and Tom Frame
Orlok the assassin is caught dumping the block mania toxin into the water supply and the chase is on. More golden age stuff as the Judges close in on the deadly Orlok and his floating robot Sattelat. Dillon's sequentials are brilliant and really deliver the high intensity of the hunt. I wont give away a 33 years old spoiler but one of Dredd's supporting cast dies at the end of the episode. Thrill-powered stuff of the highest order.
Tharg's Future Shocks. Mister, could you use a Squonge? by Alan Moore. Ron Tinner and Tim Skomski.
A space probe returns with a weird bunch of self-replicating space sponges which when worn on the head seem to boost intelligence, but there is a classic Moore twist when he reveals that they are not quite the good idea they seem to be. Wonder whatever happened to that Moore guy?
Rogue Trooper by Gerry Finlay-Day, Mike Dorey and Bill Nuttall
A brief Rogue story where he takes out a Nort ship before collapsing apparently poisoned and he is supposed to be immune to all poisons. It's a bit of a throwaway story that is over in a couple of pages. Not vintage Rogue Trooper.
The back cover has a Star Lord scan, not sure who is the artist is, and neither is Barney. Anyone?
Pick of the prog is clearly that moment from a great Dredd epic and the Whittle circular panel count is 3