Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Retro review - Prog 175

I took a trip to London's Orbital comics for the Day of Chaos Fallout signing and as ever I picked up a few old Progs from the back issue bins.

This one from August 1980 has a cover by Dave Gibbons, back from when they ran images that were not connected to anything inside the prog. So we have a piece of pure science fiction loveliness from Gibbons. Of course there doesn't seem to be any good reason why a robot warrior would need to ride a huge, golden robot dragon, or to carry a sword and an axe, but who cares, it's a great image and worth 14p any day of the week.

The Stainless Steel Rat saves the world by Kelvin Gosnell, Carlos Ezquerra and Pete Knight.
More of the time travelling exploits of Jim DiGriz and his wife, Angelina, all perfectly rendered by King Carlos. He certainly draws a sexy looking lady and does some impressive rain swept scenes of devastation including one that seems to be a nod to that famous Gericault painting of the Raft of the Medusa. Pretty cool in a comic for kids.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith by Tom Tully, Jesus Redondo and Paul Bensberg
Wolfie is on the trail of a crime lord and has a run in with the Hairy Bikers before realising he has to save Lena Zavaroni, well not exactly but that's the general gist. Nice to have Redondo back on art duties, he would be the main reason for getting this if it was ever collected in a trade.

The V.C.s by Gerry Finley-Day, John Richardson and John Aldrich
The final four pages of the V.C.s sees the Geek fleet defeated and Smith gets a medal from a Sontaran, or at least that's what he looks like. I can't remember anything about the V.C.s and can't say that the story or art here makes me want to find out any more. Sorry.

Judge Dredd by John Wagner, Ron Smith and Tom Frame.
Dredd gets the colour centre spread again as the Wagner-Smith-Frame knock out combo provides some more marvellous moments from the Judge Child epic. The colour pages are great but Smith's detailed black and white shading is even better. It's still hard to believe he was drawing these pages with a timer to tell him when it was time to move on to the next one. 
There is a guy riding a dragon in there but it's the real flesh and blood variety and not the robot from the front cover. Yes, that's me making a distinction between robot dragons and real ones.

Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales. The Contender by Gary Rice, Brett Ewins and Jack Potterr
A robot boxer wants a shot at the title but can't cope with the consequences. Five pages of early Ewins artwork looks good although I prefer his stuff in colour. He does deliver one classic Gil Kane flying backwards towards the camera punch panel. The story is OK with a classic Future Shock twist but nothing to write home about.

The prog finishes with a Garry Leach star scan of the V.C.s and some back cover gag panels from the galactic Olympics drawn by Steve Maher.

Dredd is easily the top thrill but Ezquerra's version of the Raft of the Medusa is a surprise delight. Meanwhile there's a Whittle count of five,

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