One of the best new artists to break through at 2000AD in these past few years is Tiernen Trevallion. His style reminds me of all the right people (Kev Walker, Mike Mignola, Simon Bisley, Kevin O’Neill), and his inking is always deliciously thick and glossy.
I don’t often check on the progress of my old blog, but when I do, I tend to notice the entry from November 2009 on Trevallion’s designs for the Doctor Who animation “Dreamland” still racks up a fair few hits every month. And when not engaged in comics or as a conceptual artist, he has a third string to his bow, creating fine art of that low brow, transgressive kind I love so much.
On Facebook, Trevallion has been going on a big pre-Christmas push, selling prints of assorted images he has produced for 2000AD, and some images from the “Samovar of Filth,” an ongoing series of tributes to the art of sleazy 1960s paperbacks. It’s all great stuff, and he encourages everyone to email him for details (email@example.com) of what he has left, quotes for worldwide shipping, etc. Drop him a line.
Shirts based on comics characters isn’t anything new, but Judge Dredd and 2000AD publisher Rebellion recently partnered with the U.K. T-shirt boutique Last Exit to Nowhere to produce this amazing-looking design. Although it’s based on the film iteration of Dredd rather than the comic itself, it’s still a shirt well worth owning — even with the additional expense of shipping outside the United Kingdom.
Today 2000AD debuted all 20 volumes of the Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files series on its iOS app, making three decades’ worth of stories available for download on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. A 21st volume will be published next month, with subsequent tomes to follow.
Retailing for $13.99 (£9.99), The Complete Case Files feature work from the likes of John Wagner, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Dave Gibbons, Mark Millar, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Mick McMahon, Alan Grant, John Smith, Brendan McCarthy and Garry Leach.
You can see a selection of pages below.
I came across my new favorite Tumblr via Richard McAuliffe’s Everything Comes Back To 2000AD blog: Dreddheads, wherein Owen Watts (of such UK small press anthologies as Dr WTF and The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel) regularly posts caricatures dressed in uniform as Mega City One judges, taking his design cues from the 2012 movie version. Sure, your affection for the site will vary based on your knowledge of British comedy, with assorted satirists and sitcom characters prominently featured, but there’s plenty of examples familiar to an international audience. Clint Eastwood, whose Dirty Harry Callahan is often cited as a key influence upon Dredd, finds himself included; as does Carlos Ezquerra, the Spanish co-creator of the futuristic lawman.
There’s no solicitation for Justice League 3000 in November, and it’s not hard to imagine why. Reworking a first issue from scratch, with a new artist and what sounds like a new tone, undoubtedly isn’t something even one of the Big Two can do on short notice. Instead, DC Comics goes back to the Bat-well both for November’s only new series, and to goose the sales of various superhero titles.
As always, though, there’s enough in the new batch of solicitations to keep us busy this week — so without further ado …
ALWAYS BET ON BLACK
Apparently “Zero Year” will include a “Blackout In Gotham” plot point that can stretch into a dozen other DC titles, including non-Bat-books like Action Comics, Green Arrow, Green Lantern Corps and The Flash. This makes a certain degree of sense, as it takes place back in the “before-time” of the George W. Bush administration, before the various superhero jurisdictions were established, so you’d expect someone like Superman to take a road trip if he thought Gotham needed him. However, thanks largely to this being Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, the blackout — which, as far as I can tell, would otherwise be just one part of one title’s flashback storyline — ends up involving more books than DC’s actual line-wide Big Event, Forever Evil. The latter includes the eponymous miniseries, three ancillary miniseries and the three Justice League books, but only two other ongoing series (Teen Titans and Suicide Squad, each of which has been tied into 4EVEv since it started). The total is “Zero Year” 13, Forever Evil 9, and almost half of the latter’s score is miniseries. Personally, I don’t mind a discrete Big Event, and I’m not surprised that DC would exploit “Zero Year.” I’m just a little surprised at how heavily it seems to be relying on “Zero Year” in November.
There’s always a steady flow of new art to be seen at Chris Ryall’s Tumblr. The editor-in-chief of IDW Publishing recently saw a Jack Kirby tribute by Brendan McCarthy accompanying a ROBOT 6 story about soaring sales of the Dredd DVD, and contacted the legednary 2000AD artist to secure the use of that image, and to commission a series of covers in the style of other Silver Age greats. These will run as cover images — variants, I’d guess — for issues 13 to 16 of IDW’s ongoing Judge Dredd series:
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. And just like that, Comic-Con International is upon us. But while tens of thousands of people are dashing to airports, exiting planes and checking into hotels on Wednesday, many of the rest of us will be making our weekly pilgrimage to the comic book store for this week’s releases.
So before the announcements start rolling out of San Diego, join us to see what comics caught the eyes of the ROBOT 6 contributors.
Here at ROBOT 6, we’re hardened hacks who generally don’t get too excited about any old rumor that’s doing the rounds, or report it as a news story, but seeing how I really want this one to be true, I’ll make an exception. Also, some great art vaguely relating to the story turned up recently, and its too good not to share.
The Facebook group Make a DREDD Sequel posted this over the weekend:
From an UNCONFIRMED SOURCE, it has come to this page’s attention that DNA Films will be reviewing the blu-ray/DVD sales of DREDD in the coming weeks and will be deciding whether or not to make a sequel. If this is true, let’s show them how much we want that sequel! If you haven’t already, please buy the DVD or blu-ray! More news soon!
Of course, this is one anonymous source claiming to have another shadowy even-more-anonymous source, and as such should be taken with a double-sized pinch of salt. Who knows what vested interests are at work here, seeking to further their own agendas. Or then again, this could be completely true. Anyway, this has been enough to spark something of a spike in sales of the Dredd DVD. This was posted the next day:
After a period of screenings at festivals and conventions, the Judge Dredd fan film Judge Minty has finally been released in full online. Packed with Easter eggs for long-term 2000AD fans, it proves that these days it would be entirely feasible to produce an authentic and faithful version of the futuristic lawman on a small-screen budget. As much as I enjoyed last year’s Dredd 3D, it’s hard not to watch this short and list the things that this production did better. For starters, this budget effort manages to properly get the Lawmaster bike, a street judge’s preferred form of transport, something the Stallone and Urban films got wrong in their different ways.
Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
I think IDW and Dark Horse are having some sort of competition at C2E2 this weekend to see who can overwhelm my email box with the most press releases, or at least that’s what it seemed like last night when a ton of press releases pop up around the same time from both companies. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve heard from both of them at the show thus far …
• Both companies announced they’ve picked up some new licenses. As I noted yesterday, Dark Horse will publish Wendy and Richard Pini’s Elfquest starting later this year, and they’ve also picked up the license for new Halo comics. IDW, meanwhile, has picked up the license to the Jay Ward characters, with plans for series Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Rocky & Bullwinkle next year. Also, two of IDW’s other licensed titles will meet up in Mars Attacks Judge Dredd by Al Ewing and John McCrea. The first issue arrives in September.
• Both companies are also reaching into comics’ past to bring back some titles we haven’t seen in awhile. IDW announced that they’ll release deluxe hardcovers of Christian Gossett’s The Red Star this fall. They’re also bringing back Zombie War by Kevin Eastman, Tom Skulan and Eric Talbot in October. The original series was published by FantaCo and Tundra back in 1993. Dark Horse is resurrecting Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy, which was originally published by Burlyman Entertainment.
IDW may be one of the Big Five publishers in the direct market — that is, one of the five publishers whose titles are listed separately from those of the hoi polloi in Diamond Comic Distributors’ Previews catalog. But unlike the Biggest Two, IDW’s line consists mainly of comics based on a variety of licensed concepts*, and therefore do not feature shared settings like the DC Universe or the Marvel Universe.
You’d think that would prohibit the company from doing the sorts of line-wide crossover stories that DC and Marvel have been pumping out with regularity, but IDW has found a pretty clever way to have its licensed comics cake and eat its intra-company crossovers as well, by dreaming up a fairly generic threat, and then having that threat appear in a bunch of unrelated comics whose characters never really meet.
Rather than all the characters teaming up to fight the same threat on the same battlefield at the same time, as in your Crisis on Infinite Earths or Civil War or whatnot, IDW’s crossovers are a bit more like individual battles in large-scale wars taking place in different dimensions.
So, for example, 2011′s Infestation crossover pitted zombies from the publisher’s Zombies Vs. Robots comics against characters from G.I. Joe, Transformers, The Ghostbusters and Star Trek, in two-issue miniseries set in different universes. That was followed by Infestation 2, in which Lovecraftian space-god-monster-things invaded the home universes of G.I. Joe, Transformers, Dungeons & Dragons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 30 Days of Night.
More recently, IDW published a much smaller-scale, simpler crossover story of sorts in Mars Attacks …, in which the little green skull-faced men of the 1960s Topps collectible cards (and 1996 Tim Burton movie) “invaded” comics featuring a comically diverse group of licensed characters. For the more patient among us, it arrived in trade format this month, in a collection titled Mars Attacks IDW.
I’ve been writing about the Judge Minty short film since 2010, when after seeing the first teaser trailer I made the observation “these days Judge Dredd would be totally do-able on a BBC budget.” I still haven’t managed to see the bloomin’ thing yet, despite it becoming a U.K. comic convention staple since it premiered at the Leeds Film Festival last November.
Well, the wait is nearly over, as the production team has announced that it’ll soon be free to view on YouTube and Vimeo, without giving us an actual date yet (“in April/May” they vaguely state, the teasing sods). They’ve released a new extended trailer for the project to whet our appetites.
One thing this trailer adds is some great music. I’m no soundtrack expert, so for all I know it might be borrowed from elsewhere, but I do know that it reminds me of Jerry Goldsmith’s avant garde score for the original Planet of the Apes. And I still think that with a little ambition and imagination, Judge Dredd could work better on TV than in films.
I saw this, via the Twitter feed of PJ Holden, and shivered. There’s lots of people cosplaying as Judge Dredd these days — in both flavors, comic and movie — but I’ve never before seen anyone make an attempt at his most iconic enemy, Judge Death.
Well, that’s changed, as DeviantArt member “warrior1944” (presumably called Peter Olsson in real life, but it’s hard to tell from his site) has done a helluva job of capturing the essence of Brian Bolland’s design. Of course, we should all be at least a little bit worried that someone could be so inspired by one of the most chilling mass-murderers in comics, but that’s really between this kid and his psychiatrist.
Updated: 2000AD have been in touch to point out that these costumes are being sold without approval or license. While they’ve no issue with cosplayers dressing up as 2000AD characters, infringing on their copyright with the commercial sale of costumes is another matter altogether. The Rebellion folks are known for their close relationship with the official licensee on these matters, Planet Replicas. Presumably, all parties are taking action on this right now.
In comics, just as in television or film, there are countless unsung production staff tirelessly toiling to keep us entertained. To use a sporting analogy, working in the reprographics department of a comic publisher is the goalkeeper’s job: You rarely get the praise for keeping a clean sheet, but you’re the first one to get the blame if it all goes wrong. Meanwhile, the writers and the artists are at the other end, scoring all the goals, and getting all the glory.
Doing this often-thankless task in the skeleton crew that produces 2000AD is Kathryn “Kat” Symes. One thing the small backroom staff at their Oxford, England, base are known to do very well these days is manage the amazing back-catalog of material the title has accrued during its 35 years of continuous publication. If you’re a seasoned 2000AD spotter, you’ll have noticed how they’ve been reprinting a lot of strips from the early 1990s recently, a time sometimes known as “2000AD‘s brown period.” It was an era when a post-Bisley trend for painted artwork coincided with too-absorbent paper stock, and a steep learning curve for the staff as it settled in to being a full-color magazine after years of primarily black and white, which led to an awful lot of muddy-looking comics.
Symes seems to be on a single-handed quest to redeem an era of neglected comics through her work. In this interview with ROBOT 6, she gives a tremendous insight into what now goes on behind the scenes in bringing a comic to print, and provides some great examples of how her nuts-and-bolts work with scanners and image manipulation software can breath new life into the old, the faded and the damaged material in 2000AD‘s archives.