Every week, 2000 AD brings you the galaxy’s greatest artwork and 2000 AD Covers Uncovered takes you behind-the-scenes with the headline artists responsible for our top cover art – join bloggers Richard Bruton and Pete Wells as they uncover the greatest covers from 2000 AD!

Borag Thungg and Seasons Greetings Earthlets, time to get the stockings up and start thinking about presents! Maybe a subscription to the Galaxy’s Greatest? How about a copy of the Regened or Cor!! Buster collections or a sub to the new Monster Fun for the junior Earthlets?

But before the annual Turkey-based (or vegetarian/vegan alternative) activities commence, there’s still the huge matter of the final Judge Dredd Megazine of the year to deal with! Issue 439 is out everywhere Zarjaz comics are sold, as well as the 2000 AD web shop, from 15 December.

You definitely won’t be able to miss it on the shelves, thanks to the Ghafflebette cover from art droid Lee Carter!

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LEE CARTER: It was great to be asked to do a cover for the Megazine, especially since it was my first cover! Well, except for the Rogue Trooper Loot Box Special, but that didn’t count as it was a panel from the strip.

And a huge bonus in that it was the Christmas issue. Both the 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine festive covers are much like the Radio Times Christmas issue for me, one of the joys of Christmas…

So, I produced two pages of thumbnails, probably a bit overboard but I wanted to give Matt a wide choice, no doubt many ideas have been used before.

18 cover roughs – you can NEVER have too many!

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I really loved the old Victorian Christmas village scenes that used to be on greeting cards, so I went for a Victorian theme park robots running amok, mutant reindeer maybe, Dredd in a Blizzard, Dredd in a toyshop chase… or a suspect lineup featuring various mutant Christmas archetypes.

Thankfully, Matt went for the simplest one… Dredd knee-deep in the snow…

Drokking thru the snow… sing along kids!

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I drew the line work digitally, drawing it on Photoshop for me is like penciling and inking at the same time, you just draw it in black but unlike inking you can undo and rub it out.

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Once I’m happy with the line I do a few layers of grey tones, keeping it all on separate layers means I can reduce the opacity if I want to change .

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The colour work begins with simple flats which I put under the line and grey tone layers. When it’s all together I can change the tonal layers to colour and add a bit more interesting mix of colours to it all. The background was various photos of snow from my reference folders, composited together and painted over. Then more painting into the background – added some fogged-out buildings and more texture… and of course blood.

Colouring step 1 – a very flat looking Dredd
Colouring step 2 – the Dredd all perps love to see at Christmas…
Colouring step 3 – ah, the crunch of jackboots through the snow – backgrounds added
Colouring step 4 – let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – that’s really going to help his mood.
Colouring step 6 – you know the old saying… It ain’t Christmas without a little bit of blood

And that’s that for the cover! So, as the spirit of the law makes his way to your door through the snow to tell the kiddies to tell them to be good or it’s five years in the iso-cubes, we’ll take our leave.

Thanks to Lee Carter there for a perfect end to what’s been a particularly great year of Megazine covers! You can find Megazine issue 439 on shelves of the finest comic shops and newsagents, as well as the 2000 AD web shop, from 15 December.

Sure, the year itself might have been a bit crappy, what with, well, you know… *Gestures broadly at everything* – but we’re sure the quality of the work in the Galaxy’s Greatest comics has been something to make things that bit better! We’ll be back with more Megazine treats with Covers Uncovered in 2022 – meanwhile, thanks once more to Lee Carter and have a Zarjaz time this Christmas and New Year!