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!

This time we chat to Nick Percival about his ssssstunning cover to Judge Dredd Megazine Issue 430 (which is out now!) and a brand new look for the Dark Judges…

Now, over to Nick…

NICK PERCIVAL: We revealed the new look Alien Dark Judges with a splash page at the end of Part 6 of ‘Deliverance’, so it made sense for the cover for Part 7 to feature them in all their glory.

We had to keep this cover image under wraps for advance orders, so this wasn’t the cover shown on order forms  – didn’t want to spoil the surprise in advance! 

Since Judge Death is on an alien planet, it made sense that the new hosts for Fear, Fire and Mortis would be alien bodies and hence the re-design. I wanted them to have that otherworldly feel and something different but still retain core elements of what the Dark Judges look like and reflect their various attributes.  

(Our first look at the new Alien Dark Judges –
from Megazine 430 – Dark Judges: Deliverance Part 7 – art by Nick Percival)

NP: Fire is a little bit more of a classic Xenomorph type creature who likes to leap onto his victims, roasting them alive. Fear has that Edvard Munch ‘The Scream’ vibe going on – His whole head and torso open up to reveal your greatest fears and Mortis is a bulkier, slovenly type beast, who not only decays his victims but eats them as well. 

You can see from the events in Part 7, that they’re much more brutal than the original versions and luckily for them, there’s an almost never-ending amount of willing victims from the Death Cult that are just lining up to be killed in all manner of gruesome, fun ways –such is the ‘life’ (death?) of a Dark Judge.  

(The Dark Judges line up for their new band photo – art by Nick Percival)

NP: So for the cover, it’s a pretty standard group shot with Death residing over them but keeps the focus where it should be.

As ever, my roughs are very loose but Tharg knows that by now. I did make one change from the sketch in the painted version with raising Death’s arms but there you go.

I have a special cover lined up for the final part but since it gives away a key element of the series and where we’ll go from there, my lips are forever ssssealed….

Thank you to Nick for giving us that fasssscinating glimpse behind his designs for those new Dark Judges. You can find that cover and Deliverance Part 7 in The Megazine 430 – make with the clicky and head to the 2000 AD web shop to get your hands on Megazine #430 from 17 March. For more from Nick in COvers Uncovered, head here for the covers process to Megazine 425.

Now… a couple of process images from that great Nick Percival cover. First the loose cover rough and then the final painted image…

Nick Percival’s cover rough to Megazine 430 –
In space, no one can hear The Dark Judges scream “You cannot kill that which doesss not live !”
Nick Percival’s final image for Megazine 430 – “The crime isss (alien) life. The sssentenssse isss death !”