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 week it’s more skin and teeth than Dredd’s going to be comfortable with – all courtesy of one of the best cover droids – Neil Roberts.

As for just why Dredd‘s having a dental disaster, you’ll be wanting to check out End of Days by Rob Williams and Colin MacNeil, when MC-1’s finest faces down the first of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Brit Cit.

Neil’s one of Tharg’s minions who sticks to covers, beautiful, stunning covers you can always see from a mile off. As for how this one came about, it all started with a brief from the Mighty One himself… now, over to Neil for the commentary…

Tharg’s brief was literally that, short and to the point: ‘a shot of Dredd focusing on his chest… pulling open his uniform to reveal a mouth’.

Thumbnail #1 – You really wouldn’t fancy being Dredd’s dentist, would you?

I ran off a few different thumbnails based on the notes and reference materials. The final image chosen was the more abstract concept and hopefully more impactful for it.

Thumbnail #2 – still no belly button though

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to paint Judge Dredd many times and, as a piece of art design in itself, he is so iconic and so ingrained in pop culture, you don’t have to show much to know who it is. With that in mind, I wanted to reduce his presence in the image to its barest essentials whilst still driving home a narrative.

Thumbnail # 3 – Dredd’s heartburn really gets out of control

Basically, a classic case of ‘less is more’.

I gathered some reference materials together to refine the pose and anatomy (Do clones have belly buttons? How hairy is Dredd’s chest?). In many ways I wanted the cover itself to feel as if it was physically being opened – designed to look like something beautiful and disgusting at the same time. A little bit of Cronenberg body horror on the bookshelf.

The goal of any cover is to produce an arresting image that makes you want to buy it and/ or read more. With this piece, and all my work, that’s what I’m always striving for.

Neil’s final cover image – complete with belly button.
But face it, you’re not looking at the belly button
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Thanks to Neil for giving us that look into the Jaws of Dredd… and clearing up that whole belly button thing.

2000 AD Prog 2189 is available from comic shops, newsagents, and the 2000 AD web shop.

Fancy a little bit more from the Roberts Droid? Of course you do…

A particular favourite of mine from the many, many great covers that Neil’s done over the years… 2000 AD Prog 1665 from 2009… the boys looking damn good here…

Judge Dredd Megazine 326 (2012) – A monstrous Neil Roberts Hondo City cover – and Pete Wells has a great Covers Uncovered for this one here.

2000 AD Prog 1991 (2016) – Dredd going for the whole Barry Sheen vibe – another great Covers Uncovered for this one, courtesy of Pete Wells here.

2000 AD Prog 2014 (2017) – Ritterstahl’s future date not going to plan in this lovely study by Roberts for The Order – Pete’s Covers Uncovered for this one here.

2000 AD Prog 2040 – Neil gets Dredd under wraps in this one from 2017 – and there’s another Petey Covers Uncovered here.