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!

PJ Holden grabs his second cover of the year with Megazine 420, following the beautiful cover for 2000 AD Prog 2178 (see the Covers Uncovered for that one here).

You can get hold of the latest Megazine, issue 420, from the 2000 AD web shop and comic shops from 20 May.

The cover feature comes from the third and final part of the PJ Holden drawn Dredd tale, Bad Sector, written by Arthur Wyatt. And the Holden Droid was good enough to send over his process images for that Meg cover, along with his usual bizarre conversations with Tharg The Mighty… Over to PJ for the details…

I’ve decided I’d like to do more 2000 covers this year. Never sure the right way to approach Tharg about this, but I figure if I’m doing a strip I should at least ask if I can do a cover. So I did –

“Can I do a cover please???”
“OK! BUT ONLY FOR THE FINAL PART. I THARG HAVE SPOKEN”
(he always talks in the third person. Weirdo)

So I knew what was happening in the strip, and, technically, this cover is a bit of a cheat – Dredd doesn’t quite arrive with the tank – but the cover is doing a different job – it’s supposed to convey an emotion and sell you on the strip. So I sent Tharg some cover ideas: As you can see I think I was going for Dredd super imposed over some action.

The eight doodles of the Holden droid

Tharg responded:
“I THARG, IN MY INFINITE THARGY WISOM, DECREE ‘A’ TO BE THE GREATEST ART IN THE ENTIRE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. FINISH IT! FINISH IT! I HAVE SPOKEN”

Again, he’s kind of weird, but when Tharg says jump you don’t say anything, you sort of hide under the table and hope he didn’t notice you in case he makes you jump then sets MekQuake on you for not jumping high enough.

Pencils were fairly quick. I love drawing Dredd he flows out of my pencil as naturally as a phone doodle. Though I will admit, I’ve been wrestling with that arm pose since I pencilled it.

They bring a gun – Dredd brings a tank.

Inks next! Again pretty quick.

Dredd breaks up another lockdown party… the hard way.

And finally, flats and colours – the flats help me select areas of the image to apply proper colour too, so they’re only here out of interest…

Stay home citizens, state authorised exercise only – or Dredd will come knocking.

And with final colours, that’s it!

No Creeps, a cheeky BBQ in the park is not ok.
Stay home, exercise once a day, essential trips only – or Dredd will come knocking.

Hope you like it! (BTW if you’re keeping count, I drew this cover BEFORE the Chimpsky cover, but I did both in the space of a month, I think… and they’re covers number 7 & 8 for me… hopefully I’ll be asked to do more!) – PJ.

Thanks, as always, to the Holden droid for letting us inside the process of putting together his latest. Hopefully, if he keeps bowing correctly before Tharg, we’ll see him on many more covers to come!

You can get hold of Judge Dredd: Megazine issue 420 in print and digital from the 2000 AD web shop, and from whatever newsagents and comic shops are open in this trying times. If you can, make sure you get in touch with your local comic shop and support them however you can – they really need your help right now. See if they do mail order or kerbside pick-up for all your comic needs – now really is the time to pick up all those 2000 AD books you’ve been meaning to get your hands on!