It’s 20 years this year since 2000 AD and Rebellion came together and we’re celebrating with the 100-page 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special!

Alongside a handful of classic Rebellion era Thrills, there are four special strips from the likes of Al Ewing, Dan Abnett, Clint Langley, and Steve Yeowell (to name but a few) that bring together characters from the pre and post-Rebellion era. archive. Have you ever wondered just what would happen when Judge Dredd met Zombo, or Gene The Hackman and Shako faced off? Well, this is your chance to find out Squaxx dek Thargos!

But right now, join us in talking to John Reppion and Clint Langley, the team bringing the intergalactic gladiator action to Brit-Cit with Storm Warning vs Blackhawk

The 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special is available from all good newsagents and comic book stores!

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John, Clint, your strip in the Summer Special brings us a one-off tale of a recent creation (of Johns, with co-creators Leah Moore and Tom Foster), Brit-Cit Psi Judge Lillian Storm. She’s featured in the Judge Dredd Megazine and proved to be a wonderfully grumpy addition to the lore of Brit-Cit.

But, in keeping with the other new strips in this Summer Special, Judge Storm isn’t alone in this one-off 10 pager. She’s joined by a character from way, way back in the midsts of time, first appearing in Tornado in 1979, with his most recent adventure all the way back in 1982 in 2000 AD. I’m talking of Black Hawk, of course, Roman slave turned intergalactic gladiator.

So, how did the strip come about?

JR: My wife and writing partner, Leah Moore, had a story in 2018’s Sci-Fi Special, revising Judge Death’s short-lived music career so, of course, I was keen to have a crack at doing something for this year’s special myself.

Was it your idea to pit Storm against Blackhawk or was it something that came down from Tharg?

JR: It was Tharg’s idea to bring back Black Hawk, and pair him up with Judge Storm. I admit that it seemed like an unlikely pairing when I first thought about it but I think it’s worked really well.

Did you remember Black Hawk from the first time around or was there a little bit of research needed to discover who the hell he was?

Clint Langley: Remember seeing Black Hawk in Tornado/2000 AD when I was kid and loving the art by Massimo. Although I only picked up the odd comic so know Black Hawk mainly from Aquila.

JR: I knew of the character (partially because I knew he’d been the inspiration for Rennie and Gallagher’s Aquila), but it was a good excuse for me to pick up the collected edition and dig in properly. The shift from the historic action to sci-fi when the strip switched from Tornado to 2000 AD is loads of fun, and things just got weirder and weirder from there on in. The ending… well, I cover some on that in Black Storm… but it was brilliantly bonkers.

As far as the strip is concerned, like the other three new strips in the Summer Special, it’s a great, fun thing, as so many of these team-up adventures always are. I can distinctly remember the thrill of the old Marvel Team-Up and Two-In-One titles, seeing who would be the guest star next issue.

Did you both get that same sense of fun from this particular team up?

JR: Like I said, I wasn’t sure how it would work at first, but I think maintaining the tone of the original Black Hawk characters and world and mashing that against Storm Warning‘s Brit-Cit stuff really made the whole thing more fun and funnier. And Clint has done a fantastic job bringing the two together. It looks brilliant.

CL: Team-Ups are always great fun especially when the characters are from such different Universes. Johns done a brilliant job, capturing how Storm and Black Hawk would react to each other and the stories a total Blast!

When it comes to the look of the strip, it’s a far cry from the Bolland-esque art of Tom Foster. But Clint’s brought his own unique style to it all, with the rain-drenched streets of Brit-Cit looking absolutely atmospheric.

Clint, any changes to the artistic style or process this time round for Storm Warning?

CL: Originally I was going to do Black Storm fully digital like Slaine and ABC Warriors as I’d already done a cover of Storm for the Judge Dredd Megazine in this style. But I’ve been creating more traditional hand-drawn art recently and it felt right to ink Black Storm and colour digitally.

Your use of colour here is particularly effective, all that purple highlighting through the storm just makes the whole thing pop.

CL: Cheers! Think it’s probably the most dark and garish work I’ve done for a while, I wanted to cut loose!

I don’t think we’ve ever talked before about your process for your artwork before – is it all digital now and what steps so you go through to deliver that final artwork?

CL: I’m moving away from digital more and more. Hand-drawn art, I normally do very loose pencils, then go straight in with brush, pen and finally white paint highlighting.

The colouring of an intergalactic warrior – Clint Langley’s gorgeous style!

Colouring my line digitally is a very different process to my full digital art. So with Black Storm I computer coloured in a more comic coloured traditional style with some flashy effects. I’ve not coloured many strips in this way before. Certainly made me appreciate comic colourists even more and the skill involved to make it work.

Clint’s process – From pencils to gorgeous colours on Black Storm

Are we going to be seeing more Storm Warning any time soon from you, John?

JR: No concrete plans as yet, but yeah, I’d love to do more.

And what can we expect from all of you in the future for 2000 AD & The Megazine? Or is there any other project you’d like to tell us more about?

JR: Finder & Keeper will be returning in the next All Ages Special, other than that I’m keeping busy with all kinds of stuff including my weekly Folklore Thursday comics on Twitter with P J Holden.

CL: More ABC Warriors!

Thanks so much to John and Clint for talking to us. You can find their rainy Brit-Cit tale of the Psi-Judge and the Gladiator in this years’ 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special – available from all good newsagents and comic book stores! Or get it from the 2000 AD web shop.