45 incredible artists tackle 45 of the Galaxy’s Greatest characters, all in celebration of four and a half decades of Thrill Power in the 2000 AD 45th Anniversary Art Book!
Artists old and new, familiar names from the pages of 2000 AD, famous names from international comics, and fresh talent will all be bringing new life and fresh perspectives to some of comics’ greatest creations.
Available in a standard hardcover or a special slipcase hardcover, exclusive to the 2000 AD webshop, this is a unique collection celebrating 45 years of excellence! Don’t delay, pick up another essential 45th Anniversary from 25 May!
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For the fourth glimpse into the 45th Anniversary Art Book, we’re into the ’90s and beyond now, with 2000 AD continually changing and evolving, proving to be as relevant for today as it was back on its launch in 1977.
This is exactly what commissioning editor Oliver Pickles meant when he said the editors wanted ‘some contemporary strips represented in the mix with the obvious golden age classics.’ And that means this selection from the ’90s onwards features the craziness of Hewligan’s Haircut celebrated by Langdon Foss, Dave Kendall‘s unique fashion sense on show with Devlin Waugh, Bex Glendining with two gunsharks after a job for Sinister Dexter, Vicenzo Riccardi takes on Storming Heaven, we have Richard Elson returning to his creation Kingdom, and James Harren showing us his version of The Order.
So, let’s start off with a certain Mr Hewligan and his haircut, something commissioning editor Oliver Pickles was insistent would be in here…
LANGDON FOSS – HEWLIGAN’S HAIRCUT (Prog 700, 1990)
When I was twelve, my parents and I moved from the small Colorado mountain town I grew up in to South Australia. After being exposed to nothing but the mainstream American superhero books I could find at my grocery store, I was amazed at the strange beauty and sheer excess of what I found on the pages of the first 2000 AD book I picked up at the newsagent. These books showed an aspiring comics creator what comics were capable of outside of an American context.
Judge Dredd was predictably the first 2000 AD character I grew attached to. I found the intensity of his character terrifying (but captivating), and I was horrified (and delighted) by the scale and depravity of a civilization that would consider Judges as the most logical solution to crime. I hadn’t seen a commitment to such ambitious settings, storylines, or moral ambiguities in American comics. I’ve loved the narrative freedom of British fiction ever since.
When I was asked to create a piece for 2000 AD’s 45th Anniversary Art Book I considered choosing one of the old favorites like Dredd, Hammerstein, or Torquemada, but I really wanted to honor a character that deserved not to be overlooked. From my first reading of Hewligan’s Haircut, I immediately related to Hewligan’s plight as an eccentric person struggling to keep his sanity in an insane world. While I’m grateful to have grown up in that small mountain town, I struggled to find my place in it. Fun, unassuming stories like Hewligan’s Haircut may not have changed the world, but they were reminders that I wasn’t the only one who felt like an outsider. I’ll always be grateful for them.
DAVE KENDALL – DEVLIN WAUGH (Judge Dredd Megazine 2.01, 1992)
I’ve illustrated my version of Devlin Waugh. It’s a character I’ve always liked, but I believe it was suggested by the commissioning editor, that it could be cool for me to have a go at him. As he’s one of the prime 2000 AD characters dealing with supernatural evil I jumped at the chance. Since he first appeared in theJudge Dredd Megazine I always loved the no-nonsense approach to dealing with supernatural evil. In that respect, he’s not a million miles away from Hellboy, one of my all-time favourite characters.
I can remember that, at the time I was asked to produce this image, I was playing the Samurai/Ninja souls like Nioh. That inspired the Japanese approach here. I felt that the silk kimono aesthetic would be something Devlin would definitely appreciate. I cleared it with the editors to have the kimono decorated with depictions of the penis-headed monk/demons. The famous Japanese woodcut artist Kuniyoshi depicted quite a few of these mythological creatures.
The vanquished, demon monk, wheel was quite a cool and unusual creature and it’s circular design played into the nonchalant pose and composition I wanted for Devlin.
Devlin has always been just a great fun character combined with some brutal horror. That’s always going to win me round. As a whole, 2000 AD means a huge amount to me. I’ve been reading it since I was seven in 1977. It’s definitely one of the main reasons for my career as an illustrator. It’s diversity in stories, art and ideas has always appealed to me. It’s messages, politics and concepts has definitely leaked into many aspects of my life beyond art.
Many major memories of my life could be punctuated with 2000 AD covers and stories. The gas explosion in my area of Bristol happened when I was reading Nemesis’s showdown with zombie Torquemada in Book1. Eating chicken in a basket on holiday in Cornwall as I read Death Lives – I got grease all over that amazing Bolland centre spread and had to purchase another copy. I can’t think of any other popular media that fires up so many memories.
I’m the regular artist on Fall of Deadworld. A dream job if there ever was such a thing. In terms of approaching different characters, you have to find a way to depict it in your style. Devlin Waugh has been depicted by many different artists so that wasn’t too difficult. I think the key was finding a setting and subject matter that was inspiring and made for an interesting composition. Japanese and samurai culture has always inspired me so it was a no-brainer to give the illustration that flavour.
BEX GLENDINING – SINISTER DEXTER (2000 AD Winter Special – 1995)
For my piece I was assigned Sinister Dexter, which I was familiar with before the project. My art director Olivia Hicks was wonderful to bounce ideas off of and such a help in getting the right vibe for Finny and Ray!
We wanted something gloomy and a bit messy without being too tacky. They’ve just gotten off of work after a job, a bit tired, a bit bloody and ready for a drink and a decent night’s sleep, even if that might be a bit difficult with the neon lights of the city.
VINCENZO RICCARDI – STORMING HEAVEN (2000 AD X-Mas Prog 2002 – 2001)
I had just completed a short story for the Black Beth and the Devil of Al-Kadesh one shot featuring Death Man when they asked me to do a piece for the 45 years of 2000 AD. So I was very excited to start working on another project but most of all, I felt honored to be featured in such an important book for such an important publisher.
I was asked to do a tribute piece for Storming Heaven. I think the main reason for that is because my art style has been often called ‘psychedelic’ and we thought it might work well in the depiction of psychedelic super heroes! So I haven’t really changed my style much from the previous story and I just decided to go full crazy and tried to nail the psychedelic mood for the piece. The art was done on paper and then, as I usually do, I worked the colors digitally. It sure was a fun piece to do!
RICHARD ELSON – KINGDOM (2000 AD X-mas Prof 2007 – 2006)
I contributed Gene the Hackman, from Kingdom. Gene’s the character that I have drawn most for 2000 AD over the years, so it seemed the natural one to ask me to do, I suppose.
It’s always a treat to get back to drawing Gene; I love collaborating with Dan [Abnett] on the series, but, with other commitments, it’s been quite a while since we’ve had chance to work on the character.
Brute power, violent aggression and ‘dogged’ determination are the key characteristics that I want to get across in any pic of Gene in action.
Starting out as a loyal servant to his human masters, but forced to confront their betrayal, Gene has evolved to become a Ronin-type character, creating his own path through a violent and chaotic planet that seems to be doing everything it can to kill him. I think he’s a great metaphor for the human condition.
SEAN PHILLIPS – LAWLESS (Megazine 350, 2014)
I must admit, I’ve never read Lawless, but had seen a few pages of Phil Winslade’s gorgeous artwork online. So I was more than happy to tackle the character when it was suggested to me for the 45th Anniversary book.
I’d drawn a sort of Western book, Pulp, a couple of years ago, so it was nice to get a chance to draw a similar landscape again. Rocks and desert make a change from the more urban landscapes I usually draw. My son Jake did a great colour job over my linework as usual.
Although I’d been drawing comics for almost ten years when I first worked for 2000 AD, it was where I had a chance to figure out the kind of artist I wanted to be, and it was a thrill to be involved in such a hotbed of talent.
JAMES HARREN – THE ORDER – (Prog 2015 – 2014)
And finally… James Harren contributes this version of The Order for the art book and sent across his preliminary sketches and inked version of his piece. But, just like everything else to do with the centuries-old secret organisation dedicated to fighting the fiendish extra-dimensional Wurms and stopping reality unraveling, James figured he’d keep things mysterious and send them along with no explanation!