This year’s 2000 AD Sci-FI Special gives us one thrilling Dreddworld tale across six stories. It’s an epic tale with a BIG bad… seriously, you can’t get much bigger!
So join us as we take a trip around the world of Dredd in stories featuring Judge Dredd, Judge Anderson, Cursed Earth Koburn, Chopper, Armitage, Devlin Waugh, and Judge Inaba!
It’s all masterminded by Michael Carroll and Maura McHugh, who put together the overarching storyline and collaborated on the final part. Maura McHugh also wrote the Judge Anderson chapter – we’ve already talked to her, Mike Carroll, and editor Matt Smith about the Sci-Fi Special, as well as others involved in the Special.
Here, Richard Bruton sits down with McHugh’s artistic collaborator on Anderson, Psi: All Will Be Judged – Anna Morozova, one of the new, young artists breaking through in 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine over recent years.
Anna, how was the experience of drawing one of Dreddworld’s iconic characters for you?
ANNA MOROZOVA: To me, it’s been truly fantastic! I must admit, it feels quite nice to join the ranks of those lucky art-droids trusted to interpret this legendary character. I only hope that I did Anderson in particular, and Psi-Division in general, justice with the way I visualised their appearances and skills.
When we last spoke, about Viva Forever, you talked of your style still evolving and that really shows up in this Anderson strip.
AM: Sure. I hope my style continues to evolve. It’s quite difficult for me to look at my own work from even a month ago – if it was me drawing the same thing now, in the present moment, it would already look different.
Although I guess it’s one of the most common complaints amongst those who draw for a living or even as a hobby: never happy, always evolving, sometimes drifting and trying new styles and techniques, but, (fingers and pencils crossed!) still evolving.
AM: As for the comparison between Viva and Psi-Division, I think the difference is also dictated by the pace and type of action in the strips. Viva Forever is grounded, physical, yet sharp and sleek whereas Psi-Division’s All Will Be Judged is more abstract, with psi-powers influencing the flow of what takes place in the strip, which in turn allows (if not even demands at times) me to be more fluent and experimental with brush strokes, for instance.
You mentioned being heavily influenced by European comics art, but I couldn’t help but see something of the older Brit girls’ comics coming through in your work here – and all those classic Brit and Spanish artists who worked on them.
AM: I hope you’re right. And if you’re right, I will certainly take that as a compliment because if I’m capable of channeling such an aesthetic, even slightly in my own storytelling work, then I must be doing something right!
I can see a wonderful litheness and flow to your art here, never shown more than a wonderful few panels on page two on the strip… where your artwork flows so smoothly, going from panel one to panel three using the device of transitioning from the wheel of Anderson‘s Lawmaster to her hair, whilst also then using Anderson’s profile to create an artificial panel border between panel two and three… here’s what I’m talking about…
AM: I tried to be a little bit more intuitive style-wise with All Will Be Judged. We are telling a story that very much relies on characters’ psychic abilities as well as the presence of paranormal, out-of-this-world entities… It would be almost unfair to cage it all up within standard framing!
Anderson and her fellow Psi-Judges are very much about ‘out of the box’ way of thinking, so why not use the original material as inspiration? You can’t lock them up in their own heads, never mind the page. Personally, speaking though, I’m a huge fan of structured storytelling and clear framing. Although when it comes to drawing comics myself, I somewhat tend to lean towards curious, natural panel-to-panel transitions and layouts. I now wish I had done a bit more of that on All Will Be Judged…
Obviously, this was a deliberate thing, but I wanted to just mention it, as it’s one of those really lovely things that leaped out from the page.
AM: This certainly encourages me to do more of that in the future! As long as it doesn’t get out of hand and my creative vision doesn’t interrupt clear storytelling.
Similarly, there’s a gorgeous flow and presence to the sequences of the trio of Judges (well, quartet I suppose, if we’re counting ghostly presences!) dealing with the threat of the big bad of the storyline.
AM: Taking my queue from Maura’s professional guidance in the script, it was a joy to illustrate the team in action. Again, I think there’s quite a generous potential for creative exploitation of page layouts and transitions between panels considering the type of characters we’re dealing with. The personalities and the dynamics within the group topped up by immense psychic abilities… definitely something to look into in the future (and I very much hope I will get a chance to!).
And then we have a more abstracted imagery in the astral plane scenes of Anderson facing off against Skehmet.
AM: Now that looked pretty organic in pencils! I love the depth and multilayer-ness achieved by pencil drawing. It’s a bit harder to achieve the same effects with inks (digital inks this time in my case), but I will keep trying and improving my skills on that front.
There’s so much strength and style involved all the way through the strip, giving us a really great looking Anderson and her team, showing us just how kick-ass MC-1’s leading Psi can be (and always has been.)
AM: I hope the readers will agree with you on that! On a serious note though, I know there’s a certain amount of debate regarding the looks of these legendary characters ageing in real time (Re-Juve, hello?).
My approach was to express characters’ experience and, yes, age, mainly through their eyes and expressions. Their physical appearance may vary depending on an artist’s interpretation, though what’s always important is to ensure that Anderson & Co. retain that unique depth of character that we’re all used to.
One last thing, what else do we have coming up from you, both in 2000/Megazine and elsewhere?
AM: A dark and chilling one-off from the masterful pen of John Tomlinson. I’m already past the pencils of the first page and let me tell you: I’m really going for this one! Also, in parallel to that, something immensely exciting for me to work on; illustrating a script by Alan Hebden for a new publication called Pandora!
Thank you to Anna for all of that… absolutely gorgeous work.
You can find the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special at your local newsagent, local comic shop, and, of course, at the 2000 AD web shop from 7 July.
For even more on the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special, you’ll be able to see more interviews over the coming week, plus we chat to Neil Roberts about putting together that great cover in this Covers Uncovered feature.
For more here at the 2000 AD site on Anna Morozova, be sure to have a look at the recent Viva Forever interview she gave us.
Now finally, Anna kindly sent over a large number of photos and scans of her pencil and inks process for this Anderson strip – and it would be criminal not to share them with you!