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2000AD Covers Uncovered – Road Hog!

Mirror, signal, Cyclops Phylon TX Laser, maneouvre. Jake Lynch continues his love affair with the Lawmaster with this absolutely awesome cover for Prog 2043. Jake  is one of the goto droids for damn cool Dredd images and this cover certainly doesn’t disappoint! 

Jake was kind enough to send some process images, so buckle up and let’s go! Jake said “This cover continues my obsession with trying to work out how a Lawmaster works!” Below is Jake’s rough…

Dredd stopping on a ‘No Stopping’ sign. What? Are YOU gonna tell him?

Jake builds up the inks and adds some tone. Note the reverse Z design…

Dredd waits at the Drive-Thru Hottie House.

Jake begins to add colour…

The Enceladus cover variant. 

Here we have a look at some of the road signs, Jake does a great job of coming up with some very authentic looking ideas here…

The ‘Get in Lane’ sign is based on the Pedestrianisation system of Norwich.

And here’s the final image; Jake said “The difference between rough and final layout of signs was a case of keeping it readable.” Great job fella! 

Dredd swotting up on his Highway Code Test.

Simply awesome! Thank you so much to Jake or sending the images. Be sure to check out his fantastic print at the Vice Press Zarjaz Exhibition at The Gallery at Munro House in Leeds from 22nd September 2017. 

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2000AD Covers Uncovered – Pinterest!

Who judges the judges that judge the judges, eh? I don’t know but they ruddy well need to have a look at Judge Pin! This highly strung SJS judge is currently performing her role with just a little too much zeal, murderously judging those she feels don’t live up to the badge! Will pin be a thorn in Dredd’s side?

This fantastic new character has been brought to us by Rob Williams and phenomenal series artist, Chris Weston in the new Dredd thriller, The Fields.

I asked Chris to talk us through the creation of this terrifying cover, he said “Tharg provided the artistic brief: “Something quite sparse – a creepy, spot lit image of Pin holding a bloody knife in one hand, and a Judge’s helmet in the other. “

(Incidentally this marks my third 2000ad cover to feature a large figure-shot of a character with a knife: see also my Indigo Prime Ripper cover and Rogue Trooper cover from over twenty years ago. The trilogy is complete!)”

I’ve put together the blade trillogy below, it’s a nice representation of Chris’ artistic development. Those other two covers are 26 and 23 years old!

Knife to see you, to see you, knife!

Chris continues “The first thing to do was get my reference material, which meant my wife once again reluctantly posing for a photograph. But I think it’s great that Karen is gracing the cover of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic on the week of our 20th wedding anniversary! It seems appropriate!”

That time when Chris forgot his wedding anniversary…

Chris lets us know a little about the ‘inspiration’ for this nasty little character “With my reference in hand, I then produced a prelim of Judge Pin in all her murderous glory. I “May” have looked at some photos of a prominent politician for more inspiration…
Possibly one known for making dramatic “cuts” to the police force, who can say? We all know S.J.S stands for Strong, Just and Stable, right?” I don’t know what he’s talking about…  

Highly Strung and Unstable?

Next Chris looked at colour choices for the uniform; “I wasn’t entirely sure what colours the SJS ere sporting these days, so I provided Tharg with a couple off choices to pick from. I really liked the blue trim on the helmet, but that was too much of a departure from previous continuity. Soon after this, Dylan Teague, THE colourist had turned in his finished work, and I felt it was better to stick to the colours he chose. They were a combination of the two roughs I supplied anyway, so it was no hardship.”

I’m loving the blue, that’d look great in Brit-Cit…

The thin blue swine?

“You’ve got red on you…”

“With the rough approved by Tharg, I then proceeded to ink up a tighter version of the figure. These days I scan the art in full colour and don’t bother to bitmap or threshold the image because I like the paper textures and the brush-strokes to be visible on the printed page. It gives it a more organic hand-produced quality.”

“Pin pin!”

Next Chris begins to digitally colour the image “I then produced a layer made up of flat colours, which I use as way of selecting the desired areas I wish to colour. I actually quite like the look of this flat, coloured art. It looks like something out of a European comic book. One day I may just do a strip in this style.” Yes! Yes! Yes!

Chris is very talented in the art of flatulence

“Now I just began the process of modelling the figure in Photoshop; building up the colours to produce shade or subtracting them to make highlights.”

Pin prick?

Until finally the image is complete “Eventually, I look up at my clock and realise I’ve spent far too long on the job, and for the sake of my own bank balance, I should knock it on the head and move on to the next assignment!”

She has such pleasures to show you.

Phew! There we have it, one of the most sinister covers to feature on the Prog for a long time! Huge, huge thanks to Chris (and poor Karen!) for the images and excellent commentary, both social and artistic! 

Chris is truly one of the 2000AD greats and it’s always an event when he appears in and on the Prog. I’m very excited (and a little bit scared) to find out more about Judge Pin, how will she feature in Dredd’s future?

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Kroom Harvee!

Who judges the judges? Prog 2027 sees Judge Dredd give his final assessment of Harvey, one of the fearsome, more advanced Mark 8 Mechanismo Units. These new and improved versions of the Justice Department lawbots are no less deadly, yet more empathic versions of the Mechanismo droids we’ve seen before. Has Tek Division got it right this time?

Tharg asked exceptional artist Matt Ferguson to provide one of his trademark ubercool covers for the series and, of course, Matt didn’t disappoint!

Below we see Matt’s rough sketches for the image. In a nod to his sold out Vice Press Block War print and his seminal Prog 1984 cover (a few prints of these are still available over at Vice Press,) we see the law machine against a glorious, ad-free moon! 

Below are Matt’s initial sketches…

Drokking Hedgehogs!

Harvey’s back seat driver didn’t last very long.

The chosen idea is refined for maximum coolness…

“No tailgating Creep!”

With the composition sorted, work begins on Harvey…

Bike-cop-on-it Exploder (sorry.)

Harvey REALLY starts taking shape – terrifying!

Ugh! He’s got oil patches under his armpits!

Next the background elements are added. Squaxx will recognise at least one of those names, that of the magnificent Mr Chris Weston who gave Matt some feedback on the buildings and general thoughts on composition. Matt modestly said “It’s always good to get feedback from people, they always spot stuff I can do better!” 

The other block name is that of fellow artist Mark Englert, whose exceptional Taco Belvedere blog is well worth a few hours of your time! 

Will Dredd keep death off the roads?

 And with that, this astounding cover is finished. Huge, huge thanks to Matt for sending the impossibly cool images. Please check out his awesome website at http://www.cakesandcomics.com/ 

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – “Could You Art The Fans, Please!?!”

Welcome to 2000 AD Covers Uncovered, where this week we offer you a double whammy from fan favourite Ryan Brown! Ryan has delivered two covers to the Nerve Centre recently, Prog 2018’s ‘The Order’ cover and the prestigious cover of Prog 2020, Judge Dredd’s 40th birthday Prog!

I asked Ryan to tell us about his recent covers, starting with his terrifying Order cover of Prog 2018. Ryan said “Heres the rough for ‘The Order’ cover, I wanted to have a war of the worlds style image , a little B-movie looking, it is a giant worm after all!” 

The Judge Dredd Blobs/Order crossover cover

Ryan’s zarjaz digital art has, quite rightly, been blowing fans away for some time now. As a long time 2000 AD fan himself, Ryan is aware of the thrill of appearing in the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic and is keen to bestow this honour on fellow Squaxx. Like a modern day Santa Claus, Ryan put two of his friends into the painting. He said “Here’s some reference of two of my friends I used for the fleeing victims. They are called Laurence and Mark and are two massive 2000 AD fans!”

Mark and Laurence before being eaten by a giant beastie! 

So below you can see Laurence and Mark being rewarded for their years of devotion by being murdered by a giant, mutant Wyrm. Oh Ryan, you’re so nice! 

“Whisht lads, had ye gobs ah’ll tell ye’s all an awful story…”

Ryan also painted the cover of Prog 2020, the 40th Anniversary of the first Judge Dredd thrill! The cover is for new Dredd tale “Thick Skin,” which finds MegaCity One’s premier lawman investigating a strange case of melting celebrities!

Ryan said “Tharg wanted me to do a cover where Dredd was surrounded by people with melting skin, but they couldn’t be scary 🙁 So i gave them strange melted noses which gives them more of a silly look I think! I did’nt want Dredd looking threatening,  just a bit agitated. Here’s the rough…”

The Planet Replicas ‘Hands on the Judge Costume’ competition entered it’s third week… 

Again, Ryan used a fan for reference for the picture, he said “I’ve included an image from a Dredd cosplayer I found on the web. I liked his pose so wanted to do something similar.”

The Butler is it!

With a bit of detective work, I managed to find out that the cosplayer is none other than Dredd fan, Jared Butler, aka Max Replica! Not only is Jared the body of Dredd in this recent cover, he acually provided the VOICE of the lawman for the awesome Judge Minty fan film! Jared is a professional voice over artist, notably being the ‘voice double’ for Johnny Depp in several official Pirates of the Caribbean projects and other Depp vehicles. Jared was thrilled to be used on the cover, he said “That is so cool! The photo was snapped when I was walking back to my hotel room from San Diego Comic Con. You can see my bag in my hnd, it’s like Dredd just finished his shopping!”    

Jared sent a more official photo, which I am thrilled to share below…

“Drokkin’ weather control is on the fritz again!”

You can read a great interview with Jared on his experience recording the voice of Dredd over on the excellent Judge Tutor Semple blog. 

Finally, Ryan found another reference that he couldn’t resist using. He said “I also found an image of a melting womans face which I liked 🙂 he he he!” Let’s hope the police never have a reason to check Ryan’s internet history, he’ll have a lot of explaining to do!

“Plastic surgery? Moi? I don’t know what you mean dahling!”

And here’s the finished cover, awesome!

The more attractive attendees of the 40th Anniversary Celebration. 

Massive thanks to Ryan for sending the images. Be sure to check out Ryan’s website to see lots more amazing 2000 AD related images!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Dreddian Rip!

Tsk – quite literally 2000 AD Covers Uncovered as Jake Lynch has Dredd destroying the cover of Prog 2017, for shame!!! The Lynch droid was firing on all cylenders as he gave us this arresting cover and has kindly provided us with a sequence of images to show how this cover, quite literally, came to life. Below we see Jake’s thumbnail sketches, nice and loose and full of raw Thrillpower…

Jake ponders the correct approach for bursting through paper…

With the general pose decided, Jake goes on to produce his rough, using the 2000 AD cover template as his trusty guide…

“Cover me!”

General layout in place, it’s time for those gritty inks…

Rip Torn?

Next tone and lighting is added. Either that or Jake spilt his milk on the picture…

Dredd the Ripper!

Jake then uses his digital crayons to colour the image.

Drokk, Paper, Sizzles!

And finally, the special effects are added to make Dredd rip out of the Prog! Please note, Tharg does not take kindly to Prog rippage of any kind! Any perpetrators will find themselves on the painful end of a Rigellion Hotshot! 

No Progs were harmed during the making of this cover.

Huuuuge thanks to Jake for sending the zarjaz images! You can see a video of how Jake begins putting a page together on 2000AD’s excellent ‘From the Drawing Board’ series on YouTube – enjoy! 

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Rushing Paradox!

Prog 2016 saw the introduction of a fascinating new character in Dredd’s world, the super speedy, super resourceful mutant Paradox Vega. It was obvious that in the recent Dredd arc ‘Deep in the Heart’ that Dredd and Paradox have previous, but writer Mike Carroll isn’t ready to tell us how they met just yet…

Who better to bring Dredd’s capture of Paradox to life than fan favourite cover droid Alex Ronald? Alex, who was trying out a new, looser style, was instructed to call upon Robin Smith’s iconic cover of Prog 495 for reference…

“Oh no you don’t!”

 Alex said “Since the summer last year I’d been trying to change my style a bit starting with a couple of covers I did for the Walter Hill crime book Trigger Man…

Water way to go.

“Hey Love, I finished work earl…”

Alex continues, “I’ve been keeping it a bit more loose than usual and leaving in pencil lines, etc.” Below we see Alex’s gorgeous roughs which have almost as much energy as Paradox herself!

If you have to get shot, you should get shot by the best!

As soon as I saw this cover, I thought the Ronald droid’s software had been given the MacNeil92.exe patch, to channel the painterly style of Colin MacNeil. Alex said “When I did this Dredd cover I tried out painting it with a colour palette along the lines of Colin MacNeil circa early 90’s Mechanismo era. This was to help me get a more painterly feel and bring up my colours to a more vibrant level than the usual dark blue tones I’ve used in the past…” Mission accomplished Alex, it’s glorious!

“Stop or I fire, Crazylegs!”

Alex was also kind enough to send his roughs and finished version of his recent Anderson cover of Megazine 379. Thrill buffers at maximum Earthlets!

She looks ready…

Psi-Ex!

Huge thanks to Alex for sending the covers, we can’t wait to see his next one! Be sure to check out Alex’s amazing blog here for more eyepopping artwork! 

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2000AD Covers Uncovered – Manhunt?

Long time readers of the good old 2000AD Covers Uncovered Blog will know that Neil Roberts, cover artist of Prog 1991, has been a long time contributor and friend of the site. Easily one of Tharg’s more aesthetically pleasing models, the Roberts droid is famed for going to great lengths to actually pose for his covers before undertaking them, often with hilarious results! Follow the link to see some examples of his earlier modelling work!

It’s ironic that the master of disguise Roberts droid was chosen for this cover as it launches the brand new Judge Dredd thriller ‘Ladykiller’, featuring the notorious, chameleon-like PJ Maybe! Neil said “This one was very straightforward I’m afraid! No selfies or anything like that!” (Drat! – Pete) “The brief was to have Dredd roaring down the road with H-Wagons and more in support…”

Neil is a past master at rendering the Lawmaster, providing stunning covers for Mongoose Publishing and, of course, Prog 1659, both shown below…

The Iso-Block 666 day release to the model village was always popular…

Ohhh, it’ll be nightmare to get those stains out!

Neil continues “I sent a thumbnail to Tharg for approval, he liked it and I painted it from there! Here’s the thumbnail sketch...”

As you can see, those big wobbly things go past the green stuff with the big blobby things in the sky. A solid concept…

Neil continues “The colour scheme was based on a classic 2000AD Monthly cover from way back (black sky, white road, green buildings – real 4 colour process stuff…”

“Last one to the Grand Hall is a Rookie!”

That four colour scheme will have most likely have been painted by 2000AD legend Tom Frame who, as well as lettering a huge number of 2000AD strips, coloured many classic covers of yesteryear. Check out Steve Cook’s excellent Secret Oranges blog to see more of Tom’s handy work. Also, here are the inks of this classic cover…

“Jovus! It was only an overdue library slug!”

Neil continues “Here is the finished piece as sent to Tharg for his droids to work their magic on…”

The re-vamp of Top Gear contained even less humour than it’s 21st century forerunner…

So there you have it, the making of this modern classic. Will Dredd get his er… man? If so, what will be the cost to the city? Find out in the Galaxy’s greatest!

Huge thanks to Neil for once again providing some excellent images and commentary!

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The Cursed Earth Uncensored special edition!

The special limited edition of Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored is now available to pre-order exclusively from 2000ADonline.com!

With the ‘banned’ episodes – ‘Burger Wars’ and ‘Soul Food’ – and colour spreads restored, this hardcover edition has only been made possivle following recent changes in UK law governing parody, meaning The Cursed Earth will be reprinted its entirety for the very first time this July.

This special edition will include a numbered bookplate, affixed inside the book, signed by Chris Lowder (aka ‘Soul Food’ writer Jack Adrian) plus other creators to be confirmed.

Also, supplied separately with each order will be one of 250 limited edition A3 posters of the ‘Burger Wars’ double page spread by artist Mike McMahon. This high resolution scan of the original black-and-white artwork will be delivered rolled, rather than folded, and is exclusive to the 2000 AD webshop!

Pre-order now!

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Can you help find The Missing Daily Dredds?

Can you help track down two missing episodes for the next collection of The Daily Dredds?

Thanks to dedicated fans, last year missing episodes of the long-running Judge Dredd stories from The Daily Star newspaper were unearthed so that they could be included in The Daily Dredds Volume 1, making it the first ever truly complete collection of these fascinating and entertaining strips.

2000 AD‘s reprographics droids are now busy working on a second volume of The Daily Dredds – and they once again need the help of fans to track down two missing episodes from a later story.

The Sheriff of Festering Hole ran for 57 episodes (numbered from #1373 to #1429) in the Daily Star from 30th July 1990 to 3rd October 1990, written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, with art by Mike Collins.

However, so far they have been unable to find good copies of the episodes numbered #1415 and #1416.

Any Earthlets who have access to either scans or good/excellent physical copies of these two missing episodes should contact 2000 AD by e-mailing press@rebellion.co.uk

The Daily Star strip, which ran for around 2,980 episodes from 1981 until 1998, went further than merely compressing existing stories from the weekly anthology comic – it was responsible for fleshing out many of the aspects of Dredd’s world mentioned in 2000 AD.  It was written by co-creator John Wagner and writing partner Alan Grant, while fan favourite artist Ron Smith produced the vast bulk of the strip, though later contributors included Ian Gibson, Barry Kitson, Steve Dillon, and Mike Collins.

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Pre-order ‘The Cursed Earth Uncensored’ now!

For the very first time the ‘banned’ episodes of Judge Dredd from the late 1970s are to be reprinted – and you can now pre-order the collection from the 2000 AD shop!

Published in 2000 AD in 1978, The Cursed Earth was the first great Judge Dreddepic, but the story ran into trouble when two episodes – ‘Burger Wars’ and ‘Soul Food’ – featured parodies of Burger King, Ronald McDonald, the Jolly Green Giant, the Michelin Man, and a number of other prominent corporate characters in a raucous and shameless satire of American consumer culture. After concerns of legal action at the time the then publisher IPC decided all subsequent collections of this classic strip would omit the satirical stories.

Now, following recent changes in UK law governing parody, Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored will reprint the story in its entirety for the first time this July – a hardback edition full of sparkling action-packed parody from Pat Mills and John Wagner, complete with restored sumptuous colour spreads from Brian Bolland and Mick McMahon!

The most-requested reprint in 2000 AD history, The Cursed Earth saw Judge Dredd travel into the irradiated wastelands of middle America to deliver a vaccine to Mega-City Two on the West Coast, encountering a bizarre world of dinosaurs, murderous mutants, aliens, and deadly terrain in an insanely imaginative rollercoaster ride through the twisted landscape of American culture.

In ‘Burger Wars’, after World War III self-styled ‘burger barons’ had taken control of whole areas of middle America and were worshipped with religious zeal. Dredd and his comrades are captured and forced to consume burgers and shakes, only escaping thanks to the guards being fat and lazy due to too much fast food. They are then captured by the rival side and placed on trial for eating “the wrong kind” of burger.

In ‘Soul Food’, on their way through the Great Utah Dustbowl Dredd encounters the copyright infringing creations of Dr. Moreau-like scientist Dr Gribbons – including a Jolly Green Giant, a Michelin Man, and others – who drugs Dredd’s team in order to remove fluid from their nervous systems to keep his creations alive.

Comics Alliance recently featured some of the restored art from The Cursed Earth while you can get up close and personal with some of the original art from the series over the 2000 AD Tumblr, courtesy of generous Earthlet Mark Perry.