On this day, 11 April 1981 … There’s so much to say about this classic prog. Where to start? I’m just going to do a list – the Prog 207 Thrill-register:
Thrill One: A glorious 2000AD cover gorgeously realised by one of the true masters, Dave Gibbons. As well as being eye-seizing, this is everything that’s best about the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic: outrageous, dark, funny and intrinsically British.
Thrill Two: Thatch was a Squaxx Dek Thargo and The Mighty One was at her psychic beck and call! Surely, this is Tharg’s most shameful hour.
Thrill Three: Just one of the many, many things I have loved about 2000AD over the years is its willingness to publish letters from some of its less-happy readers among all the missives of praise in the Nerve Centre pages. The letter pictured below titled ‘Character Claim’, from Earthlet Laurence Alison, is a fun one to read, although Tharg’s reply is rather more gracious than one might expect from him in later years.
Thrill Four: Judge Dredd sees the second instalment of ‘Unamerican Graffiti’, the origin story for seminal Dreddworld character Chopper and for me one of the most memorable Dredd tales from this period. That opening panel of the scrawled White Cliffs of Dover is wonderful – for much the same reasons as this prog’s cover.
Thrills Five and Six: Jesus Redondo on Return to Armageddon and Massimo Belardinelli on Meltdown Man. Just look at that artwork. I mean, just look at it! And this was a kid’s comic. The time, the talent, the love and devotion that has been poured on to these pages (and I include Gibbons, Mike Dorey, Mike White and Ron Smith in this praise also) far exceeds what was really necessary, and I’m sure what these geniuses were recompensed for the astonishing work. We have been so lucky in this generation to have 2000AD and all it has spawned.