On this day, 13 May 1978: 2000AD (Prog 64)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released in British cinemas in mid-March 1978, just a few months after Star Wars, and our revived fascination with visitors from beyond the stars appears to have been the inspiration for this UFO special issue of 2000AD. Following the terrific Kevin O’Neill cover, Tharg printed a series of readers’ sightings of alien life – there are some pretty convincing testimonies in there, it has to be said – and then the last instalment of M.A.C.H.1 (in a story called The Final Encounter), in which biotronic super agent John Probe gave his life to save an extra-terrestrial life form.
There are further thrills in this issue for Dan Dare, Death Planet and Inferno, and the fourth part of Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth, in which Dredd encounters flying rats in the township of Deliverance. But perhaps the most exciting page in this prog, and continuing the theme of visitations from space, is the advert for a brand new comic – the mighty Starlord. Last year I looked at the first issue of Starlord, also bearing today’s cover date, but I’ve since been lucky enough to pick up some lovely copies still bearing their free gifts. This Tank Commander badge is an object of beauty. The other badges given away carried the Star-trooper ranks of Pilot, Time Warden, Laser Specialist, Robot Regiment Mek War Controller and Skateboard Strike Force – which one were you?