No. 160 – Flood’s Thirteen

Flood’s Thirteen written by John Wagner and drawn by Henry Flint (colours by Chris Blythe) from Judge Dredd Megazine #237 (2005) vs. Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven (Warner Bros., 2001)

Jonny Flood’s hearing isn’t going well

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Ocean’s 11 (Warner Bros., 1960), upon which Soderbergh’s film is based, and despite a stellar cast including “Rat Pack” icons Frank Sinatra (1915–1998), Dean Martin (1917–1995) and  Sammy Davis Jr. (1925–1990), was a relative flop by comparison.

The line “Get Shorty” used by Jonny Flood in the Judge Dredd story refers to the Elmore Leonard (1925–2013) novel of the same name (Delacorte Press, 1990), set in Hollywood and filmed in 1995 as Get Shorty (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).

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No. 159 – Shane

Johnny Alpha in the Strontium Dog story Incident on Mayger Minor (progs 490 to 496 (1986)) written by Alan Grant and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra vs. George Stevens’ Shane (1953), title character played by Alan Ladd (1913–1964)

Scroggy Froggett, every bit as annoying as Joey Starrett

The theme of the mysterious, benevolent stranger haunted by a violent past who returns to their old ways to save a threatened community template has been employed by Hollywood on countless occasions since Shane, notably in Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider (Warner Bros., 1986), at the end of which Joey Starrett’s (Brandon De Wilde (1942–1972)) parting words to Shane are recited pretty much word-for-word by Megan Wheeler (Sydney Penny); and Logan (20th Century Fox, 2017) in which, at the end of the film, Shane’s farewell words to Joey are actually recited verbatim by Logan (Hugh Jackman).Home

No. 158 – The Angel Gang

Elder, Sylvus and Jimmy Hammond (right panel, top, left to right), and Henry Hammond with pet crow (right panel, bottom), images ©Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Angel Gang [– A Family Portrait futuregraph] from prog 196 (1981), created by John Wagner, pencilled by Mike McMahon and inked by Dave Gibbons vs. the Hammond brothers from Sam Peckinpah’s (1925–1984) Ride the High Country (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1962)

The villainous Hammond brothers correspond roughly to the following Angel Gang family members:

  • Elder Hammond (“the head of the clan”, played by John Anderson (1922 –1992)) to Pa Angel
  • Sylvus Hammond (L.Q. Jones) to Link Angel
  • Jimmy Hammond (“the baby of the family”, played by John Davis Chandler (1935–2010)) to Junior Angel
  • Henry Hammond (Warren Oates (1928–1982)) – who never bathes if he can help it, and has a pet crow that perches on his shoulder – to Fink Angel (and Ratty)

… and the main antagonist Billy Hammond (played by James Drury [not pictured]) to– well, there’s only Mean Machine Angel left, but you can’t win ’em all.

Keeping it in the family: Sylvus and Henry Hammond fixin’ on a weddin’ night rapin’ of their brother Billy’s new bride

Having detailed all that, Peckinpah’s works contain any number of similar bands of outlaws and miscreants, including the Shelton brothers (The Rifleman episode The Marshal (ABC, 1958)), the Gorch brothers, T.C. and Coffer (The Wild Bunch (Warner Bros./Seven Arts, 1969)), Taggart and Bowen (The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Warner Bros., 1970)), Hedden, Venner and Scutt (Straw Dogs (Cinerama Releasing Corporation/20th Century Fox, 1971)); all prowling Peckinpah’s magnificent landscapes in search of victims, and any one or more of the villains could have been the inspiration for the Angel Gang and members thereof, but at any rate the proverbial cap has clearly been tipped in Peckinpah’s direction, and the Hammond brothers are a very comfortable fit.

Preacher Quint

It should be mentioned that while there is some overlap between Pa Angel and the character of Preacher Quint (played by Donald Pleasence (1919–1995)) and his cut-throat family in Will Penny (Paramount Pictures, 1967), which was co-authored [uncredited] by Peckinpah, Pa Angel displays none of Quint’s religious zealotry, although he does indeed share Quint’s predilection for torture, particularly skinning his victims.

 

Special thanks to Paul McCollum on this one, and a zarjaz New Year to all!

No. 157 – Merry Christmas, Mr. Noel

Buddy Noel from Merry Christmas, Mr. Zombo in prog 2010’s (2009) Zombo written by Al Ewing and drawn by Henry Flint vs. Robbie Williams, English singer, songwriter and actor

Born Robert Peter Williams in 1974, Robbie Williams was a member of the pop group Take That from 1990 to 1995 and again from 2009 to 2012, as well as having his own hugely successful solo career.

Buddy introduces Billy, suffering from mutant face cancer and a severe allergic reaction to kelp

Williams is heavily involved in charity work, having set up local charity Give It Sum in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent, and organising Soccer Aid charity football matches to raise money for UNICEF UK. He has also been the Patron of the children’s charity the Donna Louise Trust, also based in Stoke-on-Trent, since 2002. The charity offers respite and palliative care to terminally ill and life-limited children who are not expected to live past the age of 16.

The title of Buddy Noel’s show, Buddy Noel’s Christmas Joyfest of Joy, is probably a reference to English television presenter Noel Edmonds’ now defunct BBC variety entertainment show Noel’s House Party, while the title of the Zombo story itself is an homage to Nagisa Ôshima’s (1932– 2013) Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Palace Pictures/Shochiku, 1983), starring David Bowie (1947–2016), Tom Conti (as Col. John Lawrence), Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Takeshi Kitano (better known for writing and directing The Blind Swordsman: Zatôichi [座頭市] (Shochiku/Office Kitano, 2003)).

No. 156 – Whaam!

Prog 400’s (1985) Stainless Steel Rat wraparound cover by Carlos Ezquerra vs. Roy Lichtenstein’s (1923–1997) pop art masterpiece Whaam! (1969, acrylic and oil on canvas)

Whaam! is based on an image by Irv Novick (1916–2004) from a story called Star Jockey appearing in All-American Men of War #89 (DC Comics, 1962). Throughout the 1960s Lichtenstein frequently drew on commercial art sources such as comic images or advertisements, presenting powerful, emotionally charged scenes in an impersonal manner, frequently depicting aerial combat between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Pop art’s visual aesthetic is still frequently utilised in modern advertising and editorial imagery, and was also originally intended – but overruled and abandoned before being employed – as the overall cover style for 2000 AD itself by creator Pat Mills, as a tongue-in-cheek statement about the paper quality used for the comic; and was subsequently employed on the cover of Mills’ autobiography Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! 2000 AD and Judge Dredd: The Secret History (Millsverse, 2017).

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No. 155 – Marilyn

Individually untitled images from Marilyn (1967) courtesy MoMA, ©Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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No. 154 – Naked Lunch

Prog 2056’s mugwump creatures from the Indigo Prime* story A Dying Art written by Kek-W (aka Nigel Long) and drawn by Lee Carter vs. mugwump creature designed by Carol Spier from David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch (1991)

Based on William S. Burroughs’ (1914–1997) non-linear narrative novel of the same name (Grove Press/Olympia Press, 1959), and considered Burroughs’ seminal work, the book was extremely controversial in its time and was banned in Boston and Los Angeles in the U.S., and several European publishers came under public fire.

Indigo Prime’s (which also features Burroughs himself as one of its protagonists) mugwumps not only resemble Cronenberg’s creature but also quite closely mimic the predatory, alien creatures of the novel, described by the narrator, William Lee: “On stools covered in white satin sit naked mugwumps sucking translucent, coloured syrup through alabaster straws,” […] “Mugwumps have no liver and nourish themselves exclusively on sweets. Thin, purple-blue lips cover a razor-sharp beak of black bone with which they frequently tear each other to shreds in fights over clients.”

The term originates from the native American Algonquian word mugquomp, facetiously meaning “important person, big shot” (from mugumquomp, “war leader”).

*Series created by John Smith

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