No. 202 – Ro-dgers and Hammerstein

Ro-Jaws [left panel, left; green] and Hammerstein [left panel, right; brown], created by Pat Mills and originally appearing in Starlord before its merger with 2000 AD in 1978, here drawn by Mike McMahon for the cover of prog 114’s (1979) Ro-Busters story The Fall and Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein (progs 103115) v Rodgers and Hammerstein, referring to [right panel, left] composer Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and [right panel, right] long-time collaborator, lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960)

Star Pin-up by Boo Cook

While many musicals of the time were whimsical or farcical, Rodgers and Hammerstein entirely re-worked the genre, producing musicals that contained thought-provoking plots and mature themes, including the Broadway smash hits Oklahoma! (1943), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music (1959).

“Knickers!” Star Pin-up by Kevin O’Neil

Ro-Jaws, a foul-mouthed, working class sewer droid with an irreverent attitude and Cockney patois, and the steadfast but obstinate war droid Hammerstein are two of the most treasured characters ever to trundle through 2000 AD‘s pages and still appear frequently in the comic today. It’s slightly surprising how few fans get the Rodgers and Hammerstein pun here, but in fairness comics fans are not generally renowned for attending musicals.

Side By Side, the song sung by Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein at the end of The Fall and Rise was composed by Harry M. Woods* (1896–1970) and most famously recorded by Kay Starr [Katherine Laverne Starks] (1922–2016) in 1953.

The title of the Ro-Busters tale is probably a nod to the classic British comedy The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (BBC1, 1976–1979), starring Leonard Rossiter (1926–1984), who also showed up – here’s the sci-fi connection – as Dr. Andrei Smyslov in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968). Yeah, now you see him.

*Despite having been born with no fingers on his left hand

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No. 201 – He Met the Moonmen

Space Adventures [sometimes cover-titled Science Fiction Space Adventures, and variations thereof for particular issues] was an American science-fiction anthology comic book series published sporadically 1952–1979 by Charlton Comics

Prog 627’s (1989) Tharg’s Future Shocks: [Unlikely Tales Presents:] He Met the Moonmen, written by Stewart Edwards and drawn by Paul Marshall v Steve Ditko (1927–2018), American comics artist and writer best known as the artist and co-creator, along with Stan Lee, of the Marvel Comics’ superheroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange

Ditko self-portrait, 1964

The Future Shock is primarily a tribute to Ditko’s work on the Atlas/Marvel Comics anthology titles Amazing Adventures (later repackaged as Amazing Adult Fantasy [“the magazine that respects your intelligence”]), Strange Tales, Strange Worlds, Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish.

Ditko appeared in public only rarely and generally declined interviews, explaining in 1969, “When I do a job, it’s not my personality that I’m offering the readers but my artwork. It’s not what I’m like that counts; it’s what I did and how well it was done. I produce a product, a comic art story. ‘Steve Ditko’ is the brand name.”*

In 2007 Jonathan Ross hosted a documentary for BBC Four titled In Search of Steve Ditko [YouTube link].

*So private was Ditko that, anticipating a frosty reception, he wasn’t contacted by those involved with the production of Doctor Strange (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2016)

No. 200 – Fame in the Fifth Dimension!

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Prog 2083’s (2018) time travel-themed Survival Geeks cover for the story Geek-Con (progs 20822086) written by Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby, and drawn by Neil Googe with colours by Gary Caldwell v…

Click on picture for larger image (opens in new browser tab)

… containing no less than 48* external [non-2000 AD] references (not including the twelve monkeys) and taking two weeks of Mr. Googe’s time to complete

We’ll start with the main Survival Geeks characters, indicated by numbered red dots, and from there work our way around in a roughly clockwise direction; Twelve Monkeys‘ Jeffrey Goines is indicated by a numbered magenta dot and eleven magenta circles for the monkeys (two monkeys are paired, and one is located extreme bottom left, almost out of frame); everyone else is numbered with maroon dots [blue hyperlinks notwithstanding – anyone not indicated, including the weird sheep-type thing and a couple of nicely designed alien cosplayers in the foreground, are red herrings]:

  1. Clive
  2. Sam
  3. Simon
  4. Rufus
  5. Cthulhu Howard
  6. Kevin
  7. Geek-Con Rufus cosplayers
  8. Geek-Con Clive cosplayer
  9. Barillion sphere planet alien from Galaxy Quest (DreamWorks Pictures, 1999)
  10. Tyrell Corp. uniform from Blade Runner (Warner Bros., 1982)**
  11. Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) from series four and five (2010–2013) of the current run of Doctor Who (BBC Cymru Wales, 2005– )
  12. Phil (Bill Murray) with The Groundhog [or “Punxsutawney Phil”] (played by “Scooter”) from Groundhog Day (Columbia Pictures, 1993)
  13. Kyle Broflovski (voiced by Matt Stone), Stan Marsh (voiced by Trey Parker) and Eric Cartman (voiced by Brandon Hardesty) from South Park [UK site link] (Viacom Media Networks/Debmar-Mercury/20th Television, 1997– )
  14. Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror (CBS Television Distribution, 1970)
  15. Spock (Leonard Nimoy (1931–2015)) from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror
  16. Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror
  17. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) from Back to the Future (Universal Pictures, 1985)
  18. Marvin [the paranoid android] (Warwick Davis, voiced by Alan Rickman (1946–2016)) from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Buena Vista Pictures, 2005)
  19. Frank [a “pooka,” by the way] (James Duval) and Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) from Donnie Darko (Pandora Cinema/Newmarket Films, 2001)
  20. Marvin [the paranoid android] (Stephen Moore, voiced by David Learner) from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, TV mini-series (BBC Two, 1981)
  21. Rick and Morty† (Cartoon Network/Warner Bros. Television, 2013– )
  22. Booster Gold (DC Comics)
  23. Austin Powers (Mike Myers) from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (New Line Cinema, 1997)
  24. Samurai Jack (voiced by Phil LaMarr) (Warner Bros. Television, 2001–2017)
  25. Kamelion (voiced by Gerald Flood (1927–1989)), Doctor Who companion
  26. Philip J. Fry (voiced by Billy West) from Futurama (20th Television, 1999–2013) [Bender (voiced by John DiMaggio) appears in the story in prog 2082]
  27. Turanga Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal) from Futurama
  28. K9 [or K-9], Doctor Who companion cosplayer
  29. Doctor Who cosplayer (based on Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor, 1974–1981)
  30. William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Orion Pictures/De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1989) [Grim Reaper (William Sadler) from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (Orion Pictures, 1991) appears in the story in prog 2082]
  31. Theodore “Ted” Logan (Keanu Reeves) from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  32. David Freeman (Joey Cramer) with “Puckmaren” alien from Flight of the Navigator (Buena Vista Pictures, 1986)
  33. Spock from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Paramount Pictures, 1986)
  34. Lt. Sulu (George Takei) from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  35. Timecop (Universal Pictures, 1994) TEC (Time Enforcement Commission) uniform
  36. Soviet Superman [or “Supermanski”] from Mark Millar’s non-canonical Superman: Red Son (Elseworlds, 2003)
  37. Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) from Monsters, Inc., (Pixar Animation Studios, 2001)
  38. Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan) from Primer (THINKFilm/IFC Films, 2004)
  39. Makoto Konno (voiced by Riisa Naka [Japanese], Emily Hirst [English]) from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [時をかける少女 Toki o kakeru shōjo] (Kadokawa Shoten, 2006)
  40. Gabe Law/Gabriel Yulaw/Lawless (Jet Li) from The One (Columbia Pictures, 2001)
  41. Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) from Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys (Universal Pictures, 1995) [and twelve monkeys (circled)]
  42. Ashley J. “Ash” Williams (Bruce Campbell) from Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz, 2015–2018), The Evil Dead franchise
  43. “Real life” Men in Black (Columbia Pictures, 1997) [image based on CCTV footage], conspiracy theory
  44. Lola (Franka Potente) from Lola rennt [English: Run Lola Run] (Prokino Filmverleih, 1998)
  45. Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2014) United Defence Force recruitment poster
  46. “Titor Time”, referring to supposed US military time traveller from the year 2036, John Titor, a hoax perpetrated in 2000–2001 by computer scientist John Rick Haber
  47. “Visit Taured,” a non-existent country where Andorra is located§
  48. Geek-Con characters
  49. The Time Tunnel (ABC, 1966–1967) Tic-Toc agency recruitment poster
  50. Steven, Geek-Con character
  51. Indred [sic] Cold (aka. The Grinning Man [voiced by Mark Pellington in The Mothman Prophesies (Screen Gems, 2002)]), along with Demo Hassan and Karl Ardo, originally from Visitors from Space: The Astonishing True Story of the Mothman Prophecies (Panther Books Ltd., 1975) by parapsychologist and Fortean author John Keel (1930–2009)ǁ
  52. Jase Darkmater, Geek-Con character
  53. Diana (Jane Badler) from V (NBC, 1984–1985) or the reimagined V (ABC, 2009–2011) mini-series
  54. Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, alien conspiracist
  55. Geek-Con character
  56. Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) from Quantum Leap (NBC, 1989–1993)
  57. Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (AVCO Embassy Pictures, 1981)
  58. Polly, a 2.75 m (9 ft) tall, “Blue Avian” extraterrestrial from the “blue sphere” – she wants our seed, apparently – conspiracy theory
  59. Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil again
  60. Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage Books, 2011) by E.L. James, combined with Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) (Universal Pictures, 2011)
  61. Inspector Qui (Geek-Con character), inspired by comedian/musician Bill Bailey’s Doctor Who parody “Doctor Qui” from his live show, Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra (2008–2009) at the Royal Albert Hall
  62. Countess Eternity, Geek-Con character
  63. Kevin (left) and [legs of] Overlord (right), Kevin’s alter-ego

Also referenced in Geek-Con, Doctor Who companions/associates (left to right) Leela (Louise Jameson), Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney (1929–2011)) and Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding)

*And there may well have been more, but copyright issues became a concern when it came to the branding of the Geeks‘ t-shirts on the cover, which were ultimately left blank – which also accounts for the distinct absence of Boba Fetts and bikini-clad Princess Leias usually to be seen at such events
**The Tyrell Corp. logo appears for only a few seconds in the film, emblazoned on Dr. Eldon Tyrell’s (Joe Turkel) dressing gown
†The characters Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith are based on Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly from Back to the Future, hence the bemused looks
Who was John Titor, the ‘time traveller’ who came from 2036 to warn us of a nuclear war? The Telegraph, 21 October 2015
§Based on unverified accounts of a well-dressed, bearded man arriving at Haneda Airport, Tokyo, in 1954, claiming citizenship of a country named “Taured”, and who supposedly vanished while under guard by Japanese immigration officials in an airport hotel, along with his Tauredian passport (containing multiple, official immigration stamps) and Tauredian driver’s licence, both of which disappeared from a security locker in Haneda Airport at the same time
ǁThe song titles Your Heart is Like a Broken Bridge and My Love is Like a River Full of Presents appearing on the poster refer to the collapse on 15 December, 1967, of the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to Gallapolis, Ohio, killing 46 people and linked in popular culture to sightings of the supernatural Mothman; and the allegedly shared, prescient dreams of local residents of Christmas presents floating down the Ohio River. The bridge collapsed due to a cracked eyebar in a suspension chain link (initially a defect of 2.5 mm (0.1”) aggravated by poor maintenance and overloading

  • Sincere thanks to Neil Googe for his cordial and patient assistance on this entry – visit his website, while we here at HoH contemplate early retirement.

Party Like It’s No. 199

Unnamed clone from Tyranny Rex‘s debut in prog 566 (1988) written by John Smith and drawn by Steve Dillon (1962–2016) v Prince [born Prince Rogers Nelson, aka. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, aka. Ƭ̵̬̊] (1958–2016), American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and filmmaker

“Everything’s purple…”

Also referenced by nameless closes in the Tyranny Rex story are at least two Elvis Presleys (1935–1977) – one of which croons Are You Lonesome Tonight? [written by Lou Handman (1894–1956) and Roy Turk (1892 –1934)] (RCA Records, 1960) – fused with a Michael Jackson (1958–2009) singing Beat It (Epic Records, 1982), Paul Rutherford, lead vocalist of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, singing The Power of Love (ZTT Records, 1984), Grace Jones singing Demolition Man [written by Sting (Gordon Sumner CBE*)] (Island Records, 1981), Bono [Paul Hewson, KBE OL**] of U2 singing With or Without You (Island Records, 1987), and sisters Melanie (1966–1990) and Kim Appleby of Mel and Kim singing Respectable [written by Stock/Aitken/Waterman†] (Supreme Records UK/Atlantic Records, 1987).

*British chivalric order: Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
**British chivalric order: Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; and Ordem da Liberdade [Order of Liberty] – Portuguese honourific civil order distinguishing services to the cause of democracy and freedom, in the defense of the values of civilisation and human dignity
†English songwriting and record producing trio Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman OBE, wrote and produced more than 100 UK top 40 hits from the mid-80s–early 90s, and are considered to be one of the most successful songwriting and producing partnerships of all time

No. 198 – Downlode To Go

Downlode* “gun sharks” (hitmen) Finnigan “Finny” Sinister (left panel, left) and Ramone “Ray” Dexter (left panel, right), together known as Sinister Dexter, created by Dan Abnett and David Millgate, here drawn by Simon Davis for the cover of prog 1061 (1997) v hitmen Vincent Vega (John Travolta, right panel, left) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson, right panel, right) from Quentin Tarantino’s classic Pulp Fiction (1994)

The fictional chain of Hawaiian-themed fast food restaurants, Big Kahuna Burger, is a running gag of sorts in Tarantino’s films, and has also cropped up in Reservoir Dogs (Miramax Films, 1992), Four Rooms [Tarantino’s segment, Penthouse – “The Man from Hollywood”] (Miramax Films, 1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (Miramax Films, 1996) and Death Proof (Dimension Films, 2007).

Similarly, Sinister Dexter stories enjoy satirising the fast food industry with restaurant chains named Pitta Party, Jacket And Thai, Pad Thai [pun slightly undermined by the current spelling of “phad thai” ผัดไทย], Meat Lolly, Tofu To U, Get Freaky Tzatziki, Steak Out, Dutch Oven, Harissa Explains It All [harissa: north African hot chilli pepper paste], Deli Belly, Bite Sighs, I Love Sushi, Chow Bella, Gobchutes [gob: Irish slang for “mouth”], Munchbox, The Snackers Yard, What Sup, Get Stuffed, The Gastronomicon, The Cake Hole**, Grill Power [presumably a pun on “thrill-power“], The Good Burgers of Calais, Intant Korma, the “Tec-Mex” chain Chicken Itza, and our personal favourite, Burger Me Senseless.†

*Fictional mega-city engulfing most of Europe; essentially a European Mega-City One, ranging at the very least – although the boundaries are never clearly delineated – from Spain to eastern Europe
**There are in fact two food industry-related Cake Holes in the UK: here and here
†It’s not so much that we didn’t get all of the slang terms or double entendres, it’s that we’re just not touching some of them

No. 197 – The Tell-Tale Heart

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! – tear up the planks! – here, here! – it is the beating of his hideous heart!” – Edgar Allen Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart

The Beating Heart (progs 511512 (1987)) Judge Dredd story written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Steve Dillon (1962–2016) v Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809–1849) short story The Tell-Tale Heart (The Pioneer, 1843), here illustrated* by Berni Wrightson (1948–2017) from The Edgar Allan Poe Portfolio (self-published limited edition, 1976)

As well as playing a crucial role in the development of Romanticism in the United States with his tales of mystery, troubled author and poet Poe is also considered to be the inventor of detective fiction, specifically with his short stories The Murders in the Rue Morgue (Graham’s Magazine, 1841), The Mystery of Marie Rogêt (Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion, 1842) and The Purloined Letter (The Gift for 1845, 1844)**, concerning the adventures of the extremely Sherlockian Parisian detective C. Auguste Dupin, as he relates them to his friend, the unnamed narrator of the stories. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle KStJ DL† (1859–1930) owed no small debt of gratitude.

*Experimenting with an impasto technique: painting with thick, broad strokes, using dark colours – primarily blacks and browns – and, when finished, varnished with a high gloss, making photographic reproduction extremely difficult, sorry
**The Gold Bug (Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, 1843) also deserves a mention on the subject of detective fiction, although it is not a C. August Dupin adventure
†Kinght of Justice of Order of Saint John; Deputy Lieutenant [to the Crown]

No. 196 – What’s Up, Woody Allen?

Woody Allen photo courtesy Woody Allen

Steve Dillon’s (1962–2016) Tyranny Rex* cover for the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1988 v American director, writer, actor, comedian, and musician Woody Allen**

What’s up, Tiger Lily?

Heywood Allen [born Allan Stewart Konigsberg] began his career in the 1950s as a comedy writer, subsequently moving to stand-up comedy† where he cultivated the insecure, intellectual, fretful persona which he maintains is quite different from his real-life personality. Allen graduated to filmmaking in the 1960s; the best-known of his over 50 films being Annie Hall (United Artists, 1977), Manhattan (United Artists, 1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (Orion Pictures, 1986), and Crimes and Misdemeanors (Orion Pictures, 1989), and comedy cult classics What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (American International Pictures, 1966), Bananas (United Artists, 1971), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (United Artists, 1972) and Sleeper (United Artists, 1973); although Allen personally rates Stardust Memories (United Artists, 1980), The Purple Rose of Cairo (Orion Pictures, 1985), and Match Point (Icon Productions, 2005) as his best works.

*Written by series’ creator John Smith
**The character in the story is an unnamed projection of Tyranny’s consciousness, rendering it an homage rather than a direct reference – hey, our blog, our rules
†Ranked fourth by Comedy Central on a 2004 list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, and third in a U.K. survey of [all-round] comedians (The Guardian, January 2, 2005) [after Peter Cook (1937–1995) and John Cleese]