No. 147 – Damnation Alley

Brian Bolland’s cover for The Cursed Earth Part One (Titan Books, 1982) v Damnation Alley[1] (1977)

Based on the Roger Zelazny (1937–1995) novel2] of the same name (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1969; itself based on his novella of 1967), the plot of Damnation Alley follows convicted murderer Hell Tanner [ostensibly the inspiration for Spikes Harvey Rotten] on a suicide mission to deliver a plague vaccine, in exchange for a full pardon, from the police states of Los Angeles to Boston through Damnation Alley, a post-nuclear wasteland of violent, unpredictable weather that prevents air travel.

The Judge Dredd story included a toy tie-in with Matchbox (now owned by Mattel, Inc.) of their K-2001 Raider Command vehicle (1976), and the artists were given the toy as a model for the combined K-2001 Land Raider (front) and Killdozer[3] (rear) vehicles – so yes, the toy came first.

Notes:

  1. Poster art by by Paul Lehr (1930–1998)
  2. Kevin O’Neill has stated that The Cursed Earth epic (progs 6185 (1978)) was indeed inspired by Damnation Alley (interview, Death Ray #17, Blackfish Publishing, February/March 2009)
  3. Vicious Imagery: 28 Days of 2000 AD #24: Brian Bolland Pt. 1 (24 February 2007), interview by David Bishop

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3 thoughts on “No. 147 – Damnation Alley

  1. There was also a series called “Plague 2000” which ran in ‘The Crunch’ comic from issue 14 (April 1979). Not sure how long it lasted but it featured a group of soldiers having to deliver an antidote to a plague over land from Los Angeles to New York. Sounds familiar and it post dates the Cursed Earth but I haven’t re-read it so I don’t know if it owes more of a debt to Dredd or Damnation Alley. I do remember there being a biker gang in it though.

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  2. Well spotted, Alastair. I must admit that, until today, I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of a comic called The Crunch. Much of what appears here I’m actually learning on the fly. 🙂

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