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[1] 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[2] (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[3] (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.

Rodgers and Hammerstein also feature in HoH No. 172 – Play It Again, Sam Playlist.

Notes:

  1. Manufactured by British automotive marque Rover (1904–2005), currently owned by Jaguar Land Rover
  2. Despite having been born with no fingers on his left hand
  3. Itself a reference to The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Strahan & Cadell, 1776–1789), a six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon (1737–1794), and for several centuries the last word in Roman history

No. 168 – Throne of Guns

Throne of Guns from prog 2067’s (2018) A.B.C. Warriors’ story Fallout written by Pat Mills and drawn by Clint Langley v The Iron Throne from HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

Simonetti’s “correct” Iron Throne

The Iron Throne is the literal and figurative seat of power of the fictional monarchy of Westeros in the Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, upon which the kings [their hands*, and one queen**, Cersei Lannister (played by Lena Headey in the show)] of the Andals and the First Men sit, and is allegedly forged from 1,000† swords surrendered to Aegon Targaryen (aka Aegon the Conqueror) during the War of Conquest, and fused together by dragon’s fire.

Martin has rarely been satisfied with representations of the Iron Throne in books, games or even the wildly successful HBO TV series, and maintains that only its depiction by French concept artist/illustrator Marc Simonetti in the Song of Ice and Fire companion book The World of Ice and Fire (Bantam Books, 2014) is “absolutely right”.

*Closest appointed advisor, and in absentia, proxy to the ruling monarch
**Rhaenyra Targaryen also had a stint on the Iron Throne before being deposed and executed by her half-brother Aegon II, who then declared her brief and unpopular rule unofficial
†Actual number of the swords contained in structure is less than two hundred (Game of Thrones season 3, episode 6, The Climb)


No. 166 – The Meknificent Seven

Magnificent Seven British quad format poster ©United Artists

The A.B.C. Warriors [composed of Deadlock (top panel, top), and (top panel, left to right) Blackblood, Mongrol, Tubal Caine, Hammerstein, Joe Pineapples and Steelhorn], here depicted by Clint Langley from the story Fallout in prog 2061 (2017) v The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Designed to withstand atomic, bacterial and chemical warfare, the A.B.C. Warriors were built to take part in the Volgan War, which writer Pat Mills had described in several previous 2000 AD strips, including Invasion! and Ro-Busters.

Although at given points not limited to seven members, the primary characters include Mark III war droid leader Hammerstein, Khaos mystic Deadlock, marksman and former X-Terminator Joe Pineapples, the treacherous former Volgan war droid [General] Blackblood, the beast-like Mongrol, Happy Shrapnel (later known as Tubal Caine*) and Steelhorn/The Mess, an elite war droid reduced to a sentient, amoeboidal blob (later reconstituted).

The Magnificent Seven is based on Akira Kurosawa’s (1910–1998) classic Seven Samurai [七人の侍] (Toho, 1954), starring Takashi Shimura (1905–1982) and celebrated Japanese actor Toshirô Mifune (1920–1997).

*Referring to Tubal-cain [תּוּבַל קַיִן], a descendant of Cain mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, “forger of all instruments of bronze and iron” (Genesis 4:22)

Home

No. 150 – I’m Just a Sweet Transistor

Prog 787’s (1992) A.B.C. Warriors cover by Kevin Walker featuring Joe Pineapples v Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry in his film debut in the mother of all cult musicals, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The tag line “Just a Sweet Transistor..?” comes from the chorus of the song Sweet Transvestite (The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Original Soundtrack], Ode Records/Sony Music, 1975) by the original stage show’s author Richard O’Brien, who also plays handyman Riff Raff in the film:

I’m just a sweet transvestite
From Transexual, Transylvania

2000AD Megaverse on Facebook