No. 176 – Klegg-Hai!

Doctor Poo ©Time Inc. UK[1]

Kleggs, here pictured on prog 98’s (1979) Brian Bolland cover for Judge Dredd: The Day the Law Died (progs 89108 (1978–79)), written by John Wagner v Zarkons from Monster Fun #39’s (6 March, 1976) Doctor Poo[2] [character pictured right panel, bottom] created by Leo Baxendale[3] (1930–2017)

Judge Caligula Book Two

Ranked among the most memorable villains in the Judge Dredd universe, the Kleggs are an extraterrestrial, feudal race of reptilian mercenaries hired by the tyrannical Chief Judge Caligula to quash a rebellion in Mega-City One led by Dredd. Perhaps also with a nod to the warlike Klingons (also known to consume human flesh on occasion) of Gene Roddenberry’s (1921–1991) Star Trek universe, Kleggs demand payment in meat and hunt down quarry with Klegg-hounds – dog-like creatures with crocodilian heads – usually while chanting catchy, improvised war songs such as, “Slicey-dicey, oncey-twicey, claw and fang’ll kill Dredd nicely! Meaty-beaty, chop ’em neatly, death or glory – no retreatee!”[4] generally followed by their war cry: “Klegg-Hai!”

Judge Cal also features in HoH here.

Notes:

  1. Formerly IPC Media
  2. Ostensibly based on the fourth incarnation of the Doctor played by British actor Tom Baker (1974–1981) in the science fiction series Doctor Who (BBC, 1963– )
  3. Thanks to David Moloney of the Great News For All Readers! blog, and Lew Stringer of Blimey! The Blog of British Comics! – unfortunately none of us could confirm the artist on this strip, but the collective best guess is Mike Brown mimicking Baxendale’s style – of this our experts are sure: it wasn’t Baxendale himself
  4. Bearing a curious resemblance in meter to the novelty song Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini written by Paul Vance and Lee Pokriss (1924–2011) and released by Bryan Hyland in 1960 (Leader/Kapp Records)

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No. 175 – Lord Humungus

Lord Humungus image ©Warner Bros.

Prog 1975’s (2016) Judge Dredd cover by Brendan McCarthy for the story The Grindstone Cowboys* (progs 19731977, written by Michael Carroll and drawn by Colin McNeil, colours by Len O’Grady), featuring “giant mutie” v Humungus played by Swedish actor Kjell Nilsson in Mad Max 2 [aka The Road Warrior] (1981)

Derek Mears as Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th (2009)

Also rather long-windedly referred to as the Lord Humungus, Warrior of the Wasteland, Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla, it was posited in a 1985 essay by film critic Danny Peary that writer/director George Miller envisioned the character as “a former military officer who suffered severe facial burns,” and who “might have served in the same outfit as his counterpart, Pappagallo [idealistic leader of the settlers barricaded in the oil refinery].”**

Personally, we feel this could be a toss-up between Humungus and Jason Vorhees from the hugely successful Friday the 13th horror film franchise, but it weighs heavily in Humungus’ favour as cover artist McCarthy himself worked as a concept artist [and holds a writing credit] on Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures, 2015).

*The title of the Dredd story is a nod to the American country music song Rhinestone Cowboy (Capitol Records, 1975), written by Larry Weiss and most famously recorded by singer Glen Campbell (1936–2017)
**The Filmist (19 Sep. 2009)

No. 161 – The First Casualty of Future War

Bad Company, here pictured on prog 1960’s (2015) cover by Brendan McCarthyDarkie’s Mob from Battle Picture Weekly, cover (18 June 1977) by Joe Colquhoun (1926–1987)

Prog 512’s Jim McCarthy cover – a film reference? Let us know!

Long-time 2000 AD writers John Wagner and Alan Grant had initially intended the strip to be a Judge Dredd spin-off featuring a corrupt judge who had been exiled to Saturn’s moon, Titan, and based on the Darkie’s Mob strip from the now-defunct Battle Picture Weekly comic, before handing the strip over to writer Peter Milligan and artists Brett Ewins (1955–2015) and Jim McCarthy. According to Colonel Marbles’ Battle fan site page on Darkie’s Mob, Peter Milligan and Brett Ewins have acknowledged Darkie’s Mob as the basis for the strip, which saw Burma [Myanmar] replaced by planet Ararat* in the sci-fi version, diarist Richard Shortland replaced by Danny Franks, and Darkie himself replaced by company leader Kano; the Japanese were ostensibly replaced by the Krool.

“The horror… the horror…”

The Frankenstein’s monster-like Kano with his half-Krool transplant brain is modelled on Marlon Brando’s (1924–2004) portrayal of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece set during the Vietnam War (1955–1975), Apocalypse Now (United Artists, 1979), itself based on Polish-British author Joseph Conrad’s (1857–1924) Heart of Darkness (Blackwood’s Magazine, 1899 serial; 1902 book), whose antagonist, the charismatic but increasingly isolated and unstable ivory trader Mr. Kurtz, is himself thought to be based on Belgian soldier and colonial official Léon Auguste Théophile Rom (1859–1924), who became prominent in the administration of the État indépendant du Congo [the so-called Congo Free State; modern Democratic Republic of Congo; formerly Zaire] during Belgium’s brutal occupation of the territory in the late 19th century under Leopold II (1835–1909).

Speculation on whether diarist Danny Franks’ name is a nod to diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank (1929–1945) is yet to be resolved. In the interests of good taste, here’s hoping it isn’t.

*Presumably named for Mount Ararat [formerly Mount Masis] in eastern Turkey, where Christian tradition holds that Noah’s Ark came to rest after the great flood (Genesis 8:4)

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