No. 177 – Disco Fever

Prog 301’s Rogue Trooper cover for the story Fort Neuro (progs 291310 (1982–83)) written by Gerry Finley-Day and drawn by Brett Ewins (1955–2015) v John Badham’s Saturday Night Fever (1977) theatrical poster

Dancing queens Britt, Agnetha and Ingrid

Saturday Night Fever is based on an entirely fabricated article by British writer Nik Cohn published in New York magazine in 1976 entitled Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night. New to the United States and assigned to write about the disco lifestyle, the utterly bewildered Cohn invented the character of Tony Moreno (played by John Travolta in the film) who was based on an English mod acquaintance. Despite the subterfuge the film nonetheless significantly popularized disco music internationally and made Travolta a household name.

The film features music by British pop band the Bee Gees, formed in 1958, and their theme tune Stayin’ Alive became the title for Sylvester Stallone’s considerably less successful sequel in 1983.

Fort Neuro also gives a nod to Swedish pop sensation ABBA, formed in 1972, who dominated the pop charts until 1982.

ABBA (pictured here in 1978) members (left to right) Björn Ulvaeus with wife (m. 1971; div. 1980) Agnetha Fältskog, [Norwegian born] Anni-Frid Lyngstad with husband (m. 1978; div. 1981) Benny Andersson


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)

Home

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)

Home

No. 50 – Slave to the Rhythm

Prog 836’s Bad Company cover by Brett Ewins (1955–2015) v Jamaican-born Grace [Beverly] Jones’ OJ[1] 1985 album Slave to the Rhythm, designed by Jean-Paul Goude, Jones’ partner at that time

Her seventh studio album – considered a concept album by Jones and subtitled a biography in the liner notes – Slave to the Rhythm contains her biggest hit to date; the song itself and the album were written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn CBE[2] and produced by Horn.

Sounds like a stretch, if you’ll pardon the pun, but this is a real homage, the source of which is 2000 AD editor (progs 873914 (1994)) and writer Alan McKenzie’s blog.

Notes:

  1. Order of Jamaica
  2. British order of chivalry: Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire


2000AD Megaverse on Facebook