No. 183 – Sagrada Família

Halls of Justice on Deadworld from the Judge Dredd story Judge Death Lives (progs 224228 (1981)) written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Brian BollandSagrada Família basilica in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926)

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família [from the Catalan: “Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family”], a minor basilica* in the Catalan modernisme style combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms, has been officially under construction since 1882 [136 years, at time of entry post], with less than a quarter of the building having been completed by the time of the architect’s death in 1926. Completion of the structure is said to be expected mañana.

*Proclaimed a minor basilica – as distinct from a cathedral – by Pope Benedict XVI when he consectrated the building in 2010

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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. 151 – Manny Bloom

Rondo Hatton image [reversed] ©Universal Pictures

Laywer Manny Bloom from prog 52’s (1978) Judge Dreddstory The Face-Change Crimes written by John Wagner and drawn by Brian Bolland v the Creeper portrayed by Rondo Hatton (1894–1946) in Joan Medford Is Missing [originally entitled House of Horrors] (Universal Pictures, 1946)

Hatton suffered from acromegaly, a syndrome that results from the overproduction of growth hormone by the pituitary gland. The initial symptom is typically enlargement of the hands and feet, and sufferers may also develop enlargement of the forehead, jaw, and nose.

Two can play at that game – Bloom and Dredd face off

Hatton became something of a B-movie horror icon, and reprised his performance as the Creeper in The Brute Man (Universal Pictures, 1946); both films were released posthumously, Hatton having succumbed to his acromegalic condition.

*Technically speaking, this is the first depiction of Dredd’s face unobscured

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No. 126 – Mega-City One

Mega-City 1 futuregraph by Carlos Ezquerra (1947–2018) from prog 3 (1977) vs. Robert Crumb’s City of the Future from Zap Comix #0 (Apex Oddities, 1967)

As much an excuse to celebrate the mega-city* concept in Judge Dredd as an excuse to feature the work of Robert Crumb – and in no way casting aspersions on the originality of Señor Ezquerra’s conception** – we’ll quote John Newsinger, professor of history at Bath Spa University, UK, from his scholarly work The Dredd Phenomenon: Comics and Contemporary Society (Libertarian Education, 1999; p.17-18), on Dredd’s stomping ground:

“Crucial to the success of the Dredd strip is Mega City [sic] One, the vast, towering urban jungle where 800 million people are crowded in together. Here the problems of our own cities exist but in magnified, exaggerated form. There is 87 per cent unemployment, with most people never having had a job, and 95 per cent of the population live within mile-high tower blocks, each housing 60,000 people. The tedium of this life of claustrophobic boredom and idleness drives many people mad: citizens go “futsie”, attacking and killing innocent bystanders without reason or warning. Outbreaks of mass suicide are common enough to be known as “the Lemming Syndrome” (prog 445 [1985]). Wars between the great tower blocks are not uncommon with often thousands of casualties, and, on one occasion, there was even an attempt by one block, the Sonny Bono, to declare itself independent (prog 208 [1981]).”

And while we’re here: one of the earliest visions of a futuristic mega-city form Fritz Lang (1890–1976):

*Hyphenated, definitely hyphenated
**Mega-City One was initially intended to be a futuristic New York city

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No. 124 – I, Caligula

I, Claudius image ©BBC

Chief Judge “Cal” Caligula[1] by Brian Bolland from the Judge Dredd epic The Day the Law Died (progs 86108 (1978-79)), written by John Wagner v Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, aka Caligula (AD 12–41), Roman emperor (AD 37–41), specifically as he is portrayed by John Hurt (1940–2017) in the 1976 BBC television drama I, Claudius.[2]

Although the validity of the accounts is debatable (only two sketchy sources of Caligula’s life remain; and also the Roman custom was to equate bad government with sexual perversity), Caligula is reported to have turned his palace into a brothel, committed incest with and prostituted his three sisters, and planned or promised to make his favourite horse, Incitatus, a consul and actually appointed it a priest.

“Caligula”, meaning “Little Boots”, was a childhood nickname that stuck, and which he hated, and indeed in later life had put to death anyone foolish enough to be overheard using it. Unhappily, he wasn’t too fond of his given name of Gaius either.

Notes:

  1. Judge Caligula Book One (Titan Books, 1983)
  2. Ref: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Cal

No. 122 – More Cursed Earth Uncensored Villains & Victims

Prog 78’s epic Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth story Soul Food, illustrated by Brian Bolland, featuring Bibendum (“Michelin Man” in English) (highlighted, left panel, top left), Dr. Gribbon (highlighted, left panel, top right) and various unnamed parodies of corporate mascots of 1978, and duplicates thereof vs. (right panel, clockwise from top left) Bibendum® of Michelin, Colonel Saunders® of KFC (1978 logo), Freddy Fyffes® of Fyffes, Mr. Cube® of Tate & Lyle Sugars, Mr. Peanut® of Planters (formerly KP) Peanuts, and Speedy® of Alka-Seltzer (centre)

The Jolly Green Giant® [either Elmer or Abner in the Cursed Earth story] of Green Giant looms in the background, but we’ve dealt with him in HoH No. 64.

The two troublesome storylines in the Cursed Earth saga (progs 6185 (1978)) were Battle of the Burger Barons! in prog 71 and Burger Law! in prog 72 (together known as Burger Wars [HoH No. 63]), and Giants Aren’t Gentlemen! in prog 77 and Soul Food in prog 78 (together known as Soul Food) which wildly transgressed the copyright laws of the day and brought the wrath of several corporations down upon the publisher’s head, but have since, by a European Union directive, been repealed to allow for parody, and so may once again see the light of day in Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored (Rebellion, 2017).

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No. 101 – The Ides of May

Theresa May image ©European Pressphoto Agency

Chris Weston’s prog 2036 Judge Dredd cover featuring Judge Pin of the sinister SJS vs. UK Conservative Party politician Theresa May

Weston: “With my reference in hand, I then produced a prelim of Judge Pin in all her murderous glory. I ‘May’ have looked at some photos of a prominent politician for more inspiration… Possibly one known for making dramatic ‘cuts’ to the police force, who can say? We all know S.J.S stands for Strong, Just and Stable, right?”

The Special Judicial Squad, or SJS, first appeared in prog 86, drawn by Brian Bolland, but it was in prog 91 that Mike McMahon finalised the uniform design featuring the Gestapo-like skull badge and distinctive shoulder pad on which the wearer’s name is emblazoned.

Theresa May (MP for Maidenhead since 1997) has served as Prime Minister of the UK and Leader of the Conservative Party since July 2016.

Prog 2036 at 2000 AD Covers Uncovered

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