No. 225 – The Secret Diary of Adrian Cockroach

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ cover ©Methuen Publishing Ltd.

Robin Smith’s cover for the Judge Dredd story The Secret Diary of Adrian Cockroach, Aged 13½ Months, written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Cam Kennedy from prog 458 (1986) v The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ (1982) by Sue Townsend FRSL[1] (1946–2014)

The Adrian Mole books made Townsend the UK’s bestselling author in the 1980s, and inspired a BBC Radio 4 play, a television show (ITV, 1985–87), a West End theatre production (Wyndham’s Theatre, London, 1984–86) and a stage musical (Curve, Leicester, 2015; Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark, London, 2017; Ambassadors Theatre, London, 15 June–12 October 2019).

The sequels to the The Secret Diary are The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (Puffin Books/Methuen, 1984), The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend[2] (Methuen, 1989), Adrian Mole and the Small Amphibians [newts, of course] (Methuen, 1991), Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years [Adrian is 23¾] (Methuen, 1993), Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years [Adrian is 30] (Michael Joseph, 1999), Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction [Adrian is 33¾] (Michael Joseph, 2004) and Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years [Adrian is 39¼] (Michael Joseph, 2009).

Notes:

  1. Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (elected 1993)
  2. Yes, that is the actual title, including the author’s name

No. 207 – Mr. Brass & Mr. Bland

Mr. Morris “Morrie” Brass (left panel, right) and Mr. Bland (left panel, left) in their first appearance in prog 265’s (1982) Rogue Trooper story The Body Looters, written by Gerry Finley-Day and drawn by Cam Kennedy v Mr. Wint (right panel, left; played by Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (right panel, right; played by jazz musician Putter Smith in a rare acting role) from the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever[1] (1971)

In Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name[2] (Jonathan Cape, 1956), Wint and Kidd are members of The Spangled Mob, an American Mafia family based in Las Vegas. In the film, however, they appear to be henchmen for the villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Charles Grey (1928–2000)), head of international criminal organisation SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion).

Mr. Brass and Mr. Bland prepare for a performance

Although Mr. Brass and Mr. Bland are Nu-Earth hackers, scavengers and looters without scruple or allegiance, who’d rather avoid confrontation let alone indulge in outright assassination; their manner, comportment and banter can’t help but put us in mind of these eccentric Bond villains.

Notes:

  1. The seventh official James Bond film and Sean Connery’s sixth appearance as Bond
  2. The fourth Bond book

No. 134 – Rogue Trooper

Right panel: Pvt. Clarence Ware (W.I.A., Normandy) applies war paint to Pvt. Charles Plaudo, 5 June 1944

Rogue Trooper by Cam Kennedy for the cover of Rogue Trooper Book Two (Titan Books, 1986), written by Gerry Finley-Day vs. The Filthy Thirteen

Prog 228 (1981) by Dave Gibbons

The Filthy Thirteen was the name given to the 1st Demolition Section of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, or “Screaming Eagles”, of the US Army; a modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations.

During the Second World War it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord – the D-Day landings starting 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France – Operation Market Garden, the liberation of the Netherlands, and action during the Battle of the Bulge around the city of Bastogne, Belgium.

The war paint idea came from James Elbert “Jake” McNiece (1919–2013) – part Choctaw himself – to honour his Native American heritage and to energize the men for the danger ahead.

This particular photograph was the one of the inspirations for Rogue Trooper’s look, along with a photograph of the Rats of Tobruk [not necessarily this particular image], the name given to the Australian garrison that held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the German Afrika Corps during the Siege of Tobruk (1941) in the Second World War.

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No. 36 – La Placa Rifa

Anarchy in the U.K. image ©Universal Music/Parlophone

Prog 1293’s (2002) La Placa Rifa Judge Dredd cover by Simon DavisJamie Reid’s iconic 1976 décollage for the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the U.K. poster [not the single cover]

This particular piece by Reid is regarded as the pivotal work in establishing the visual aesthetic of punk.

La Placa Rifa translates roughly from Spanish as “the badge rules,” and originates in prog 718’s (1991) Judge Dredd story of the same name where Dredd, having vanquished several rumbling gangs, scrawls “LA PLACA RIFA” on a wall as a reminder to them. The phrase has since come to denote among fans those 2000 AD and Judge Dredd covers that feature the judge’s badge as their primary visual element.