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)


No. 160 – Flood’s Thirteen

Flood’s Thirteen written by John Wagner and drawn by Henry Flint (colours by Chris Blythe) from Judge Dredd Megazine #237 (2005) v Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven (Warner Bros., 2001)

Jonny Flood’s hearing isn’t going well

Ocean’s 11 (Warner Bros., 1960), upon which Soderbergh’s film is based, and despite a stellar cast including “Rat Pack” icons Frank Sinatra (1915–1998), Dean Martin (1917–1995) and  Sammy Davis Jr. (1925–1990), was a relative flop by comparison.

The line “Get Shorty” used by Jonny Flood in the Judge Dredd story refers to the Elmore Leonard (1925–2013) novel of the same name (Delacorte Press, 1990), set in Hollywood and filmed in 1995 as Get Shorty (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).

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No. 157 – Merry Christmas, Mr. Noel

Buddy Noel from Merry Christmas, Mr. Zombo in prog 2010’s (2009) Zombo written by Al Ewing and drawn by Henry Flint v Robbie Williams, English singer, songwriter and actor

Born Robert Peter Williams in 1974, Robbie Williams was a member of the pop group Take That from 1990 to 1995 and again from 2009 to 2012, as well as having his own hugely successful solo career.

Buddy introduces Billy, suffering from mutant face cancer and a severe allergic reaction to kelp

Williams is heavily involved in charity work, having set up local charity Give It Sum in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent, and organising Soccer Aid charity football matches to raise money for UNICEF UK. He has also been the Patron of the children’s charity the Donna Louise Trust, also based in Stoke-on-Trent, since 2002. The charity offers respite and palliative care to terminally ill and life-limited children who are not expected to live past the age of 16.

The title of Buddy Noel’s show, Buddy Noel’s Christmas Joyfest of Joy, is probably a reference to English television presenter Noel Edmonds’ now defunct BBC variety entertainment show Noel’s House Party, while the title of the Zombo story itself is an homage to Nagisa Ôshima’s (1932– 2013) Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Palace Pictures/Shochiku, 1983), starring David Bowie (1947–2016), Tom Conti (as Col. John Lawrence), Ryuichi Sakamoto, and [“Beat”] Takeshi Kitano (better known for writing, directing and starring in The Blind Swordsman: Zatôichi [座頭市] (Shochiku/Office Kitano, 2003)).

No. 70 – Pulp Sci-fi

Prog 1096’s Pulp Sci-Fi cover by Henry Flint v iconic theatrical poster for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994)

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No. 51 – When Calls Gluetanic!

Gluetanic by Henry Flint from [Tharg’s] Future Shocks: It’s a Dog Eat Dog Universe! from the 2000 AD FCBD 2014 issue vs. Galactus by Jack Kirby (1917–1994) [pencils] (Super-Villain Classics Vol 1 #1, May, 1983)

Created by writer-editor Stan Lee (1922–2018) and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, Galactus debuted in Marvel Comics’ The Fantastic Four #48 in March 1966

[Apologies for the poor resolution; this was discovered while browsing in Oxfam and photographed using a mobile phone]

Galactus has also been referenced in progs 858 and 1144.


No. 48 – Big in Japan

Prog 1752’s (2011) Low Life[1] cover [from an idea by Matt Smith] featuring Dirty Frank by D’Israeli[2] v Musashi Gorô Sadayo Dies in Battle at the Age of Fifteen [前太平記辛島合戦 武蔵五郎貞世討死図] [detail] by Katsushika Hokusai [葛飾北斎] (1760–1849)

15 year-old 10th century samurai Musashi Gorō Sadayo died battling imperial troops at the Battle of Karashima [not the Battle of Mt. Shimahiro, where the remainder of the rebellion was put down] after is lord, Taira no Masakado (†940), proclaimed himself the new emperor of Japan in 939.

Ukiyo-e [浮世絵, “pictures of the floating world”] woodblock prints and paintings flourished in Japan in the 17th–19th centuries. “Big in Japan” is an expression originating in the 1970s used to describe western based musical groups who achieve success in Japan but not necessarily in other parts of the world.

D’israeli’s own detailed account of this cover’s creation appears on his excellent blog here.


  1. Series created by Rob Williams and Henry Flint
  2. Matt Brooker, aka D’Israeli D’Emon D’Raughtsman

No. 35 – Renaissance Man

Vitruvian Man (Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy) image: Luc Viatour

Henry Flint’s prog 1727 (2011) Shakara[1] cover v Leonardo [di ser Piero] da Vinci’s (1452–1519) Le proporzioni del corpo umano secondo Vitruvio [Italian: The proportions of the human body according to Vitruvius, or more commonly Vitruvian Man] (c.1490)

Vitruvian Man is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry, as described by the ancient Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (c. 80–70 BC–c. 15 BC) in Book III of his treatise De architectura (c. 30–15 BC). Da Vinci likely had some help on this one from his mate Iacomo Andrea [aka Giacomo Andrea de Ferrara] (unknown–1500), Renaissance architect and Vitruvius fanboy.

As well as painting the The Last Supper [Italian: L’Ultima Cena] (1490s) and the Mona Lisa [Italian: La Gioconda] (c. 1503–1506, perhaps continuing until c. 1517) – the most parodied painting in history, which is bound to show up here sooner or later – Da Vinci is regarded as the original and archetypal Renaissance[2] Man, whose interests encompassed history, invention, sculpture, music, literature, architecture, engineering, physics, mathematics, anatomy, botany, geology, astronomy and cartography.

Da Vinci is also accredited as the father of palaeontology, ichnology[3] and – quite literally as we were polishing this entry for publication on Twitter we heard on BBC Radio 4’s The Five Faces of Leonardo: Leonardo’s Robotics – according to robotics engineer Mark Rosheim, he’s pretty much the father of that, too, conveniently providing the sci-fi link.


  1. Series co-created and written by Robbie Morrison
  2. French, lit. “rebirth”; the Renaissance (14th–17th centuries) was a dramatic reappraisal and application of classical Greek and Roman art, aesthetics and philosophy, that is considered a milestone in the development of modern European civilisation
  3. The study of fossil traces; geological evidence of fossils, rather than specifically fossils