No. 224 – Not-So-Great Wall

US-Mexican barrier image ©Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

Prog 2125’s (2019) Grey Area (written by Dan Abnett) cover by Mark Harrison v President Donald Trump’s proposed[1] US-Mexican border wall

Existing barrier (December 2018)

The US-Mexican border is nearly 3,000 km (2,000 miles) long and hosts at present about 1,000 km (650 miles) of one form of barrier or another, up to a height of nine metres (30 ft), mostly constructed under the [George W.] Bush administration. The cost[2] of President Trump’s proposed wall is conservatively estimated at $16 million (£12 million) per mile with a total price tag of $15 billion (£11.5 billion) to $25 billion (£19 billion), with maintenance costs of up to $750 million (£574 million) a year, not including the price of private land acquisitions that could push that total cost much higher, with manned patrols and surveillance adding further long-term costs.

The treatment of undocumented immigrants, particularly children, in US detention centres sparked widespread condemnation in 2018, and Trump administration claims of criminality among illegal immigrants from Latin American countries – immigration status notwithstanding – are wildly and demonstrably exaggerated.


The cost/benefit debate of a US-Mexican border wall rests to some extent on differing interpretations of a report on The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration issued by the US National Academy of Sciences in 2016, which states that while first generation illegal immigration can place a strain the economy, second and third generation immigrants, however, benefit the economy to a degree that largely nullifies those initial negative effects, although those benefits would be distributed unevenly between native US citizens who own more capital and those who own less. On a practical level, studies conducted by Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University indicate that the wall is unlikely to be effective at reducing illegal immigration or the movement of contraband.

The tagline “Brave New World?” on the prog cover is a reference to Aldous Huxley’s (1894–1963) novel Brave New World[4] (Chatto & Windus, 1932), concerning a futuristic utopian society challenged by a single outsider.

Donald Trump also features in HoH No. 114 – This Stuff is Gold!


  1. At time of posting the Trump administration has completed no new mileage of fencing or other barriers anywhere on the border, and has only replaced existing fencing
  2. Both the current Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, have emphatically refused to fund the construction of a border wall
  3. “XeNO!” is a reference to Xenomorph XX121, designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger (1940–2014) for Alien (20th Century Fox, 1979)
  4. “New World,” in the context of the Grey Area tagline, is probably also a reference to the European colonisation of the Americas after their discovery by Christopher Columbus [Italian: Cristoforo Colombo, Spanish: Cristóbal Colón] (1451–1506) in 1492; although the term Mundus Novus was first coined by his successor and fellow Italian countryman, Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1454–1512), who discovered the continental American mainland (although “America” is not named after him, but is a Spanish derivation of the Icelandic name for North America, “Markland” (Icelandic: “the Outback”), as in “A-Mark-ia”, and as such named by Columbus himself, who visited Iceland in 1477-78, gathering there acounts of the American mainland’s existence [Graeme Davis, Vikings in America (Birlinn, 2009)])

No. 93 – The Executioner

Mark Harrison’s Judge Dredd cover featuring The Executioner from the Judge Dredd story Mandroid in prog 1458 vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a promotional still from The Terminator (1984)

Science fiction author Harlan Ellison sued director James Cameron claiming that the film was plagiarized from the two Outer Limits (MGM Television) episodes that Ellison wrote, namely Soldier (1964) and Demon with a Glass Hand (1964). The concept of Skynet could also have been borrowed from an Ellison short story called I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream from If (Quinn Publications [now defunct], March 1967) magazine. The suit was settled out of court and newer prints of the film acknowledge Ellison.


No. 91 – Bad Bob Bush

Mark Harrison’s Mega-City One cover for prog 1518, featuring ‘Bad Bob’ Booth vs. former U.S. President George W. Bush

George Walker Bush served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009, and in 2003, along with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, initiated the Iraq War with the invasion of Iraq, an act which remains highly controversial

Although Robert Linus “Bad Bob” Booth was frist introduced to readers in prog 67 (1978), it’s generally accepted that Harrison’s interpretation reflects the widespread anti-Bush sentiment prevalent during Bush’s term of office


No. 75 – Well, Do Ya, Punk?

Mark Harrison’s Judge Dredd star scan from prog 1750 (2011) vs. theatrical poster for Magnum Force (1973)

Patrick Goddard and Dylan Teague’s [colours] Judge Dredd promotional poster for the Lille Comics Festival 2014 vs. French theatrical poster [which, appropriately, most closely resembles Goddard’s composition]

The quote “… Well, do ya, punk?” is actually delivered by Inspector Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in Dirty Harry (Warner Bros.,1971):


No. 30 – Fire in the Sky

Mark Harrison’s Necrophim cover for prog 1663 v Paramount Pictures’ theatrical poster for Fire in the Sky (1993)

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No. 3 – Do Art Droids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Mark Harrison’s Judge Dredd cover for prog 1101 (1998) v Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) theatrical poster by John Alvin (1948–2008)

Blade Runner (1982) LAPD Headquarters

Few examples of the neo-noir science fiction film genre have had as much influence on the design and atmosphere of the science fiction film and comics genres as Blade Runner, which initially performed poorly at the box office but later garnered a large cult following – it is now considered to be one of the finest examples of its genre ever made.

A Blade Runner Director’s Cut (Warner Bros.) was released in 1992 which jettisoned the original’s voiceover, and a digitally remastered single-disc re-release of the 1992 director’s cut appeared on DVD in 2006. Blade Runner: The Final Cut* (Warner Bros.) was released in 2007.

An underperforming but critically acclaimed sequel, Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros./Sony Pictures Releasing), directed by Denis Villeneuve with Harrison Ford returning as Rick Deckard, was released in 2017.

*In which they still managed to overlook the “Let me tell you about my mother” continuity error

No. 2 – Blazing Combat

Mark Harrison’s Glimmer Rats cover (“After Frazetta”, lower right) v Frank Frazetta’s (1928–2010) cover for Blazing Combat #1 (1965)