No. 221 – Porcine, Moi?

Miss Piggy image courtesy ABC/John E. Barrett/The Muppets Studio

Princess Gadarina (prog 390’s (1984) “Star Fry-Up“) from the Ace Trucking Co. story On the Dangle[1] (progs 378386), written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v Miss Piggy of The Muppet Show (ITC Entertainment, 1976–1981), created by Jim Henson[2] (1936–1990)

Inspired by jazz and popular music singer/songwriter Peggy Lee (née Norma Deloris Egstrom, 1920–2002), Miss Piggy has in more recent times become a feminist icon, having in 2015 alone broken off her long-standing but intermittent relationship[4] with Kermit the Frog, written an article entitled “Miss Piggy: Why I Am a Feminist Pig” for Time, and received a Sackler Center First Award from the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. Announcing the news, the award’s namesake, public historian and arts activist, Elizabeth Sackler, stated that Miss Piggy was the embodiment of “spirit, determination, and grit,” who had taught millions of people valuable lessons about overcoming obstacles.

Notes:

  1. On the dangle: fictional trucker slang for “on the lam,” meaning “on the run [from the law]”
  2. Miss Piggy was performed by master puppeteer Frank Oz from 1976–2002 and by Eric Jacobson since 2001
  3. Possibly a reference to Romeo’s famous line in William Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) tragedy Romeo and Juliet (c. 1591–1595), “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?” (Act II, Scene II)
  4. We are now, officially, a hack

No. 219 – ’60s Night at The Capon Club

Mick Jagger performing (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction[1] (London Records/Decca Records, 1965) with The Rolling Stones in May 1976, in Zuiderpark Stadion, The Hague, Netherlands (photo: Bert Verhoeff/Anefo, Nationaal Archief)

Tribute act from the Ace Trucking Co. story The Doppelgarp (progs 451472 (1986)) in prog 467, written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Rolling Stones

The Capon[2] Club featured in The Doppelgarp probably isn’t so much based on the famous Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem, New York, as it is on The Cotton Club, Chicago; a branch of the original run by mobster Ralph “Bottles” Capone, Sr. (1894–1974), older brother to the notorious Alphonse “Al” Gabriel Capone (aka Scarface, 1899–1947), boss of the Italian-American organized crime syndicate, the Chicago Outfit, during Prohibition[3] (1920–1933).

The character Al Capon from Ace Trucking Co. is probably based on Paul Muni’s (born Frederich Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund, 1895–1967) portrayal of Tony Camonte in Scarface (United Artists, 1932).[4]

Notes:

  1. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction was the first Stones’ No. 1 in the US charts and their fourth in the UK, initially only played on pirate radio stations in the UK due to the its sexually suggestive lyrics
  2. A cockerel that has been castrated to improve the quality of its flesh for food and, in some countries, fattened by forced feeding
  3. A nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the US
  4. ‘Cause he certainly doesn’t look like the man himself. Got a better idea? Let us know

No. 215 – True Grit

Uckpuck customs officer Rooster Cogburn in prog 467’s Ace Trucking Co. story The Doppelgarp (progs 451472, 1986), written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v US Deputy Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn played by John “Duke” Wayne (born Marion Robert Morrison, 1907–1979) in True Grit (1969)

True Grit is based on the novel of the same name (Simon & Schuster, 1968) by Charles McColl Portis, and the film was followed by a sequel, Rooster Cogburn[1] (Universal Pictures, 1975), also starring Wayne. True Grit was remade (Paramount Pictures) in 2010 by Joel and Ethan Coen with Jeff Bridges in the role of Cogburn. There was some minor controversy surrounding Bridges’ wearing of Cogburn’s eye patch over his right eye while Wayne’s Cogburn wore it over his left, with some right-wing savants entertaining the notion that it represented Bridges’ left-wing politics as opposed to Wayne’s conservative Republican politics. This was nonsense; the matter for Bridges was simply one of comfort; in Portis’ novel Cogburn has two functioning eyes and no patch.

Wayne’s portrayal of Cogburn earned him his only Academy Award for Best Actor[2]. As he accepted the award he memorably quipped, “If I’d known that, I’d have put that patch on 35 years earlier.”

Notes:

  1. Wayne’s penultimate film before The Shootist (Paramount Pictures, 1976), ending a 50 year-long career which included 169 feature-length films
  2. He was also nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Sgt. John M. Stryker in Sands of Iwo Jima (Republic Pictures, 1949), but lost to Sir Laurence Olivier OM [Ordre du Mérite] (1907–1989) for Hamlet (Rank Film Distributors Ltd./Universal-International, 1948)

No. 213 – Doomsday Machines

Prog 80’s (1978) Dan Dare story The Doomsday Machine (progs 7985), written by Roy Preston (under the pseudonym Henry Miller) and drawn by Trevor Goring and Gary Leach v various classic spacecraft and paraphernalia from cinema, television and comics; specifically (clockwise from top):

  1. Wings Over the World[1] aircraft from [H.G. Wells’ (1866–1946)] Things to Come (United Artists, 1936)
  2. Thunderbird-3 from Gerry (MBE, 1929–2012) and Sylvia Anderson’s (1927–2016) Thunderbirds (ITC Entertainment, 1965–1966)
  3. The Machine Man/Maria (played by Brigitte Helm (1906–1996)) from Fritz Lang’s (1890–1976) Metropolis (Ufa/Parufamet, 1927)
  4. Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999[2] (ITC Entertainment, 1975–1977)
  5. X-wing starfighter from George Lucas’ Star Wars (20th Century Fox, 1977)
  6. Anastasia, Dare’s own spacecraft, first appearing in the story Red Moon Mystery in Eagle comic (Hulton Press, 1951)
  7. Biog alien spacecraft from Dan Dare
  8. USS Enterprise[3] from Gene Roddenberry’s (1921–1991) Star Trek (1966–1969)
  9. Possibly Fireball XL5 from the television series of the same name (ITC Entertainment, 1962–1963), and perhaps drawn from a reference image in which the tailfin configuration was unclear – but it’s been so long that, when consulted, even Mr. Goring himself couldn’t remember. If you’ve got a better guess, drop us a line

Notes:

  1. “Wings Over the World” is the rather awkward title of the post-apocalyptic civilisation appearing in the film
  2. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, creators of Thunderbirds, were also intrinsically involved in the production of Space: 1999
  3. NCC [Naval Construction Contract] -1701 is the Enterprise’s registration number

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No. 210 – Spirit of St. Louis

Interstellar Queen image ©The Quarto Group

Van Hertz Line freighter Spirit of St. Louis from Moon Runners [or Moonrunners] (progs 591607 (1988)), written by Steve Parkhouse and Alan McKenzie and drawn by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v Interstellar Queen (1978) by Angus McKie from Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD (Chartwell Books, 1978) by Stewart Cowley from his Terran Trade Authority illustrated science fiction book series[1]

Heavy Metal (1981)

If you’ve ever picked up a sci-fi novel from the ’70s or ’80s, chances are its cover was painted by influential science fiction illustrator Angus McKie, known for his highly detailed spacecraft, futuristic constructions and vivid colours. McKie was also writer, designer and background artist on the Heavy Metal (Columbia Pictures, 1981) segment So Beautiful and So Dangerous, adapted from his story of the same name (1979) in US sci-fi/fantasy comics magazine Heavy Metal – not to mention being a long-time colourist attached to 2000 AD[2], thereby delivering this particular homage comfortably within the “borrowed with permission” bracket.

The Moon Runners‘ spacecraft, Spirit of St. Louis, is named after Charles Lindbergh’s (1902–1974) custom built, single engine monoplane[3] in which he flew on the world’s first non-stop, solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927.

Angus McKie also features in HoH No. 191 – The Valley of Gwangi

Notes:

  1. Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD of the Terran Trade Authority series was followed by Great Space Battles [with Charles Herridge] (Chartwell Books, 1979), Spacewreck: Ghostships [sic] and Derelicts of Space (The Hamlyn Group, 1979), and Starliners: Commercial Spacetravel [sic] in 2200 AD (The Hamlyn Group, 1980)
  2. Along with – at least for a brief stint – contempory sci-fi illustrator Chris Foss (covers: progs 953955, and prog 953’s Judge Dredd story Jigsaw)
  3. Not the Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train, which was named after the plane in the same year

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No. 55 – Ground Control to Colonel Dare

Dan Dare by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) from prog 1 (1977) v David Bowie (born David Robert Jones, 1947–2016), pictured here in a promotional still from The Man Who Fell to Earth (British Lion Films, 1976)

According to former 2000 AD art editor, Doug Church, Bowie, as he appeared in
Nicolas Roeg’s cult classic The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the novel of the same name (Gold Medal Books, 1963) by Walter Stone Tevis (1928–1984), was the inspiration for the look of 2000 AD‘s 1977 incarnation of the classic British sci-fi comic book hero.

Dare, created by illustrator Frank Hampson (1918–1985), with Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008) acting as science and plot adviser to the first strip, first appeared in Eagle comic in 1950, with the stories set in the late 1990’s.

No. 22 – Feek the Freak

Mictlantecuhtli image courtesy Museo de Antropología, Xalapa, Mexico

Feek the Freak from Ace Trucking Co. by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v Mictlantecuhtli (meaning Lord of Mictlan [underworld]), Aztec god of the dead

Surpassing conventional definitions of homage, worship of Mictlantecuhtli sometimes involved ritual cannibalism, with human flesh being consumed in and around his temple.

Aztec civilisation emerged in the 14th century and was consolidated into an alliance of three city-states that dominated large swathes of Mesoamerica (modern Mexico) during the 15th and 16th centuries.