No. 191 – The Valley of Gwangi

The Valley Of Gwangi image ©Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, Inc.

Flesh from prog 1 (1977) written by Pat Mills and drawn by Joan Boix Solà-Segalés v The Valley Of Gwangi* (1969)

Gwangi was originally conceived by special effects and stop-motion animation pioneer Willis O’Brien (1886–1962), responsible for King Kong (RKO Radio Pictures, 1933), and the shelved production was revived by his acolyte Ray Harryhausen (1920–2013). It was to be Harryhausen’s last dinosaur-themed film, and was released with little studio promotion or fanfare at a time when audiences’ interest in monster movies was on the wane; and while not exactly a classic, it does pop up in cultural references from time-to-time; Steven Spielberg notably paying it homage in a scene in Jurassic Park (Universal Pictures, 1993) where the tyrannosaur appears suddenly and snatches up a fleeing ornithomimus.

The design of the infamous Fleshdozer appearing in the 2000 AD story – a nightmarish robotic contraption employed by Trans-Time Corp. to covert** dinosaurs into meat for transport to the future – is often thought to be a swipe, but as Angus McKie, the artist who painted a similar robot for the cover of Harry Harrison’s† (1925–2012) War with the Robots (Pyramid Books, 1962, [1976 ed.]), worked as a colourist on 2000 AD anyway, it’s really only been borrowed with permission.

*Poster by Frank McCarthy (1924–2002)
**Having first “humanely” stunned them
†Of Stainless Steel Rat fame, featured in HoH No.59

No. 138 – King Charles III

Charles, Prince of Wales image ©Associated Press

King Charles III drawn by Jesús Blasco (1919–1995) from prog 1’s Invasion! vs. Charles, Prince of Wales

Charles [Charles Philip Arthur George of the House of Windsor] is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II, and is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having held the position since 1952.

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No. 137 – Angela Rippon

Angela Rippon image ©BBC 1976

Unnamed BBC newsreader drawn by Jesús Blasco (1919–1995) from prog 1’s (1977) Invasion! written by Pat Mills v former BBC newsreader Angela Rippon

Angela May Rippon CBE[1] became a regular BBC news presenter in 1975, and was the first female journalist to permanently present the BBC national television news.

Notes:

  1. British chivalric order: Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

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No. 136 – The Iron Lady

Bottom panel: Margaret Thatcher speaking at the 1982 Conservative Party Conference, Brighton, UK (image ©Rex Features)

Lady Shirley Brown (highlighted) from prog 1’s Invasion! drawn by Jesús Blasco (1919–1995) vs. Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013)

Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS, FRIC* (née Roberts) served as Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990.

Dubbed the “Iron Lady” by a Soviet journalist, it became a nickname associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style.

*British chivalric orders, orders of merit, fellowships and bodies: LG: Most Noble Order of the Garter, OM: Order of Merit, PC: Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, FRS: Fellowship of the Royal Society, FRIC: Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry

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No. 135 – Invasion!

Bottom panel: wearing Red Army uniforms, Russian military personnel parade in Red Square, Moscow, during the May 9, 2006 celebration of the 61st anniversary of the Day of Victory [День Победы] over Nazi Germany (©Getty Images)

Volgan invading forces featured in prog 1’s (1977) Invasion! written by Pat Mills and drawn by Jesús Blasco (1919–1995) v Soviet army

Writer Mills had originally intended the invading forces to indeed be Soviet Russian, but was advised by 2000 AD’s publishers (then IPC Magazines) against an overt reference to the Soviet Union, as the Cold War (1946–1989) still figured widely on the political landscape at the time, and would continue to do so for over a decade.

Volgograd [Волгогра́д], formerly Stalingrad [Сталингра́д​] (so-named 1925–1961, and Tsaritsyn [Цари́цын], 1589–1925), the Russian city after which the fictitious Volgan forces are named, would in fact have been a feasible centre of Russian power, being a polulous, heavily industrialised city on the west bank of the river Volga; and the theatre of the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942–2 February 1943), one of the bloodiest battles in history, with casualties estimated at 1,250,000–1,798,619.

The total number of deaths[2], military and civilian, suffered by the Soviet Union during the Second World War (1939–1945) was 24,000,000 (over half of them civilian); the total number, including civilians, suffered by the UK was 450,700 and by the US, 418,500.

Notes:

  1. Source: National WWII Museum, New Orleans, US

No. 85 – Killerbowl

Prog 1’s Harlem Heroes* written by Pat Mills and Tom Tully and drawn by Dave Gibbons, specifically the uniforms of their opponents the Greek City Gladiators vs. Killerbowl by Gary K. Wolf cover (Doubleday, 1975) by Stephen Marchesi

Variant cover with grille facemask

Gary K. Wolf also wrote Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (St. Martin’s Press, 1981), which was the basis of the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, 1988).

Killerbowl was also almost certainly the inspiration for 2000 AD‘s The Mean Arena which debuted in prog 178, also scripted by Tully.

*Harlem Heroes was loosely based on the film Rollerball (United Artists, 1975), based on the short story Roller Ball Murder (William Morrow & Co., 1974) by the film’s screenplay writer William Harrison (1933–2013)


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No. 56 – Bill Savage

Bill Savage from prog 1’s (1977) Invasion! written by Pat Mills and drawn by Jesús Blasco (1919–1935) v Stanley Baker (1928–1976)

Baker, seen here as Tom Yately in a still from Hell Drivers (Rank Organisation, 1957), upon whom the hero of Invasion! is most likely modelled, has been stated by former 2000 AD art editor, Doug Church, to be the inspiration for Savage’s look.

In 1961 the Welsh actor turned down the role of James Bond in the film of Dr. No (United Artists) unwilling to commit to a three-picture contract.

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