No. 176 – Klegg-Hai!

Doctor Poo ©Time Inc. UK[1]

Kleggs, here pictured on prog 98’s (1979) Brian Bolland cover for Judge Dredd: The Day the Law Died (progs 89108 (1978–79)), written by John Wagner v Zarkons from Monster Fun #39’s (6 March, 1976) Doctor Poo[2] [character pictured right panel, bottom] created by Leo Baxendale[3] (1930–2017)

Judge Caligula Book Two

Ranked among the most memorable villains in the Judge Dredd universe, the Kleggs are an extraterrestrial, feudal race of reptilian mercenaries hired by the tyrannical Chief Judge Caligula to quash a rebellion in Mega-City One led by Dredd. Perhaps also with a nod to the warlike Klingons (also known to consume human flesh on occasion) of Gene Roddenberry’s (1921–1991) Star Trek universe, Kleggs demand payment in meat and hunt down quarry with Klegg-hounds – dog-like creatures with crocodilian heads – usually while chanting catchy, improvised war songs such as, “Slicey-dicey, oncey-twicey, claw and fang’ll kill Dredd nicely! Meaty-beaty, chop ’em neatly, death or glory – no retreatee!”[4] generally followed by their war cry: “Klegg-Hai!”

Judge Cal also features in HoH here.

Notes:

  1. Formerly IPC Media
  2. Ostensibly based on the fourth incarnation of the Doctor played by British actor Tom Baker (1974–1981) in the science fiction series Doctor Who (BBC, 1963– )
  3. Thanks to David Moloney of the Great News For All Readers! blog, and Lew Stringer of Blimey! The Blog of British Comics! – unfortunately none of us could confirm the artist on this strip, but the collective best guess is Mike Brown mimicking Baxendale’s style – of this our experts are sure: it wasn’t Baxendale himself
  4. Bearing a curious resemblance in meter to the novelty song Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini written by Paul Vance and Lee Pokriss (1924–2011) and released by Bryan Hyland in 1960 (Leader/Kapp Records)

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No. 167 – A Speeding Bullet

Megaman from prog 442’s (1985) Judge Dredd story written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Ron Smith (1924–2019) v George Reeves (born George Keefer Brewer, 1914–1959) as Superman in Adventures of Superman (1952–1958) Complete First Season DVD cover

“Is it a bird…?”

There has been no shortage of superhero homages and lampoons in the prog over the years, so we’ll use this entry to somewhat randomly focus on an urban myth persisting from the 1950s that the above-mentioned actor came to a sticky end after launching himself from a skyscraper, under the delusion that he had acquired the Man of Steel’s powers and could fly. This is only slightly stranger than the circumstances of his death, which may have been his accidental shooting at the hands of his socialite fiancée Leonore Lemmon (1923–1989), murder by an unnamed hitman under orders from MGM vice president and fixer* Joseph Edgar “Eddie” Mannix (1891–1963), or plain old suicide due to depression caused by his inability to land desired roles because of the Clark Kent/Superman stereotype.

“… Or maybe I’ll just walk there.”

Despite many inconsistencies and unanswered questions, Reeves’ death was officially ruled a suicide, based on witness statements, physical evidence at the scene, and the autopsy report. Hollywood didn’t believe a word of it. Whatever the truth, at any rate a bullet found its mark.

*A person paid to disguise details of Hollywood stars’ often colourful private lives and maintain their public image

No. 131 – Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo & David

David Bellamy photo ©Allan Warren 1981

David Baloney from the Judge Dredd story Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo from prog 348 (1983) drawn by Ron Smith (1924–2019) v David Bellamy OBE*, English author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner and botanist

The title of the story is an homage to Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Sony Pictures, 1969), but bears no other resemblance to the film.

*British chivalric order: Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

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No. 126 – Mega-City One

Mega-City 1 futuregraph by Carlos Ezquerra (1947–2018) from prog 3 (1977) vs. Robert Crumb’s City of the Future from Zap Comix #0 (Apex Oddities, 1967)

As much an excuse to celebrate the mega-city* concept in Judge Dredd as an excuse to feature the work of Robert Crumb – and in no way casting aspersions on the originality of Señor Ezquerra’s conception** – we’ll quote John Newsinger, professor of history at Bath Spa University, UK, from his scholarly work The Dredd Phenomenon: Comics and Contemporary Society (Libertarian Education, 1999; p.17-18), on Dredd’s stomping ground:

“Crucial to the success of the Dredd strip is Mega City [sic] One, the vast, towering urban jungle where 800 million people are crowded in together. Here the problems of our own cities exist but in magnified, exaggerated form. There is 87 per cent unemployment, with most people never having had a job, and 95 per cent of the population live within mile-high tower blocks, each housing 60,000 people. The tedium of this life of claustrophobic boredom and idleness drives many people mad: citizens go “futsie”, attacking and killing innocent bystanders without reason or warning. Outbreaks of mass suicide are common enough to be known as “the Lemming Syndrome” (prog 445 [1985]). Wars between the great tower blocks are not uncommon with often thousands of casualties, and, on one occasion, there was even an attempt by one block, the Sonny Bono, to declare itself independent (prog 208 [1981]).”

And while we’re here: one of the earliest visions of a futuristic mega-city form Fritz Lang (1890–1976):

*Hyphenated, definitely hyphenated
**Mega-City One was initially intended to be a futuristic New York city

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No. 81 – Nessie

The Loch Ness monster drawn by Ron Smith (1924–2019) for prog 674’s Tharg’s Future Shocks: The Dawn of the Loch Ness Monster written by Nicholas Barber v “Surgeon’s photograph” (Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson [supposedly], 1924) and Plesiosaurus (National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo)

The photo was a hoax. Plesiosauria has been extinct for 65 million years. It’s for tourists.

The Loch Ness monster – affectionately known as “Nessie” – had a busy year in 2017 with a record number of “official” sightings, totalling eight – quite respectable for a mythical beast.*

*2017 has been a ‘record year’ for sightings of the Loch Ness monsterBBC, 15.11.2017

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