2000 AD - Issue 161

 Reading a comic book called 2000 AD was a very formative experience for me in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and I sometimes go back to read them today (and often write a blog post about it). I have a 2000 AD page where I link to all the issues I have talked about on this site.This post is about issue 161, which was published 19 April 1980.

This issue has a cover by Bolland, and as usual with Bolland's work it is a nice character study with disciplined line work, but it has no background whatsoever. Of course Bolland's work is always focused on the foreground, and rarely includes detailed backgrounds, but people still love them. In the image we can see that the Judge Child saga is turning into something special. So, despite Bolland’s stiffness and limitations, the cover does its job well.

This issue also has an advert for a toy based on a TV show that was popular at the time called The Professionals. I loved the idea of the show - in my defense I was a child - though watching it was an experience, and not necessarily a good one. According to The Quietus, it was... "the most surprising, the most grotesquely fascinating programme of its day." The car being advertised to kids in the comic book is a Ford Capri 3.0 S, apparently, with fully opening hatch-back, which is undeniably cool.

A Message from the Author

I write sci-fi novels that belong to a series called Dark Galaxy, which starts with Galaxy Dog:

What starts as an ordinary invasion of an alien planet brings to light an ancient archeological site of huge importance. A young man called Knave makes a life-changing discovery there and rises from a lowly position as an infantry trooper to become a player among the powers of the galaxy.

The entire series is available to buy from Amazon.

In this issue there is a Ro-Jaws Robo-Tale that has the subtitle, Droids are Dispensable. The robot hero of the story plugs into auxiliary power with what looks like a USB connector, which is some excellent imaginative concept work from the artist on the strip, Brett Ewins. I sometimes love his work and sometimes hate it. His robots and spaceships are often quite generic, but that works very nicely for this short story. The story itself is stupid, but enjoyable for the shock twist at the end alone.

McMahon is the artist on Judge Dredd again, which is a treat, and him climbing scaffolding followed by a mutant reminds be very much of a scene from Genesis of the Daleks, a Doctor Who story. I guess the similarity is accidental, because the Doctor Who episode with the scene in question was broadcast five years earlier, in 1975. With one huge arm, a single eye, and no teeth, this is a very beautiful mutant indeed. Dredd makes a joke about private health insurance while fighting the monster. Private health insurance must have seemed like a dystopian idea to writers living in the UK, with its public health system. Now, after years of Tory misrule and austerity, that sick joke is becoming ever more real.

There is beautiful dynamic art all through the strip, and I particularly love the way McMahon draws the drops of water falling from Dredd as he chases his suspects, after doing a high dive into a barrel of water at a fun fair.

Thank goodness that this issue also sees the end of Blackhawk. The hero was a person of color, and that is great diversity, especially from a British comic book of the 1970s, but unfortunately the story just was not good. It was about a gladiator, but in space. That sounds cool, but somehow it wasn't. The art, by Belardinelli, was a little too whimsical for the subject matter, as well.

I love the old adds in these ancient comic books. I remember the popsicle advertised on the back, the Magic Monster Lolly, where the monster appeared, as if by magic, as you licked. I rarely bought one though, because I preferred Funny Feet, which was simply much bigger. It was almost twice the size of other flavors, at least in my memory.

To end, just a reminder that the best way to support this blog is to buy one of my books. Simply go over to Amazon, or Kobo and get one.