24.8.16

Programme 35 (22-October-77)

Cover:

I’m confused. Do the UFOs think that I-beams are human? This had better be one heck of an explanatory story.

Thrill 1 – Invasion!

Bill Savage has taken a break from his cross-country journeys to hang out in a Scottish cave with some other resistance men. You’d think that him hanging out in one place for a while, generally being awesome all the time would have the Volgs routed from Scotland within a few weeks. It hasn’t happened yet, though, so Bill’s called in some reinforcements. Lumberjacks! Sadly the woodsmen are cantankerous, and their leader picks a fight with the oilmen who make up the rest of the Scots resistance fighters. Rather than just telling them to grow up and fight the nazis, Bill suggests that they have a boxing match the next day, out in a field with totally open sightlines.

Someone tips off the Volgs about the fight, and they roll in to arrest and hang the fighters. Silk runs back to base and informs the rest of the resistance men, who rush to the nearby prison in the hopes of mounting a rescue that wouldn’t be necessary if the two men hadn’t been so weirdly prideful about their opposing careers.

A plan is quickly hatched to make good use of both team’s strengths. First they roll flaming oil barrels at the wall of the fortress, and then use the cover of the black smoke to rush the walls. What do the woodsmen bring to the table?

And that’s why you don’t fasten a wooden pole against the wall of your fortress. Once inside the resistance men are easily able to gun down the Volgs and rescue their prisoners. With the fortress destroyed and the Volgs defeated, Savage is ready to admit that the whole ‘tipping off the Volgs’ thing was his idea. Because somehow he knew that the Volgs would capture his men leading to a team-building exercise in rescue. And not just, you know, execute them.

But I guess that’s why he’s Bill Savage, and I would have been killed in the first ten minutes of the Volgan invasion.

Thrill 2 – Judge Dredd

When we last left Judge Dredd, he’s cornered famed bank robber ‘Mutie the Pig’, who turned out to be his good pal Judge Gibson! (Presumably named after the artist on this story, Ian Gibson) So what happens next? Things get stupid. Really, really stupid.

After Dredd recaps last week’s plot (faked death, faked funeral, real arrest), Gibson makes a plea – don’t send him to Titan, they way he did Rico. Instead, he wants to settle this whole ‘murderous bank robber’ thing like they settled disagreements back at the academy. Which, if this picture is to be believed, involved a boxing ting a buzz-saws attached to strings.

Or maybe futuristic deely-boppers. It’s hard to tell.

Dredd somehow agrees, as if this is a personal grudge that needs to be settled, and not just a regular crime. They head to the hall of justice for their duel, which takes place on the shooting range. It’s pretty standard stuff, although we learn that the only way of stopping a heat-seeker is by shooting another heat seeker, so that they’ll collide. Which is actually pretty clever, come to think of it.

The one interesting note about this fight scene is that the whole thing is narrated by the Principal of the school, the eyepatched Judge Griffin, making his first appearance in this issue:

The idea of the guy calmly explaining the strategy involved in a fight to the death gives the scene just the right kind of creepy vibe that it needs, signalling that Dredd is going to, at some point in the future, stop being just an action strip and start having some actual messages.

Also, and this is a minor thing, at the end of the story Dredd paints over judge Gibson’s name on the honor roll from their graduation year. That year’s listing was Dredd, Dredd, Hunt, Wagner, and Gibson. Dredd’s already killed two of those other four guys (in suspiciously similar circumstances, I might add) – will we ever get a look at Wagner and Hunt?

Judge Dredd Kill Count (38)+1=39


Thrill 3 - Shako

It’s a few days since Shako ate Jake, and now he’s getting hungry again. So he saunters over to an Eskimo village and starts pawing through the dump, looking for anything edible. In an amazing coincidence this is the exact village that Eskimo tracker Buck Dollar has stopped at in his search for the Yogi. Hearing about the bear’s whereabouts Buck dismisses his well-armed escort, announcing that he’s going to take down Shako ‘the Eskimo Way’ – with a single harpoon!

Um… Buck… you remember the capsule in his gullet, right? The one you can’t risk puncturing without destroying the world? Are harpoons really accurate enough that you want to risk it?

It seems so. The harpoon doesn’t kill Shako, though, just horribly injured, giving him a chance to maul Buck before retreating to lick his wounds.

The CIA men come to rescue Buck, but he announces that he’s too far gone, and wants to use himself as bait for Shako. He has the CIA men dig a hole in the garbage pile for him to hide in, so that Shako will have to come at him from the front. Wait, isn’t this the exact scheme that got redshirt killed? How is it going to be different this time? Oh, because Buck’s using a bazooka, which won’t freeze up the way a rifle might.

Wait, Buck’s bringing a Bazooka? Isn’t the entire point of this story that they can’t just recklessly shoot the yogu because he’s got a doomsday device sitting in his stomach? What the hell do you think a bazooka is going to do to it, morons?!?!

Apparently we’ll never find out, because the strip ends one moment after Buck shoots Shako in the chest with a rocket, extremely killing him.

Yeah. That’s it. And adding insult to injury? According to a rhyme at the bottom of the page, next month the Harlem Heroes are going to be back for more Aeroball Action.

God damn it.

With Buck Dollar’s brutal, gradually fatal mauling and suffocation, that brings the total number Shako’s victims to have died ‘real slow’ to 3 out of 44, or roughly 7%. A pretty pathetic figure when compared to the 100% statistic we were promised.

Thrill 4 – Dan Dare (?/Gibbons)

After the disaster that was the last issue of Shako just about anything would cheer me up, and Dan Dare does just that. By being a thing. Dan and his landing party are besieged by living trees, and everyone blames it on Haley, who created bad luck by beating up a space monkey. Which, need I remind you, is a major no-no.

This shame leads Hale to volunteer for a suicide rush against the killer trees, hoping that they can make the smaller trees flee by blowing up the largest tree, which is presumably the leader.

The guess proves to be accurate, since the smaller trees happily sacrifice themselves to block the incoming fire and grenades of the spacemen. Haley knows there’s only one way to make up for the bad luck, and sacrifices himself by letting the big tree grab him before pulling the pins on his grenades.

With the king tree blown to ‘matchsticks’, the other trees clear out, giving Dan a chance to call in a rescue craft.

THARG’S NERVE CENTRE

Weird story this week, huh? No twists, no weird premises, just a pretty run-of-the-mill sci-fi action tale. And one that didn’t really reflect the contents of the cover that well, either.

Huh.

Thrill 5 – MACH 1

The mystery of the high-tech Solar Station at the top of Everest is revealed: It’s a Tibetan Army instillation, built to melt the Himalayas, thereby flooding all of India!

Wait, is that how flooding works? I’m confused. Wouldn’t they be just as likely to flood themselves? How could they guarantee that the water would only flow one way down a mountain range?

Anyhoo, their scheme is undone because the latest British climber they’ve taken hostage is none other than John Probe, the MACH Man! He quickly frees the other mountain climbers and fights his way through the facility, destroying the solar focusing device, and then he bodysurfs down the side of the mountain!

That’s not the high point of this adventure, though. No, that comes when Probe, near the bottom of the mountain, finds himself surrounded by Tibetan soldiers with only one weapon at hand – the frozen corpse of a dead mountaineer from the 1924 expedition!

Seriously.

With that little bit of corpse-desecration over with, Probe and the other climbers are able to flee the country with no further interruption from Tibet’s armed forces. I’m not exactly sure how that works, but let’s go with it.

Actually, my biggest question in this issue goes to the Tibetan government. You know, you’re the Tibetan government. If you don’t want people stumbling onto your secret solar weaponry research facility at the top of Everest, stop letting people climb it. It’s your mountain, you can just put a sign in front saying ‘no access’.

You deserved to get taken down by a fake cybernetic James Bond.

Thrill 6 – Future Shock

Kind of a weak story this time around. “The Ultimate Warrior” tells the tale of a bizarre ice planet where two warring factions have been fighting for over ten thousand years! 10,529, to be exact. The story mentions that number a couple of times, actually.

One side, ‘Topan’, is led by Ross, a ‘Warrior King’, who dispatches his genetically-engineered Ultimate Warrior Peron to finally win the war once and for all. How’s he going to do it? By using his superpower – a deadly gaze that kills anyone he looks upon!

After killing the entire enemy army single-handedly (or I guess two-eyed-ly, if you want to be niggling about it), and returns home to a hero’s welcome. At which point Ross has him killed, for fear that Peron’s popularity will threaten his own rule.

And that’s the end. There’s no twist to speak of, other than the fact that Ross kills Peron with a mirror (get it? Because his looks killed people! Not sure how the science of that worked…), which is so weak as a twist I didn’t even give you a chance to guess it.

Final Thoughts

Best Story: MACH Man – This has been such a disappointing issue overall that I was tempted to just not award a best story. Then I remembered Probe clubbing people to death with a human icicle, and I relented. Also I’m interested to see the layers they’re adding to Dredd, now that he’s been around for more than half a year.

Worst Story: Shako – What the hell, Shako? You just threw out the premise in that last issue. The entire story had revolved around that frigging virus capsule, and then we never find out what happened to it? Come on! That’s just insulting. Who cares if he died well? What happened to the populations of Russia and Canada?

20.8.16

Programme 34 (15-October-77)

Cover:

Expanding sun? Solar flare? Put your guesses in now! Also, do the non-white featured players indicate that this is London’s near future?

19.8.16

Programme 33 (8-October-77)

Cover:

You know, I always knew that Jason X was ripped off from somewhere. And here it is.

Also, it’s nice to see another signed picture, this one by McCarthy and Ewins. I’m not exactly sure who they are, but if memory serves from that time Dredd had to investigate a murderous family who was killing tourists in Atlantis and feeding their corpses to giant manta rays so they could bribe a doctor to keep their mutant son a secret, at least one of them is named ‘Brett’.

You know, when we get to the story whose plot I just spoiled in like two years, it’s going to turn out that these weren’t even the artists on it.

18.8.16

Scream Season 2 Retrospective

This season, if nothing else, could be presented as something of a masterclass on how to lose your audience. Emma spent every episode whining and being withdrawn, Audrey spent the whole season actively hurting the police's chances of finding the killer because she didn't want people to get the wrong idea and think she knew about the first spate of killings beforehand. And it only gets worse from there...

17.8.16

Programme 32 (1-October-77)

Cover:

I don’t know. He seems pretty confident, but I’m taking the odds on the human, even though they’re 15-1. I like a long shot.

The Last Episode of Scream Season 2 is Now Live

Which means I'd better get my predictions in now before I risk seeing any spoilers. I'm not planning on watching the final episode until tonight, but there's always a chance I'll have it spoiled between now and then, so here goes-

I'm pretty sure Keiran's the killer. I know I have a spotty record of predicting these things at best - I mean, I called Piper in Season 1 way earlier, but Harper's Island and the Mentalist had me completely fooled. Although I maintain that Harper's Island cheated pretty severely - although I have no intention of relitigating that here.

Alright, so here's my reasoning-

14.8.16

Programme 31 (24-September-77)

Cover:

So folks, what’s the twist here – did the spacemen travel to a planet full of giant insects, or did their spacewarp magically shirnk them so that when they returned to earth the mosquitos merely seemed gigantic? I’d suggest that they went to the future where radiation from nuclear war had caused all the insects to become gigantic, but they just did that twist, so it’s not too likely.

Thrill 1 – Invasion!

Silk and Savage have headed for the hills, with a Volg divison hot on their heels! As ever the Mad Dogs are underequipped, wading through knee-high snow while ski troopers hunt them down, but they’ve got one thing on their side the Volgs don’t – British stubbornness and ingenuity!

One ingenious plan – they know that in all of the Volg’s ski training they never learn how to stop suddenly, which gives Bill the chance to do this-

And this!

The rest of the Volgs finally stop and call in for some snow-cat backup, ready to crush down the wall of the chalet that Savage has taken refuge in. Putting that ingenuity to use once again, Savage notices a few sets of mountain lion tracks leading to the back of the building. He lures the snowcat back to the den, and the Nazis find themselves mauled by good old British Lynxes!

With an appropriately ironic fate dealt to the snow-cat drivers, Silk and Savage head out once more, and finally link up with the Scottish resistance, who live in caves, well out of sight from the Volgan air patrols. Who knows what kind of mischief they’ll get up to with some backup? If this is true to form, the kind of disasterous mischief where a poor plan by the local commander gets almost everyone killed, and Savage has to rush in and save the dregs at the last minute.

You know, it just occurred to me that we only ever got two secret messages for that code wheel. What the hell, Invasion?

Thrill 2 – Judge Dredd

It’s time for another callback here at Judge Dredd – we just saw the fallout of the robot rebellion, and now we’re checking in with Whitey, the villain from Dredd’s first case way back in issue 2! When we last saw him he was left on Mega City 1’s ‘Devil Island’, a prison that stands above a massive highway intersection, where all the traffic runs at 200kph! Of course, if that traffic were to ever stop, you could just climb right down since, in an unusual move for a prison, Devil’s Island doesn’t have any walls or guards or sensors or anything like that to stop people from leaving.

So it’s just a matter of Whitey getting the brain who works in the machine shop to build him a machine that can change the weather machine’s programming remotely. Suddenly the Big Meg sees its first snow-storm in decades! All over the city traffic grinds to a halt, leaving Whitey free to jump down onto a suddenly safe roadway. After killing his scientist friend, of course – Whitey can see no possible advantage in having dozens of people escaping at the same time. He thinks he’s got a better chance of getting away if he’s the one and only criminal on the loose.

I’m beginning to see why he was so easy to catch in the first place.

Dredd rushes to the scene of the escape, but his bike is useless in the snow… at least until he finds Whitey’s discarded chains, which he wraps around his tires for traction! Meanwhile Whitey has killed a guy and taken a woman hostage, so he’s not wasting any time with the whole ‘continuing evil’ thing.

On his modified bike Dredd quickly catches up with Whitey, but Whitey proves too fast, managing to shoot Dredd in the arm with the gun he stole from one of the invisible guards while escaping. Apparently prison guard’s guns don’t have ID-locks the way judge’s guns do. I wonder why? Even though he’s a little injured, Dredd manages to defeat Whitey in the saddest way possible.

Yeah, that was a snowball. How dispiriting. Dredd then switches the sunlight back on and takes Whitey back to Devil’s Island. Which means this was an entire Judge Dredd story where he didn’t kill anyone at all.

Sigh. I was expecting something a little bigger from the Return of Whitey.

Judge Dredd Kill Count (38)

Thrill 3 - Shako

Picking up the death count for the issue is Shako, who quickly slaughters every single person in the mess hall that he wandered into last time. Which just goes to show you – always carry a gun when eating lunch on a Russian spycraft.

Shako doesn’t eat any of the soldiers, though – because he smells something much more delicious on the deck above. It seems that the Russian Spy Ship is disguised as a whaler, and there’s a prime sample of whale flesh on deck at the moment! Shako runs for the whale, in the process knocking a man down a chute into a vat of boiling blubber. Which is an extremely disgusting way to die. Ick.

The KGB rush onto the deck and drug Shako with a dart, but before they they can get him below deck American choppers fly in – it’s Jake’s backup, ready to bring the fight to the Ruskies! They chain the sleeping Shako to one of the helicopters and fly off – but the Russians aren’t going to take that lying down! Their commander radios another neaby whaler, which happens to have a harpoon on the bow…

Now, that wasn’t the helicopter that Jake was on, so we’re not through with him yet – but Shako’s in trouble, since he’s still chained to the chopper as it heads to the bottom of the arctic sea!

Big week for Shako, mauling and melting 11 people! This brings the total number Shako’s victims to have died ‘real slow’ to 2 out of 37, or roughly 5%

Thrill 4 – Dan Dare (?/Gibbons)

Things get weird for Dan this week, as his ship is approached by a fleet of heart-shaped spacecraft, all of whom broadcast messages of peace and love. They insist that Dan follow them back to their plane twhere they can be welcomed as honored guests, so long as they don’t bring guns. Dan’s wary, but convinced of the fake romans’ good intentions when he discovers that their planet’s main continent is actually shaped like a valentine heart!



Once they’re down on the planet Dan learns the downside of hiring a group of disreputable criminals for your crew when two troopers attempt to chase after some hot roman tail rather than proceeding to the formal welcoming ceremony. Dan beats them up with a heart-shaped wall plaque, then heads to the dinner.

While everyone else partakes of wine and song, Dan notices the two troublemaking crewman sneaking off with the ladies from earlier. Proving that he’s absolutely determined to keep people from enjoying themselves, Dan heads out after them, only to discover the two men lying dead in an alley… with their hearts torn out!

It seems that the roman’s aren’t heart-obsessed because they’re so in favor of peace and love, but because they’re all vampires, who love devouring the hearts of their human visitors! How will Dan foil them now that his entire crew is drunk and stuffed with food – and let’s not forget that his ‘entire crew’ seems to be like twenty guys. Not really enough to deal with a planet of the vampires, is it? Guess we’ll find out next time!

Thrill 5 – MACH 1

As I’m sure you’ll remember from last prog, John Probe was dispatched to Macon Coutny Georgia in order to find a crashed UFO – he succeeded in his mission, but before he could crack it open to find out what’s inside, he was waylaid by rednecks who, confusingly, think that the UFO is the work of the devil.

Their plan? Use a bulldozer to lift up the UFO and put dynamite underneath it! Wait, if the UFO was in a place easily accessible by BullDozer, how was it so hard to find? Anyhow, Probe proves too strong for the BullDozer, but his show of strength convinces the rednecks that’s he’s some sort of Satanalien!

Despite the fact that he just flipped a bulldozer with his bare hands, the Rednecks decide that they should try to take Probe on in combat. It goes really badly for them. Their leader is gutted with his own chainsaw and the gunmen are knocked over by thrown logs, but Probe can’t stop the last of them from detonating the dynamite that was left lying next to the UFO! That’s right – the dynamite was already wired to detonate, even before they’d gotten it in the place they wanted it. Not the best plan, but hey, they’re redneck.

Much like all of their other decisions, the dynamite proves to have been a bad one – it ‘wakes up’ the UFO, which blasts all the remaining rednecks with a heat ray! Only Probe and Simon survive – Probe dispatches Simon to summon the government’s troop, while he himself explores the inside of the UFO, which now has a suspiciously open door. It proves somewhat disappoing, as all that remains of the crew seems to be some mush left on the floor. Were all the aliens splattered in the impact, did they escape, or is there a third, more terrifying answer?

We’ll discover next time, because a distress signal beeping on the UFO’s dash has attracted reinforcements!

THARG’S NERVE CENTRE

You know, I’m a little disappointed by the lack of a twist. Also, I don’t know what a ‘Marrow’ is in the story’s context.

Thrill 6 – Future Shock

It’s the 23rd century, and earth is dangerously overpopulated! We see the story through the eyes of a scumbag desperate to leave the planet and head to the ‘paradise planet’ that the global government has started advertising as a place where the overpopulated masses can take refuge! Tickets are free, but it’s first-come first-serve! So how’s our scumbag going to get one?

By running over people, of course! A friend of his even hired muscle to bully people out of their tickets! When the scumbag gets to the counter he sees someone bribing the ticket officer to get on the flight! The scumbag finally muscles his way onto the flight, which begins the long trip to the paradise planet. Weeks later they’re ready to beam down-

Time for the twist, so get your guesses ready…

It’s not a paradise planet at all! It’s a frozen wasteland, and like Australia before it, the government has decided that only scumbags will be tough enough to tame the wilderness, so they set up a system of going to the planet that assured only scumbags would get the tickets!

Hilarious.

Final Thoughts

Best Story: Dan Dare – I don’t think Dan Dare’s made a single appearance in this section since the death of the living axe, but what can I say? I enjoyed the planet of the vampires.

Worst Story: Future Shock – Yeah, that wasn’t a very good twist, guys. Where was the alien zoo?

11.8.16

Programme 27 (27-August-77)

Cover:

Yikes. That’s just… unsettling…

7.8.16

Programme 26 (20-August-77)

Cover:

1

It’s not a Boland cover, but I’ll go ahead and admit it: I’m curious about the Satan horde. Also, I recently discovered that if you click on images here on blogspot you can view a bigger version of the image than the one that appears in the post. Who knew? o anyone who was having trouble reading the supercover story will now be able to get a better look at them.

Thrill 1 – Invasion!

It seems like a week can’t go by without those dirty Volgs coming up with another devious invention to impress the brits. This time it’s a super-fast boat! Yeah, I’m not impressed with it, either. But Bill thinks it’s important enough to bother with blowing up, so here we go.

He and Silk head into a random boathouse looking for a craft they can take out onto the water for the attack, and in an amazing coincidence, they just happen to run across the ‘Warbird’, the British boat that broke the water speed record in the 80s!

It seems that Tharg was a little too optimistic about this one. The water speed record was broken by an Aussie in ’78, and the 500kph record hasn’t been topped since.

Accompanying the boat is Robb, the watercarft’s pilot. He’s given up the fight, and Bill and Silk can’t shame him into helping out. That night the Mad Dogs plant limpet mines on the side of the ship, but are instantly found out by the Volgs. They attempt to flee, but the Volg superboats are just too fast.

Just then Robb changes his mind about helping out, and races the Warbird into a suicide run against the Volg boats, destroying both of them. The Mad Dogs are so impressed by the sacrifice that they take over a Volgan radio station and broadcast the new water speed record across the nation. Which is a nice message, but it seems like if Bill had come up with a better plan than ‘Rowboat vs Destroyer’ then the old guy wouldn’t have had to sacrifice himself.

Bill Savage – always willing to let someone else take the fall for his mistakes.

Thrill 2 – Harlem Heroes (?/Gibbons)

Remember how the Aeroball world championship was about to start? Yeah, I don’t so much care either. It’s only interesting insofar as Ulysses Cord has booby-trapped their jetpacks.

During the whole first half of the game Cord anxiously awaits and explosion that doesn’t come. He’s puzzled, and when he goes to visit the Heroes in the dugout, he notices that Giant’s pack is smoking. Fearing for his life, he turns tail and runs! Giant is hot on his tail, though – will both of them blow up next week? Somehow I doubt it.

Thrill 3 - Shako

When we last saw Shako he was devouring the sheriff and the sheriff’s wife in a small Alaskan shanty-town. We return to him as he makes short work of the schoolhouse’s food store. Outside a group of CIA agents and hunters scour the village, looking for the killer bear.

What they don’t know is that the bear has a friend in the form of Unk Sumak, young Eskimo lad. He takes an instant liking to the bear and ushers him to the safety of the schoolhouse’s book cupboard. Because what trouble could he get into there?

Oh, right, if Unk doesn’t let the bear out or tell anyone he’ll kill the teacher. Well, don’t worry. I’m sure it won’t be too much trouble getting a new schoolmarm to fly three thousand miles up there. You know, after she finds out the last teacher was eaten by a bear.

As the children run away screaming Unk leads the killer bear under the hospital which, ironically, is the very place that Jake is trying to escape so that he can join the search for the Yogi!

With the schoolmarm dying so rapidly, that brings the total number Shako’s victims to have died ‘real slow’ to 1 out of 17, or roughly 6%

Thrill 4 – Future Shocks

This weeks’s Future shock is a creepy little affair called ‘Food For Thought’. It concerns a group of fishermen out looking for fish, or as they call it ‘brain food’. What’s the twist? They themselves are pulled up by monstrous aliens who eat human brains! Hilarious.

One interesting thing about the aliens-

I recalled those names as the sounds that the bizarre mutants made that time Supreme saw the nuclear-ravaged future (yeah, I’ve read Supreme a lot…). It obviously wasn’t a coincidence, so I looked it up – turns out that ‘Squa-Fon’ and Spa-Tront’ are apparently things that creatures yelled in monster comics from EC.

THARG’S NERVE CENTER

It’s the first Supercover sequel, and it’s something of a doozy, with the humans of Mega-City 1 inviting alien bounty hunter to exterminate the entire race of mutants who attacked them. Is there a twist? Click on it to read and find out!

Thrill 5 – MACH 1

Continuing his habit of being sent to wildly odd locations for strange reasons, Probe heads to South America to look for a missing archaeologist. What does he find there?

Yeah, some random guy from issue 4. Weird coincidence, huh? Krall traps Probe in a chamber with a low-frequency sound generator, but by pushing his hyperpower to its very limits, Probe manages to break through a stone wall. He’s about to go after Krall when something… odd… happens.

Yup, it’s chariots of the gods again. Probe figures that a spaceship must have crashed thousands of years ago, causing the Incas to build a religion around it. Okay, makes sense. But why is it taking off? Probe has a theory about that, too – the low frequency sound flipped the switch from ‘off’ to ‘on’. Makes as much sense as anything, I guess.

Probe can’t fight the giant alien robots, so as the Iranites are slaughtered he leaps off the spaceship and plummets the 90,000 feet back to earth! Landing safely in a mud lake, Probe survives the ordeal and the story ends without anyone commenting on how Probe’s entire worldview has just been shattered by discovering aliens are real. In fact, his British bosses don’t believe him about the aliens at all. I suppose the top of a pyramid disappearing doesn’t count as evidence in Sharpe’s world.

Also, the story ends with a ‘don’t try this at home’ disclaimer. So remember, kids – if you find yourself on an Inca spaceship leaving earth, don’t jump off it.

Thrill 6 – Judge Dredd

A little more future shock from Judge Dredd this week, as a man named ‘John Nobody’ goes to a place called the ‘Dream Palace’, where people can enjoy fully lucid waking dreams. Interestingly, this issue features the first reference yet to the people of the future being largely idle, working, at most, ten hours per week.

This Nobody likes the dream palace because it allows him to live out fantasies of blowing up buildings and killing huge numbers of people. What’s his motive? He doesn’t like his name. Seriously. That’s his motive. More on that later.

Dredd is called into justice central to hear about a crime spree. All of Nobody’s crimes are coming true. Of course, Dredd doesn’t know who’s behind them, or have the slightest idea where to start looking. In an amazing coincidence Dredd happens to drive by the Dream Center after leaving the Hall of justice, and an employee flags him down. She reports Nobody’s disturbing dreams, and tells Dredd about a new one he just came in for that morning – it involves Nobody bombing the justice day parade… which is happening right now!

Dredd arrives just in time to hop on Nobody’s hovercar, crash it into a float of the statue of justice, which causes the sword from its hand to fall and impale the crook. A happy ending for everyone. Except for Nobody, and all the people he killed.

Now, a little more about the motive. Do they not have name changing in the future? Because he could have just changed his name. This is as stupid as that woman’s motive for hating Spider in Transmetropolitan. She was sick of people on the street recognizing her as an (unwilling) porn star. Hey, lady, you live in a dystopian future where body modification is the norm. Buy a new face.

Judge Dredd Kill Count (29)+1=30

Final Thoughts

Best Story: MACH 1 – Shako was a little silly this week, what with the helpful Eskimo lad stepping up to save the bear. I was more impressed by the Inca spaceship.

Worst Story: Harlem Heroes – Thank god there can’t be more than like three stories left.

Also, this was the first week of 2000AD’s postergraph series – which we’ll take a look at when it’s complete.

6.8.16

Programme 25 (13-August-77)

Cover:

I’m confused – is this a supercover set in the world of Judge Dredd? Because that would be a change. Or maybe it’s a different Mega City? Anyhow I’ve got no clue who the artist is this time around. The buildings look a little Ian Gibson-y, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

5.8.16

Programme 24 (6-Aug-77)

Cover:

The second Kevin O’Neill feature here in the pages of 2000AD. It’s still just a single page, but it’s an impressive enough one that I’m not going to complain about it. As for the story, I’m at something of a loss. Perhaps a chariots of the gods thing, with ancient astronauts inspiring cave paintings?

2.8.16

Programme 23 (30-July-77)

Cover:

Brian Bolland’s done it again. I find this cover especially wonderful, for reasons that won’t be apparent for quite a while. Let’s just say that, in some very key ways, this image is kind of a dry run for one of Bolland’s all-time great covers.

Also, having men grow out of you is not a great kind of plague to have.

29.7.16

Programme 22 (23-July-77)

Cover:

It’s the fourth supercover, which is, once again, not drawn by God-Among-Artists Brian Bolland. This time I’m actually going to guess what the story is, based solely on the cover. It’s probably about a peaceful alien who comes to earth and then gets misunderstood and hunted because he looks ugly, allowing them to have a ‘message’ in their hundred-word story.

26.7.16

Programme 21 (16-July-77)

Cover:

Way to drop the ball there, Supercovers. You weren’t a great idea in the first place, but at least the questionable concept was propped up by the brilliant renditions wrought by the greatest comic book artist to have ever lived, Brian Bolland. So what do you go and do? You got someone else to draw the cover.

Oy.

20.7.16

Programme 20 (9-July-77)

Cover: It’s number 2 in our series of supercovers, but I’m not going to complain this time. Oh, sure, it’s doing nothing more than plugging an interesting premise that the comic is going to do absolutely nothing with, but I don’t care. Why? Because I recognized the way those people’s clothes were drawn. Only Brian Bolland draws clothes like that. A quick scouring of the image uncovered this in the bottom-right corner:

I looked over last week’s cover and sure enough, it was also a Bolland. Guess I’m just not familiar enough with his robots and dogs.

So even if the whole concept of the Supercover is a little weak, I’m impressed that the editor of the magazine (Tharg, I suppose) was smart enough to choose the best possible artist to draw them. I’m not going to go too in-depth into Bolland here, though – I’ll save my worshiping of the man’s work until he actually starts drawing actual stories in the comic.