Programme 26 (20-August-77)



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.


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.

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