Programme 45 (31-December-77)


Well, I’m guessing that’s officially it for Supercovers. Sad, isn’t it? I know Supercovers had their highs and lows, but it was an extra story every single week for six months, and they were certainly fun while they lasted.

But yeah, largely they weren’t great.

Thrill 1 – Judge Dredd (Wagner/Bolland/Jacob)

The story is called FUTSIE! Which, as I recally, refers to something called ‘Future Shock Syndrome’, where people go murderously nuts from the precious of the go-go 21st century.

Or 22nd, in this case, since this episode is set on New Year’s Eve, 2099. (Which technically means it’s still the 21st century even after midnight, but whatever.)

A guy named Arthur Goodworthy is called into the boss’ office at Moonie Enterprises, where he’s told that unless he finishes his entire backlog of accounts before midnight his contract will be… terminated! Arthur’s pleas of family illness fall on deaf ears, and he rushes to work while his coworkers party.

Which leads to a minor disaster when, just after Arthur has finished his last file-

The real tragedy in this scene is that in the distant future all accounting is still done on loose-leaf paper. Also that Arthur immediately grabs that club and starts beating people to death with it.

That’s sad too.

The people at the office call Arthur’s family, which gives the adorable moppet a chance to plead with Dredd for assistance in capturing his father unharmed.

Which Dredd manages without too much fuss – after all, Dredd’s a trained Judge, and Arthur’s just a fat accountant with a costume club. But his troubles don’t end after getting socked in the jaw:

Yup – because a co-worker scattered some paperwork, necessitating that it be picked up, Moonie sent some murderers to ‘terminate Arthur’s contract’.

Dredd deals with the Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee of corporate hitmen by slamming his bike into them, sadly non-fatally. With them headed off to jail, Dredd finally sets his sights on the most important target of all – taking down Howard Hughes! I mean taking down C.W. Moonie!

The Judge Dredd Kill Count remains stalled at 42.


It’s another episode of Kevin O’Neill’s Bonjo: From Beyond the Stars! This time his feet get cold walking through tibet, so he straps Yetis to his soles.

You know, three-panel gag strips don’t synopsize well, but I wasn’t entertained enough by the content to excerpt it here.

Thrill 2 – Invasion (Finley-Day/Pino/Frame)
It’s a brief little adventure this week in the Invasion. Bill’s gotten word that there’s a ten million Volgsmark bounty on the heads of the mad dogs, so he goes to a branch of the ‘Bank of Volga’ to collect it for himself!

Seriously? They’ve already set up branches of the ‘bank of Volga’ in occupied Britain, complete with stencilled windows? How long has this invasion been going on at this point?

Anyhow, the robbery goes quite well, since in addition to the two men inside, Nessie covers their escape with a panzershreck. With enough money to both fund the resistance for a while and get Prince John to Canada, it looks like the Mad Dogs have finally made it to easy street.

Except that there’s a fly hovering just off to the side of the ointment. Rosa, the nefarious Gestapo Colonel who sometimes dresses as a cleaning lady has talked her way out of the dungeons that her failures have condemned her to. It seems that she’s come up with a plan that can’t possibly fail in trapping the Mad Dogs. It impresses the General so much that he reinstates Rosa’s rank and allows her to murder her replacement with her bare hands!

So what is the plan? Guess we’ll find out next week!

Thrill 3 – Dan Dare (Finley-Day/Gibbons/Gibbons)

Speaking of plans, the Starslayers’ one worked perfectly, drawing the Space Fort within range of the blinding star, where the entire crew is hypnotized! The Fortress lands as planned, but when the Grawls and Dan approach, it opens fire!

Dan manages to dodge to a blind spot and crawl inside, where he finds the entire crew turned against him! Dan can’t possibly fight them all, especially now that Bear and Hitman have been released, so he surrenders, and the Fortress takes off once more, headed for the planet Starslay – where the Dark Lord can execute Dan personally?

Is this part of Dan’s plan? Because if it’s not, he’s a terrible tactician, and if it is, he got an awful lot of Grawls killed to get it started.

Thrill 4 – Future Shock (Flynn/Clough/Frame)

Out on a dark country road a Constable finds a desperate man waving for help. Stopping to assist, the man has a bizarre story to offer about just what is chasing him. It seems that he worked on a computerized car so intelligent that it could drive itself. Everything seemed to go well, right up until the first test drive-

The car then immediately ran over the other scientist on the project, and chased the last man into the woods, where it couldn’t follow. The constable doesn’t believe his story, of course, and he’s skeptically calling a report in when the compu-car rolls up… and radios his own patrol car, telling it how to kill him!

Hold on a second – let’s say I give you that a car with a computer in it could become self-aware. Fine, nothing wrong with that, self-aware computres are a cornerstone of sci-fi – but how could it make another car, one without a computer also self-aware?

It claims to have the ability because it was built with a radio-telephone (I suppose this is what they called car phones in the 70s?), but if that’s the case, wouldn’t it only be able to contact other cars that also had cell phones, or radios? Not much of a threat, especially back when this was written.

Also, I know we’ve all read ‘Trucks’ and seen ‘Maximum Overdrive’, but would driverless cars really be all that much of a threat? They can’t change tires or refuel themselves, and they’re actually kind of flimsy as far as villains go. Seriously, pop a tire and the car’s own weight will ruin its wheels quickly enough.

Man, I’ve thought entirely too much about how I would deal with an automotive uprising, haven’t I?

Thrill 5 – MACH 1 (Hebden/Lozano/Canos/Potter)

As explained last issue Sharpe has set up a trap around Mach 0’s old house, and is lying in wait to hill him. But there’s one thing Sharpe wasn’t counting on – MACH 1 finally finishing his reading! Yup, Mach 1 shows up, announcing that he’s going to help Zero, not kill him!

It looks like he’s got his work cut out for him, though – when he finally approaches Zero the monstrosity comes to the conclusion that he’s been sent by Sharpe! Naturally a fight ensues, and with each man super strong and fast, it looks like it’s going to be a stalemate!

After ten minutes of fisticuffs Sharpe grows weary of waiting and sends in the troops – he claims that he wants to rescue MACH 1, but I’m sure we all realize that he’s just looking to cover up the Zero fiasco in any way possible.

Oh, and I’m sure everyone shares my sadness at the revelation that what had appeared to be a Kermit tattoo was sadly exposed as being a mere T-shirt. Sigh.

Thrill 6 – Inferno (Tully/Belardinelli/Nuttall)

So, the Crystal Maze Arcade turns out to a huge amusement park/casino located in future Brooklyn! Rather confusingly someone mentions that the games are so high-end that you could win (or lose) a million ‘Groats’ in a single afternoon!

Wait, Groats? Isn’t that the alien currency Tharg favors? Just a few weeks ago the fake bribes that the Manager planted were stacks of five thousand dollars. Has currency changed just in the past few weeks, or is Brooklyn on the Alien standard?

Somehow I don’t think these are important questions, so let’s move on… to actual detective work! Crazy, right? Giant asks the manager if he knows the traitorous coach, but the man claims ignorance. Then, spotting the man who takes souvenir holocubes of tourists, Giant (brilliantly) thinks to ask if they keep copies of all the holocube photos taken in the past few days. The photog shows them the collection, and, in an amazing coincidence, it just so happens that he happened to snap a hologram of the evil coach meeting with the (now-revealed-to-be) evil manager!

Their attempts to track the manager down go a little haywire when Moody Bloo, their cave-man, goes a little nuts at one of the midway games and kills a robot, setting the stall on fire! Through the smoke they chase the manager into a room that uses holograms to simulate what it’s like to be in a meteor shower!

So, do you need three guesses to figure out what happens next? That’s right, a guy flips the switch that turns the ‘real meteors’ on. Since that last panel was in colour, though, it means we’re looking at the back page of the issue, and we won’t see how the guys get out of it until next week.

Until then, I leave you with a question – why would that theme park attraction even have a ‘real meteors’ button?

Final Thoughts

Best Story: Harlem Heroes – I know the Dredd story was good, but I was so happy to see the Heroes getting out of the arena and into the plot that the joy overwhelmed me a little.

Worst Story: Future Shock – Yeah, I’m just not scared of living cars. I know I should be, what with all those Toyotas trying to murder their owners, but it’s just not happening. And this poorly-told story isn’t helping any.

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