Happy Birthday, 2000AD (your “Official” birthday, that is)

An early dummy cover for "AD2000", cover artist unknown
An early dummy cover for “AD2000”, cover artist unknown

Happy Birthday 2000AD! The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic is celebrating its 40th birthday today with the release of the 2000AD 40th Anniversary Special and 2000AD Prog 2019 in newsagents, comic shops and various digital platforms. More information below!

Technically, it’s actually “Happy Birthday Judge Dredd“, who appeared in Prog Two, which was on sale today 40 years ago. 22nd February 1977 was the “off sale date” of the landmark Prog One. (The cover date was always the off sale date in those days).

But who are we to be too pernickety? Featured above is an early dummy cover for the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. Personally, I’d have preferred a model spaceship but the content Prog One itself made up for the crappy Space Spinner for the infamous “Free Gift Stock Room”. “Flesh” was definitely my favourite early Thrill.

The comic has come a long way since those early days, evolving in response to its audience. For a title writer John Wagner once thought would last a couple of years, its longevity is a testament to the dedication of the staff and freelancers who have worked on the title over the last 40 years. Thank you, all of you.

But as it is really Judge Dredd’s birthday, here’s one of my favourite covers from those early days – Prog 85, back when the law man was deep in the Cursed Earth on a vital mission… Cover by Mick McMahon.2000AD Prog 85

The 2000AD 40th Anniversary Special (offered in two covers, one by Carlos Ezquerra, the other by David AJA) features a stonking line-up of thrills:

2000AD 40th Anniversary Special

Interlude 01 by Jock (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Judge Dredd: Blood by John Wagner (w) Carl Critchlow (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Interlude 02 by Rufus Dayglo (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Zombo: Z.O.M.B.0 by Al Ewing (w) Henry Flint (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Interlude 03 by Mark Sexton (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Ro-Busters: Seeing Red by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Terra-Meks poster by Cliff Robinson
Interlude 04 by Patrick Goddard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Durham Red: The Judas Strain by Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Interlude 05 by Bryan Talbot (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Sláine: Red Branch by Pat Mills (w) Simon Davis (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Interlude 06 by Mike Collins (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Nikolai Dante: Devil May Care by Robbie Morrison (w) Simon Fraser (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

2000AD Prog 20192000AD Prog 2019, with a cover by Greg Staples, features:

Judge Dredd: Deep In The Heart by Michael Carroll (w) Henry Flint (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Kingmaker by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Kingdom: As It Is In Heaven by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
The Order:  Wyrm War by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Sinister Dexter: One-Hit Wonder by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Simon Bowland (l)<

2000AD, Judge Dredd Megazine and the 2000AD 40th Anniversary Special are available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

• Available in digital from: 2000AD webshop and on the 2000AD iPad app, 2000AD Android app, 2000AD Windows 10 app

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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