In Rapid Review: The Steel Claw, 2000AD Prog 2217 – and a quick 2021 Rebellion releases reminder

Screaming for attention from the get go a cracking cover from Dan Cornwell, 2000AD Prog 2217 is on sale today, offering a heady mix or top thrills including “Judge Dredd”, “Durham Red” and “Slaine”. But that’s not all this week’s thrills from Rebellion – we get The Steel Claw and other collections, too!

2000AD Prog 2217 - Cover

Judge Dredd: Naked City” by Ken Niemand and Dan Cornwell and Jim Boswell opens the issue with a very silly story centring on a security guard with secret x-ray vision, a smashing throwback to the very early favs of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic in terms of humour and tone. Not to be missed though, is the latest episode of “Sláine: Dragontamer” by Pat Mills, which features some truly astounding art from Leonardo Manco that may just take your breath away.

2000AD 2217 - art by Leonardo Manco

Also just out this week in print from Rebellion are Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Volume 36 and the first (and hopefully not last) The Steel Claw collection. Plus a digital only release of the Revere, by John Smith and Simon Harrison.

The Steel Claw - Standard Cover

Longtime British comic fans who perhaps missed out on Titan Books “Claw” collection a few years back should be aware this new Rebellion edition featuring the origin and early, utterly insane strips starring this 1960s supervillain later turned superspy does include the same strips, plus two extra stories, from Valiant annuals, and an introduction from comic creator Paul Grist.

Comparing both editions, my vote is very much in favour of the Rebellion release, sports, I think, better reproduction of the strips, written by Ken Bulmer and Tom Tully with fantastic art from Jesús Blasco.

As to the stories – well, look, it’s impossible to not acknowledge that these are tales that are told at a breakneck pace, crammed with action… but as Louis Crandell, aka the Steel Claw, runs amok across two countries in his early adventures, at times they make little sense and don’t hold up to the kind of intense scrutiny that some might try to afford them. These are adventures published originally for the moment, throwaway weekly comics at their very best, whose creators never imagined for one moment would be collected some over 50 years later into high quality collector editions.

Treat these wonderfully bonkers tales as they were meant to be read – mad, fast reading, intended to totally entertain, and sometimes, just sometimes, inspire young imaginations into a life of writing and editing comics for a living, like me. (And who never once thought sticking their fingers in a plug socket to see if they would turn invisible was a good idea…)

High literature they are not. Hi-jinks they most definitely are!

  • The Steel Claw Volume One - Sample Art
  • The Steel Claw Volume One - Sample Art
  • The Steel Claw Volume One - Sample Art
  • The Steel Claw Volume One - Sample Art
  • The Steel Claw Volume One - Sample Art
  • The Steel Claw Volume One - Sample Art

Check out our full guide to 2021 Rebellion releases – both 2000AD and Treasury of British Comics – here

On Sale This Week from Rebellion

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 36

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files #36 – 2 February

Judge Dredd has brought countless monsters to justice but now the ultimate killing machines, cinema’s most famous xenomorphs, surface in Mega-City One and it may well be more than the Justice Department can handle!

• The Steel Claw – 2 February – check out the 2000AD exclusive cover edition by Brian Bolland here

– Reviewed above!

Louis Crandell was but a lowly lab assistant with a prosthetic, steel hand until an experiment gone awry results in a horrific explosion. Surging with electric charge which bestows Crandell the power of invisibility with the exception of his steel hand, so commence a series of uncanny thrills!

Written by stalwarts of the British comics industry, Ken Bulmer (Jet-Ace Logan) and Tom Tully (Roy of the Rovers, Janus Stark) and illustrated by the legendary Spanish artist, Jesús Blasco (Capitán Trueno), Rebellion’s Treasury of British Comics is proud to present the first in a series of graphic novels collecting together for the first time every strip of 1960s adventure comics like none other! 

• 2000AD Prog 2217 – 3 February

Featuring,,,,

2000AD 2217 - Judge Dredd - art by Dan Cornwell

Judge Dredd: Naked City by Ken Niemand (Writer) Dan Cornwell (Artist) Jim Boswell (Colourist) Annie Parkhouse (Letterer)
Durham Red: Served Cold by Alec Worley (Writer) Ben Willsher (Artist) Jim Campbell (Letterer)
Sláine: Dragontamer by Pat Mills (Writer) Leonardo Manco (Artist) Annie Parkhouse (Letterer)
Proteus Vex: The Shadow Chancellor by Mike Carroll (Writer) Jake Lynch (Artist) Jim Boswell (Colourist) Simon Bowland (Letterer)
Hershey: The Brutal by Rob Williams (Writer) Simon Fraser (Artist) Simon Bowland (Letterer)

• Revere (digital only) – 3 February

Written by John Smith with nightmarish psychedelic art from Simon Harrison, Revere is an inimitable psychedelic post-apocalyptic climate change coming-of-age fever dream, filled with magic, fascistic cops, and young love.

Immerse yourself in an unbeatable, wonderfully weird, trippy nightmare set in a post-apocalyptic London, via Francis Bacon, Romeo and Juliet, and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi. Follow Revere as he parkours over the buildings of a crumbling capital, embarks on mystical drug-hazed misadventures, falls in love, and has to fight to discover his true self…

This new digital-only release is the perfect opportunity for fans to read one of Smith’s seminal work. 

2000AD‘s new digital releases are available from the 2000AD app for Apple, Android, and Windows 10 devices, as DRM-free PDF/CBZ downloads from the 2000AD webshop, and on Amazon Kindle devices. Check out the full schedule of 2021 digital releases here on the 2000AD web site

On Sale Soon…

Check out our full guide to 2021 Rebellion releases – both 2000AD and Treasury of British Comics – here

• Night of the Devil: War Picture Library – 16 February

March 2021 Releases

  • The Mean Arena Vol.1 – All To Slay For (digital) – 3 March
  • Roy of the Rovers: The Best of the 1970s – The Roy of the Rovers Years – 4 March
  • Judge Dredd: End of Days – 16 March
  • Major Eazy: The Italian Campaign – 2 March

April 2021 Releases

  • The Spider’s Syndicate of Crime – 15 April
  • The Vigilant TPB – 15 April
  • Thistlebone – 29 April 2021

May 2021 Releases

Adam Eterno - A Hero for All Time
  • Devlin Waugh: Blood Debt – 13 May 2021
  • Fill Tilt Boogie – 13 May
  • Adam Eterno – 27 May

Check out our full guide to 2021 Rebellion releases – both 2000AD and Treasury of British Comics – here

June 2021 Releases

  • Roy of the Rovers: The Best of the 1980s – Who Shot Roy Race? – 10 June
  • Tammy & Jinty Remixed – 10 June
  • Judge Dredd: Guatemala – 22 June
  • Battler Britton – War Picture Library by Hugo Pratt – 24 June

July 2021 Releases

  • 2000 AD Regened Vol. 2 – 06 July
  • The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire Volume III – 20 July
  • Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 37 – 22 July

August 2021 Releases

Ken Reid’s Football Funnies
  • Ken Reid’s Football Funnies: The First Half – 5 August
  • Lawless Vol. 3: Ashes to Ashes – 5 August
  • Hershey: Disease – 17 August
  • The Stainless Steel Rat – 19 August
  • Essential Judge Dredd: Origins – 31 August

September 2021 Releases

  • Sláine: Dragontamer – 2 September
  • Dark Judges: The Fall of Deadworld Vol. 3 – 14 September
  • The Thirteenth Floor Volume 3 – 16 September

October 2021 Releases

  • Black Max Volume 2 – 14 October
  • Megatropolis – 14 October

November 2021 Releases

  • Judge Dredd: Dreadnoughts – 9 November
  • Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection – 11 November
  • Brink Vol. 4 – 23 November
  • The Treasury of British Comics Presents: The Tom Paterson Collection – 25 November

December 2021 Releases

  • Hellman of Hammer Force – 9 December
  • Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 38 – 9 December
  • Scarlet Traces Vol. 3 – 9 December

Check out our full guide to 2021 Rebellion releases – both 2000AD and Treasury of British Comics – here

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: 2000AD, Adventure Comics, British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Reviews, SF Comics

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3 replies

  1. As a 9-year-old in ’62, I really enjoyed the first adventure of the Steel Claw. In fact (unusually for me) I enjoyed the ‘baddie’ Louis Crandall escapades more than when he went straight.

    It reminded me of those old B&W films where there was a dangerous maniac at large with either a bomb or a deadly virus. Hah! Deadly virus–now THAT’S far-fetched!

  2. i believe one of the reasons that Pat Mills is on his way out of 2000ad is the length of time it takes to get a story collected. and thus get your work out there and get some royalties for it. (i know there is more to it than that) as a fan there are several books i want to read and to gift that just never come including the remaining volumes of SAVAGE. It is funny then that this last Slaine book gets a realease date before it is finished in the prog.

    • Back when I was working with Print Media Productions the book distributor we worked with requested we at most release 12 books in a year, simply because of the mechanics of books distribution in the UK and beyond. In addition, books are sold into the trade some 12 months ahead of publication in the US, where sales can greatly assist the “make or break” of a release, whether the kind of material you would naturally expect to sell in that market or not. Rebellion of course have a number of alternative distribution points for their releases, including their welcome digital schedule noted in the story above, but you must also bear in mind that the 2021 schedule includes a number of titles planned for release in 2020 but delayed due to the chaos caused to retail by the pandemic – which at time of writing, is still impacting the trade. If a publisher releases too many books in any given period, they end up competing with themselves for shelf space, and reduce targeted promotional budgets for each release. Much as fans may want to see more books, more collections, the simple fact of the matter is that the market would not stand the kind of release rate some demand. And that’s not even factoring in the production of the titles by the editorial team, which in the case of vintage material is far more time consuming than a collection of a more recent strip.

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