Comics Inspiration: How Celebrities have inspired the look of some Comic Characters Part 3: 2000AD Edition

As people seem to have enjoyed Part One and Part Two of my look at celebrities who inspired the look of some well-known British comic characters, I thought it makes sense to add in Part Three, while I still have enough material that will make us all go ooh.

This article since first posted has been updated to note a different “origin” for Judge Anderson

I am going to start off with one of my favourite characters who has been a favourite of mine since I first saw him way back in February 1977 in 2000ADBill Savage.  He was the star of “Invasion!“, which ran for the first 51 issues of the title,  a no holds barred resistance story set in an invaded Britain.  They might have been called the enemy Volgs in the story, but none of us who grew up in the Cold War were fooled. We could call them Reds – but that was as far as it went as far as bad names went.

Bill Savage and Stanley Baker

Now I did not get the likeness at first, as I had originally seen an article that said Savage resembled Stanley Baxter.  “He looks nothing like the comedian,” I thought, disparaging the notion. It was only when this new-fangled interweb thingy came along, that I saw that the article had been corrected to say Stanley Baker.  Again, I was a bit lost as I could sort of see a mild resemblance, but when I was pointed to Baker’s role in Hell Drivers, it suddenly made sense and I could see the strength of the resemblance all the way down to the wee hair flick.I’m going to stick with 2000AD for my next look-a-like.  One of the many things I really liked about The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic as a kid was how it took on a relevance that few other comics could manage, a genuine mirror held up against our culture. One of my favourite moments that still resonates with me is the use of current affairs in the story of Ant Wars, when you have two nameless Scots trying to hitch-hike back from Argentina after the 1978 World Cup.  I am sure that it still resonates with a lot of Scottish 2000AD fans, even if it does make us wince.

A page from "Ant Wars", published in 2000AD Prog 80 © Rebellion Publishing Ltd
A page from “Ant Wars”, published in 2000AD Prog 80 © Rebellion Publishing Ltd

That immediacy made 2000AD my comic to a lot of us as it referenced world events that few other comics ever did. [Colin, the article is about look-a-likes. Can we get back on track? ~ Ed]

Doctor Gribbon from the Judge Dredd "Cursed Earth" Judge Dredd saga

Anyhoo, I digress.  Getting back on track, the next one I am going to mention is Doctor Gribbon, who appeared in the Judge Dredd “Cursed Earth” saga.  When I first saw him, it was a no-brainer to realise that he was based on Colonel Harland David Sanders. In case anyone is struggling to figure out who he is, read that name again, but with only the rank and the surname.I was in love with the character as soon as I saw him.  I knew he was a baddie, but I didn’t care the art by Brian Bolland sold it. (For me, the hierarchy of comic artists is Ian Kennedy, Brian Bolland, Frank Quitely and everyone else on varying degrees, depending on how the wind is blowing that day).

Judge Dredd by Robert Thomson

Sticking with 2000AD and Brian Bolland for my next look-a-like, it’s Psi Judge Anderson. I knew almost from Day One that Cassandra was, it seemed, based on Debbie Harry, but I never knew much else about the background, until I was chatting about this series of articles with Glasgow artist Robert Thomson.  To give you an idea of his work, check this out.Robert mentioned an 1980s interview with Brian Bolland, where Brian said Cassandra was introduced very early on in the Judge Dredd universe. Because there was the possibility that characters would be killed off, Brian had deliberately based the look of Anderson on Debbie Harry.  This was so that any artist following on would have a wealth of photo reference material if she was used again.

Psi Judge Anderson and influences - composite

Until I got pointed in the direction of the blog 2000AD Hall of Homage, I never realised that there was a potential second influence on the look of Cassandra, another pop artist, the great Marianne Faithfull.  I have put some pictures together – I will let you make the call.

However, throwing another hat into the ring, since this item was posted, downthetubes reader Andy Currington has pointed out that 2000AD editor Kelvin Gosnell told the 2000AD Thrillcast last year that Judge Anderson was based on assistant editor Deirdre Vine.

“There was a shot that we needed for a cover,” he told Michael Molcher, “and I got a camera with a very long lens on it and did a snap of her, from when she didn’t know, and gave the snap to Brian Bolland and said ‘make Anderson look like that’.

Deirdre, featured here on Shutterstock, moved from 2000AD to the teen romance mag My Guy, and went on to become editor of Woman’s Journal and Aura. There’s discussion of this here on the 2000A forum.

One final look-a-like in 2000AD that I am going to highlight and is our football-mad commentators from the slapstick “Sam Slade” series Football Mad, which ran in 2000AD in September and October back in 1982.  Way back in the day, I could have told you exactly who each footballing reference was aimed at, but now I am chuffed to even remember the panel for their send up of Jimmy Hill, Elton John, Brian Clough and Don Revie (I admit had to cheat to get that one!) David Coleman.

A big thank you goes to Tim McNulty for coming to my rescue in spotting my deliberate error and correctly identifying David Coleman as the first commentator.  I will pass it over to Brian-1 for his reaction.

“Uh, absolutely remarkable that anyone could identify me as Don Revie.  A yellow card for you Colin” Thank you for that Brian!

I will sign off here, as there are plenty more that could be mentioned in 2000AD such as “B.L.A.I.R One”, or Di and Sarah in “Big Dave”, but right now I am now off to see Department S. Groovy!

2000AD graphic novels on AmazonUK


Comics Inspiration: How Celebrities have inspired the look of some Comic Characters Part One

• Comics Inspiration: How Celebrities have inspired the look of some Comic Characters Part 2

Comics Inspiration: How Celebrities have inspired the look of some Comic Characters Part 3: 2000AD Edition

2000AD © Rebellion Publishing Ltd.

A life-long comic fan, specialising mainly in UK adventure comics, Colin did his very best to support his passion for the comics of his youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interested him. Sadly, Colin passed in March 2021, an invaluable downthetubes team member, much missed by us all

Categories: 2000AD, British Comics, Classic British Comics, Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features

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4 replies

  1. Re. Judge Anderson – for obvious reasons it’s usually been assumed that she was modeled on Debbie Harry, but according to erstwhile 2000 AD Kelvin Gosnell it was the comic’s assistant editor Deirdre Vine:

    “Deirdre Vine was Judge Anderson. There was a shot that we needed for a cover, and I got a camera with a very long lens on it and did a snap of her, from when she didn’t know, and gave the snap to Brian Bolland and said ‘make Anderson look like that’. ”

    More about this on the 2000 AD forums:

    I can’t find any images of Deirdre from the late 70’s but if you use Google Images there are some more recent shots and you have to think, yep, that’s Anderson!

  2. The first commentator in the Sam Slade story is David Coleman, not Don Revie, otherwise, top stuff!

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