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.
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:
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)
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
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.