Mick McMahon’s first ever drawn Judge Dredd up for sale on ComicArtFans

The UK-based comic art seller service Art Droids is currently selling pages from Mick McMahon‘s first ever Judge Dredd strip that he drew, intended for 2000AD Prog One, but bumped to a later issue because of excessive violence.

The opening page of the first “Judge Dredd” strip to be drawn by Mick McMahon, intended for the first issue - but which didn’t run in 2000AD until Prog 6

The opening page of the first “Judge Dredd” strip to be drawn by Mick McMahon, intended for the first issue – but which didn’t run in 2000AD until Prog 6

The last panel of this page was used in ads for 2000AD - and in Prog 1. It's the first ever published image of Judge Dredd

The last panel of this page was used in ads for 2000AD – and in Prog 1. It’s the first ever published image of Judge Dredd

Mick McMahon was the first published Judge Dredd artist in 2000AD. After Carlos Ezquerra, who designed the character left the strip, before the launch of the comic, McMahon was selected to draw the first stories. He quickly came to be Judge Dredd’s finest and most influential artist.

The strip up for sale is also remarkable as it contains the first ever published image of Judge Dredd on his bike, firing the cannons, which was used to advertise 2000AD in other comics prelaunch, and was the first published Judge Dredd image anywhere.

The first “Judge Dredd” strip that Mick was commissioned to draw in 1976 was “Body Snatchers / Frankenstein2”, which was eventually scheduled to be published in Prog 6, cover dated 2nd April 1977. The strip was edited for excessive violence, which you can see on this original art. These stories were commissioned at the same time as things went wrong for the weekly comic Action, and the editorial staff were forced to rein in violent content by the management at IPC.

In the unedited strip, for example, Judge Dredd, executes the felon on the final page, posted on the ArtDroids web site, you can see where there was a round panel on this opening page, under the huge word balloon. Underneath is a panel of the villain brandishing a pistol, in an almost identical pose as to what became Judge Dredd’s signature stance, pistol aloft.

“Mick obviously realised how strong this was, and used it many times on covers, pin ups and splash pages of Judge Dredd,” note the ArtDroids team.

Judge Dredd by Mick McMahon - 2000AD Prog 6

You will also notice that in this early strip Judge Dredd’s badge says ‘Judge’, not ‘Dredd’, as Carlos’s first strip had utilitarian badges, not personalised. Mick followed suit, but editorial decided to make them named badges, so readers would more easily distinguish Judges from each other.

2000AD‘s editor selected a later drawn strip (a story called “Judge Whitey”) to be published first in Prog 2, as that story better encapsulated what Judge Dredd was about. That strip was recently sold by Heritage Auctions, and fetched $90,000.

ArtDroids provide the finest Vintage Artwork from Classic British Comics, and specialise in vintage 2000AD art. They are actively looking for quality art from 2000AD, Battle, Tank Girl and Action comic.

• The pages are being sold on Comic Art Fans here – and there are other great British comic art items on offer, too!

With thanks to David Roach | Judge Dredd copyright Rebellion Publishing

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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.

Categories: 2000AD, Art and Illustration, British Comics, Comic Art, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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2 replies

  1. The McMahon Dredd astride Lawmaster image isn’t the first picture of the character to ever be published – that would be the Ezquerra image taken from his unused ‘Bank Raid’ episode, subsequently pasted onto the opening page of Dredd’s debut episode in 2000 AD Programme 2.
    The Ezquerra Lawmaster image appeared in a four page advert that ran in other IPC comics a week before 2000 AD launched, therefore predating the McMahon version that appeared in Programme 1 itself to announce Dredd’s arrival the following week.

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