2000AD Prog 2015, a 100-page bumper issue of Tharg-assembled thrill power that kicks off a number of new ongoing stories for the weekly SF comic, will arrive in newsagents, comic shops and on digital devices worldwide on 17th December – and it’s crammed with some ace strips, including the opening episode of “Judge Dredd: Dark Justice”, written by John Wagner and drawn by Greg Staples, featuring the return of the Dark Judges.
The Prog also features a new Jaegir tale written by Gordon Rennie, “Brothers in Arms” and two Pat Mills-penned stories, “Savage: Grinders” and “The Visible Man: The Screams in the Walls.”
“Judge Dredd’s co-creator John Wagner also created the character Judge Death a long time ago,” Greg Staples told Comic Book Resources recently, for an article that revealed the 66-page story would also be republished by IDW in the US and, of course as a collected album. “He’s a very, very cool character. His philosophy is that all life is a crime because all crime is committed by the living. So he skips over to our dimension and starts murdering everybody. He’s the alter ego of Judge Dredd, really. He’s also got three other characters in his group [Judge Fear, Judge Fire, and Judge Mortis] and together they make up the Dark Judges. They are all fan favorites and haven’t been around together in a long time. But now they’re back in “Dark Justice” for a full 11-part series.”
Greg’s better known as a cover artist for 2000AD these days – his last regular strip for the title was published some ten years ago – but the opportunity to draw a John Wagner-penned strip – Greg’s favourite writer – was impossible to resist, and “because it’s Judge Death and most artists would give their arm to draw Judge Death.
“I’d been asking John to do this for years,” Greg says. “When I was seven years old I read Judge Death and it frightened me to death. I’ve wanted to draw him since.
“John’s expanded it into this really big story. A big epic. You can’t really turn something like that down, even though it’s a huge amount of work.” (Greg wouldn’t be drawn on the storyline by CBR, as 2000AD are keeping it well under wraps, although we do know it involves some of Mega City One’s super rich heading off into space to a new world far from the hardships of the irradiated planet Earth).
“He’s a joy to work with,” says Greg of John. “You get a lot of scripts that come through from different writers and scripts can sometimes be a little over powering. Some writers can overwrite things and not leave you much room for the imagination. That happened a couple of years ago where I wanted to interpret certain panels in my own way and I got almost told off for doing that. But Wagner’s not like that. His pages are very direct and very simple yet very descriptive. They’re perfect. And he encourages the artist to take it beyond what is on the page, which is complete confidence. It just brings out the best in you. An old mate of mine used to say that when he got a John Wagner script he’d make himself a cup of coffee and sit down and enjoy it.”
The full line-up of the special is as follows:
- “Judge Dredd: Dark Justice” by John Wagner and Greg Staples
- “Low Life: The Really Big Christmas Sleep” by Rob Williams and D’Israeli
Mega-City One, 2130 AD. Justice Department has many divisions within it – Tek, Psi-Div, PSU – and for undercover operations there is Wally Squad. So called because Judges have to adopt the bizarre fashions of the citizens to blend in, it’s a dangerous job living on the streets.
- “Max Normal: No Comics For Old Men” by Guy Adams and Ben Willsher
A new outing for one of Judge Dredd’s best-known snitches, last seen as part of Lenny Zero’s gang
- “Jaegir: Brothers in Arms” by Gordon Rennie and Simon Coleby
Set in the Rogue Trooper universe, Kapitan-Inspector Atalia Jaegir serves in the Nordland State Security Police, hunting down the war criminals that have escaped justice!
If you’re interested in the background to how Jaegir was created by Gordon Rennie, then check out this great interview over on the Judge-Tutor Semple blog which Matt Badham kindly picked up on and directed us at last week. And if you like Gordon’s work, have you bought Dept. of Monsterology yet? Do it now. Oh, and Robbie Burns: Witch Hunter, just released by Renegade, which is just terrific.
- “Judge Dredd: The Ghost of Christmas Presents” by Michael Carroll and Karl Richardson
- “Savage: Grinders” by Pat Mills and Patrick Goddard
In 1999, Britain was invaded by the Volgans. When lorry driver Bill Savage learned his family had been killed by a Volgan shell, he began a one-man war against the aggressors. Currently based in an e-bombed London and living under an alias, Savage (first seen in 2000AD way back in Prog One back in 1977) continues to lead the resistance…
- “The Order” by Kek-W and John M. Burns
A new science fiction series
- “Ulysses Sweet, Maniac For Hire: Psycho Therapist” by Guy Adams and Paul Marshall
A new story featuring the stitch-faced lunatic character who causes more problems than he solves, first created by Grant Morrison and Johnny Johnstone for a “Future Shock”, who was last seen in 2000AD for a nine part story featured in Progs 1862 through 1869, also by Guy and Paul
- “The Visible Man: The Screams in the Walls” by Pat Mills and David Hitchcock
• 2000AD Prog 2015 is on sale from 17th December 2014. Buy 2000AD Prog 2015 from the 2000AD Online Shop
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.