I'm going to go ahead and assume that if you're reading this, you're probably already familiar with Grant Morrison. That said, even if you've gone back and read through everything from Animal Man on up trying to put together a comprehensive, unifying theory of his work, then there's still a piece of the puzzle that you might be missing: Zenith, the story about a teenage superhero that he and Steve Yeowell created in the pages of 2000 AD. Aside from a limited edition hardcover that sold out quick last year, it hasn't been reprinted until this week, when 2000 AD released it as the first title that they've ever simultaneously printed on both sides of the Atlantic.
There are a lot of things that happen regularly in comics that I've never really understood, and chief among them has been the sheer number of superhero crossovers with Aliens and Predator. I mean, I understand wanting to see Aliens and Predators fight each other because they're both these mysterious, lethal alien enemies, where one's a cunning, vicious hunter and the other's an almost mindless biologically driven killing machine, a natural contrast that makes them cool opponents for each other and a deadly combination for anyone who gets trapped between them. The thing I don't get is why you'd want to throw Superman or Batman in there, if only because of the sheer amount of storytelling gymnastics you have to do to make it work. And yet, they happen all the time, and I have long since accepted that it's Just Not My Thing.
And then I read Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens, and now I get it. Mostly because the first story in this collection ends with Dredd taking off his shirt (while leaving his helmet on, of course), and fighting the Predator with a knife.
The way I've always understood anthology series is that you never want every story to end at the same time, because the idea is that by chaining everything together, the reader never has a chance to jump off. That might sound mercenary, but really, it's just simple economics: If everything you're into ends all at once, then you've got a lot less incentive to come back for the next issue. Right? Right.
Well, it seems that last week's issue of 2000 AD went against that little bit of conventional wisdom by capping off every story that they had going so that they could set up this week's offering: Their 1900th issue, which celebrates the milestone by launching three new stories, and provides a perfect jumping-on point. If you haven't been reading 2000 AD and want to see what all the fuss is about, this is the issue to get -- and you should definitely get it, because all three stories are pretty awesome.
With more than 200 panels to choose from at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday alone, the programming at the show can be completely overwhelming -- and it's far too easy to miss a panel you know you might have loved, or to find yourself on the wrong side of the con floor five minutes before a great panel is about to start!
Take heart, brave reader. ComicsAlliance has sifted through the schedule to offer up our pick of the best panels, screenings, and events, starting with programming for Thursday 24th July -- with an emphasis, of course, on comics programming.
2012's Dredd, based on the long-running comic about the stone-faced lawman of the future from the pages of 2000 AD, was essentially Die Hard in one of Mega City One's towering city blocks, which is to say that it was completely awesome. Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby's performances as Judges Dredd and Anderson, respectively, were fantastic, and left both long-time Dredd readers and new fans wanting to see more from them, which is why Arthur Wyatt and Henry Flint provided a comic book sequel set in the world of the movie called Underbelly, where Dredd had to tackle a new drug that gave crooks the ability to see into the future.
Underbelly was a pretty huge success. The first and second printings both sold out at the distributor level, and this October, it's getting a third, featuring a new cover by artist Trevor Hairsine.
A few weeks ago, I read through Ian Edgington and INJ Culbard's Brass Sun and loved it. It's got a compelling plot, engaging characters and it's set in a world full of possibilities for strange adventure. Of course, it's also beautiful, with some of the best art that you can find on the stands.
That's why today, we're shining the spotlight onto it again with a gallery of Culbard's incredibly striking covers, from both the American miniseries release and its original serialized run in the pages of 2000 AD. Check them out below, including an exclusive first look at the final covers for issues #5-6. free of logos and other trade dress.
Since they acquired the license for Judge Dredd, IDW has been doing some pretty fantastic stuff with it. Between Duane Swiercynski and Nelson Daniel's ongoing Judge Dredd and miniseries projects like Douglas Wolk and Ulises Farinas's Mega-City Two, they've put out some incredibly entertaining stories, bringing Dredd to a new audience that may not be familiar with his roots in the pages of 2000 AD. Now they're expanding the line beyond Dredd himself.
IDW announced this week that they're launching Anderson: Psi Division, a new series set before the events of the ongoing series that will focus on Judge Cassandra Anderson, written by 2000 AD editor Matt Smith with art by long-time 2000 AD artist Carl Critchlow.
One of the things that I've really come to appreciate ever since I jumped into the world of Judge Dredd is just how easy 2000 AD has made it. The publisher's got massive reprints of Dredd from the very beginning; they've got downloadable digital comics that are easy to buy (and that you can actually keep like any other downloaded file); and they're putting out compilations built around themes that can give to the start of a pretty comprehensive overview of Dredd history. Basically, it has never been easier to read 200 pages of comics about people having sex with robots.
That is, more or less, the subject matter of Judge Dredd: The XXX Files, the new collection on sale this week which compiles two dozen stories that take the concept of Thrillpower into a decidedly adult direction. And while I'm not sure if it's a great place for people who are brand new to Dredd's world -- it's more than a little overwhelming at times -- it has a bunch of truly fantastic comics.
It's a pretty big flaw to have when your job is knowing things about comic books, but I'll admit that when I hear the words 2000 AD, I tend to just think of Judge Dredd and stop there. In my head, I'm fully aware that the weekly anthology has way more science fiction to offer beyond the walls of Mega City One -- and I've got the paperbacks around here to prove it -- but far too often, I forget about everything that doesn't have gigantic kneepads and a tendency to throw creeps into the Iso-Cubes.
That's why I'm glad that the publisher sent over a copy of their new title, Ian Edgington and I.N.J. Culbard's Brass Sun, because otherwise, it's pretty likely that I would've missed it. That would've been a shame, too, because it's one of the most fascinating and beautiful new comics that I've read in a long while.
Q: You said something a few days ago about the genius of Judge Dredd's design--can you talk more about this? -- @lifeinsuper8
A: Can I! Regular readers of Ask Chris might recalll that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I, along with artist Erica Henderson, got into a discussion of what makes a great "iconic" superhero costume. You can flip back through that one if you'd like, but the short version is that the best costumes in comics tend to be simple and well-defined, getting across a lot of information with a very streamlined look. Generally speaking, the more unnecessary gimmicks you add to a suit, the more distracting it gets, and the less it says about the character, and I think that holds true across the board when it comes to superheroes.
But then you get to Judge Dredd, and all those rules go flying straight into the Iso-Cubes, where they're locked up and never, ever let out.