The polls are closed and it's official, the United Kingdom has decided --- by a narrow margin --- that it wants to leave the European Union. I mean, who could blame them? Aside from the worker's rights, trade agreements and the opportunity to travel between member states, what does the EU even do? I mean, aside from the funding provided to the areas of the UK that London often neglects, environmental legislation and education and research funding.
So you've voted Leave, and you want to treat yourself to a nice comic to spend the weekend with. We've picked out five of our favorite independent comics to peruse while you wait for Article 50 to be enacted.
If you're the kind of person who keeps up with the shipping list every week --- or who reads our own Best Comic Books Ever (This Week) guides to every Wednesday's new releases --- you've probably noticed that 2000 AD has been steadily approaching the most important numerical milestone of its 40-year run. In September, the magazine will celebrate hitting prog #2000 by bringing back creators like Brian Bolland, Kevin O'Neill, Mick McMahon, and Dave Gibbons, all wrapped up in new wraparound covers by Glenn Fabry, Cliff Robinson, and Chris Burnham.
War of the Worlds has been a cultural touchstone for over a hundred years now, so it's not really surprising that we've gotten a handful of comics that take that influence and ran with it. With Scarlet Traces, though, Ian Edginton and Matt "D'Israeli" Brooker are taking it a step further, focusing not on the Martian invasion, but on the aftermath and how the introduction of extraterrestrial technology has changed the balance of power in the world.
And in July, Scarlet Traces is returning to the pages of 2000 AD with "Cold War," which takes place in 1968 and finds Britain dealing with the aftermath of another war of the worlds --- Earth's invasion of Mars. Check out some preview pages!
I have read a lot of Christmas comics in my time, and while I usually love them all with the unconditional affection of someone who goes around humming "Good King Wenceslas" in the middle of August, I have to admit that they tend to get pretty repetitive after a while. Even I can get tired of the endless string of halfhearted Christmas Carol parodies, which is why my favorite stories are always the ones that get a little weird. You know, the "evil robot santa" stories, or the "Batman goes back in time and recreates the universe and becomes the subconscious source of all Christmas Elf imagery" kind of thing. Those are the ones I really like.
So when I tell you that there's a story where Tharg, the mighty alien comic book editor who supplies 2000 AD with its weekly dose of Thrillpower, has to save Christmas after a bunch of readers wake up to bad presents on Christmas morning, rest assured that it is somehow even more amazingly bonkers than it sounds.
Assuming you're shopping in the UK or online, this week marks the release of 2000 AD prog 1961. It's this year's Christmas special, with a full hundred pages of not only the usual dose of thrillpower, but also... well, whatever the Christmas equivalent of that concept is, I suppose. Merrypower? Thrilljollies? Listen, I'm still pretty new to this whole thing.
Point being, there's plenty of yuletide fun to be found in this week's issue, and as you might expect, absolutely none of that fun is being had by Judge Dredd, the stone-faced grinch of Mega City One's law enforcement, who is spending his Christmas doling out grim justice to snowmen who have come to life. No, really: It's Dredd vs. Frosty in this week's issue, and you can check out a preview below!
Time to break out the Judge-approved party hats and frosted birthday munce, everybody: This week marks Judge Dredd Megazine's 25th birthday! It was back in October of 1990 that the future's most uncompromising lawman became too big for even 2000 AD to handle, and he spun off into his own title.
To mark the occasion, this week's issue features the start of a new Dredd story from John Wagner and Colin MacNeil that revives Total War, the terrorist organization that made its first appearance in Megazine #1 and the groundbreaking "America" storyline, but that's not the issue's only callback to the past. When it hits stands this week, the Megazine will have a cover by Barry Kitson, with Dredd towering over 25 defeated enemies.
It was only a few days ago that we brought you the news that Chris Burnham would be providing an extremely violent cover for 2000 AD prog 1950, but there was another piece of the story that you might have missed on account of being distracted by Judge Dredd blowing people's fingers off right there on the cover. Every now and then, 2000 AD will take the opportunity to give readers a new jumping on point, and when #1950 hits shelves on September 30, it will have four brand-new stories. Check out a preview.
I've talked to artist Chris Burnham a few times at conventions, and I've always got the feeling that if there's one character that he's super into, more than anything else, it's 2000 AD's Judge Dredd. The guy is a fan of Mega City One's unique brand of law-enforcement thrillpower like few others, and now, he's finally getting a chance to draw him in an official capacity.
On September 30, with the release of 2000 AD prog 1950, Burnham will join the small group of American artists who have lent their skills not just to Dredd, but to the cover of the magazine. And if that wasn't enough of an incentive to check it out, it's happening just in time for one of the magazine's new reader-friendly issues, featuring the start of four new story arcs.
The last few years have seen a number of fan-films produced by smaller production companies, for characters ranging from Black Panther to the Power Rangers. The films tend to reproduce the original costumes faithfully... before completely disregarding the original tone, style, and voice of the characters and comics in favor of gore and 'edginess'. Despite the popularity of fan films, not many of them actually tend to serve the stories they base themselves from.
But Judge Minty was different. Produced in 2013, this Judge Dredd fan-film immediately caught attention by actually proving itself to be something that fans of the serial would want to watch. Critically acclaimed and shown at film festivals throughout the year, the project was also received positively by creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra --- and it was that endorsement that led the team to set up a second fan-project, currently in production: Strontium Dog.
ThreeA has long been crafting original figures and collectibles based on the art and designs of co-founder Ashley Wood, but in recent years, the company has expanded its reach with a variety of licenses in comics, animation and films. That essence of Wood's aesthetic is still ever present though, and his influence still informs the design sense for many of ThreeA's upcoming pieces.
At San Diego Comic-Con this year, the company went all out with a major presentation of its upcoming slate. Normally included as a small part of IDW's booth, ThreeA's installation this year was set up like an art show, and showed off a great deal of promising figures in a range of scales and sizes. With figures from Frederator and 2000 AD, as well as Marvel, it appears the company is finally ready to make a big splash in the market beyond its original works.
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