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.
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you, the discerning ComicsAlliance reader, like to get good comics without paying a lot of money for them. That's a pretty safe bet, right? I mean, who doesn't like getting comics on the cheap, especially when they're critically acclaimed titles -- specifically, titles that have been critically acclaimed by us, America's Most Beloved Comics Reviewers?
That's why we're keeping an eye on the sales over at Comixology to help you find the best comics that you can grab on the cheap, and spend your weekend with some great stories. This week: Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Fatale and IDW's line of Judge Dredd titles!
Comics have seized center stage at the venerable British Library in London this summer in an exhibition celebrating the history of British comics and the work of British creators. Subtitled, 'Art and Anarchy in the UK', the Comics Unmasked exhibition places an emphasis on protest, outsider culture, and anti-authoritarian voices.
Curated by Adrian Edwards, Paul Gravett, and John Harris Dunning, Comics Unmasked draws heavily on the British Library's own collection to establish and define Britain's relationship to the comics art form -- stirring up nostalgia, scandal, and some surprising discoveries along the way. And Kieron Gillen's giant head.
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.
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.
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.
Kudos to Rebellion for the imminent publication of its 350th issue of Judge Dredd Megazine, the monthly Dredd comic that began all the way back in 1990 (and which might actually be the longest unbroken run of any comic book in these renumbered times in which we live, come to think about it). To celebrate the occasion, venerable Dredd artist Brian Bollandreturns to one of his signature characters with a special cover featuring the titular lawman and the fabulous cast of villains that have helped make the megazine a success for 24 years. It's within that spirit of historical observance that Bolland is cheekily riffing on his own great work from Rebellion's past by basing his Megazine cover on an illustration he created for 1985's 2000 AD Monthly #1.
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