MegaCity-One
April 4, 2009 5:38 PM   Subscribe

An epic blog post on the evolution of the architecture of Megacity-One, the futuristic comic-book home of Judge Dredd, by Matt Brooker, showing influence of artists such as Carlso Esquerra, Mike McMahon and Ian Gibson over the years. Judge Dredds cover appearances on 2000ad from 1977 onwards (when each Prog cost 8p), and plenty other images from the world of Judge Dredd. As for that movie...

Oddly no mention of Cam Kennedy, which is a bit of an oversight.

2000AD covers by artist (inc. non Dredd covers):
Carlos Esquerra
Mike McMahon
Ian Gibson
Ron Smith
Colin Wilson

Colour version of that first Esquerra image of Megacity one.
posted by Artw (23 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Full disclosure: I have occasionaly written for 2000ad. Not in the glorious era under discussion of course.
posted by Artw at 5:49 PM on April 4, 2009


...Really?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:22 PM on April 4, 2009


Great post! I just love this stuff, how iconic characters and environments arise through a confluence of inspiration and accident. This process has been explored in detail for several comics characters, but less often for the fictional cities that many of them defend. It was a real treat to read about the architects of Mega-City - thanks, ArtW.

I really enjoy the practice that's arisen among Batman creators of naming streets and structures in Gotham City after legendary creators from times past. Finger Blvd, Aparo Avenue, that kind of thing. I wouldn't mind reading a similar article about Gotham, Metropolis, Keystone City or any other comic book town, really.
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:25 PM on April 4, 2009


Yeah, tell the story, Artw! That's an enviable little jot on your resume.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 6:43 PM on April 4, 2009


Esquerra FTW! Bolland takes the silver.

There is no bronze.

(Sorry, Ian.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:46 PM on April 4, 2009


Bolland's tops in my book. Esquerra's prune face style always bugged me. Non-Dredd, Kevin O'Neill's and Simon Bisely's work on Nemesis was killer.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:50 PM on April 4, 2009


Bolland's tops in my book. Esquerra's prune face style always bugged me. Non-Dredd, Kevin O'Neill's and Simon Bisely's work on Nemesis was killer.


A few years ago, the city campaign in Baltimore was "Believe" (as in, we could, as a city, not suck so much.) An aspiring politician came up with the counter-point slogan "Behave" (as in, just stop sucking.)

All I could think of was Nemesis.

"Be Pure, Be Vigilant, Behave."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:04 PM on April 4, 2009


Nifty. I loved reading this stuff.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:25 AM on April 5, 2009


Well, that brought back a memory or two. The way Ron Smith draws teeth still scares me.
posted by Sparx at 2:46 AM on April 5, 2009


Full disclosure: I have occasionaly written for 2000ad. Not in the glorious era under discussion of course.

He's too modest to mention this but If you rush to your newsagents or other purveyor of Thrill-Power you can catch the last part of ArtW's 86ers... plus he's had several Tharg's Future Shocks and other one-offs published over the last few years.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:54 AM on April 5, 2009


One of the real joys of 2000ad in that period was experiencing this hothouse creche of artists evolve. Even now I remember the thrill of Bolland's sudden artistic maturity with the Dredd tale involving the waxwork robots (Night of the Fog?) or McMahon's utterly stark brilliance for his final Block War episodes. It was a privilege to be ten years old and see all that unfold.

In a sense, this particular post does highlight the generally overlooked process of comics artist as conceptual illustrator: in those early days, these creators were working wonders (i.e. O'Neill for Ro-Busters/ABC Warriors, with further work from McMahon for the latter) which equalled anything for the cinema. The fact that it was week-in, week-out for little financial reward or appreciation from their IPC masters is something I still find quietly mind-boggling: I can only hope they understand the pleasure it gave to others at the time and the fact that its design legacy continues to very much live on.
posted by specialbrew at 4:31 AM on April 5, 2009


Oh dear. Really didn;t want to self promote - just didn't want it to look weird if people clicked through some of the links and figured that out.
posted by Artw at 6:49 AM on April 5, 2009


Bolland is an amazing Dredd artist, but I'm not sure he really made a mark as a MegaCity one artist - I don't recall him handling the city in his early strips - IIRC he started out on the strip with Dredds largely forgotten stint on the moon, and the Cursed Earth. He did give us Judge Death though, and the creepiest version of Deadworld (all piles of bones and sepultural towers).

(Also, and this is probably heresy, I don't like his bits of The Cursed Earth - beautiful art, but too clean compared with the scratchy McMahon. )
posted by Artw at 7:56 AM on April 5, 2009


I have to agrew with ArtW, for me Bolland has always been the definitive artist for drawing Dredd himself, but for the city, the first things that come to mind are the Block Mania drawings of Dillon, as discussed in the article, but also, and for me the definitive epic mega city artist, John Higgins. Unfortunately he's not done a significant city based cover so its not possible to show examples, but some of his cityscapes really manage to give an impression of a truly massive scale, both with regard to the individual blocks (60,000 inhabitants per block!) and the overall landscape.
posted by biffa at 12:31 PM on April 5, 2009


Oh dear. Really didn;t want to self promote

STOR-Y! STOR-Y! STOR-Y!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:34 PM on April 5, 2009


...plus he's had several Tharg's Future Shocks and other one-offs published over the last few years.

While I'm sure ArtW would be the first to admit that he's no Alan Moore, it must be pretty cool to be working on a strip he paid his dues on.
posted by biffa at 2:45 PM on April 5, 2009


Tell you what, next time someone else posts something about UK comics I'll tell you all about it.
posted by Artw at 5:24 PM on April 5, 2009


Lovely post, I like that it mentions Colin Wilson, one of my favourite artists from Rogue Trooper. Someone should totally do a blog post like this on the design in that strip as it's awesome as well.
posted by invisible_al at 6:03 PM on April 5, 2009


Wow, I managed to spell Carlos Ezquerra wrong twice. Three times, counting the tags.
posted by Artw at 10:33 PM on April 5, 2009


Tell you what, next time someone else posts something about UK comics I'll tell you all about it.

Give us a minute, then...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:42 AM on April 6, 2009


Wow, I managed to spell Carlos Ezquerra wrong twice. Three times, counting the tags.

'Charlie The Squirrel' is so much easier... he was incidentally, I remember as a kid, being the first artist I actually noticed as an artist, rather than just being locked on the stories, having his own special style and everything... and not just the 'zippers'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:44 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


That great big Bolland book that came out a few years back is brilliant. Really absorbing.
posted by mdoar at 12:31 PM on April 6, 2009


Writing Dredd
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on April 28, 2009


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