Back in July I wrote three posts about my nigh on twenty year dream of drawing Judge Dredd for 2000ad which came true with the release of issue 301 of the Judge Dredd Megazine back in August (go buy the issue at Clickwheel if you missed it). As personal goal posts go that was a major one ticked off the list, but somewhere in the back of my mind I had a niggle… it wasn't 2000ad.
The Judge Dredd Megazine has been running for twenty years and that in itself is a big achievement for a UK comic. I remember taking a train to Edinburgh to visit the Science Fiction Book Shop (later bought by Forbidden Planet) and buying the first issue. The read thru on the train journey home and subsequent rereading of that first issue inspired me greatly and focused my painted trial work at that point. However, it was hard to look at Colin MacNeil's brilliantly painted 'America' work and then look at my own less than stunning trial work for the Megazine and think anything other than 'I've no chance'.
The Megazine lost itself for a while with a lot of reprint work (which although of high quality didn't work for me) but in recent years its grown strong again and I look at the Megazine as being an addition to 2000ad and not a separate entity, so when I drew Dredd for the Megazine it meant the same as if it was for 2000ad. Or so I thought. Once the strip had been printed I started to get a little pulsing annoyance in my brain, 'It wasn't for 2000ad'.
Next Wednesday, 1st December, I get to say 'I'm in 2000ad this week'. Prog 1713 features the four page Terror Tale story called 'Menhir' written by Arthur Wyatt and illustrated by me. 1286 Progs (short for programmes, which is the 1977 way of saying issue number for a sci-fi comic) after buying my first 2000ad I'm finally in the comic. For years I had a standing order for 2000ad and various other comics at a newsagents in town, as the years rolled by I could see the staff finally get that look in their eyes as if to say 'Aren't you getting a bit old for this now?'. I longed to be able to open up an issue and point to the art inside and say 'I drew that'. Sadly after years of service they closed and I have nobody other than vastness of the internet to say 'That strip in 2000ad this week, I drew that'.
Finally, finally I'm in 2000ad. Ten years ago when I had completely given up any hope of drawing for the comic I used to jokingly say that I didn't want to be in those pages as I loved the comic so much I didn't want to ruin an issue by having my sub standard work printed in it. Well if my work is below par that will be left to the readers to decide but to make up for it in the same Prog will be the second part of a Judge Dredd strip drawn by Brendan McCarthy, a personal favourite of mine and somewhat of a Dredd visionary. Not only do I get to finally be in 2000ad but I get to share its pages with Brendan McCarthy. Good Grud! Go buy the comic next Wednesday (and of course every week).
And yet quiet quietly at the back of brain there is a niggle…