Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Judge Dredd: The Bladerunner Connection

In 1987 a 2000 AD reader called Danny Cannon sent his design for a Judge Dredd movie poster in to the Galaxy's Greatest Comic. The editorial team was so impressed they published it in Prog 534, devoting nearly half a page to the picture. Eight years later the real Judge Dredd film was released, helmed by young British director Danny Cannon. Funny how these things can come full circle, isn't it? The mock-up suggests a heavy Bladerunner influence at work, with Ridley Scott as suggested director, Harrison Ford taking the role of Dredd and Daryl Hannah as Anderson. But what part would Christopher Walken play?

Right, on to today's extract. Actually, it's gone midnight so this is yesterday's extract, if you want to be pedantic. Me, I just want to sleep.
Invasion had finished in Prog 51, supplanted by Colony Earth, written and drawn by Jim Watson. Bill Savage and the Volgans might be gone, but the new story was much the same – macho hero versus invasion force, except this time they were aliens. Colony Earth was soon replaced by Death Planet, a short-lived deep space thriller by Hebden and Lopez. This gave way to a serial that was pure B-movie: Ant Wars. Gerry Finley-Day created this unlikely tale about giant ants attacking humanity in South America. ‘It was inspired by one of the best science fiction film around, Them! The ants were ultra-intelligent, outsmarting human beings, just like enemy soldiers. In one episode the ants infiltrated the Rio carnival by hiding under a float, so nobody noticed them. The series was only a quick thing, a quick fix if I remember rightly.’

The writer regrets not making more of the idea: ‘It was around the time of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Scotland was the only British team that had qualified. I had the idea there should be a mad Scots football supporter and an English embassy official trying to get him home, who get caught up in events. There should have been more interplay. We used it straight on the plot, rather than as characters. There could have been more mileage in it, the two guys could have kept meeting the ants all over the world – there’s always a football match on somewhere.’

Ant Wars inspired O’Neill to produce a strikingly different design for the front of Prog 78. ‘We did a black and white newspaper-style cover, with just red on the logo. I didn’t ask if we could do it. Sanders apparently went ballistic.’ The Rio carnival episode inspired another bit of mischief. ‘There was a topless woman shown in a parade. I looked at this and thought we’ll have to change it, but we’ll let Bob Bartholomew see this so he has something to go apoplectic about – maybe he’ll let something else though. But he didn’t say a word about it. So I let it go to press thinking he’d go berserk when it come out, but he never said a word. I don’t think anyone ever spotted it!’
Wordcount target: 120,000. Today's wordcount: 21,607.


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