25 Dec 2009

Cover Story: The Twelve Progs Of Christmas

Cover Story is an occasional feature that looks at comic book covers from over the years that have inspired us, astounded us, made us laugh, made us cry, but mostly reminded us why we love the medium so much.

By Ian U

So this is Xmas and what have you done.
Another year over and a new one just begun” - John Lennon

Well, as the song says its Christmas again and what have I done? Not enough articles for this blog for one thing! So here is my last ditch effort to get back into Matt C’s good books before 2010 rolls around. As a follow up to last year’s Top Ten Christmas comics what follows below is 12 top Christmas covers from my all time favourite comic – the mighty 2000AD! Over the years The Mighty Tharg has published a number of cracking covers by some of Britain’s top comics talent so what follows can’t fail to get you in the mood for mince pies, tinsel and mistletoe (Drokk it!)

1. 2000AD Prog 815 (Colin Macneil)

The first of several appearances on this list for art droid extraordinaire Colin MacNeil and one of my favourite Christmas covers, a seasonal Judge Dredd complete with Santa hat and lawgiver.

2. 2000AD Prog 398 (Kevin O’Neill)

A superb bit of festive alien weirdness by Kevin O’Neill and just the kind of thing that 2000AD excels at. By this point in his career O’Neill had already begun working in the States and this was one of the last pieces he did for 2000AD. My only regret is that this is a wraparound cover and I’ve been unable to find a scan of the back bit.

3. 2000AD Prog 296 (Mike McMahon)

Another 2000AD great and another fantastic cover. Mike McMahon depicting a very festive looking Dredd. In actual fact this isn’t really Dredd but we’ll not let that spoil a great cover! Snow, snowballs and festive greetings - what else do you need?

4. Judge Dredd Megazine Vol 3 Issue 6 (Kevin Walker)

More festive Dredd – this time taking down a seasonally-attired creep. The Meg hasn’t done nearly as many Christmas covers as its sister title so it’s always nice to see a good one.

5. 2000AD Prog 450 (Alan Davies)

Another lovely wraparound cover that I’ve been unable to locate the back of! By this point in 2000AD’s history Alan Moore was also on his way to America with his future collaborator Kevin O’Neill so artist Alan Davies was just starting to experiment with DR & Quinch on his own. Sadly his efforts never really rivalled those of the Great Bearded One himself! Still, his fantastic pencil work shines through on this cover.

6. 2000AD Prog 763 (Richard Dolan)

Another nice seasonal Dredd piece which works all the better for not dressing Dredd himself up and instead focussing on Mega City One. The addition of snow to the traditional Megacityscape is a great idea. Doesn’t explain where someone got a massive 50ft Santa hat from though!

7. 2000AD Prog 710 (Colin MacNeil)

Our second outing for the MacNeil droid with a lovely cover depicting many of the stars of 2000AD past and present lining up to give Tharg their Christmas lists, if they can just get Santa out of the way first!

8. 2000AD Prog 44 (Kevin O’Neill)

And now a second outing for O’Neill with this fantastic cover from the glorious early years of the title. A fairly standard 2000AD cover (Dredd smashing through a window on his bike, gun drawn) as depicted many times over the years but with added snow, Christmas tree and Santa outfit. Perfect! Love the X-Wing fighter swooping over the logo as well.

9.2000AD Prog 920 (Jason Brashill)

Aww, how cute! Those stalwarts of 2000AD, Tharg, Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Slaine and Hammerstein, turned into baubles and hung from the tree. Not just a great cover but also a great idea – if someone made these I’d buy a set tomorrow!

10. Judge Dredd Megazine Vol 4 Issue 279 (Greg Staples)

The second of the two Megazine covers in this list brings us right up to date with last year’s festive cover. Last time he was busting a snowman, this time it’s Santa himself. Twenty years for housebreaking – classic!

11. 2000AD Prog 867 (Colin MacNeil)

Here’s the third and final MacNeil cover and this time it’s Tharg’s turn to don the red coat. Apparently this was originally designed to emulate a Victorian period Christmas card design and I think it pays off really well. The gift-wrapped logo is a nice little touch as well.

12. 2000AD Prog 658 (Richard Dolan)

And there we go, number 12. Another festive Dredd, this time doing his bit for charity with the kids (because after all, Christmas is all about the kids!)

Hope you’ve all enjoyed this festive rundown. Maybe it’s inspired a few of you to grab a few old progs out of the attic for a re-read. After all, nothing says Christmas quite like mutants, genetically engineered future soldiers and fascist coppers! Merry Christmas!

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