Carlos Ezquerra passed away today and it is a sad day indeed. Whilst many have drawn Dredd it was Carlos’ work that was so instantly recognisable and held me captive from such a young age. Carlos brought Dredd to life and so much of what we now know and love about Dredd and the Mega Cities was of his making.
Beyond Dredd there is his work on Strontium dog and others. He really was one of the greatest comic book artists ever and his work has always meant such a lot to me and delights me every time I see it.
I remember going to a con a few years ago just to see him and was gutted when he couldn’t get there because of air traffic controllers somewhere or other and when I eventually got my hands on a piece of his work it was like all my Christmas’ rolled into one.
Below is one that I have shared before that really shows just how amazing an artist he was and by all accounts he was a pretty top bloke too.
At some point in the late 1980’s I seem to have encountered the comic ‘CRISIS’. I don’t quite remember exactly when but I do remember it being something very different to 2000AD despite it being written and drawn by mostly the same pool of people.
I shall steal from Wikipedia I think…
Crisis was Fleetway’s response to the success of Deadline. David Bishop, in his Thrill Power Overload, comments “2000 AD had once represented the cutting edge of British comics, but was now in danger of looking staid and old fashioned next to Deadline”.
Conceived by editor Steve MacManus, Crisis would offer to make the work creator-owned, which might lead to the chance for royalties and greater copyright control, which was a departure from the way they had done business up until then. They also planned to turn the stories into American comic books which would sell better on the other side of the Atlantic, although ultimately only the first few titles got this treatment and the title moved to shorter stories after issue #14.
It was political and edgy, I recall a burning church at some point and there were people trying to save the planet and blowing things up. That is what I recall at least. I managed to buy most of them off of ebay in recent years and even now it remains an abrasive read at times but I did so enjoy it even though I didn’t really know what was going on sometimes. I have some of the artwork somewhere too which I should dig out really. Maybe next time.
Worth a read if you can pick up old copies if only to enjoy some of the Ezquerra artwork or Mills writing.
Think of 2000AD and you think of Judge Dredd. Think of Dredd and you have to think of John Wagner’s writing and the art work of Carlos Ezquerra.
Today I am going to share with you one of my most prized possessions, my Carlos Ezquerra piece.
For as long as I can remember there has been something so appealing and compelling about his work. Some of my earliest memories are of his Dredd and Strontium Dog art and as I started to build my collection I knew I needed to find one of his.
A few years back I managed to pick up what you can see here in pictures. Cost a pretty penny at £500 but god I love it. It comes from Prog 734 published in 1991 and below you can see a photo of the weekly Prog next to the original artwork used for publication.
It features not only Dredd but all 4 of the dark Judges in Death, Fear, Fire and Mortis and also includes the acetate with the lettering which is overlaid over the artwork. I keep it hidden away mostly and dont like to get it out apart from now and again when I like to just stare at it and smile…
Happy borthday Judge Dredd, 41 years and going strong!
If I count the things that are particularly precious to me 2000ad is right up there. I mean right up there, perhaps not above the kids but definitely well ahead of a number of the members of my wider family.
Not sure what it is?
Well 2000AD is a weekly British Science fiction comic, first published in 1977 and probably most famous for bringing us Judge Dredd.
From my earliest age I loved the characters and the artwork and a thread throughout my life for as long as I can remember. I remember first reading it in the early eighties growing up in South Africa and the impact it had was huge, feeding my love of science fiction and it is something that has never left me.
When we had our first child we had very little and only £600 in the bank and the opportunity to buy the entire 30 year back catalogue presented itself. Price? You guessed it. £600. I remember driving 200 miles to Bristol in a battered old Vauxhall Corsa with the last of our savings and loading them into the car from floor to roof. You any idea how many comics that is? Well now I have 40 years worth plus some others and believe me, storing more than 2500 comic books is no easy feat. That is every issue from number 1 in 1977.
Ive also developed a love of comic artwork over the years, and will write about it again in a future post but to feed my love of all things 2000Ad I have amassed a pretty sizeable collection of original comic art which I absolutely adore. The photo below shows A Clint Langley original above the printed version.
Have I ever mentioned my tattoos? No? Well this is one of my 2000ad themed ones. A quite gorgeous Judge Dredd on my left arm done by Lee Rudeboy Reynolds at Rude studios in Leeds. A truly marvellous artist. I have another on my right that I will show you another time,
My love gets worse though. I have two children, and both have middle names named after things that really matter to me. I will tell more about my eldest’s some other time but I can confirm that my youngest’s middle name is Joseph, named after Judge Joseph Dredd.
So as you can see, a real influence in my life and there is still nothing as fabulous as the most recent copy dropping through my letter box each week…