Saturday, 2 July 2011
Judge Dredd vs the Seventies
Right, lets start at the beginning shall we?
A while back on my "AIEEEE!" Blog i did a poll to find folks' favourite ever British comic character. It was a real close run thing, but Dredd just pipped Charley Bourne from "Charleys War" to the post.
That got me to thinking how it'd be nice if someone could do me a picture of Dredd victorious, with all those classic characters vanquished at his feet. This thinking was going on at the same time that folk on the 2000AD Forum were discussing and showing off their Cliff Robinson commissions. "Hmmmm...." thinks i, "Cliff would be a natural for that, what with the amount of detail he puts into his work". But dismiss the idea as no way could i afford one.
But, get an unexpected work bonus, contact Cliff who says sure just let me finish the project i'm on, and thing was a go.
First thing Cliff asks is what do i have in mind?
I'd taken my insperation from the classic Brian Bolland cover for 2000AD Prog 2000AD, of Dredd and co summounting a mountain of past titles, and came up with the idea of Dredd sitting on a pile of fallen past characters. I had it in mind that he'd be kind of slumped rather than victorious by this stage, more reflective than triumphant and sent this crappy sketch off to Cliff to show what i was thinking:
Almost immediately i regretted it, thinking it'd be a waste of the characters and also Cliff's talents if all we'd see of them was just a head here and part of a costume there. So, let Cliff know that and he agreed, so i simply asked Cliff if he could do Dredd standing off against a bunch of classic characters, who were advancing on him.
Cliff wanted a guest list of who i'd like and it was pretty easy - Black Max, Adam Eterno, The Spider, Janus Stark and Robot Archie. While i waited for the first thumbnail, i was umming and ahhing whether i should ask for an additional figure of one of Max's Giant Bats in the backgound as a sort of framing device. Very chuffed to find that Cliff had somehow read my mind and not only put Max on a Bat, there was a whole bunch more:
He asked me if i thought it was ok? Did i think it was ok? It's cuffin' brilliant! With the go ahead, Cliff set to work and it was a real thrill each time to see there was an update of progress in my Inbox.
The only ammendmant from the first design was after i was sent this one:
Cliff had done a different style of face for the Bats faces as he thought they'd be more fearsome this way. But, Fonts brilliant long, almost cat/bear-like features for the creatures is one of the appeals for the strip for me, so i asked him if he could please change it back. Cliff was happy to do so and continued work, sending my more progress shots until done.
To say i'm pleased with the final result doesn't come close. Its so much more than what i had in my head and i love the composition and the fact that Dredd's in deep doo-doo, with that whole squadron of Giant Bats to deal with should he beat all these guys.
Cliff, you were a dream to work with and a true gent - thanks ever so.