Sunday, 18 November 2018

2000 AD - October 1980.

Being an international master criminal of Blofeldesque proportions, I was never going to be a fan of any band bearing the name of, "The Police," but, in October 1980, I had good reason to be grateful to the reggae tormenting trio.

That was because their single Don't Stand So Close To Me was the only thing keeping Ottawan's nightmarish D.I.S.C.O. off the top of the UK singles chart. How I prayed for Ottawan to evaporate from the face of the planet. And still they didn't.

Granted, I don't know how a band would go about the task of evaporating but that doesn't mean I wouldn't have appreciated them making the effort.

And it wasn't only the Police I had to be grateful to because their single was succeeded at Number One by Barbra Streisand's Woman in Love which also achieved the heartwarming feat of keeping Ottawan off the top slot.

On the UK album chart, just two LPs hit the UK pinnacle that month. They were David Bowie's Scary Monsters and Super Creeps and Zenyatta Mondatta by the aforementioned Police.

Of Ottawan on that album chart, there was no sign. Clearly, the French fiascomongers lacked the stamina for a forty minute assault on Popular Music.

But you know what didn't lack the stamina necessary for long-term success?

2000 AD, that's what, and Prog 180 gave us Part 25 of Judge Dredd's Judge Child saga. And to think I'd previously viewed the Kree/Skrull War as being of epic length.

But, hold on, as far as I can make out, the very next issue saw the day we thought would never arrive, because it seems to have featured the 26th and final part of the tale.

Elsewhere, nothing much on those covers is ringing any bells for me but I see that Prog 183 featured the Meltdown Man. Whether he was any relation to the Piltdown Man, I have no idea. The name does ring a bell and he was clearly drawn by Massimo Belardinelli but all I can ascertain is that, in a twist on the Planet of the Apes formula, Melty finds himself on a future Earth populated by talking beast-men who're being oppressed by the local humans.

And that does launch a mystery. From Googling images of the Meltdown Man, it's blindingly obvious his look was modelled on Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken of Escape From New York fame.

There's only one problem with that.

And that's that Escape From New York didn't come out until nine months after this. Was Belardinelli clairvoyant? Was Snake Plissken based on the Meltdown Man? Was it all some bizarre coincidence that could confound the gods themselves?

I cannot say. I am as confounded as those gods.

But I do know that that creature on the cover of Prog 181 reminds me of the weird mutant baby thing at the end of Alien: Resurrection.

Unlike with Snake Plissken, I am certain this is coincidence.

2000 AD Prog 180, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 181, Strontium Dog

2000 AD Prog 182, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 183, Meltdown Man


Charlie Horse 47 said...

I've never read these nor know anything about them. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

That's another great Bolland cover on Prog 182. Almost tantalising us with a proper glimpse of Dredd's face.

How can Scary Monsters be thirty eight year old? One of Bowie's best and still on regular rotation in chateau DW. RCA promoted it with "Often Copied, Never Equaled" and Record Mirror gave it 7 out if 5 stars upon release.

She had a horror rooms...


Anonymous said...

I think the phrase "often imitated, never duplicated" has more of a ring to it, but either way, it applies to Bowie in this case.
That album definitely had an impact on me, growing up.


Steve W. said...

I've still never heard it, apart from the singles.

Anonymous said...

Scary Monsters is one of Bowie's best, Steve; I'd say only Low was better.

Who wouldn't agree with DW on that Bolland cover? Thats a hard perspective to pull off. He did some great artwork for the story inside too, Dredd's return to Mega City One after the search for the Judge Child.

The Meltdown Man was one of the best 2000AD series of the early years, but isn't too well known as it wasn't collected and reprinted til fairly recently.
Maybe because although writer Alan Hebden did good stuff, like Major Easy and El Mestizo in Battle, he didn't quite have the edge or dark humour of Pat Mills and John Wagner. (The main character was in the SAS, which seems quite un-2000AD)
Mind you, the late Massimo Belardinelli more than made up for that. Surely the most underrated of Tharg's art droids, he did some fantastic work on the series.


Steve W. said...

Don't worry, Charlie, I've read them and don't know anything about them.

Sean, MP and DW, I shall be sure to give Scary Monsters and Super Creeps a listen to. I suspect it'll be one of those albums, like Rumours and Dark Side of the Moon, where, once I get round to listening to it, it'll turn out I've already heard most of the tracks, in various places, over the years.

Killdumpster said...

Never cared for the Police. Especially Sting himself. Also not a fan of virtually any reggae flavored pop. Including ska.

On exception was a band called the Hepcats.Their album "Right On Time" I can recommend.

Anonymous said...

I like the Police, but that goddam Sting is annoying.
Of course, I've had the same thing said about me...


Anonymous said...


There's a song on Scary Monsters called 'Scream Like a Baby' which has lyrics very similar to the man in room 5 plot in V for Vendetta. Alan Moore listed Bowie as an influence, on V for Vendetta, in a few interviews, at that time, and I suspect this song was the specific source. Given Warrior was first published in March 1982, Moore, presumably, started writing V during 1981 (and possibly conceived the idea even earlier), and so Scary Monsters would have been a current album.

If you haven't read V for Vendetta, this will make no sense.


Steve W. said...

Thanks for the V/Bowie info, DW. I've seen the film. I don't know how much resemblance it bears to the original story.

Anonymous said...

Not much really Steve; even though its a bit dated in some respects now, the comic series is well worth a read.

DW, I always thought the Bowie influence on V was the general blend of theatrics and dystopian sf that runs through some of his 70s work - particularly Diamond Dogs - but you might be on to something there.
You've probably heard the Vicious Cabaret record that came out during the original Warrior run, but if not..


Killdumpster said...


Bowie's contribution to pop/rock music is highly underrated. The man was incredible.

When he died I felt the same dull heart pain as when Lennon and Zappa died.

Killdumpster said...

Felt the same pain when Elvis died also. Bowie ranks with the all-time greats

Dougie said...

I have no recollection whatsoever of Meltdown Man but I'd like to read some now.