The last time I had the Megazine in the title of an entry on this blog, it was a very long review of no. 332, an issue released all the way back in February of last year. My intentions had been to go through each and every issue following that until I caught up with the recently released Megazine 347. But as I was writing my review of no. 333, the latest that I only just finished as I write these first several paragraphs, I realised that that might be a little boring, not to mention time consuming as all hell. [Also: issue 348 arrived on my doorstep as I was catching up (this message not brought to you from the past, but the day I finally upload this first post, May 22nd).] So I thought that I might do something that will take far less of my time, and would also be a little more interesting to read instead.
Here then is the new plan: keeping this first post brief, like an introduction, I’m just going to list my favourite covers in catching up to Megazine
347 348 with short reasons why. In the next of these posts I’ll then be picking my favourite one-off / two or three part stories; and in the one after that my thoughts on the more longer series’, such as the second book of American Reaper and Ordinary (the latter of which I’ll be covering twice on the blog when I get back from holiday to find the Titan comics edition, along with a signed print, awaiting me). To finish things off, a whole post – the longest by far – will be reserved for the floppies, including those I bought separately from the Megazine’s. Unfortunately I won’t be covering any of the interviews or articles, as I see very little point in doing so, although I may mention them here and there.
The single exception to all of this is the third and last book of Dan Abnett and Colin MacNeil’s Insurrection, a story which
I’ll be giving I’ve given its own post alongside the first two series’. My trade paperback collecting the first two books recently arrived, so I need to read and review those first, but once that’s done, I figure that it’s best to give the finale its own post, being the highly praised series that it is. Worry not about me ruining it for myself though, as I’m not so stupid as to spoil it for myself by attempting to read everything else as I go along but it. No, before I read Megazine 334 in which the third book begins, I’ll be reading the first two beforehand. In fact, the review of those will probably be uploaded before you see this post and the rest of the series. As very few of the prose fiction was any good, I’ve left it out too, seeing little point in the one or two stories I may have picked as good ‘un’s taking up space.
Indeed, I am writing to you from the past, this blog entry having been started on the 3rd of May after I’d finished reading issue 333, it and the entries listed above saved as drafts, the intention being to add more to them as a I go along. That’s another thing that should be handy about these entries, despite the different approach: they’ll all still be in order, which should make for easy reading. On that note, I’ll see you in the future!
Oh, look, it’s the future! Hope that introductory paragraph wasn’t too confusing. This entry is finally being published today, May 22nd as I said above, and I thought I’d do some editing to the start since the approach I had in mind actually made it quite awful. Hope you enjoy the post – an exhibition of excellent art – and I’ll see you again at the end.
Just so you know, where I can, I’ve left links to not only the cover itself but insight into its process too, which usually means it’s a 2000AD Covers Uncovered blog entry of Pete Wells.
Megazine 332 by Henry Flint
This is based on the Hondo-City Justice story found inside the Meg and it’s quite the striking cover, is it not? As Flint explains in a short entry on his blog – in which you can also see the cover in its virgin form – it’s the contrast of having only two very different primary colours against each other – red and black – that make it so eye-catching. It’s the perfect example of a simplistic cover done right and I love it to bits.
Megazine 335 by Fay Dalton
The layout of this one is what I really love. It’s a packed image but composed very well such that you can take it all in quite comfortably. Love the way the two larger characters stand back to back in the centre, leaving room for you to appreciate the city to either side of them in the background, and I really like the use of white space there instead of clustering the image with a detailed sky. And of course, the white circle in the lower centre looks ace, especially with all the digital tendrils coming off and through it, which are also visible on the Megazine’s logo. A beautiful cover.
Megazine 336 by Lee Garbett
Not a lot to this one, but I found it to be an eye catching little thing. Not that you’re missing much with the well designed layout of the cover by Pye Parr, but here it is in its virgin form on the artist’s blog. Never would have guessed it was by Lee Garbett though – that’s a totally different style from what I saw in Grant Morrison’s Time and Batman and his work in 2000AD story, London Falling, with Simon Spurrier. Fantastic looking though, and a wisely chosen blue sky stops all the missiles from being an eyesore.
Megazine 337 by Clint Langley and Fay Dalton
As you can see, this is the front cover of the issue, an absolutely terrifying image by Clint Langley that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Yet on the back of this Megazine…
…we’ve one of Fay Dalton’s adverts for American Reaper, gorgeously blown to full size. Quite the contrasting images for this issue, aren’t they? Stunning efforts from both artists.
Megazine 338 by Cliff Robinson (coloured by Dylan Teague)
There have been many things I’ve missed since not collecting the comic for so long and Cliff Robinson’s consistently great covers are one of them. How he has so many tricks up his sleeve I will never know, but he seems to never do wrong. Check out the entry on 2000AD Covers Uncovered for a step by step guide through the process of its creation. Brilliant. Incidentally, this particular issue is a belter well worth checking out. As well as a great line-up of tales, there was an interview with Simon Davis about his then upcoming work on Slaine in which I found those mermaid concept pieces I talked about it my review of the Prog as well as learned that he only just started making roughs for each page with this particular series. Cracking stuff!
Megazine 340 by Henry Flint
A cover I technically already covered (ho ho ho!) in my review of this series in its US format but – screw it! – we’re doing it again. Though the shattered glass effect is very nice – I like how the logo in the background even looks broken up because of it – it’s how terrifying Dredd looks that really does it for me. Great stuff. Still contend that Jock’s cover for the second reprint of the story in US format is even better, but then again, he was consultory artist for the film, creating a whole strip to match Alex Garland’s script. Here’s a little insight into Flint’s design process for this imposing beauty.
Megazine 341 by Alex Ronald
There’s nothing quite like a half naked gun-toting nun in the Big Meg to catch your attention as you wander on through your newsagents, is there? Oh yeah, I bet this turned heads alright. Like his recent Sinister Dexter cover for Prog 1876, this is excellent work from Ronald and I really hope we’ll see more of him in the future, perhaps even in a strip itself. Check out this post on 2000AD Covers Uncovered for…some…reference material…oh my…
Megazine 342 by Colin MacNeil
The first cover for this third and final series didn’t really do it for me, being a digital overlay of MacNeil’s pencils, but I love this last cover of his own. It gives you a great sense of foreboding for the sad and terrible conclusion inside. Fantastic.
Megazine 343 by Cliff Robinson (coloured by Dylan Teague)
Isn’t that brilliant? Surely a cover that grabbed the attention of passers-by, though it’s a shame that it was released in January and not December itself. Then again, if it had been, I can imagine newsagents putting it back to front to avoid offence or some such nonsense. Like the last, there’s an entry on 2000AD Covers Uncovered for this worth checking out, which shows that this wasn’t the original idea, the perp previously missing a Santa hat. Can’t have that, can we? Inside this issue was also a teaser for Dark Justice that I hadn’t seen before:
Alas, this won’t be here any time soon, the agonising wait lasting all the way until Prog 2015 this December apparently. But, man, if the art consistently lives up to these teasers throughout the whole story, this could very easily be one of the best illustrated Dredd epics we’ll ever see. Can’t wait, and I’m not alone in saying that.
Megazine 344 by John Burns
I’m not sure that everyone will have loved this but, for me, it’s a real beauty, quite old school in appearance with the monster – in this case a mutant with an important role in the story – looming over our heroine. Now that I think of it, Burns has done very few covers for 2000AD, which is a great shame because those that I can recall are fantastic things indeed.
Megazine 345 by Phil Winslade
A beautiful cover. Really liked his recent old school looking one for Prog 1879, but this is even better as far as I’m concerned. You really ought to check out the 2000AD Covers Uncovered entry for this one because not only do you get a good look at Winslade’s wonderful pencilwork, but you also seen it in its virgin form, which in my opinion looks even better, the main title cutting off the top of the background mega blocks in the finished piece. Really do wish that we subscribers could get logo, tagline and price-free covers delivered to our doors, but as that’ll probably never happen, it’s a good thing we have Pete Wells and his blog.
Megazine 346 by Simon Fraser
The reason I’m choosing this is that it’s an iconic moment of Anderson’s life, the cover suitably quiet in tone compared to others, by which I mean the tagline simply reads “She ain’t heavy…” after Rico’s first appearance – in other words, a cover for the fans to embrace. Unfortunately it’s not perfect, the way Dredd’s holding Anderson letting it down. The composition simply isn’t that good, especially when compared to Dowling’s take on it inside where Dredd is actually holding Anderson properly. Not really sure why he’s holding her like he is on the cover, or why he’s frowning at her camel toe.
That said, check out the entry over on Pete Wells’ blog once again, this time showcasing some other ideas that were in mind and what in my opinion are the much better looking pencils for this chosen one. You can also see it in its virgin state where – behold! – other Judges are hiding behind the logo.
Megazine 348 by Glenn Fabry (coloured by Ryan Brown)
An absolutely remarkable cover by Fabry, this. So much bloody detail. It’s also much better than his recent cover for the yet-to-be-reviewed Prog 1881, which you can see in the same entry on 2000AD Covers Uncovered as this. Quite suitable that this will be the last of my selected covers too – fuck, I might as well have went over them all! – being the most recently released, because it’s definitely a top favourite of the bunch, though it’s very hard to decide which is the best out of it and issue’s 335, 337 (both sides of course) and 341’s covers. If we were being more technically fair, grouping the covers by year, then that means this is the best of 2014 thus far, the rest all from last year.
Can’t wait to see what magnificent covers the future brings. Oh, but wait, we already know that Brian Bolland is contributing this beauty for the landmark issue 350 in July:
You know what the best thing about that is? According to this image promoting the issue that 2000AD retweeted – this will apparently have all new stories starting inside by the way (which I guess makes Gordon Rennie and Kev Hopgood’s The Man From The Ministry only two parts long…?), making it the perfect jump on point – this belter of a cover will be bagged as a poster too. Huzzah!
Now then, hopefully the other posts in this series won’t be far away. It’s the last that’s a real pain in the ass, and I’m not sure if I’ll make it the one entry or several, because when I say I have extra reprints, I mean that I have something like twenty of the damn things in addition to those that came with issues 333 – 348, and as they’re all 64 pages long, that’s a lot of bloody reading before I even get round to writing about them! Whatever I do, I’ll try to keep you informed. Until next time.