2000AD cover galleries
The primary purpose of ArtValt is to share my works in various media, old and new. The secondary purpose is to share stuff I love that helped bring those works to life. The “Anime World” section serves that purpose, and so does this page.
In November 1983, a significant event shifted my path: I bought the comic book shown at right. It was the first issue of Judge Dredd, published by the American branch of a British company looking to make inroads with comics that had been stirring up British readers for over six years. This one had been recommended to me by a friend, so I made sure to pick it up.
When I look back on it now, it’s full of odd decisions. Rather than start off with “lower tier” stories that introduce Judge Dredd and his crazy future world, Eagle picked an “upper tier” story instead: Judge Dredd vs. Judge Death. It was a lore-bending tale, best appreciated when you knew something about the lore (which I didn’t). It was accompanied by a pair of “lower tier” stories that did some of that lifting, but not very much.
But you know what? It didn’t matter. The art was by Brian Bolland, the premiere Dredd artist at the time and a global superstar in the making. The publisher decided to lead with artistic strength rather than hand-holding, and it sure worked on me. I was hooked for every monthly issue that followed. The more I read, the more I liked – and the more I learned about 2000AD, the anthology comic from which Dredd and many other amazing characters had sprung.
One of the things driving me in this direction was a general dissatisfaction with the American comics I was reading at the time (mostly Marvels), which seemed increasingly shallow. Also, there weren’t nearly enough science-fiction titles to keep me happy. I’d been drawing my own for almost as long as 2000AD had been around, and my tastes were maturing rapidly. Heavy Metal magazine showed me that Europe had a lot to offer, and my lifetime fascination with Japanese anime and manga had begun. When saw what had been brewing in England, I was ready to dive in with both feet.
Collecting Judge Dredd stories wasn’t hard. In addition to these monthly Eagle comics, several reprint volumes from Titan Books were trickling into my local comic shop (Argos Books in Grand Rapids Michigan), and I bought them as often as I could afford them. (I was 18 and employed full time, but they were still quite pricey for a minimum wage earner.) Titan books featuring other characters from 2000AD were right next to the Dredd volumes, so I tried them out too. The art and the writing alike were edgy, provocative, satirical, and delightfully addictive. And all driven by science-fiction. Everything I read made me hungry for more.
One day I visited a different comic shop and saw my first actual issues of 2000AD, imported directly from England. They didn’t seem all that impressive at first. They weren’t even called “issues,” they were “progs” (short for “programmes”). They were printed on cheap newsprint, mostly black & white, and had some wonky stuff I wasn’t exposed to yet. But they contained early Judge Dredd stories I hadn’t read, so I picked up the handful of issues I saw that day and figured I’d just keep them as curios.
Not long after, newer issues began to show up through some import black magic I didn’t understand. This was 1984/85 when the numbers were up around 400. That’s the other thing about 2000AD: it was published weekly. So if I was going to step into this world, I’d already have a lot of backlog to deal with. What pushed me to take that step was a huge leap in quality; the early issues I’d found were all back in the 100s. Now it was a completely different beast with much more to offer. Once I made the decision to dive in, I never regretted it. I’m still reading 2000AD today, and the numbers are now well past 2,300.
Presented here is a gallery of covers that will grow 100 issues at a time, along with various spinoffs. If you’re pursuing a collection of your own, or just want to look at some wild and crazy art guaranteed to entertain, you’ll find a lot to like.
Complete PDFs of the first 15 progs | 2000AD fandom Wiki | Wikipedia page | Story index, progs 1-2300
Official website | Official Facebook page