Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Joseph Dredd is the law in Mega-City 1 and has become as much part of British comics lore as Dennis the Menace and Desperate Dan. I started reading the weekly comic 2000AD when I was about fourteen and so had missed many of the more popular Dredd stories like the 'Cursed Earth' and 'The Day The Law Died' but was fortunate enough to find 'The Best of 2000AD' a monthly reprint magazine had just started and my first visits to a comic shop in the neighbouring big city where I discovered those excellent Titan book albums of Joe's earlier adventures.
Within two years I'd gone from having no idea what I was going to do with my adult life to deciding I was going to be a comic book artist, I hadn't shown any great aptitude for drawing before then but my intense scrutiny of early 2000AD's and my lack of effort in any other subject had me decided. I got some trial scripts from Tharg the Mighty (cosmic editor of the comic) and for the next year I banged out around six different painted and inked Dredd stories all hoping I'd make the grade. I didn't. I'd heard all the stories of Steve Dillion and Kev O'Neill drawing strips from the age of sixteen and thought 'Yeah maybe that'll be me?'. Trouble was I think I showed talent but zero experience and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't fit that experience into two or three years of work. I got another trial script in the post (no email back then) and decided that was it, no more. Did I give up to early, should I have soldiered on? I don't think so. I was unemployed and needed to earn money, I knew I wanted to become an artist but it just took around ten years more before I understood what kind of artist.
So here's a painting of Joe Dredd (click on the picture for bigness), done in acrylics with the big city finished in pens because I ran out of time. Would I like to draw a Dredd strip now? You bet I would!