2000AD Prog 356: “I’ll have the biggest NOSE in Mega-City One!” “Glad to hear it son. It’s about time you had an interest in life!” Citizen Snork Part 1

Ron Smith’s back on the cover doing what he does best – depicting the eccentric (to put it politely) citizenry of Mega-City One. Obviously nostalgia is playing a part here, after all I’m re-reading the first few months I encountered and have been reading constantly for the last thirty-seven years, but these progs really are having classic story after classic story at the moment!

As I suspected in Prog 345 Sláine’s aversion to helmets is raised in Tharg’s Nerve Centre as somebody accuses Judge Dredd of being as bald as a ball of Boing® due to excessive helmet-wearing. Furthermore, Rogue’s habit of wearing Helm most of the time must have resulted in that little tuft in the middle! Though then the letter-writer realises that Tharg’s head also only has a tuft in the middle, so they make their excuses and finish. In the corner is a small ad for the Eagle Comics Robo-Hunter series (reprinting the Verdus story).

Sláine: Sky Chariots – 5 by Pat Mills and Mike McMahon. Sláine wrestles a bull and guides it to the sacrificial stone, allowing the drunes to collect the bull’s blood and feed it to the weird stone in an evocative piece of writing. Throt claims credit as the ship sails away from the rocks below until Ukko points out that Sláine killed the bull. Any talk of why Throt is running from his master is interrupted as skyblades (flying Viking longships, basically) are sighted. The rest of this episode deals with the attack from the first of three skyblades and as the captain of that first ship is killed (by Sláine, naturally) the second goes to ram Throt’s ship. Great storytelling is in evidence as some of the Norsemen are given more character in the few panels before they’re dispatched than many creators manage in whole comic series!

Football mag and newsagent reservation page, a little earlier than usual this prog, facing off against a colour ad for Battle Zone for the Atari (in the form of an uncredited comic strip).

Strontium Dog: The Killing Part 7 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. This gets off to a great start – Wulf begins by bemoaning the bounty they won’t collect as they pass a Triton (alien race) though as the participant hanging by his ankles prepares to shoot at the pair in the back, Wulf goes on to recount how he had thought against Tritons in two wars (I suspect this was before Grant and Wagner had decided he wasn’t just like a Viking but was an actual Viking) and that they were expert hand fighters and would never restrict themselves by having a gun chain attached to their wrists. Realising what’s going on he pushes Alpha to the ground as the Titon shoots, then returns fire. Always the pragmatist, Wulf tots up the unexpected bounty bonus. While they approach the Temple of Titus Despoticus (pun on Titus Andronicus) the rest of the field gets narrowed down until it’s just Johnny, Wulf, Steelkreeg the android and the five Osmongs (who appear to be brotherly aliens).

Eagle’s 100th issue gets a second week of advertising, along with another sports mag.

Judge Dredd: Citizen Snork – Part 1 by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. Another day in Mega-City One, another craze and this begins (as they often do) with a slice of life from the mega-citizenry and as Unamerican Graffiti did, this involves the interesting hobbies that some them have. Aloysius Snork goes bat gliding (and has a ‘glide name’ of Easy Glider). Malaria Snork is an unemployed wrestler who spends most of her time sitting. Sometimes she sits in the kitchen. Sometimes she sits in the hall. Her hobby is sitting. Only in Mega-City One. The narration identifies this couple as dingbats and takes us to the internal monologue of their son, James Fenemore Snork, who surmises that they spend their time trying to escape, while he wants to make something of his life. Watching the vid (which squeezes in another example of somebody upside down having an upside down word balloon – the last time we saw that also being brought to us by the creative team of Alan Grant, John Wagner, Ron Smith and Tom Frame, back in the Graveyard Shift) he gets hit by inspiration. On the lookout to find something he can do, then be the best, he sees somebody with a 12½ centimetre-long nose. James decides he can grow a longer nose and goes to the block robodoc. As we know, even robots get bored in MC1, and this robodoc is no exception, finding the prospect of James’ nose-growing project irresistible. (There’s a line about using hormones to grow bone and tissue – there’s no bone in the nose, but let’s skip past that). By the end of the episode, Snork has the largest nose in the city and we have no idea what this has to do with Judge Dredd, but they’ll be meeting soon enough…

D.R. & Quinch Get Drafted Part 2 by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. Through the slime jungles of Ghoyogi D.R. rides on Quinch’s back while penning a letter to Mrs Quinch. He spots movement and gets out the bazooker-nuker and utters the infamous words “Eat plutonium death, you disgusting alien weirdos!” which I’m tempted to put as the grailquote, but I already have a few other passages earmarked.

Buy the troops, get the leader free – is an advert for Palitoy action figures – cut out the names from the front of six packs, send off and get a free Emperor figure. But this is interrupting D.R. & Quinch…

…who approach the camp which they’ve just attacked, preparing to take prisoners (in order to try out a new torture concept D.R. has formulated). He muses on how similar the enemies are to themselves. How the camp is like their camp. Stop me if you can guess where this is going… How one of the officers is like their own N.C.O. Sgt. Rorchmutt (the officer in question declares “I… am… Sgt. Rochmutt!”) and D.R. muses on how the officer even has the same name (before the penny drops). Having gone around in a circle and obliterated half of their own camp, Rorchmutt throws them in a cubicle with the man-monster. Asked if they have any last requests, D.R. hands over the letter to Quinch’s mother before the door closes on them. Only to find that the man-monster is Pulger, from D.R. & Quinch Go Straight!

Not presented as Tharg’s Time Twisters but it might as well be, The Great Infinity Inc. Foul-Up Part 1 comes from Jack Adrian and Jesus Redondo and stretches to the colour back cover. This one’s about time tourism, not unlike Trans-Time. Being a 2000AD time-travel story it isn’t long before they cause the mystery of the Marie Celeste (that’s at least the third time we’ve had an explanation within the last year or two). This one was caused by the son of one of the time-tourists, Jimmy Jiss-Cohen, who follows it up by causing the Black Death in Genoa in 1348. That’s not the end of the time-tour though, as it continues next prog.

Grailpage: yet again Mike McMahon’s opening page of Sláine catches my eye as the cloud curragh threatens to smash into the rocks below amidst the storm, with in inset panel of Sláine wrestling a bull by the horns. Next up, Ron Smith’s centrespread opens with a rare Ron Smith non-Dredd portrait opener (we get Snork instead), a cityscape, passport photo style portraits of the Snork family and then our introduction to bat gliders.

Grailquote: TB Grover, James Fenemore Snork: “Doc, I want you to make my nose bigger?” Robodoc JC4: “An interesting request! How much bigger?” James: “About forty or fifty times bigger!” and from the same spread of pages: Malaria Snork: “James… is your face shrinking, or is your nose getting bigger.” (which is great enough on its own, but is then followed up by) James: “It’s my nose, mum. I’m growing it!” Aloysius Snork: “Glad to hear it, son. It’s time you have an interest in life!”

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