2000AD Prog 366: “Yer a dead dog, Alpha!”

King Carlos is back on the cover showing a scene from part 4 of Outlaw! (last on the cover for part 1 of the same story).

Tharg’s Nerve Centre is reduced to a Thargnote plugging the back page of this same comic while the rest of the page advertises Forbidden Planet T-shirts (only original image is the Kevin O’Neill Torquemada picture) and ads for Tiger and Roy of the Rover.

Sláine: Dragon Heist – 6 by Pat Mills and Massimo Belardinelli. Forgetting herself, Nest shouts out Sláine’s name, sending the Mata into a feeding mode. Fortunately for her the stupid villagers are still around and they fire arrows at the wild dragon, so it decides to take care of them first. Kicva has lost most or all of her sons now, but it gives Sláine enough time to get in on the battle. Well, calling what has preceded this a battle is a bit of an overstatement, but the real fight begins here! Sláine isn’t really part of it as the two male dragons wants to fight for the Glamour Land (the Gower, Silver Forest and the Black Mountains). The sack containing the dragonhoard gets dislodged in the first clash of diamond-skulled heads and Ukko dives after it into the water. The dragons are so caught up in clawing at each other that they don’t notice how much height they’ve lost and end up underwater (giving Massimo a chance to draw fishes!) while Nest disentangles herself from her bonds and fends off Kicva. The narrative says that “all worms, equally at home in the water” though this forgets that their ability to breathe fire is affected as the Mata can’t get a spark so is stuck on the ground for a bit. Sláine goes to chop of the Mata’s head while it rips at the Knucker, though it moves back at the last moment and the axe smashes on the diamond-hard skull. RIP Brainbiter, Progs 330 – 366. Oh, and the shards of axe light a spark, igniting the dragon’s venom – oops!

NatWest get in on the advertising action. It’s for something called an On Line Codeholder account, available to under 19 year olds. I have no idea what they mean by online, but it appears to be telephone banking (rather than the internet).

D.R. & Quinch Go To Hollywood Part 3 by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. This is the episode which introduces the oranges, puts them in a pile then has Marlon take one, causing an avalanche which leads to his death under three hundred tons of the monstrously hazardous citrus fruits. What more need be said?

This is quite the prog – not only does it have the infamous scene involving oranges, and Marlon, but it also introduces Dave the orang utan in Judge Dredd: Portrait of a Politician – Part 1 by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. I was going to say something about Dave the (spoiler) mayor, but then realised the very first page has a picture of Dave wearing the chain of office, not to mention the story is called Portrait of a Politician and has a portrait of Dave. There’s some great comedy as Dredd enters a bar for a routine sweep and has a conversation with Billy Smairt, Dave’s legal owner. In a similar way to Citizen Snork, Dredd’s involvement is incidental at this point as the narrative follows the bar after Dredd leaves and everybody settles down to watch sports pundits make ill-informed guesses about sporting events. Mo, the barkeep, vids in to the programme and claims that Dave can pick the winners better than the pundits can. Luckily Mo has pictures of the two teams in the next Superbowl and Dave picks the team tipped to lose. Due to some scheduling conflicts, there’s a story which won’t get published for a few months about why the favourites end up losing (more about that in the Dekker story), but it does lead to Dave’s ‘tip’ winning. Embarrassed that they’ve been shown up by an ape, the broadcasting network resolves to “hire the monkey” (Dave’s an orang utan). A classic in the making, this one starts off strong.

Strontium Dog: Outlaw! Part 4 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. Alpha gets to use the first of the three pieces of equipment he picked up before scarpering (presumably he picked up more than what was listed, just nothing timey). The beam polariser gives them a little time. A very little time, as another bounty hunter has a gas grenade. Luckily for Alpha and Sternhammer, Middenface, Torso, Evans and Frinton turn up and drag them out of the gas cloud. Speaking of which, Frinton Fuzz introduces himself as the son of Clacton Fuzz (for those not familiar with the Tendring Peninsula in Essex, Frinton is the next town up the coast from Clacton-on-Sea). All six of them leave the Doghouse aboard an escape pod, quickly followed by both an Auto-Interceptor and…

…an advert for Alan Finch alias Super Freeze – a one-page advert for Mr. Freeze ice poles in the form of a cartoon strip.

…and back to the chase as the renegade Stronts get fired on by the interceptor and crash-land in the Antarctic Rain-Forest…

Rogue Trooper: You Only Die Twice – Part 8 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. The Norts review the previous evening’s night-camera tape and the Kommander spots that there are now two genetik infantrymann (not typos, that’s how Norts speak) and sends out a Spyder tank. I call it a tank – it’s a large vehicle with lots of guns on top that runs on caterpillar tracks (or should that be katerpillar traks?) – whatever it is, it finds them soon enough. Rogue gets a leapfrog on top of the Spyder and uses pack-mines to take out the Spyder. Returning to the ground he finds Gunnar aiming a gun at him, but the two get interrupted by the impending arrival of ‘fastarmor’ (nope, no idea what that is specifically – apparently a heavy column).

Readergraph (that’s an early Thargian term for pages of reader’s art): 2000AD – The Comic Reader’s Comic! There’s a spaceship sized toilet which swallows planets (whose effect is diminished by being published upside-down – something I didn’t notice until it was pointed out in the Nerve Centre by a reader many progs later). The others are ‘Tharg the’ pictures and the cast of the Last of the Summer Wine as judges. Tharg’ll Fix It has dated somewhat, for obvious reasons…

Grailpage: Massimo Belardinelli draws dragons fighting each other – I’m spoilt for choice! I’ll pick the one with the Knucker and the Mata clawing at each other, but really it could have been any page from this week’s Sláine.

Grailquote: I wouldn’t normally pick a grailquote which uses multiple exclamation marks, but I’ll make an exception for this line. Alan Moore, Marlon’s manager: “Mind the Oranges, Marlon!!” If “Gaze into the first of Dredd!” is the most famous line in British comics, then this is a strong contender for the second most famous line.

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