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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)


Death is the longest walk - but for Judge Barbara Hershey, it’s only the first step!

HERSHEY: DISEASE by Rob Williams (Suicide Squad, Unfollow) and Simon Fraser (Nikolai Dante, Kingsman) begins in 2000 AD Prog 2175 and sees Judge Dredd’s long-time ally using the cover of her faked funeral to head out into the world and right the wrongs committed by Judge Smiley!

Readers were saddened last year when a microbial virus first forced Hershey to resign her position as Chief Judge of Mega-City One and then apparently took her life in John Wagner and Colin MacNeil’s Guatemala (2000 AD Progs 2150-2157). But all was not as it seemed - Judge Hershey was alive all along and she’s now on a mission of revenge that will take her far beyond the walls of Mega-City One!

Williams and Fraser have crafted a tense, moving new series that gives one of the Dredd world’s longest-standing characters a brand new lease of life - or is it merely borrowed time?

2000 AD Prog 2175 is out on 1 April 2020 and is available in print from some newsagents and comic book stores, as well as digitally from 2000 AD’s webshop and apps.

Created by John Wagner and Brian Bolland in 1980, Judge Barbara Hershey was one of Justice Department’s most respected and capable young officers before she became Chief Judge. But it was during the critically-acclaimed The Small House storyline (2000 AD Progs 2100-2109) that her bond with long-time colleague Judge Dredd was near fatally damaged, following the revelation that there was a vast clandestine operation at the heart of Justice Department run by Judge Smiley, a Machiavellian manipulator who had controlled world events for decades. During last year’s Guatemala storyline, and after Hershey’s apparent death, the new Chief Judge was seen talking to an anonymous voice by radio - the identity of that voice remained unknown … until now!

Editor of 2000 AD, Matt Smith, said: "When Hershey stood down as Chief Judge, Rob came to me with the idea of a solo series, with her repairing Smiley's legacy in the wake of The Small House storyline. John said he had no plans for Hershey, and was happy for us to use her as we saw fit. When John wrote the first episode of Guatemala, he came up with a cover story that would take Hershey out of the game, with no one but Logan, Dredd and a select few others knowing the truth - and Rob worked his scripts in tandem with that. Hershey is still dying - she's taking medication to stave off whatever microbe she's been infected with - but she's going out with the intention of righting wrongs that were done on her watch. Rob and Si's series is a redemptive, violent, propulsive new arc for Hershey, with lots more surprises still in store."

Co-creator of Judge Hershey, John Wagner, said: "When discussing the new series with Matt Smith and how it might fit in with Guatemala, I suggested Hershey's death could just be a subterfuge - I had no plans for Hershey and am happy to see others take her in new directions, so there's a little clue in Guatemala, that I don't think anyone spotted, that things were not as they seemed! And who doesn't love a good old story of revenge?"

Rob Williams said: ”The idea for the series came off the back of The Small House. I felt the "I no longer recognise your authority" line had been building for years, and was organic and justified, but it also didn't really let Hershey tell her side of things. I felt we'd undersold her a bit. And even in the scene that followed it that John wrote, when Hershey and Dredd meet on their bikes - that we play on in Hershey episode one - that was still written from Dredd's point of view. I felt, after how long she'd been in the strip, she deserved a version that told her side of the story. A Long Walk for someone who's deserved a journey that isn't just going into The Cursed Earth. A Long Walk for someone burnt out and dying, who is asking herself the question - my life's run its purpose. So, what's left? Can she find that?

"Simon and I have worked together a bunch of times and he's a good friend. I thought he'd be great for this. He said he wanted to draw her looking her age. Which was tonally exactly the themes of the story needed.

"John agreeing we could tell this story, and to fit it in around Hershey's 'death' in his story was important. Ultimately, she's his character. Boorman's Point Blank was one of the big inspirations behind this series. A revenge thriller, with Hershey as this unstoppable, grim force. There's a school of reading Point Blank as how Lee Marvin's character dies in the opening scene, and everything that follows is his fantasy just before he dies. Maybe this is Hershey's fantasy just as she dies. Or maybe not..."

Simon Fraser said: "The planning process was, and I'm paraphrasing, "Hey Si , you want to do a hard as nails revenge thriller, kind of like Point Blank , but with Judge Hershey?" My reply, also paraphrasing, was " Yes!" or maybe "**** Yes!", which is my usual response when Rob suggests things.

"I was looking for a story to stretch my new digital drawing tools. Lots of world building , which I love, but not much dialog ... which I also love. I'm also very happy to be drawing a lady of advancing years being very angry and violent.

"Hershey has been the good and dutiful public servant for a long time, she's taken a lot of crap, stoically and responsibly, now let’s see how she chooses to close her account! I know that people get upset because we're bringing a character 'back from the dead', but I think we're giving an amazing woman the ending she deserves."


2000AD Prog 2175
Cover: Brett Parson

JUDGE DREDD: HAIR OF THE DOG by Ian Edginton (w) D'Israeli (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SKIP TRACER: NIMROD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)
SURVIVAL GEEKS: CRISIS OF INFINITE NERDS by Emma Beeby, Gordon Rennie (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
AQUILA: THE BURNING FIELDS by Gordon Rennie (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Pippa Bowland (c) Jim Campbell (l)
HERSHEY: DISEASE by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a)


Masters of British Comic Art by David Roach
Rebellion ISBN978-1781-08759-6, 2 April 2020, 384pp, £39.99 / $50 (hardcover, cover by Brian Bolland) Available via Amazon.

This wildly entertaining and educational tome is a journey through the history of British comics – from the birth of the 20th century to the ‘80s invasion of American comics and through to today’s best contemporary artists! A high-production hardcover compendium perfect as a coffee table book or academic encyclopedia, Masters of British Comics is painstakingly researched. Behind a brand new cover by superstar artist Brian Bolland, and featuring artwork from a vast number highly-acclaimed artists carefully scanned from original artwork, Masters of British Comic Art is the definitive study and celebration of a beloved industry! Featuring a Who’s Who of talent, including Brian Bolland, Yvonne Hutton, Dave Gibbons, celebrated greats such as Don Lawrence and lost masters like Reg Bunn and Shirley Bellwood. Author and 2000 AD artist David Roach takes us on a journey through time detailing the surprising and fascinating evolution of the art from its humble beginnings to its current world-conquering status.

Kingmaker: A World Lost by Ian Edginton & Leigh Gallagher
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08757-2, 2 April 2020, 144pp, £14.99 / $19.99. Available via Amazon.

‘Lord of the Rings’ meets ‘Independence Day’ in this brand-new fantasy epic from the pages of 2000 AD! The inhabitants of the Nine Kingdoms fought hard to liberate their world from the tyranny of Ichnar the Wraith King. Little did they suspect that a greater threat would soon fall upon them in the form of the Thorn – a race of aliens intent on strip-mining all of the magic from the world. Now old enemies have formed an alliance - Wizard Ablard, ork Crixus and the dryad Princess Yarrow have set aside their differences and are seeking to use the Ebora world spirit against the invaders… Perfect
for fans of deconstructed fantasy stories like ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘Coda’!

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