Thursday, 13 September 2012

Risque Biz-ness!

Well, here it is, the controversial cover of Prog 1800 by the artist who launched a thousand careers, Mr Simon Bisley. Personally, I like it. The reflections of the city in Dredd's helmet are fantastic, his pitted, ravaged skin looks great and I love the way his lawgiver works it's way into the image. It's great to see Mean and Death in the mix and I can see the Thirlby-vibe his given to Anderson.

To celebrate Bisley's return, I thought we could look back at his meteoric rise to fame in the pages of the galaxy's greatest comic. 

Simon's big break came in 1988 when he revolutionised the ABC Warriors. According to his Wikipedia page, the artist sent a painting of a robot holding a baby to the 2000AD offices which prompted Pat Mills to relaunch the Meknificent Seven. The strip was, of course, The Black Hole and the artist had a ball giving the clunky robots a sleek, organic makeover. Below is Simon's first ever cover for 2000AD, Prog 556.
The Warriors - Back and cooler than ever before...

The image below is one of two beautiful covers for the Titan reprints of The Black Hole...


Simon's other ABC's trade cover. I wonder if this was the image he originally sent to 2000AD?

Kid Robot?

A beautiful study of Deadlock

After making an appearance in Bisley's ABC Warriors, the artist was an excellent choice to paint the arch deviant for the cover of prog 586...


Perhaps the warrior who went through the most significant redesign at the hands of Bisley was ice cold hitdroid, Joe Pineapples. Finally, the world's coolest assassin looked as cool as he acted...

Yes, red leather pants ARE cool, just ask Zombo...

Apocalypse Wow!

From ABC Warriors to Celtic Warriors as Mills and Bisley collaborated once more, this time on the incredible Slaine: The Horned God. Boasting sumptuous, fully painted, Frazetta-esqe artwork, this classic tale remains one of 2000AD's visual high points...

Bisley's first Slaine cover, wow!

Slaine has a warp spasm on this beautiful wraparound cover for Prog 688

Farewell to the King - Bisley's last cover for the Horned God.

Below is a bloody lovely poster given away with Prog 724.

"Don't eat red snow!"

And a couple of random pages just to illustrate the consistently high quality of  Simon's work throughout this amazing series.


A hack and slash splash from The Horned God...

With the treasures of Britain, Slaine is the King of Kings.

Following the incredible success of Slaine, Simon was picked to illustrate Dredd and Batman's first ever crossover tale, Judgement on Gotham. The story explains Judge Death's disappearance following the failed Necropolis massacre as he uses a dimension jump to escape to Gotham city, only to have his physical form destroyed by the Batman. As the caped crusader examines Death's charred remains, he is zapped to Mega-City One by the dimension device and into the waiting arms of the Law. Dredd does NOT like vigilantes in his city... 

Below is the absolute classic cover of this excellent book, a real favourite of mine...

 The Law, the Bat and The Bony Fella!

Followed by the prelim which apparently is on the other side of the original artwork.
The darker knight

Here's an aborted cover for the project too...
Red Death

This promo image was used to advertise the crossover in the Judge Dredd Megazine. Absolutely stunning design work here...

Another unused image from the book...

 "You with the ears!"

Controversially, Bisley drew Dredd without his helmet though this was quickly veto-ed, thank Grud!

A naked Dredd!

Of course, I couldn't write about Judgement on Gotham without including this classic splash as Dredd comes to save the day!
He is the Law!

The stunning image above inspired some street artists to produce this downright amazing grafitti, look out Chopper...


To date, Bisley has painted three Megazine covers, firstly, this gruesome, rather painful looking cover in November 1991. In this issue Dredd was almost fatally wounded by the Raptaur monster, finding himself attached to all kinds of life support machinery. Also, the issue started the run of Wagner and Grant scripted 'Heavy Metal Dredd' stories. These music-themed stories, mainly illustrated by Bisley, originally ran in Rock Power Magazine but have been reprinted several times since... 

Ouch! That's a mighty catheter there...

Johnny Biker graced the cover of Megazine 1.19...

And finally this absolute beauty, finished with the help of Glen Fabry for the 20th Anniversary issue of the Mighty Megazine!

The Bastard Child of Bisley and Fabry

And here's a Mega-City Vice cover too...

The strong arm of the law!

The next image is from Wizard magazine and once again we see Biz's love for Mean Machine...

Sewer looks good to me!

Back in 1998, Activision released a Judge Dredd game for the PS1. There's a great video for it on the ECBT2000AD site (see it here), it really sticks two fingers up at the fools who wanted Dredd's comic uniform for the movie!

If I remember correctly, to celebrate the release of the game, Prog 1067 carried a poster prog which contained the following images...

The cover of Prog 1067
And he didn't think it too many...
Reservoir Drokk
Another bloody sewer? Why is Dredd keep hanging around in sewers?

Finally, a nice painting of some classic British comic characters, lovely!
So, whether you love or loathe the cover of Prog 1800, there's no denying that Bisley is the Biz and his contribution to the Galaxy's greatest is highly, highly commendable!


  1. Dennis looks like he's having one off the wrist!

  2. Dennis was in fact giving the viewer the finger, but it got censored.

  3. just stumbled upon your blog when looking for my own...under the heading of my name Mark Hodgson and saw another who is a bigger appreciater of 2000AD than my brother an I. I also just did a blog on fantasy art and sci-fi you may like. Drop by if you feel an urge to see some Boris Vallejo or a little Ian Miller. And nice blog btw.