16 July 2016

Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored signing at Gosh!

I do not often go to signings by comics creators despite my deep love for the form. I am not entirely sure why that is but I suspect that part of the reason is that many comics professionals make other appearances, e.g. at talks and conventions, and so I have had the opportunity to meet several of my heroes over the years.

The last signing event that I went to was also at Gosh! Comics and that was for Sally Heathcote, Suffragette. Unfortunately that was not a good guide for what to expect this time.

This signing was for a new high-quality printing of Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth which carries the "uncensored" label as it had been impossible to reprint some of the issues previously. The reason was some copyright issues and the poster for the event hints at what those were. The people behind the Jolly Green Giant were not too amused either. Since then laws have changed slightly and common sense has prevailed and the full story can now be retold.

I have the story in another collected edition (I was not reading 2000AD in Summer 78) and while it is clearly worth rereading and it is always nice to have a high-quality comic book to read, the reason that i wanted to be at the signing was because of the people.

Brian Bolland went on from 2000AD to become an even bigger comics legend at DC Comics famous for many covers and for 1988's Batman: The Killing Joke written by Alan Moore. Almost thirty years later and the book still sells well, and rightly so.

Mike McMahon was the main reason that I went to the signing. His art defined what was best about 2000AD for me and I am a major fan of his. I got into 2000AD via Starlord when the two merged in 1978, oddly enough in the issue after Cursed Earth concluded.  At the time I associated him most with Ro-Busters, which later morphed into ABC Warriors, but he drew several stories for 2000AD and I loved his art on all of them.

And that is why I found myself in Soho on a Saturday afternoon queueing in the sun.

There was far more queueing than I, or Gosh!, expected. I arrived at 12pm for a 1pm start to find the queue already well established and most of the copies of Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored already sold. I wanted to buy two but was only allowed one. They had also stopped taking online orders a couple of days earlier.

I left the shop and joined the queue. Because of the high demand they started the signing a little earlier than planned, around 12:45, but it was still almost exactly 2pm until I got back to the shop door and a few minutes after that before I got to the table. It then took just another couple of minutes to get my things signed and to say a few nice things to the artists. I got a bit star-struck with Mike McMahon, which was fine.

I also got somebody in the shop to take this picture of me basking in their greatness.

Queueing for two hours to spend two minutes getting two signatures may sound like a poor deal but when it means meeting these two gentlemen then it was a bargain.

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