Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Penny Library of Room 2017
Mick McMahon's return to Dredd (1995)

I've mentioned Mick McMahon on here before. I make no apologies. I'm a fan.
McMahon was the artist who first introduced Judge Dredd to the world back in 1977 (2000ad, issue #2). In 1981 he quit drawing Dredd. Too many crowd scenes, apparently. In 1995 he made a slight return with the 4 part mini series "Howler" for the (embarrassingly titled) Megazine. At the time I was 17 and a comic buying super fan. The comics still live in my mother's attic. Yesterday I climbed up and recovered "Howler".

McMahon's work for Howler, typifies a new era of McMahon's work. Flat colour, angular poses and lines. Striking compositions and abstracted form. Other comics with a similar approach include The Last American and Tattered Banners. Both worth hunting down.

I'd love to say I was a fan of this style at the time but alas the teenage me was lacking the sophistication/sense to appreciate this way of working and, like many other people, I wasn't a fan. I didn't appreciate the stylistic development and wanted a return to his more traditional, black ink fills. (Now it's the fact that he was determined to develop that I find so laudable).

In hindsight, the teenage me was a dumb-ass and over the last few years I've found myself transfixed with this work and all of it's qualities. I particularly like that it's not macho. It's not all bulging muscles and cleavages. It doesn't really reference the world of comics of the 90's. Looking through these old issues now, McMahon's work stands out a mile and whilst most of the other art embarrasses the grown-up-me, this definitely doesn't. It's stood the test of time, and then some.

Eye popping compositions and exaggerated body language get the point across with a staccato rhythm whilst guaranteeing that the story never gets boring.

Single frames stand up, on their own. Look at the lines, compositions, colours, rhythm.

Mick McMahon, once again, we salute you.

p.s - Mick, why have you shut your blog down?


Post a Comment