Thursday 5 December 2013

1987: STRONTIUM DOG ONE-SHOT (Quality Comics)

This STRONTIUM DOG one-shot emerged from Dez Skinn's short-lived tenure as overseer of the 2000AD reprints pitched at North America but also sold in British comic shops and - in some cases - British newsagents.

Dez and his QUALITY COMICS operation (which also consisted of two London comic stores) picked-up the license when Titan Books and IPC decided that the EAGLE COMICS operation was much too much like hard work (especially chasing all the unpaid bills from US distributors) and IPC decided it would be a lot less effort to simply license the material to a third-party than bankroll it themselves.

Eagle Comics had previously published a four issue Stronty limited series and Dez used this one-shot to test reader (and retailer) appetite for more.

Other offerings in the EAGLE arsenal (which, ironically, never published anything from the EAGLE COMIC back catalogue) included their best-selling JUDGE DREDD ongoing book (and several spin-offs offered in various formats and price points) and shorter runs devoted to ROBO-HUNTER, NEMESIS THE WARLOCK and 2000AD itself (a US format anthology).

All the US books did their best to disguise the episodic origins of the strips by removing the natural breaks between instalments and reworking the artwork to remove surplus logos and recaps.  The bizarre dimensions of IPC's weeklies (fat and squat) further complicated matters as the pages had to be reworked to fit the new dimensions.  Later, post-Dez, publishers found that much too much like hard work and just ran the art in the wrong aspect ratio.

The US reprints ran until around 1994 before being discontinued in favour of the new licensing dead with DC Comics which saw the publisher launch two new ongoing JUDGE DREDD books which managed to - somehow - only have tenuous links to both the 2000AD and movie versions of the character.  The movie flopped and DC didn't renew the arrangement.

The STRONTIUM DOG one-shot was dated January 1987 and probably went on sale in the latter part of the previous year.

1 comment:

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