Ian Gibson

Judge Dredd’s Crime File 6 (January 1986)

Judge Dredd's Crime File #6Gibson finally gets a story with content matching his style to my liking–lizard-men aliens who zap you and make your worst fears attack you so you lose your mind. Very fantastical stuff in a very fantastical setting–a housing block designed to be a maze, only its abandoned because no one could find their way around (thanks to hoodlums pulling off the directional signs).

Oddly, after coming up with such a strange setting, Grant and Wagner don’t do anything with it. It’s a lame shoot out and then a “rah rah” Judge Dredd twist at the end. It makes a fine final panel for the comic (in its last issue here), but the story’s a flop. Except for that Gibson art.

Gibson illustrates the other four stories in the issue to various effect. Grant and Wagner cowrote all of them as well. There are the humanizing ones–like when Dredd’s got to save his niece or when Walter gets into trouble (I missed Walter)–and the funnier ones–Dredd and a fascist alien, Dredd and, oddly, a dirty judge (it’s funny by the end), so it’s a good mix of what Grant and Wagner do with the character and setting.

I’m just upset Mazny Block wasn’t better utilized.

Writers, Alan Grant and John Wagner; artist, Ian Gibson; colorist, Janet Landau; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Judge Dredd’s Crime File 4 (November 1985)

Judge Dredd's Crime File #4Ron Smith only illustrates a fourth of this issue. Then “big-chin” Ian Gibson takes over for the rest. Something about Gibson’s cartoony style doesn’t work for me on Dredd. He goes too obviously to the humor and if Judge Dredd is nothing but a laugh, it can’t sustain itself past a punchline.

The writing–of three stories–in this issue is decent. Not so much the last story, which has to do with a game show where contestants try to top each other’s couples’ confessions to felonies. Something about it doesn’t work. Writers Wagner and Grant don’t give it any charm and Gibson makes everyone so visually repugnant, there’s no sympathy to it. There’s no hook.

The first story is the best. And not just because it has the Smith art. It’s Dredd hunting down dirty cops in the candy trade. All of a sudden Crime File has the problem of too much picking and choosing on the 2000 AD source material. The assembled stories for this issue don’t go together well. They seem too forced a compilation.

The second story, with Dredd defending cute aliens slaughtered for part of their brains, is okay. Gibson does real well on the cute aliens. Wagner and Grant are a tad too cynical for the story though. It goes for an ironic cheap cuteness; it gets there, but another creator team could’ve gotten it further with sincerity.


Writers, Alan Grant and John Wagner; artists, Ron Smith and Ian Gibson; colorist, Janet Landau; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Judge Dredd’s Crime File 3 (October 1985)

Judge Dredd's Crime File #3It’s an okay issue. It’s just too uneven.

The first story, with art by Ian Gibson, is a flop. Gibson’s style might be how I always think of Judge Dredd–visibly British, visibly stilted. Such long faces. Literally.

Grant and Wagner’s script is about a Block War, sort of. There’s a simple explanation though and a moral to the story. Dredd might even get touchy-feely at the end. It doesn’t come off with the Gibson art.

But the second story is a major improvement, with Colin Wilson taking over. Wilson makes one bad style choice–he casts one character as a noir villain instead of a luckless sap, which is more appropriate; I think an evil mustache is involved. The story’s solid. Dredd versus loan sharks who keep your loved one in suspended animation until you pay.

The last story, again with Wilson art, isn’t particularly good. It’s better than the first story, with Wilson showing how the right artist can make anything in a Grant and Wagner story work, but Dredd versus hackers is boring. Except how well Grant and Wagner forecast cybersecurity threats.


Writers, Alan Grant and John Wagner; artists, Ian Gibson and Colin Wilson; colorist, Janet Landau; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Judge Dredd 34 (August 1986)

Judge Dredd #34It’s an excellent issue about a vigilante hitting various organized crime guys in Mega-City One. Does it make any sense for there to be mobsters above the Judges? No. It’s sort of weird and has something of a retro vibe–like it doesn’t really star Judge Dredd but his training officer.

Nice art from Ezquerra and Ian Gibson. There’s a lot of precise action in the story–Dredd is sure the vigilante has been trained as a Judge and the vigilante has a couple intricate plans to execute. The art on those sequences is real strong and would be surprisingly ambitious if Ezquerra and Gibson didn’t also take a very grand approach to Dredd himself this story.

It’s big and awesome.

The backup has Dredd fighting a giant ape robot. Ezquerra’s art is inventive, Malcolm Shaw’s script is short and goofy.

That lead story is rather good Judge Dredd.


Writers, John Wagner, Alan Grant and Malcolm Shaw; artists, Ian Gibson and Carlos Ezquerra; letterers, Tom Frame and Stan Richardson; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Quality Periodicals.

Judge Dredd 28 (February 1986)

Judge Dredd #28It’s almost a great issue of Dredd. The opening story, with Wagner and Grant sending Dredd into the Cursed Earth (no longer called Mutieland) with a bunch of cadets for a test, is awesome. Smith’s art is good, the story has a nice flow and the supporting cast of cadets is good. It’s probably the best mix of narrative and Wagner wanting to expound on the judges’ rigorous training.

Unfortunately, the second half of the issue has two Judge Anderson stories and neither of them is particularly good. The first one at least has good art from Kim Raymond. Raymond gives it almost a horror comic vibe, which is appropriate given Anderson is fighting a demon.

The last story, with too busy art from Ian Gibson, is really lame. Grant and Wagner write the final one together, with Wagner writing the first Anderson alone. So he’s worse with help, apparently.



Writers, John Wagner and Alan Grant; artists, Ron Smith, Kim Raymond and Ian Gibson; colorist, John Burns; letterers, Tom Frame, Tony Jacob and Steve Potter; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

2000 AD 27 (27 August 1977)

66779 20061016100730 largeIt’s an issue of endings and new beginnings. Well, more like one ending and a lot of multi-part stories.

Harlem Heroes whimpers out of the series, hopefully for good. Tully has this terrible moment where the Heroes mourn a lost teammate, then jump for joy at the thought of their next adventure.

Finley-Day reveals the Scots are the only ones in the UK able to keep out the Volgans but even they need Savage’s help. Okay art from Dorey and it moves well.

Something’s off with Solรก’s art on Shako though. It should be fun–Wagner has Shako attacking people in the hospital, including the evil nurse.

The Future-Shock is fine. Nothing special.

MACH 1 actually has Probe fighting an evenly matched opponent; Redondo’s art is hurried though.

Gibson’s art is just great on Dredd, however. He does a great job and Wagner keeps it moving well.


Invasion, Dirty Jocks, Part One; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Mike Dorey; letterer, Tony Jacob. Harlem Heroes, Part Twenty-seven; writer, Tom Tully; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterer, Pete Knight. Shako, Part Eight; writer, John Wagner; artist, Ramon Sola; letterer, Knight. Tharg the Mighty, First Contact; writer, Alan Hebden; artist, Medraho; letterer, Aldrich. M.A.C.H. 1, Planet Killers!, Part One; writer, Pat Mills; artist, Jesus Redondo; letterer, Jack Potter. Judge Dredd, The Academy of Law, Part One; writer, Wagner; artist, Ian Gibson; letterer, Bill Nuttall. Editor, Kelvin Gosnell; publisher, IPC.

2000 AD 14 (29 May 1977)

144904Good grief it’s a bad one.

The only good story is the Dredd one. Wagner packs way too much action into its pages; even though Ian Gibson tries hard, he’s too rushed. But it’s still a solid story.

The Invasion story isn’t terrible, but it’s got a frantic pace too. And it’s dumb–the peaceful nuclear research planet is called Doomsdale. Not sure what, if anything, Finley-Day could have been thinking.

Flesh is awful. Boix’s art isn’t bad, but Gosnell’s writing is the pits.

For Harlem Heroes, Tully concentrates on the team turning around a game. It’s a combination of inane–comics aren’t the best medium for a sporting event–and incomprehensible. I guess Gibbons does okay.

Awful Dan Dare. Moore’s writing isn’t good anymore.

And M.A.C.H. 1… wow. Between Finley-Day’s racist characterizations of Chinese people and Kato’s ugly, busy artwork, it’s an ugly time.

Very bad issue.


Invasion, The Doomsdale Scenario, Part Two; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Carlos Pino; letterer, Jack Potter. Flesh, Book One, Part Fourteen; writer, Kelvin Gosnell; artist, Boix; letterer, John Aldrich. Harlem Heroes, Part Fourteen; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Hollow World, Part Three; writer, Steve Moore; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterers, Peter Knight and J. Swain. M.A.C.H. 1, Chinese Formula; writer, Finley-Day; artist, Kato; letterer, Aldrich. Judge Dredd, Robot Wars, Part Five; writer, John Wagner; artist, Ian Gibson; letterer, Potter. Editor, Pat Mills; publisher, IPC.

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