Archive for January 12th, 2013

January 12, 2013

Action! – the sevenpenny nightmare

Before 2000AD, the sci-fi comic which has starred the iconic Judge Dredd since 1977, there was a short lived publication called Action. It was written for the male UK youth of the day; pre-punk, mid-Labour meltdown, post 60’s pop. An aggressive line up of killer sharks, football hooligans, anarchy on the streets; it only lasted 36 editions before it was shut down for its ultra-violent content. It mimicked what movies of the day portrayed: Jaws, Rollerball, Dirty Harry to name a few. It did however cut the teeth of writers and illustrators who went on to great effect in 2000AD: sub-editor Steve MacManus (who became Tharg the Mighty during that titles ‘golden era’ in the eighties), writers John Wagner and Pat Mills, and the fantastic penmanship of the likes of Carlos Ezquerra (who devised the appearance of Joe Dredd) and Dave Gibbons (the artist for Alan Moore’s Watchmen).

Digging through the numerous stories motorcycles take a leading role in the action: one classic story is Death Game 1999. A futuristic ice-hockey/pinball mix played with motorcycle riding convicts. The body count was the spectators interest, not the score. One final episode covered blatant violent artwork with a large BA-ROOM. (what makes a sound “ba-room?”). Cinders, tire studs and speed: that’s Action. Massimo Belardinelli’s artwork is too sublime to censor with letter-noise.

action-5This was an obvious precursor to Harlem Heroes and it’s spinoff Inferno; itself heading down the violence-game route a few years later. I’ve covered these here.

action-6

More tomorrow! Only 7p at your newsagent!