It’s nearly 45 years ago that John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Carlos Ezquerra debuted the adventures of one of 2000 AD’s most iconic characters… time to celebrate!
Although of course, when Johnny Alpha burst forth, it wasn’t actually in the pages of 2000 AD. Rather it was in the pages of the short-lived weekly Starlord that we first saw the incredible Ezquerra artwork bringing Johnny to life. And what a magnificent lie it’s been – the absolutely epice sci-fi western that gave 2000 AD one of its most beloved characters, right up there with Judge Dredd.
The one bit of non-Ezquerra art in all this Stront goodness – Starlord Issue 1 cover by Ramon Sola
Johnny Alpha’s one of the bounty hunters of the Search/Destroy Agency – nicknamed (and not lovingly so) ‘Strontium Dogs’ because they’re all mutated humans with their bodies warped by Strontium 90 fallout. Hated by the remaining humans, the ‘Norms’, the Dogs only way to escape their ghettos is to become bounty hunters. So, from the orbiting ‘Doghouse’ base, we have the adventures of Johnny Alpha and his Viking partner, Wulf Sternhammer, the greatest of the great Stronts. Over the years we’ve had excitement, heartbreak, even controversy after the death and rebirth of Johnny Alpha. But one thing’s for sure, it’s a strip that endures and remains as loved now as it was 45 years ago on that very first appearance.
And frankly, it’s yet another example of 2000 AD making me feel old now. It’s coming up to the 45th birthday of Strontium Dog this month, meaning that it’s a hell of a long time since I was back in primary school digging through the comic boxes they had for wet playtimes. It was the UK in the ’70s – we had a LOT of wet playtimes. And, although I was a Marvel kid from early on, with iconic Marvel UK landscape reprints like The Titans (saving on paper and printing costs, two comic pages per page) really grabbing my attention, I do recall seeing the odd 2000 AD and Starlord comics and annuals in there as well.
So, now that it is 45 years since that first appearance in the first issue of Starlord, cover dated 13 May 1978, 2000 AD are having a bit of a celebration. Sure, Starlord itself only lasted 22 issues/weeks, but it did give us both Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters, both of which found homes in the pages of 2000 AD.
In addition to all the Thrill-Powered strips over the years – many of them on offer at the 2000 AD webshop right now, there’s a host of merch newly available, from T-shirts to pint glasses, from mugs to iron-on patches, plenty to get that Stront fan’s excitement up!
Here’s the 2000 AD PR for you…
“Designed by Salvador Lavado – who has worked with major brands and international artists including John Williams, Metallica, Jay-Z, Mercury Records and many more – the new merchandise digs deep into the history and lore of the strip to produce designs that will delight fans while remaining intriguing to those unfamiliar with the landmark series.
The new T-shirts reference just some of the series’ legendary weaponry – including ‘Westinghouse’, the supplier of Johnny Alpha’s preferred Variable Blaster firearm, and the iconic ‘Electronux’ electrical stun knuckle-duster, while posing as an employee of the famous ‘Doghouse’ space station. There is a fun ‘Sternhammer Ale’ design which pays tribute to Wulf’s legendary thirst and love of good company, while another advertises the services of the Gronk, Alpha and Sternhammer’s weak-hearted medic.
And thirsty bounty hunters will be able to quench their thirst with the first Strontium Dog pint glasses – featuring the ‘Sternhammer Ale’ and the ‘Property of The Doghouse’ designs – as well as a mug from the Doghouse Canteen and others sporting the ‘Doghouse’ and ‘Westinghouse’ designs.”
The new range of Strontium Dog is available now from the Rebellion online store at shop.rebellion.com.
And we’ll end with one that I’m very, very tempted by… Oh, my heartsies…
It’s nearly 45 years ago that John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Carlos Ezquerra debuted the adventures of one of 2000COMICONRead More