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 Dark Judges  - Steven Austin

I really like, or should that be loathe, these uncannily updated versions of the alien superfiends,in an eerie tarot deck:

  • I. The leader and certainly the most evil of  the Dark Judges’ is Judge Death, he believes that “all crime is committed by the living, therefore all life itself is a crime!”
  • II. Judge Fear - The embodiment of terror itself… Fear wears a hoodie - drokkin’ genius! 
  • III. Judge Fire - A being of living fire, perhaps the most dangerous Dark Judge of all, able to turn his trident into a flamethrower, or as a fiery spear.
  • IV.The Happy Kingdom Of Flies - The unmistakable reek of decay creeps closer, as the foetid stench of rotting corpses descends, and a chillingly familiar touch turns a once healthy body into a crawling, maggot-ridden, fly-blown corpse, until all that’s left is a bleached pile of bones - it is the beast-headed Judge Mortis, usually wearing a sheepshead, this time sporting a magnificent set of antlers!
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The Dark Judges - Dave Kendall 

Talented realistic master of horror, Dave Kendall, updates the most malignant quartet of fiends, from a world where life itself is a crime.. the Dark Judges, in his own creepy, inimitable fashion!

  • Judge Death - the most evil creature to ever exist!
  • Judge Fear - the ethereal embodiment of terror.
  • Judge Fire - a being of living fire.
  • Judge Mortis - wearing a rotting animal carcass, his very touch brings decay.
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It is with great sadness that we received the news of the tragic death of one of UK comics’ most important creators and artists, Brett Ewins.

Best known for his work on Judge Dredd, Anderson Psi-Division, ABC Warriors, Rogue Trooper, and his own co-creation, Bad Company, art droid, Brett had been an integral part of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, virtually from it’s inception.

The mid-late eighties were an especially busy time for the Ewins art droid, creating projects outside his spiritual home at 2000AD with long-time collaborator, script droid, Peter Milligan, starting on Strange Days anthology comic, in 1984-85, following up in ‘85-86, with Johnny Nemo: a noir-ish future private investigator, with an eye for the ladies, and a knack for snappy one-liners, both for Eclipse Comics.

Ewins, together with friend and fellow 2000AD art droid, Steve Dillon, went on to found '90s pop culture phenomenon, Deadline, home to iconic female rebel, Tank Girl, in 1989, where his massive workload, and constant deadline demands eventually took their toll (perhaps reflected in the title of the new magazine..). 

Something had to give - as well as drawing  Bad Company II, for the weekly Prog, and publishing a monthly magazine, Brett had drawn one-off Hellblazer & Swamp Thing stories, then embarked on a six-issue mini-series, Skreemer, with Milligan and Dillon,for DC Comics.

So,in 1991, an overworked, exhausted Brett had what was referred to as a 'nervous breakdown’, Deadline’s popularity had soared and the stress of completing his numerous projects had finally caught up with him. He withdrew from the comics’ industry entirely, apart from a brief Bad Company spin-off, Kano, for 2000AD in 1993.

Out of the public eye, Brett planned to recover with an anthology title  based on work from friends in the industry like Peter Milligan, Alan Grant and Alan McKenzie, as well as friends like musician Michael White.

This volume was finished with the story, “Machine”, drawing on first-hand experiences involving his breakdown.  He worked on the stories from 1995 to 2003 and were eventually published in 2004 by Cyberosia.

Brett has also had his painted work displayed in exhibitions, inspiring and collaborating with, street artists, particularly the Mutoid Waste Company and The IFC Crew.

  • Brett & Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz), in the Deadline offices, London, 1988.
  • Early Judge Dredd full-colour interior page
  • Rogue Trooper - Major Magnum - StarScan, Prog 315 (7May'83)
  • Judge Dredd - ’Flying Dutchman’ - cover art, Prog 459 (1Mar'86).
  • Psi-Judge Cass Anderson - ’Zip It, Creep!’ - cover art, Prog 472 (31May'86).
  • Psi-Judge Cass Anderson - ’Hands Up!’ - cover art, Prog 475 (21Jun'86).
  • Judge Dredd - ’Lights Out!’ - cover art, Prog 484 (23Aug'86).
  • Bad Company - ’Malcom, Ex?’ - cover art, Prog 506 (24Jan'87).
  • 2000AD Annual 1991 - cover art - Character Montage (1Sep'90)
  • Rare, one-off Judge Dredd - StarScan - Prog 960 (6Oct'95).

Images 1,2,5,7 & 8, from former design droid, Steve Cook’s blog.

To find out more about Brett & his work, look out for The Art Of Brett Ewins

R.I.P. Brett, We’ll Never Forget You. x

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I was utterly captivated in the mid-80s when Peter Milligan, Brett Ewins & Jim McCarthy’s Bad Company first appeared in 2000AD. I still regard the strip as a masterpiece, as a treasurable example of the all-too-rare qualities Michael Moorcock found in Philip K. Dick’s work, namely, the unpretentious production of serious fiction in a popular form. Hearing the sad news of Mr Ewins death, I reached for my old, spine-cracked Titan collections of Bad Company & found once again that his artwork retains all of the energy, ingenuity & clarity that it radiated half-a-lifetime ago. (The black and white scans are from the first two, long-out-of-print Titan books. Should you not have a copy of Bad Company, Rebellion Press brought out a complete edition in 2011 that’s still readily available & well worth acquiring. In fact, I’d suggest it’s essential.)

Judge Death - Ryan Brown:

“this is my judge death pinup hope you like it :)”

We sure do Ryan, but..

What could possibly have Judge Death so horrified?

He usually revels in his ability to terrorise Justice Department, so it’s unlikely the Judges have got him so scared.

I also doubt brother Judge Fear’s powers would have much effect on his Fearful Leader!

However, when the alien superfiend visited Batman’s dimension, in Judgement On Gotham, he got a faceful of the Scarecrow’s ‘fear toxin’, and in a brilliant sequence by artist, Simon Bisley, we find out what really frightens the ‘Epitome of Evil’ - so it’s just possible Judge Death has seen one too many “cute kitten” videos online!

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