By Michele Brittany, West Coast Correspondent
Thursday afternoon's panel, From Dredd to Zenith: This is 2000AD, was hosted by charismatic PR & Marketing Director Michael Molcher. He was joined by Carlos Ezquerra, co-creator of the series Judge Dredd, Andy Diggle, writer and former editor of 2000AD and the artist Jock.
Molcher led off the hour with some announcements: Dreams of Deadworld, Kek-W and Dave Kindall, will premiere this September; Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard are working on a new series titled Brink and is described as True Detective set in space; and from Arthur Wyatt, Dredd: Dust will be out mid December in MEG 367. In addition, Molcher reminded the audience that 2000AD has a new episode of the podcast Thrillcast out every two weeks and Thrillmail, a weekly email broadcast. Jock added that he has a portfolio of Ava from Ex-Machina that he worked on with Alex Garland available for purchase at the 2000AD (Booth 2806). He also mentioned that he was currently working with Garland on Adaptation of Annihilation, based on Jeff VanderMeer's novel, Annihilation.
The UK comics company 2000AD is significant to the comics industry because in the UK, "it was the only game in town" said Diggle. Up and coming talent worked at 2000AD to learn the ropes and then moved on to become established creators in the industry. Hence, Molcher states, 2000AD has "influenced whole generations."
Ezquerra, who joined a little late to the panel, stated how honored and grateful he was to be attending the San Diego Comic Con International for the first time. Molcher said that the Judge Dredd and Johnny Alpha series were like Ezquerra's sons. Ezquerra said he has appreciated all of the various interpretations and spins that each artist has brought to the comic. The longevity of the series was a "testament to the strength of the character," Jock said.
Molcher stated that Ezquerra has been a role model for many creators. For Jock, who had read Ezquerra's comics, he was especially inspired by Strontium Dog: Portrait of a Mutant before saying that he loved creating worlds that didn't exist.
Molcher then asked the audience for questions. Jock was asked about his influences for the character Ava and he said that he and Garland worked from a blank canvas, so they stayed away from other individuals interpretations. The question that gets asked often: when will there by a Dredd sequel? Molcher said no one is more sorry than 2000AD that there will not be a sequel, citing the lack of the writing team from the first film. It was asked if it was feasible to pursue crowd funding and unfortunately, after pulling together the budget to make a bigger, better sequel, it was cost too much to crowdfund. Molcher added that Garland had really wanted to do it: and many of us, really wanted to see it!
With a few minutes remaining, Molcher selected five individuals from the audience to compete for best vocal imitation of "I am the Law" dialogue. Each person did some good impressions, but a young girl named Piper belted out a surprisingly impressive gravelly toned "I am the Law" that wowed the audience and the panelists. Two runner-ups and the triumphant Piper walked away with Judge Dredd books.
Ezquerra will be signing each day from 11 AM to 1 PM at the 2000AD booth (2806). In addition, Saturday morning at 10 AM, the Spotlight on Carlos Ezquerra panel (Room 4) will provide audiences the opportunity to hear more about his incredible influential career in comic books.
Event photos were taken by Michele Brittany.
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer and editor of James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (McFarland & Company) as well as the forthcoming book Essays on Space Horror in Films, 1950s – 2000s. Read her reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage and space horror genres via her blogs at Spyfi & Superspies and Space Horror Films. Follow Michele on Twitter: @mcbrittany2014.