Writer: Gerry Finlay-Day
Artist: Dave Gibbons
Letterer: Dave Gibbons, Bill Nuttall
Colourist: Adrian Salmon
Cover Art: Jon McCrea
Rogue Trooper created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons
Well with the new Rogue Trooper that IDW were publishing coming to an untimely end soo here is a preview of the first issue of the reprinted originals. Rogue blasted in to 2000AD in Prog 228, dated 5th September 1981. I was 14 the following October and I loved the future war story.
To put that in scale, Fearn Cotton was born on 3rd September 1981, Beyonce was born on September 4th 1981 and Jonathon Taylor Thomas was born 8th September 1981. For sports fans John Barnes made his debut aged 17 for Watford on the 5th September and Ric Flair became Heavyweight Wrestling Champion on 17th September 1981.
There is a preview below, the full strip from Prog 288. Welcome to the future from the past.
Before I go much further though lets discus page ratios as I know it is important to 2000AD fans. In the comparrison below you can see how IDW have tackled the issue of 2000AD being printed on paper wider than modern Britsh comics.
Boarders top and bottom fill out the page to give a US format. The lower boarder has a logo and an image of Rogue on alternate pages.
Happily for 2000AD readers there isn’t a spines issue on these reprints.
Rogue is an everyman character in his own stories in many ways. He is the Human side of the story very often.
The Southers and Norts are stereotypes. Souther ranks are full of naive young boys usually with well meaning and well educated officers. The Norts with their quasi Russian/German accents are often sneaky and murderous. This is a 1950s Boys Own Style story for the 1980s In fact perhaps this story remains undated by being retro in the first place.
Gerry Finlay-Day originally planned Rogue to look a bit less Human and his equipment had shape changing abilities. Editors considered this to be problematic from an artwork point of view, it would increase the panel count to show transformations forone thing. So the character went through design changes until he reached the version published.
Further to this the Editors often re-wrote the scripts before passing them to artists. Certainly dialogue was often changed as well as tightening the story here and there. The main premise of the stories were contained and credited to the script writer.
You will note that Dave Gibbons did his own lettering. This was standard for Dave Gibbons, he’d done the same on his run on Dan Dare. I’m not sure if the same applies to his work on Marvel, such as Doctor Who: Iron Legion (written by 2000AD Creator Pat Mills, Judge Dredd creator John Wagner and Steve Moore (no relation but he was mentor to Alan Moore) UK Comic legends all).
It was the brilliant art of Dave Gibbons and the retro Boys Own style of dialogue that captured my 14 year old interest. I identified with Rogue, he stood for what was right in a confused world – at 14 the world was always confused…
The story has been colourised and looks rather nice. I’m not sure what relettering has actually gone on. I don’t have the original to hand so can’t compare. (edit – I asked around and Letterer Jim Campbell could answer this. Dave Gibbons only lettered the first episode, presented below, Bill Nuttall took over from the second episode)
Enjoy the preview pages below, excuse the odd black lines at the edges of some of the pictures, can’t explain those, the pages I’ve read in the pdf from IDW do not look like that.