Carlos Sanchez Ezquerra (12 November 1947 – 1 October 2018) was a Spanish comics artist who worked mainly in British comics and lived in Andorra. He is best known as the co-creator of Judge Dredd. Ezquerra died of lung cancer on 1 October 2018, at the age of 70.
Born in Ibdes, province of Zaragoza, Aragon, Ezquerra started his career drawing westerns and war stories for Spanish publishers. In 1973 he got work in the UK market through agent Barry Coker, drawing for girls' romance titles like Valentine and Mirabelle, as well as westerns for Pocket Western Library, and a variety of adventure strips for D. C. Thomson & Co.'s The Wizard. The UK was a popular market for Spanish artists as the exchange rate meant the work paid well, but Ezquerra moved to London to be near the work, settling in Croydon with his wife.
Battle and 2000 AD
In 1974, on the strength of his uncredited work for The Wizard, Pat Mills and John Wagner headhunted him, through Coker, to work for the new IPC title Battle Picture Weekly. He drew "Rat Pack": inspired by the film The Dirty Dozen, the strip, written by Gerry Finley-Day, featured a gang of criminals recruited to carry out suicide missions. But his commitments elsewhere meant he couldn't draw it full-time, and other artists were also used. In 1976 Battle editor Dave Hunt convinced him to commit himself to the title, offering him the laid-back anti-hero "Major Eazy", written by Alan Hebden. Ezquerra drew nearly 100 episodes in the next two and a half years, basing the character's appearance on the actor James Coburn.
Judge Dredd in the first panel of Ezquerra's first published Judge Dredd story, "Krong", in 2000 AD #5, March 1977.
He was asked to visualise a new character, future lawman Judge Dredd, for the science fiction weekly 2000 AD, prior to its launch in 1977. His elaborate designs displeased the strip's writer, John Wagner, but impressed editor Pat Mills, and his cityscapes persuaded Mills to set the strip further into the future than initially intended. But Wagner (temporarily) quit over ownership issues,:pp. 12–13 and Ezquerra followed him when the first published appearance of the character was drawn by another artist, Mike McMahon. He returned to Battle, where he once again teamed up with Alan Hebden to create "El Mestizo", a black gun-for-hire who played both sides against the middle during the American Civil War.
Final image of Judge Dredd in Ezquerra's last published Judge Dredd story, "Get Jerry Sing", 40 years later in 2000 AD #2023, March 2017.
In 1978 he and Wagner created "Strontium Dog", a sci-fi western about a bounty hunter in a future where mutants are an oppressed minority forced into doing such dirty work, for Starlord, a short-lived sister title to 2000 AD with higher production values.:pp.39–41Starlord was later merged into 2000 AD, bringing "Strontium Dog" with it. Ezquerra was almost the only artist to draw the character, until 1988, when writer Alan Grant decided to kill him off in a storyline called "The Final Solution". Ezquerra disagreed with the decision, and refused to draw the story, which was instead illustrated by Simon Harrison and Colin MacNeil. In 2000 Wagner and Ezquerra revived "Strontium Dog" based on a treatment Wagner had written for an abortive TV pilot.:p. 211 Initially, stories were set before the character's death in a revised continuity, but 2010's "The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha" brought Johnny back from the dead.
Tankies (3-issue mini-series, April–July 2009, tpb, 88 pages, September 2009, ISBN 1-60690-057-9, included in The Complete Battlefields, Volume 1, hardcover, 268 pages, December 2009, ISBN 1-60690-079-X)
The Firefly and His Majesty (3-issue mini-series, March–May 2010, tpb, 80 pages, August 2010, ISBN 1-60690-145-1, included in The Complete Battlefields, Volume 2, hardcover, 200 pages, July 2011, ISBN 1-60690-222-9)
Some of Ezquerra's more recent Judge Dredd and Cursed Earth Koburn work has been collected into one volume:
Judge Dredd: The Carlos Ezquerra Collection (224 pages, Rebellion, ISBN 1-905437-35-8)
He drew the artwork on the header cards for Corgi model's range of X-Ploratron die-cast models. (Diecast Collector Magazine, September 2006 issue, page 38)
The four X-Ploratron models were;
Corgi Model Number 2022; "X4 Scanotron"
Corgi Model Number 2023; "X1 Rocketron"
Corgi Model Number 2024; "X2 Lasertron"
Corgi Model Number 2026; "X3 Magnetron"
^Obituary by Karl Stock, in Judge Dredd Megazine #402 (cover date 18 December 2018), p. 36
Adventures in the Rifle Brigade is the name of two Vertigo comic book limited series created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Carlos Ezquerra. The first series, Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, was released in 2000. Its sequel, Adventures in the Rifle Brigade: Operation: Bollock, was released in 2001 and 2002.
Bloody Mary is the title of a series of science fiction comic book limited series written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra. All of the series were published as part of DC Comics' Helix imprint. It is also the name of the protagonist of the series.
Bob, the Galactic Bum was a four-issue comic miniseries published by DC Comics in 1995. Written by Alan Grant and John Wagner and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra, it was a science-fiction comedy about a vagrant called Bob and his sidekick, Buck Fifty. It also featured Lobo as a guest star.
Durham Red is a British comics character, originally created in 1987 as a female sidekick and lover for Johnny Alpha in the long-running comic book series Strontium Dog in 2000 AD. She is a bounty hunter with a mutation that gives her a vampiric lust for blood.
Fiends of the Eastern Front was a story published in the British comics anthology 2000 AD, created by Gerry Finley-Day and Carlos Ezquerra. The series mixed vampires into the general horror of the Eastern front.
Garth Ennis is a Northern Irish comics writer whose works are characterised by graphic violence, black humour, profanity, an interest in male friendship, an antagonistic relationship with organized religion, and irreverence towards superheroes.
Judge Grice was a fictional character in the Judge Dredd comic strip in 2000 AD. Created in 1990 by John Wagner and Steve Dillon, Grice later had his own spin-off series, Purgatory (1993) by Mark Millar and Carlos Ezquerra. Originally a minor supporting character and one of Dredd's colleagues, he later became a notable villain, at first with (in his opinion) good intentions, but later he descended into psychosis and became truly evil. In the Judge Dredd story "Inferno" (1993) he seized control of Mega-City One and proclaimed himself chief judge.
Judge Kraken is a fictional character in the Judge Dredd comic strip featured in the long-running British comic 2000 AD. Although he only appeared in a few episodes, he was nonetheless a very important character in Tale of the Dead Man, in which he was given almost equal billing with Dredd, and in the epic story Necropolis, in which he actually replaced Dredd as the lead character in the first half of the story. Kraken first appeared by name in 2000 AD #583 (July 16, 1988).
Chief Judge Hilda Margaret McGruder is a fictional character in the Judge Dredd stories published in the British comic 2000 AD. She was the first female Chief Judge of Mega-City One, and the first Judge of Mega-City One to become Chief Judge twice (in 2104–2108 and 2112–2116). Her first names are a reversal of the first names of Margaret Hilda Thatcher, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time the character was introduced to 2000 AD.
Chief Judge Hadrian Volt is a fictional character appearing in the Judge Dredd comic strip, published by British anthology 2000 AD. He was chief judge of Mega-City One between 2116 and 2121 (appearing in the comic between 1994 and 1999).
"Judgement Day" is a story of British science fiction character Judge Dredd. It was first published with alternating episodes in both 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine in 1992. It was the first crossover between the two publications; three more have since followed. It was also a crossover with another 2000 AD series, Strontium Dog, as it featured the second occasion on which Judge Dredd confronted Johnny Alpha (the lead character in Strontium Dog). It was written by Garth Ennis (based on an idea by John Wagner) and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra, Peter Doherty, Dean Ormston and Chris Halls.
Set mainly in 2114 it tells of how the Fourth World War took the lives of three billion people when a powerful necromagus called Sabbat raised all the corpses in the world as zombies. The series is mainly notable because it was Ennis' longest Dredd story, it killed off most of the supporting cast of the Judge Dredd series, and it was the first story to feature Johnny Alpha since he was killed off at the end of the Strontium Dog series (from Alpha's point of view it was set two years before his death).
Just a Pilgrim is a five-issue comic book limited series written by Garth Ennis, with art by Carlos Ezquerra, and published by Black Bull, the short-lived comics publishing division of Wizard Entertainment, in 2001. It was followed by a 4 issue sequel entitled Just a Pilgrim: Garden of Eden in 2002.
"Necropolis" is a 26-part story featuring British comics science fiction character Judge Dredd. Written by John Wagner and painted by Carlos Ezquerra, it was published in 1990 in 2000 AD progs 674–699. The story was the subject of extensive foreshadowing in the comic, beginning with The Dead Man (progs 650–662), followed by "Tale of the Dead Man" (progs 662–668), and finally three stories collectively known as "Countdown to Necropolis" (progs 669–673). It pulled together various story threads going back four years (see also Democracy (Judge Dredd storyline)). "Necropolis" was also followed by a number of epilogues and other follow-up stories, and had repercussions within the Judge Dredd strip which lasted for years.
Unusually, Judge Dredd himself does not appear in 13 of the 26 episodes of "Necropolis", or in any of the 5 episodes of "Countdown to Necropolis."
"Origins" is one of the longest Judge Dredd storylines to run in the pages of British comic 2000 AD. Making extensive use of flashbacks, it tells the story of how the Judges of Mega-City One rose to power. It was written by John Wagner and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra, who between them created Judge Dredd in 1977. The story ran to 23 episodes, and was published from 2006 to 2007 to mark thirty years of the Judge Dredd strip. It is set in 2129, Dredd's debut story having been set in 2099.
There were many unresolved questions about the origins of the Judge system and some apparent contradictions that required sorting out... It's a task I'd always shied away from because of the difficulty of making sense of it all while still telling a story that was worth reading – but I knew that sometime it had to be done, if for no other reason than my own satisfaction.
2000 AD editor Matt Smith has expanded on this to touch on the contents:
John has aways been waiting for the right story to come along to tell Dredd's origins... And in this case he's come up with a riveting plot that will keep readers intrigued and excited, as well as filling in some of the backstory that we've never seen before – President Robert Booth's initiation of the Atomic Wars, Chief Judge Fargo taking control of Mega-City, etc. The fact the story comes just as 2000AD is approaching its 30th year anniversary gives it a nice sense of history too.
Starlord was a short-lived weekly British science fiction comic book magazine published by IPC in 1978 as a sister title to 2000 AD, which had been launched the previous year in anticipation of a science fiction boom surrounding Star Wars.
Starlord was planned as a fortnightly title for older readers, with longer stories and higher production values than 2000 AD and the rest of the IPC boys' comics stable, but this proved too ambitious. Episodes were shortened, the number of colour pages was reduced, although the better quality paper and printing were retained, and Starlord was published weekly at a higher cover price than 2000 AD.
Strontium Dog is a long-running British comics series featuring in the British science fiction weekly 2000 AD, starring Johnny Alpha, a mutant bounty hunter with an array of imaginative gadgets and weapons.
The series was created by writer John Wagner (under the pseudonym T. B. Grover) and artist Carlos Ezquerra for Starlord, a short-lived weekly science fiction comic, in 1978. When Starlord was cancelled, the series transferred to 2000 AD. In 1980, Wagner was joined by co-writer Alan Grant, although scripts were normally credited to Grant alone. Grant wrote the series solo from 1988 to 1990. After Ezquerra's death in October 2018 the series was put in indefinite hiatus with no plans for its continuation as of January 2019.
Tharg the Mighty or The Mighty One is the fictional editor of the British science fiction comic 2000 AD. The character was introduced on the cover of the first issue in 1977 and is one of only two characters to appear in almost every issue of the comic, the other being Judge Dredd. Tharg rarely appears in stories but strips involving him have been written by such notable writers as Alan Grant, Alan Moore and John Wagner, albeit usually credited to "TMO" - "The Mighty One".
"The Pit" is a Judge Dredd story which appeared in British comic 2000 AD in 1995–1996 (issues 970–999). With 30 episodes, it had the greatest number of episodes of any single Judge Dredd story until "The Doomsday Scenario" in 1999 (although "Oz" had a higher page count, at 199 pages). It introduced the supporting characters of Galen DeMarco, Judge Guthrie and Judge Buell. It tells of Judge Dredd's temporary assignment as the sector chief of Sector 301.
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