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BLOG Blame Star Wars And 2000AD

BLOGGERS’ WEEK New SFX blogger Steven Ellis celebrates his promotion from the SFX forum with a tale of droids of Judges

Hello, my name is Steven. I’m a new addition to the SFX bloggers team. You may know me as Kudos from the forum or from my many and bizarre letters in the magazine; I still think I only got this gig because the staff are fed up of giving me free books for all the letters.
As one of my first blogs I was asked to do something “representative of my main areas of interest.” So, I thought, what better way to be representative than to share my two biggest SciFi loves?

The first is Star Wars . When I was about six my dad took me to a small cinema in Lytham St Annes to see Star Wars . This is my earliest cinematic memory. People talk about their early memories; they see photos of early events and hear stories so sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s memory and what’s second hand detail.

This one is mine. Sitting in that dark room, with that giant screen, being blasted by the opening fanfare, that opening crawl about adventures in far away galaxies and then that huge Star Destroyer appears on screen and just keeps on going and going and going… I was hooked. It was like nothing my young eyes had seen before.

I had all the toys, the bed sheets, the lunch box. I awaited the arrival of the next two films and loved each in turn. I’d watch the films on video at every opportunity. And for the next ten years Star Wars was my one true sci-fi love.

And then things changed; girls, beer, music and all the usual things that happen as we grow up. The toys went in the attic, the videos stayed unwatched on the shelf. Eventually I sold all my assorted Star Wars treasures at a car boot sale; I wanted money for something, what exactly I don’t remember today, but I do remember I made about £70 for all those toys. And I do regret doing it in hindsight.

So that was it for me with Star Wars for years. Until, on a whim, I bought the Timothy Zahn Star Wars novel Heir To The Empire to read on a flight to Canada in 1993. I loved the book. The continuing adventures of my childhood heroes woke the sleeping geek. Whilst in Canada I bought the other two books in the trilogy and my love for Star Wars was reborn. I watched the original trilogy when I returned home and the love was still there. Today I have shelves full of Star Wars novels, DVDs, coffee table books and comics. I own three lightsabers, a few dozen Star Wars t-shirts and a display cabinet full of Clone Trooper action figures in pride of place in my living room. Not quite the same amount of stuff as when I was a kid, but it’ll do.
I’m not going to mention the prequels though…

My second SciFi love is 2000AD ’s Judge Dredd. The totalitarian law man of the future city Mega City One. Another love my dad must take the blame for as my first 2000AD was in a stack of comics he brought me one day when I was off school ill. I wrote a piece on Judge Dredd for another website recently and in my research I made some startling discoveries about my relationship with Dredd and while I’m not going to repeat what I wrote there verbatim, I will share the basic facts of my discoveries in writing that piece.

I’ve been reading 2000AD for almost 30 years. Until I dug out my old first prog I had no idea it was that long. I’ve read an episode of Judge Dredd every week for one thousand four hundred and seventeen weeks (at time of writing). Week to week it doesn’t seem like anything, but when you add it up that makes Dredd my longest-running continuous fictional character relationship by far. I’ve know Dredd for longer than I’ve know most of the people in my life today, family not withstanding. Hell, I’ve been reading Dredd longer than my other half has been alive.

Judge Dredd is a great character; bad guy and good guy in equal measure. The idea of the police officer taken to its extreme with the power of life and death and the right to dispense instant justice on the streets of the city he patrols. Dripping with dark humour and bizarre characters Dredd spoke to the young me in a way that no Marvel or DC superhero ever could. And he’s been with me ever since. The character has grown and the politics and social commentary have come to mean more to me over the years. Sometimes I’ve hated him, sometimes I’ve loved him, but I’ve always been there for my weekly dose of Mega City madness and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

So, there you have it. My two biggest sci-fi loves. Everybody reading this will probably have own similar stories about how they came to be a geek and their own sci-fi loves. I hope you don’t mind me sharing mine with you.

Meet all the other members of the SFX blogging crew here .