Max Normal: 'Mugger's Mile'
Judge Dredd Annual 1981
1 Sept 80
Max Normal doesn't get mugged, but he does get shugged, screwed and even.
FIRSTS & LASTS
First Max Normal strip, first appearance of Ricardo Montalban Block.
In Mega-City One, Ricardo Montalban Block and Casanovas Block are neighbours. 1006 Street has been nicknamed Mugger's Mile, due to the high level of crime and Judges now only patrol it in squads. The Wee Shuggy Hall is nearby. Mega-City One has a cryo-crypt and Marlon Brando's frozen body is kept there.
Anti-Mugging Gear is worn to prevent mugging. Anti-Anti-Mugging Gear is worn to prevent mugging being prevented.
In shuggy, a sidewinder is a good opening shot, while the Booglariser is the hardest shot in the game. Six-Way Shuggy is a version of the game in which five players can team up against a sixth.
He lives in Ricardo Montalban Block. His calls to Dredd are considered a priority by Justice HQ. Max plays shuggy in The Wee Shuggy Hall and is on a winning streak that has seen him win ten grand from another player. He accepts a challenge to play six-way shuggy against the Sharkey Brothers betting 100,000 credits. When he wins, the brothers cheat and one runs off with Max's money. Later Max's calls the Sharkey brothers purporting to be from the Criminal Employment Bureau offering them a million credits to steal Marlon Brando's frozen cadaver and directs Judge Dredd to their location to arrest them. Dredd pays Max his usual fee.
THE SHARKEY BROTHERS
They challenge Max to play six-way shuggy and cheat when he wins. The brothers threaten Max and he raises the alarm. Walo flees with the credits. Boris beats up the remaining brothers.
Max Normal tips him off about the attempted theft of Marlon Brando's body and he pays him his usual fee.
None, although I should point out that when this was first printed Marlon Brando was still very much alive.
Max: "Short hours are the pay is top-notch. A million credits in cold green cash."
Sharkey: "When do we start?"
Max: "That's the spirit! Now listen - here's what I want you to do. You know the Mega-City Cryo-Crypt?"
Sharkey: "Know it? I gotta couple of friends buried in the foundations! We're on our way, pal!"
Max: "Can ya dig it, boys?"
Max says "Wowie zowie!"
CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Max and Dredd crossover from the main strip.
INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Ricardo Montalban Block is named after the actor (1920-2009) who played Khan in the Star Trek episode Space Seed (1967), Armando in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971) and Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972) and Mr Roarke in Fantasy Island (1978-1984). Marlon Brando (1924-0204) was an actor famous for appearing A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On The Waterfront (1954), Superman (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979) and as Max mentions The Godfather (1972).
Casanovas manages to reference himself not once, but twice as both a cityblock and a frozen corpse.
Script: A.A. Grant
Letters: S. Potter
Casanovas is Jose Casanovas who also provided artwork for Judge Dredd, Tharg's Dragon Tales, Tharg's Future Shocks, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales, Robo-Hunter, Time Twisters and a few one-offs
S. Potter is Steve Potter who also lettered ABC Warriors, Judge Anderson, Ant Wars, Judge Dredd, Finn, Firekind, Tharg's Future Shocks, Halo Jones, Holocaust, Indigo Prime, The Mean Arena, Mean Machine, Mean Team, Mind Wars, Missionary Man, Nemesis The Warlock, D.R. & Quinch, Ro-Busters, Rogue Trooper, Sinister Dexter, Slaine, Strontium Dog, Tales Of Telguuth, Timequake, Time Twisters, Torquemada, Time Flies and Walter The Wobot.
The artwork is stunning and Max makes for a great protagonist here, but eleven pages stretches this a bit far and much of the shuggy game seems like padding as a result.