Undervalued Spotlight #404

2000 AD Prog 228, IPC Comics (UK), September 5th, 1981.

This week Spotlight fan Simon from lovely St. Albans, UK (just north of London) has submitted a gem of a Guest Undervalued Spotlight. I think his argument is sound and he presents it with authority. Let’s turn things over to Simon – 

2000AD became popular in the UK in the late seventies and early eighties for its gritty science fiction stories and dark humour, encapsulated in stories like Judge Dredd and Nemesis the Warlock. Dredd made the crossover into the movies, and while no-one has made the definitive Dredd movie yet, his appeal remains strong and the character is well-known in North America and Europe.

Until now, collectors have sought out two issues of 2000AD – number (or “Prog”) one, because it was the first, and Prog 2 because it features the first appearance of Judge Dredd.

Other characters, however, have great potential, and one of them is definitely Rogue Trooper, first introduced in Prog 228 in September 1981. Written by Gerry Findlay-Day with art by Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame, Rogue Trooper tells the story of a future soldier, genetically engineered for war, whose buddies are killed in battle but then downloaded into three ‘biochips’ which Rogue wears on his helmet, rifle, and backpack. As he faces off against the enemy on the poisoned and polluted planet of Nu-Earth the ‘biochips’ help out. It was a clever genetic twist on traditional British war stories, and proved highly appealing, with Rogue remaining a mainstay of 2000AD for many years all the way up to the present. Rogue Trooper went on to foster assorted board games, novels, action figures and computer games over the years, and now Moon and Warcraft director Duncan Jones has announced he will direct a Rogue Trooper movie.

UK comics are beginning to see some action, with characters like Captain Britain and Psylocke having their debuts in British comics leading North American collectors to seek them out. There is growing interest in rare European reprints of American titles and with CGC opening in London in 2018 now seems like a good time to start buying the keys. 2000AD Prog 228 is certainly one, and it has to rank as one of the most talent-filled issues of the long-running series.

Stories include Rogue Trooper with art by Gibbons, Nemesis the Warlock with art by Alan Moore collaborator Kevin O’Neil, Judge Dredd by Brian Bolland in the classic Judge Death Lives storyline, and Strontium Dog by Carlos Ezquerra. Currently, the price to pay for Prog 228 is negligible – $5 would secure a nice copy and they are not terribly difficult to find… but how long will that last? Prog 2, the first Dredd, has gone from $5 to $500 in the past decade. Prog 228 may well do the same.

2000AD Prog 228, not listed in Overstreet but several sets of Prog #224-228 have sold recently on eBay for between $91 to $131.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • First appearance of Rogue Trooper
  • Impressive content from the best British creators
  • very, very cheap
Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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5 years ago

I like it!

5 years ago

A well presented case for the book Simon. I am not certain how big of an audience there is for this book in North America, maybe we will hear from some Judge Dredd fans here.

PS I finally picked up a Batman #227 on the C-Link auction tonight. When the bill comes in for the book I will tell my wife it is all Simon and Nathan’s fault.

Ed Dee
Ed Dee
5 years ago

Simon, I’m a big fan of Rouge Trooper. I don’t know how much interest will come from North America but if a movie is in the works it will always increase this book temporarily. Hopefully this character will have staying power.

5 years ago

Wait a minute…. Am I hearing this right. Is a grown man trying to blame my comic collecting expertise on how he spends his money on books? LOL
I had no idea I had that kind of power. I just know a good book when I see one.
Welcome to the Bats 227 club ArcRun. Raw or graded copy?

Mike Huddleston
5 years ago

Nathan I bestowed the power of comic expertise on upon you and Simon for just this book. I needed some fall guys for the credit card – your it :). It was a CGC 7.5 on the latest Comiclink auction.

Simon sorry for the brief high-jack. For me, regardless of how the whole Rogue Trooper/Judge Dredd popularity unfolds here in North America, the book is only $5 right now. To coin a phrase from political self-proclaimed genius “What have you got to lose?”

5 years ago

Update: Rebellion, who own Rogue Trooper rights, have just bought a film studio (!) and prog 228 is now selling (December 2018) for £40-£60 in the UK.