1982 (Progs: 245-296):
January (Prog 245): The year begins in style with the launch of a new Judge Dredd mega-epic, The Apocalypse War. Half of Mega City One and several other of the 22nd century world’s mega cities are wiped out. This is also the first Dredd story illustrated by Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra to be published in the weekly comic. (Written: Wagner/Grant).
(Prog 246): Nemesis the Warlock Book Two (Mills/Redondo) begins.
April (Prog 259): Sam Slade moves to Brit Cit.
(Prog 260): Fifth birthday issue. The comic is dominated by Dredd, Nemesis, Robo-Hunter, Rogue Trooper, The Mean Arena (which ends in September) and Ace Trucking Co. This is a golden age for 2000AD and after three major new stories in 1981, there are no significant new arrivals.
June (Prog 270): The Apocalypse War ends. The real life Falklands War also ends at about this time. There are to be no more Dredd mega-epics for five years and only one more in the entire decade (Oz in 1987-88).
July (Prog 271): The cover price rises from 16p to 18p.
September (Prog 280): Otto Sump returns to Dredd.
October (Prog 287): Harry Twenty on the High Rock begins (Finley-Day/Alan Davis).
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Ian Livingstone is published. It is the first in the Fighting Fantasy series of role-playing adventure game books.
January: Peter Davison makes his debut as the Fifth Doctor in Doctor Who. The series which is nineteen years old now, undergoes a general controversial revamp.
March: High quality monthly Warrior is launched featuring Laser Eraser and Pressbutton and the Alan Moore-scripted V For Vendetta and Marvelman (later Miracleman).
April: A new version of The Eagle is launched featuring another new Dan Dare, Doomlord, The Collector and Sgt. Streetwise.
July: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan is released and unlike most non-E.T science fiction films released this year, is a box office success. Originally to be called Vengeance of Khan it had its name changed to avoid confusion with the forthcoming third (or sixth) Star Wars film, Revenge of the Jedi. This itself has its name changed and is released as Return of the Jedi in 1983. Khan is now widely regarded as the best of the original Star Trek films.
August: John Carpenter’s The Thing comes out in the UK. Regarded as a classic now, it is critically panned on release. Sword and sorcery epic, Conan The Barbarian released.
Life, The Universe and Everything (the third Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide book) is published.
September: Blade Runner is released in the UK. Author Philip K. Dick, who wrote the original novella, died in March, aged 53.
October: Tron is released, famously flopping at the box office.
December: Steven Spielberg’s E.T: The Extra Terrestrial is released in the UK. As of August 2020, it is the fourth biggest box office hit of all time when inflation is taken into account (just) behind The Sound of Music, the 1977 Star Wars and Gone With The Wind.
Chris Hallam is a freelance writer. Originally from Peterborough, he now lives in Exeter with his wife. He writes for a number of magazines including Yours Retro, Best of British and Comic Scene – in which he wrote about Judge Death, The Ballad of Halo Jones, Dan Dare, The Eagle and Alan Moore’s Watchmen (amongst other things). He co-wrote the book, Secret Exeter (with Tim Isaac) and wrote A-Z of Exeter – People, Places, History. He was also wrote the 2014 annuals for The Smurfs, Furbys and Star Wars Clone Wars annuals as well as the 2015 Transformers annual.