Script: Lee Robson. Art: David Broughton. Lettering: David Broughton.
Commissioned on: 20/03/15 Artwork Started: 19/11/15
Finished on: 22/12/15 Published on: July 2016.
Above: Johnny Alpha on the trail of an SD Agent gone bad.
Way back in July 2012 I had worked on a Judge Dredd story Entitled 'Big Jimping' written by Lee Robson for the 2000AD fanzine 'Zarjaz'. When Dave Evans the editor
of 'Zarjaz and Dogbreath' sent
me Lee's script for Strontium Dog 'No choice at all' I knew it was going to be a great story.
DB: Here is a word from Lee.
LR: There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come out and
say it: I’m not a massive fan of Strontium Dog. So, when editor
extraordinaire Bolt-01 asked me to contribute a couple of scripts to
Dogbreath, I stupidly said yes…
I knew going in that I
wanted to take another crack at Durham Red. With my first attempt, back
in Dogbreath #27, I never really got the character right, so I wanted to
try again, with something more simple and straightforward. Once I
started to lay out the foundations of what became Like A Dog, one plot
beat kept niggling away at me: Durham was set up to become the unwitting
star of a “snuff” vid. But who had set her up?
I knew it
had to be another S/D agent, but if it wasn’t a personal grudge (which –
spoilers! – it’s not), then it would stand to reason that she wasn’t
the only Stront that was set up. And if agents were being set up, then,
surely, Johnny Alpha was the man to get to the bottom of it…
Once I started to connect those dots, No Choice At All started to come together.
idea was to set the story at the same time as Like A Dog, but also push
away from the “Western in space” approach that I’d tried on my previous
attempts at writing Alpha. This time, I decided, I’d set the whole
thing in an urban environment and have Alpha on the run, because… Well,
at the time, I didn’t know why he would be on the run. All I had was the
idea of the story starting in the middle of a scene, with Alpha
stranded on a ledge while the local police searched the room beyond. I
knew I had to somehow connect that scene to the idea of Alpha trying to
track down the traitor from The Doghouse, but I really couldn’t figure
After a lot of frustrating starts and stops, I
finally managed to pull the story threads together – albeit very, very
slowly – and started bridging all the gaps that would link the story to
Like A Dog. My only problem was, I didn’t have an ending…
that, I mean – spoilers! – Alpha gets his man, but, the way the story
unfolded, he was still wanted by the local police and trapped in an
unfamiliar city, and I was running out of pages (I’d set myself a very
rigid eight page target). So, I had to, basically, end it how I started
it, in the middle of a scene.
I was never completely
happy with the ending I came up with, I’ll admit, but, by the time I got
there, I was just glad to have the thing finished and submitted, and
the lads at Zarjaz seemed to like it, so who was I to argue? Looking
back it now, though, I kind of dig it…
I got paired up
with Paul Williams for Like A Dog and David for No Choice At All. I’d
worked with both of them before (both on Dredd tales for Zarjaz, oddly
enough), and I knew both of them would bring their A Game, so I wouldn’t
have to worry on that front. It’s fair to say, though, they both
surprised me with what they came up with: Paul’s dynamic storytelling
knocked me off my feet, and David came up with what has to be one of the
best Strontium Dog designs I’ve ever seen, with the villainous Gil
From my perspective, it was an interesting
experiment, trying to tell these two stories like that; it pushed me out
of my comfort zone in more ways than one, and I learned a lot from
trying it – mainly that I should never try it again…
DB: Thanks Lee.
Rough Designs and Page Layouts.
As usual before starting the finished page artwork I read the script a couple of times and then go about creating rough page layouts and character designs.
Above: Rough page layout for page two.
Above: Finished page with greytones which were added digitally.
Above: Original page pencils for the sex workers.
This was a great script which was fun to draw. Lee really knows his Johnny Alpha thats for sure.
Where to buy:
Stontium Dog 'No choice at all' appears in Dogbreath #31 (see the cover pic below)
which can be bought online via the Futurequake online shop here: http://www.futurequake.co.uk/dogbreath/dogbreath-31/
Below: Amazing cover art by Steve Green. Featuring Matthew Simpson as Johnny Alpha & Kevin Horsham as Wulf Sternhammer who star in The Strontium Dog fan film. Link to the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrpjPlL5MmY
If you have enjoyed reading this behind the scene break down here are a few more...
ABC Warriors 'The Final Battle.
Judge Dredd 'Bad Crop'.
Judge Dredd 'Yet another rainy day.'
Strontium Dog 'Death by Dog.'
Comic Rock 'Silver Song'.
A look inside Shaman Kane Book 1.