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Tales from the Black Museum

Art by Graeme Neil Reid

Meanlegendary

Mean Machine in Rising Angel, by Nick Percival

"Welcome, friends, to the Black Museum, where every item is unique, and has a story all of its own! Granted, many of those stories are suspect at best — often because I make them up myself on the quiet days — but this one, as far as I can tell, is one hundred per cent completely true! (Except for the parts that I sort of had to guess at.)"

Tales from the Black Museum is a strip from the Judge Dredd Megazine, created by John Wagner. The format is similar to that of Tharg's Future Shocks, but each tale centres around an exhibit from Justice Department's Black Museum, where the Judges of Mega-City One store mementoes and curios connected with notorious law-breakers from the city's long and eventful history. (The Judges seem to have a grudging respect for at least some criminals, possibly because the more spectacular ones display an inventiveness and initiative that the ordinary citizen lacks. However, the Black Museum also serves as a useful reminder of the Judges' power and past victories.)

According to the editor who commissioned the strip, Alan Barnes, "Sometimes you needed a nice, tidy, self-contained one-off just to vary the texture of any one issue, if that doesn't sound pretentious." Each tale is narrated by the Museum's curator, Henry Dubble. The first one told how he himself became an exhibit after stealing items from the Black Museum and selling them to serial killer Armundo Rivetts. Rivetts ended up murdering, freeze-drying and reanimating Dubble, who was eventually recovered by the Judges after they arrested Rivetts and impounded his collection of roboticised corpses. During the day Dubble stands on a plinth in the Black Museum, ensuring that all the visitors and the museum's new guide are shown that crime doesn't pay. At night he stalks the empty halls and corridors, spinning yarns about his favourite exhibits to you, the reader...

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