Barb Wire, Tanks, Dredd & Batman Forever!

It’s 1996 and unlike now there is not too many superhero stories on the cover of Empire.

Pamela Anderson made the cover in May 96, just prior to the release of the comic book movie in which she starred called ‘Barb Wire’.

Val Kilmer appeared as Batman on the cover of July 1996 issue – but inside the hot topic was the release of Jamie Hewlett’s ‘Tank Girl’ starring Lori Petty as the ‘Deadline’ comic character. The film, pitched originally to film executives as ‘Nikita meets Mad Max’ was given three stars.

‘Batman Forever’ coverage appeared in the August 96 issue, featuring Mask actress Cameron Diaz on the cover.

Batman, played by Val Kilmer, encountered an avalanche of villains including ‘The Mask’ actor and comedian Jim Carrey as the Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face, Drew Barrymore as Sugar, Nicole Kidman as love interest Chase Meridian and, to add to the disappointing third outing of the Caped Crusader, Chris O’Donnell as Robin. The definitive ‘Batman’ Adam West also popped up on the feature, the 60s Batman having been released on home video to buy at £10.99!

However this issue was also notable for a second comic book feature. The release of the Danny Cannon directed movie featuring 2000ADs most popular character. Yup, Sylvester Stallone was ‘Judge Dredd’. Before you can say ‘I am the Law’ Sly took off the helmet to prove it! The helmet debate raged in the pages of Empire, which gave the back story of the character that first appeared in 1977 and a feature on 2000AD itself.

Dredd, Tank Girl, Batman Returns and Barb Wire all had great expectations as comic book movies but all received lukewarm results. The movies were being made but, after the huge success of Batman, it looked like the comic speech bubble had finally burst and the future didn’t look too promising!

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