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Comic Book / Al's Baby

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Al's Baby is a comic that ran in the pages of 2000 AD. It consists of three storylines; "Al's Baby", which ran in Judge Dredd Megazine 1.04-15 in 1991, "Blood on the Bib", which ran in Judge Dredd Megazine 2.16-2.24 in 1993, and "Public Enemy No. 1", which ran in 2000 AD #1034-44 in 1997. The three stories were gathered into a singular paperback, "The Complete Al's Baby", that was published in 2010.

Set in a 20 Minutes into the Future American locale called only "Chi-Town", believed to be Chicago, it revolves around badass hitman Al "The Beast" Bestardi, and his misadventures in motherhood.

In the original "Al's Baby", Al is told by his elderly father-in-law, Don Luigi Sarcoma, that Al is in trouble; he's been married to Sarcoma's daughter Velma for two years, and still they haven't had any children. Despite Al's protests that Velma refuses to have kids, Don Sarcoma gives him an ultimatum: get him a grandson, or he'll bump Al off and find Velma a new husband who will. Such is Velma's selfishness that, in the end, Al's only hope is to undergo an experimental regime that allows him to carry the baby to term instead of Velma. Which is kind of complicated when a full-blown gang war erupts in Chi-Town whilst he's pregnant.


In "Blood on the Bib", Al is sent to assassinate the five heads of five rival Mafia families after they attempt to assassinate Don Sarcoma at the christening of Al's son, Little Al. At the same time, Al has to take Don Sarcoma's nephew, Tony, along with him, after being informed that Tony will likely become Don Sarcoma's heir until Little Al is of age.

Finally, in "Public Enemy No. 1", Al has to go into hiding to wait for the heat to cool off after his killing spree in "Blood on the Bib". Which he's fine with... but not so fine with Don Sarcoma "insisting" that Al gets pregnant with a second child whilst he's doing it.


This comic contains examples of:

  • Amazon Chaser: Part of Dagwood T. Filby's rationale for becoming enamored with the otherwise ridiculously homely "Alma" is that he likes strong, macho, aggressive women.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Subverted in "Public Enemy"; Al's disguise as Alma is a case of Incredibly Conspicuous Drag, and the store owner who first hears from Sal, Al's buddy currently pretending to be Al's husband, that Al is his wife responds by slipping Sal a bottle of strong liquor on the house out of his sympathy at Sal having such a homely bride. Invoked for laughs when eccentric retired Rear Admiral, Dagwood T. Filby IV, falls head over heels in love with "Alma".
  • Bad Boss: Don Sarcoma is an all-around asshole. In the "Blood on the Bib", Al is actually tempted to turn traitor on him and work for rival Don Chorea instead, except the cliff spontaneously gives way and drops Don Chorea to his death before Al can decide. In "Public Enemy No. 1", not only does Don Sarcoma threaten to give Al to the vengeful mafia families if he doesn't get pregnant a second time, it's noted towards the story's climax that he is exactly the sort of man who will happily sell Al out to them in exchange for peace once his grandchild is out of Al's belly.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Dagwood may be a dimwitted buffoon, but at one point in "Public Enemy", he attempts to drop Sal out of a hover-car in order to take "Alma" for himself.
  • Canon Welding: It was originally supposed to be a standalone story, but the story's Framing Device of being told as part of a history class as well as a very brief cameo by Judge Dredd set it as a pre-war historical event in the Dreddverse.
  • Cute and Psycho: Velma may be beautiful, but she's also a selfish, vicious spitfire who terrifies her own husband, who even admits that the main reason he's taking Little Al along on his assassination road trip is because Velma's not fit to look after the kid... who's quite the little monster himself. Part of the reason Al gets pregnant the first time is because, despite finding a surrogate, Velma's decided it sounds like more fun to make her tough, macho hitman husband get pregnant. The second time, Don Sarcoma straight-up tells Al to get pregnant because he obviously won't stand a chance of getting Velma to agree to get pregnant.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Little Al is a Rare Male Example, as his family are thrilled that he's already showing signs of being a brutal, vicious little thug by the age of 14 months.
  • Death by Irony: Don Sarcoma survives strokes and assassination attempts throughout the series... and then dies of a heart attack induced by his own outrage at discovering that he has a granddaughter.
  • Dirty Old Man: Both Don Sarcoma and Dagwood T. Filby IV are quite perverted, despite their advanced age. Dagwood's repeated groping of "Alma" almost gets him killed by the livid hitman.
  • Disguised in Drag: Al, during the events of "Public Enemy", in order to make his pregnancy less of a give-away. Given just how mannish Al looks, doubles as Incredibly Conspicuous Drag.
  • Dreadful Musician: Velma is an absolutely horrible singer, so the point where her voice drives a cat to shoot itself in the head. The only audience she manages to get is a bunch of hog farmers bussed in from Iowa who think she's performing a hog calling ritual. Of course, she only got the gig due to her incredible good looks and her father's influence.
  • Driven to Suicide: When Al is presented with the inescapable ultimatum to get pregnant, he spends a long period of time considering just blowing his brains out instead. Subverted when he decides the humiliation of being pregnant is worth it if it means he can become The Don himself.
  • Enfant Terrible: Little Al is the spitting image of his criminal family; by the age of a year old he's shown repeatedly attacking other children, including running a protection racket in his nursery group (and brutally beating the other kids with a hammer if they don't pay up) and trying to drown a bigger kid in a pool. He plays with the detonator for a mine smuggled onto Don Gumma's yacht and technically kills 8 people (putting 3 more in critical condition), attempts to shoot rival assassin Mutt McClusky twice (getting his foot on the second time), and pulls the trigger on his dad's sniper rifle to kill Don Lupus. In the opening for "Blood on the Bib", it's mentioned that his first words are "Die scumbag", and he's shown both trying to eat his pet mouse and biting the priest at his christening.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: When deciding whether or not to kill himself instead of bowing to Velma's demands he have the baby, Al is visited by his shoulder angel & devil, with the devil advocating he kill himself rather than be humiliated and the angel coaxing him to live. When Al decides his reputation can withstand it, the shoulder angel shoots the shoulder devil dead.
  • High Hopes, Zero Talent: Velma Sarcoma is a night singer at the Velvet Lounge... and only got the job because her father murdered the last owner and the next one didn't want to end up dead. She's so awful that no residents of Chi-Town will have anything to do with the place anymore, and her father's gang has to bus in yokels from the remotest depths of Iowa to give her a nightly audience. And they think the place is some kind of glitzy hog-calling event. By "Public Enemy", she's "graduated" to acting, and shows no greater talent there than she does as a singer.
  • It's All About Me: Luigi and Velma Sarcoma. Velma is so selfish that she refuses to have the child her father wants even though she knows her father won't hesitate to kill her husband if she doesn't, then decides that since he had the audacity to ask her to get pregnant, then he can carry the baby to term. Luigi, meanwhile, spends the first storyline trying to put Al in harm's way so he'll miscarry because of his disgust at Al being unable to "tame" Velma and make her get pregnant, then blackmails Al's life in the third storyline so Al will get pregnant with a second grandchild.
  • I Want Grandkids: Don Sarcoma's desire for Sarcoma-by-blood heirs drives the "Al gets pregnant" plotlines in the first and third parts of the story.
  • Karmic Death: In "Public Enemy", Don Sarcoma demands that Al have a second child by Velma. He then dies of a heart attack when he gets worked up over this same child being a granddaughter instead of the second grandson that he wanted.
  • Mafia Princess: Velma Sarcoma, the pampered and spoiled daughter of Don Sarcoma, and a spitfire hellion whose temper scares her big, tough hitman husband.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Al repeatedly tries to murder his rival for the position of Don Sarcoma's heir, Tony, in ways that he can hopefully pass off an accident.
  • Mama Bear: In "Al's Baby", after figuring out that her father is probably trying to force Al to miscarry her son by sending him to capture Don Verruca, the narration calls out maternal instincts as why she immediately decides to do the job herself.
  • Mister Big: Don Verruca is a classic short-tempered Napolean type, being about 4 foot 2 inches tall.
  • Mister Seahorse: The plot of the first and third parts of the series revolve around Al being forced to carry his wife's babies because she's too selfish to do it herself, and too cruel to let him use a surrogate.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Don Sarcoma. He's a cranky old man whose attitude towards women can be summed up as Stay in the Kitchen. He treats his two beautiful female attendants like mere toys and sex objects, and is constantly telling them to "shaddup". In the end, he's so outraged to learn that his second grandchild is a girl and not a boy like he believed that he throws a tantrum, ranting about how a girl can't lead the mob and vowing to get Al for this "treachery", until he works himself into such a state he has a fatal heart attack.
  • Pregnant Badass: Al himself is a Rare Male Example, carrying out all of his duties as a Mafia hitman and legbreaker despite being pregnant.
  • No One Should Survive That!: To Al's incredulity, not one of his attempts to murder or frame Tony in "Blood on the Bib" hurts him. Send him to attach a limpet mine to Don Gumma? The mine fails to go off until Tony is a safe distance away. Try to set him up as the murderer of Don Lupus? The evidence gets destroyed during the chaos of the hit. Spike his nightcap with sleeping pills and then fill his room with rattlesnakes? Not only do the snakes not attack, but in a subsequent frantic shootout, he doesn't get anything more than a scratch. Send him into Don Grosso's favorite restaurant to shoot the Don, whilst secretly replacing his ammo with blanks? He avoids getting shot and manages to cause Don Grosso to choke to death on a fish.
  • Rasputinian Death: Mutt McClusky, who by the end of "Al's Baby" has been dropped into an outhouse cesspit and nearly asphyxiated after spending an hour struggling to stay afloat in a sea of human feces and urine, caught over a dozen horrible diseases as a result of his swim in the cesspit, leaped a distance he himself describes as a "fatal fall", been shot, and smacked in the head with a steel anesthesia inhaling canister. Then he returns alive and well in "Blood on the Bib", where he is shot in the foot, slammed headfirst into steel bars by Al, then finally bound to a concrete weight by a chain wrapped around his body before being thrown into the sea to drown.
  • Secret Test of Character: At the end of "Blood on the Bib", Don Sarcoma reveals to his nephew Tony that he knew Al would try to assassinate Tony in order to protect his position. He expected Tony to prove his worth to take over as heir by either killing Al or otherwise dominating him — instead, he came running home to Don Sarcoma and tattling on Al. To the Don, this proves his nephew doesn't have the chops to take his seat.
  • Spoiled Brat: Velma and Little Al; Don Sarcoma gives his daughter everything she ever wants, even things she couldn't get, and thinks even more highly of Little Al, whose own father is quite tolerant of his son's monstrous behavior.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Velma's singing voice is likened to a wounded shriek owl, and she has been described as almost elevating pure suck to an art form. In our first introduction to her, we're shown an alley cat covering its ears and howling in agony at her voice, before shooting itself in the head so it doesn't have to listen anymore.
  • Toilet Humor: The first two stories both get a lot of mileage out of vomit and dung-related "jokes", such as Al throwing up on a police officer due to a bout of morning sickness or Tony getting smacked in the face with Little Al's used diaper.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Dagwood T. Filby IV, although he's identified as a retired rear admiral and not explicitly an aristocrat.
  • Villain Protagonist: Al is not a hero by any stretch of the imagination.