The story is set in 22nd century Scotland, which has been warped by radioactive fallout where mutants are the underclass of future Britain. McNulty grew up in the Scottish mutant ghetto called Shytehill (a reference to Sighthill - the Scottish slang term for shit is 'shite').
Middenface gets his nickname from his signature mutation - his skull is covered in hard,knobby bumps which range in size, number and density depending on the artist. Although this mutation is usually portrayed in the comics as purely cosmetic, there have been instances where Middenface shows to have an unnaturally hard skull. Either dealing blows with it or sustaining blows to it that would kill a normal man.
Like all the members of the Search/Destroy agency he is a seasoned guerrilla fighter. He has had experience in fighting for his life, leading attacks, and defending himself and others against fanatical hatred and violence since the age of ten.
He first appeared in Portrait of a Mutant, the Scottish leader of the rebels in the mutant war and an ally of a young Johnny Alpha. After the war, he became a Search Destroy Agent and first appeared in the present day in Outlaw; he appeared infrequently after this, and after the death of Johnny's partner Wulf Sternhammer, McNulty would become Johnny's new partner in many strips. Initially, he had a running gag of his Scottish dialect being incomprehensible to the English characters but this would be dialed down - his hooligan ways would continue to be a source of humour though.
In "The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha" in 2010, a retired Middenface was shown with a genuine drink problem following Johnny Alpha's death.
Young Middenface was a long-running black and white strip featured in Judge Dredd Megazine. Alan Grant wrote and created the story, with various artists (the last one being Shaun Thomas) and Ellie De Ville on lettering.
The strip started off with a young, teenage McNulty as a juvenile delinquent on the streets of Shytehill, and followed him in his path to becoming a mutant guerilla and eventually the leader, filling in the gaps before his debut in Portrait of a Mutant. Forced into guerilla activism after becoming a fugitive, he became a highly violent and reckless soldier, with the death of many of his friends giving him hatred for the mutant-killing Kreeler police.
Eventually[volume & issue needed], with the threat of the genocidal Sir William "Stinking Billy" Cumberland (which is the name and nickname of the Duke of Cumberland who crushed the 1745 Jacobite uprising in Scotland) becoming Head of Kreelers in Scotland, the Scottish Mutant Army launched an uprising. They overran the Kreelers, capturing multiple cities and eventually the Scottish Parliament building (still not fully paid for in the 2160s), but were unprepared when Cumberland simply blew up Parliament instead. Kreeler reinforcements forced the mutants into a retreat, making a last stand at Killoden theme park and being massacred in their tens of thousands. Cumberland becomes First Minister of Scotland on the back of this. Middenface and the surviving resistance members continue to fight and eventually succeed in assassinating Cumberland.[volume & issue needed]
Many of the storylines are subtly (or not so subtly) based on contemporary Scottish politics, society and culture, with Scots slang and dialect used to reflect this. Two stories, Brigadoom! and Midnapped!, parody the musical Brigadoon and the classic Scottish novel Kidnapped, but with twists - the mystical village of Brigadoom is made up entirely of cannibals led by Sawney Bean, who happen to break into song for no reason.
- "Portrait Of A Mutant" #200–206, 210–221 (1981)
- "Outlaw!" #363–385 (1984)
- "The Big Bust Of ’49" #415–424 (1985)
- "Rage" #469–489 (1986)
- "Warzone!" #497–499 (1986)
- "The Rammy" #544–553 (1987)
(written by Grant alone):
- "The Stone Killers" (art by Carlos Ezquerra) #560–572 (1988)
- "The No-Go Job" (art by Simon Harrison) #580–587 (1988)
- "The Final Solution" (part 1) (art by Simon Harrison) #600–606, 615–621, 636–641, 645–647 (1988–89)
- "The Final Solution" (part 2) (art by Colin MacNeil) #682–687 (1990)
(written by Wagner alone, art by Carlos and Hector Ezquerra):
- "Blood Moon" #2009, 1617–1628 (2008–09)
- "The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha" #1689–1699 (2010)
- "The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha: The Project" #2012, 1764–1771 (2011–12)
Middenface McNulty (by Alan Grant):
- "Tambo Shanter" (with pencils by Patrick Goddard, inks Dylan Teague and colours by Richard Elson, in Judge Dredd Megazine #4.11, 2002)
- "A Parcel of Rogues" (with pencils by Patrick Goddard and inks Dylan Teague, in Judge Dredd Megazine #4.16-4.18, 2002)
- "Mutopia" (with John Ridgway, in Judge Dredd Megazine #205-207, 2003)
- "Brigadoom!" (with pencils by Patrick Goddard and inks Dylan Teague, in Judge Dredd Megazine #218-220, 2004)
- "Killoden" (with John Ridgway, in Judge Dredd Megazine #224-229, 2004–2005)
- "Midnapped!" (with Shaun Thomas, in Judge Dredd Megazine #234-236, 2005)
- "A Scottish Sojer" (with Shaun Thomas, in Judge Dredd Megazine #240-243, 2006)
- A midden is a waste pit. The term is still used in Scotland and (as the Wikipedia entry says) "has come by extension, to refer to anything that is a mess, including people." This reflects McNulty's rather nobbly and unattractive face.
- "Middenface" McNulty's 2000 AD profile (out of date as of August 2010)