The week’s over! And with it we reach the final days of September --- which you've all done a dazzling job with, by all accounts. But while you’ve been off working and living and doing all those things that humans do, what have you missed in the world of comics? With Weekender, ComicsAlliance is here to give you a heads-up on some of the stories that you might have overlooked, and to showcase some great writing on comics for you to enjoy over buttery crumpets this weekend.
It was only a few days ago that we brought you the news that Chris Burnham would be providing an extremely violent cover for 2000 AD prog 1950, but there was another piece of the story that you might have missed on account of being distracted by Judge Dredd blowing people's fingers off right there on the cover. Every now and then, 2000 AD will take the opportunity to give readers a new jumping on point, and when #1950 hits shelves on September 30, it will have four brand-new stories. Check out a preview.
I've talked to artist Chris Burnham a few times at conventions, and I've always got the feeling that if there's one character that he's super into, more than anything else, it's 2000 AD's Judge Dredd. The guy is a fan of Mega City One's unique brand of law-enforcement thrillpower like few others, and now, he's finally getting a chance to draw him in an official capacity.
On September 30, with the release of 2000 AD prog 1950, Burnham will join the small group of American artists who have lent their skills not just to Dredd, but to the cover of the magazine. And if that wasn't enough of an incentive to check it out, it's happening just in time for one of the magazine's new reader-friendly issues, featuring the start of four new story arcs.
I'm a big fan of Mezco's One:12 Collective. It all started when I first got my hands on the prototype Dark Knight Returns Batman that kicked the line off. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the detailed, mixed-media figures, but once I held the aged Bruce, I knew this collection had incredible potential. The second release, Judge Dredd, was equally as impressive, but wasn't a must own for me. I loved the design, but felt I could forego this piece in lieu of upcoming pieces like the Flash or Superman. Then I saw the Black and White variant prototype of Judge Dredd at SDCC.
I'll put it plainly; I'm a sucker for black and white variants. It all started with NECA's Mirage-inspired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles box set, and has continued through the years. There's just something more intriguing about a figure whose design has been whittled down to its most basic essence. Of course, where 2D linework can easily express a full figure, there's a true talent in being able to translate the simplified aesthetic into an appealing action figure. Even though the Judge Dredd Black and White NYCC variant doesn't quite have the same attention to line details as something like DC Collectibles' Blue Line Batman, its monochromatic scheme still catches my eye in a way the standard version doesn't.
Aside from Rob Schneider, the Dark Judges are probably Judge Dredd's most notable foes --- and they're definitely some of the most terrifying characters in comics. So terrifying, in fact, that they have inspired an actual nightmare for 2000 AD artist Dave Kendall, and since he's not one to let an opportunity for inspiration slip by, that dream has led to a new series exploring the origin of John Wagner and Brian Bolland's most horrifying creations.
Set after their all-encompassing genocide of the dimension that would become Deadworld --- once the judges determined that all crime was committed by the living, but before they discovered their ability to travel to Dredd's Mega-City One to try their hand at exterminating another world --- Dreams of Deadworld explores each of the four Dark Judges in turn in stories drawn by Kendall and written by Kek-W.
Like many comic book fans, I am deeply suspicious of books that try to get ideas across to the reader without using pictures. I mean, honestly, I think we can all agree that having to use adjectives is a sign of an inferior medium, right? Right. I will say, though, that my opinion on prose could probably be softened a bit if I had some books about Judge Dredd going to other dimensions and fighting a gang of future-crooks who broke out of Iso-Block 666, but as I do not live in Great Britain in the '90s, that has been impossible... until now!
Today, 2000 AD announced the release of a series of nine out-of-print Judge Dredd novels on Amazon for Kindle, including one with the amazing premise of Judge Death running for mayor.
If you've missed the first two chapters of Demon Nic, currently running in the pages of 2000 AD's Judge Dredd Megazine, here's what you need to know before the third chapter hits shelves this week: First off, it's a new supernatural action series from writer/artist Paul Grist, the man responsible to for the single greatest superhero comic ever printed, and frequent collaborator and colorist Phil Elliott. Second, the main character is a demon named Nic --- hence the title --- in a world where an uneasy truce between humanity and the forces of Hell has been broken and now demons are just sort of hanging out in the world making front-page news.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, Nic was killed at the end of the second chapter by a karate nun. There, now you're all caught up. Now check out a preview.
As someone who only got really into Judge Dredd relatively recently, I get asked pretty often about good places to start. For more recent stuff, it's not hard to figure out a good place, and if nothing else, the folks at 2000 AD are pretty good at providing jumping-on points for new readers. When it comes to finding those classic Dredd stories, though, the ones that sometimes played out over the course of years and explored not just Dredd but the strange world in which he lives, that can be a little more difficult.
But that's about to change. Next week marks the release of John Wagner and Colin MacNeil's Judge Dredd: America, in paperback for the first time on the west-side of the Atlantic --- and when even the publisher is declaring it to be "the best Judge Dredd story ever," that's probably something to take note of.
The last few years have seen a number of fan-films produced by smaller production companies, for characters ranging from Black Panther to the Power Rangers. The films tend to reproduce the original costumes faithfully... before completely disregarding the original tone, style, and voice of the characters and comics in favor of gore and 'edginess'. Despite the popularity of fan films, not many of them actually tend to serve the stories they base themselves from.
But Judge Minty was different. Produced in 2013, this Judge Dredd fan-film immediately caught attention by actually proving itself to be something that fans of the serial would want to watch. Critically acclaimed and shown at film festivals throughout the year, the project was also received positively by creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra --- and it was that endorsement that led the team to set up a second fan-project, currently in production: Strontium Dog.
I've written about it before, but there are few things in this fallen world more perfect than Paul Grist's Jack Staff. It's my favorite superhero comic, and I'm a big enough fan that I've made it a point to track down pretty much everything else Grist has done, from the bizarre superheroics of Mudman all the way to the stylish crime drama of Kane, and there's not a single one of them that's disappointed. Grist, along with frequent collaborator and colorist Phil Elliot, has an impeccable track record, and I'm always up for checking out something new.
So when I found out today that not only do Grist and Elliot have a brand new project called Demon Nic running in the pages of 2000 AD's Judge Dredd Megazine, but it's been going for two months, I was pretty surprised. What wasn't surprising, however, is that it's great.