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.
Assuming that you have any money left after the massive sales that went on during San Diego last weekend, I've got some good news: Comixology is bouncing back after the con with another round of digital dollar books, and this time, they've got a half-off sale featuring the future's greatest lawman, Judge Dredd. Just not the version you might expect.
Given that 2000 AD is literally a comic book from the far-off future of the year 2000 --- and also possibly from space, I'm not really quite clear on how it all works yet --- it shouldn't be too surprising that it was a pretty early adopter in terms of digital comics. It's been offering same-day DRM-free downloads through its website for a while now, but this week it took the next step: A new app for Android and iOS devices that offers readers the chance to subscribe, read and download comics every week, as well as catch up on back issues with discounted bundles.
Ah, summertime! The temperature's high, school's out, and everyone's hitting the beach for sun, sand and surf! I mean, I've heard that's what some people do. Personally, I sunburn very easily and don't really enjoy swimming, so I'm staying inside with a copy of the 2000 AD Sci Fi Special.
Set for release this week in print and digital, the special is a 48-page addition to the regular prog that brings you new adventures from 2000 AD stalwarts like Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper, but there's one additional element that makes this one special: space truckers! In this issue, Ace Trucking Company returns for a story of secret cargo and deep space adventure, and you can get a bite-size preview of all the stories below!
I'll admit that I'm a pretty easy mark when it comes to high concepts, but I'd like to think that I'm at least a little picky about how they actually play out. Like, if you were to tell me that there's a story about an old but hard-boiled cop in charge of upholding a 500 year-old treaty between London and Hell, I'd be intrigued, but I'd have to admit that it could go either way. If, however, you then told me that the story also involved a kid fighting demons with a combination of parkour and Gymkata --- the famous martial art that combines the skill of gymnastics with the kill of karate --- then that's pretty much that. I am in.
Fortunately for me, a story matching that exact description is hitting shelves this week in the pages of 2000 AD in Prog 1934: Absalom: Under A False Flag, the newest installment of Gordon Rennie, Tiernen Trevallian and Simon Bowland's supernatural crime drama --- and you can read the entire first installment as a preview right here!
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