Dystopian futures have been a fixture of the sci-fi genre for as long as there's been a genre to have fixtures; cautionary tales about the crushing of the individual or the dangers of unchecked technology. In the second issue of 2000 AD, a British comic anthology that promised readers a weekly dose of thrillpower from the far-off future of the 21st century, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra asked exactly the kind of question that great sci-fi is built around: What if there was a story about a dystopian future plagued by hyperviolent crime, ruled over by a totalitarian state, where things were so bad that even existing could drive a man insane from future shock... and the fascist cops were the good guys?
The result was the stone-faced lawman who would become the UK's greatest comic book character: Judge Dredd, who made his first appearance on March 5th, 1977.
I'm not too proud to admit that I can occasionally be taken in pretty easily by a hoax, and that's exactly what happened last week. For whatever reason, an old April Fool's Day post about Netflix picking up a 13-episode series set in the world of 2012's Dredd, with Karl Urban returning as John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's stone-faced lawman of the future, started making the rounds again, and I bought it hook, line and sinker. In my defense, though, it was less because of the content of the fake announcement and more because it's something that I not only want to happen, but that seems like it very easily could happen. I mean, if Netflix can do Richie Rich, then surely to grud it can do Dredd, right?
Well, it seems that I'm not the only one who feels that way. Today, the longstanding campaign to get a sequel to Dredd in film has been modified, calling instead for a more serialized version, and it's being promoted by 2000 AD.
Soon Judge Dredd will find himself outnumbered by the Dark Judges... at least as far as ThreeA's 2000 AD figure line is concerned. Last year, the Ashley Wood-led company unveiled the first figures in the partnership with 2000 AD, including Judge Death, Judge Fish, Judge Dredd, Sam Slade and Gronk. 2016 will see even more of the classic British comic characters come to life, starting with the terrifying Judge Fear.
Based on designs by Brian Bolland, the new Judge Fear figure will feature the imposingly-helmed Dark Judge with all the accouterments expected of the undead master of fright. Sure, he might be remembered best by more casual observers for that panel where Judge Dredd punches him square in the "face," and orders him to "Gaze into the fist of Dredd!" That doesn't mean the guy isn't deserving of his own highly-detailed and articulated figure. I mean, who doesn't want to a toy of a man so assured in his own abilities that he wears giant bear traps as pauldrons and has giant bat wings sprouting from his furnace-like helm?
Assuming you're shopping in the UK or online, this week marks the release of 2000 AD prog 1961. It's this year's Christmas special, with a full hundred pages of not only the usual dose of thrillpower, but also... well, whatever the Christmas equivalent of that concept is, I suppose. Merrypower? Thrilljollies? Listen, I'm still pretty new to this whole thing.
Point being, there's plenty of yuletide fun to be found in this week's issue, and as you might expect, absolutely none of that fun is being had by Judge Dredd, the stone-faced grinch of Mega City One's law enforcement, who is spending his Christmas doling out grim justice to snowmen who have come to life. No, really: It's Dredd vs. Frosty in this week's issue, and you can check out a preview below!
Over the past few weeks, Mondo seems like it's been on a dedicated and very effective mission to separate me from as much of my money as it can, but finally, it's taken a break from the high-end Batman: The Animated Series posters that it's been putting up for sale at random times on Twitter. Now Mondo's just doing a super-amazing poster of Judge Death instead and... c'mon, Mondo. I only have so much to give.
If you're not familiar with Judge Death - one of the best-designed villains in the history of comic books - he was created by John Wagner and Brian Bolland in 1980 as an interdimensional counterpart to Judge Dredd. While Dredd has a pretty hard-line stance on crime, Judge Death comes from a world where it was determined that since all crime was committed by the living, life itself must be a crime, leading him to kill off billions of people in various dimensions' Mega Cities One over the next 35 years.
For too long, the action figure world has been a lawless land of vagabonds, mutants and ne'er-do-wells. There's been no order out there on pegs or retail shelves. That will soon change however, as ThreeA is releasing the lawman of Mega City One to bring justice to toy collections everywhere. Continuing its line of 2000 AD figures, the ThreeA Judge Dredd will soon join Judge Death, Sam Slade, Gronk and Judge Fish. It's actually not the first Judge Dredd figure to release stateside, nor is it the first 1:12 scale action figure to debut this year, but the sudden resurgence of 2000 AD's enforcement officer in this format is welcome to be sure.
Inspired by the art of Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland, and Mike McMahon, ThreeA's Judge Dredd looks as grumpy as ever in his signature Judge's uniform and helmet. The figure has been slightly stylized to give Dredd a bit of ThreeA's personality, but he's still unmistakably the bad-ass with a badge we've all come to know and respect (and fear).
If you've ever read through Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth, the sprawling epic that took the future's most brutal lawman outside of Mega-City One on a journey across an atomic wasteland in the years since its original publication, then you may have noticed that there are a couple of strips missing from the paperback collections. Four strips from the original story, the two-part 'Burger Wars' and 'Soul Food' arcs, featured versions of Ronald McDonald, the Burger King, the Jolly Green Giant, and other corporate icons, twisted into post-nuclear villains.
As you might expect, that caused a bit of a problem back in 1978, and under fears of a lawsuit, those four strips were excised from later reprints of the landmark story. Until now, that is. Today, 2000 AD announced the upcoming Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored, a new printing of the story that will restore the "banned" strips for the first time in almost forty years.
The weekend is here! Put down your paperwork, throw your stationery out of the window, and do a victory spin in your office chair, because it’s time to catch up on that greatest of all media: comics! What’s been going on this week? There’s so much comics that there’s no way anybody can keep up with all of it — so Weekender is here to catch you up on some of the stories you may have missed, and some of the best writing about comics from the past few days.
Time to break out the Judge-approved party hats and frosted birthday munce, everybody: This week marks Judge Dredd Megazine's 25th birthday! It was back in October of 1990 that the future's most uncompromising lawman became too big for even 2000 AD to handle, and he spun off into his own title.
To mark the occasion, this week's issue features the start of a new Dredd story from John Wagner and Colin MacNeil that revives Total War, the terrorist organization that made its first appearance in Megazine #1 and the groundbreaking "America" storyline, but that's not the issue's only callback to the past. When it hits stands this week, the Megazine will have a cover by Barry Kitson, with Dredd towering over 25 defeated enemies.
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.
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