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.
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.
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.
ThreeA has long been crafting original figures and collectibles based on the art and designs of co-founder Ashley Wood, but in recent years, the company has expanded its reach with a variety of licenses in comics, animation and films. That essence of Wood's aesthetic is still ever present though, and his influence still informs the design sense for many of ThreeA's upcoming pieces.
At San Diego Comic-Con this year, the company went all out with a major presentation of its upcoming slate. Normally included as a small part of IDW's booth, ThreeA's installation this year was set up like an art show, and showed off a great deal of promising figures in a range of scales and sizes. With figures from Frederator and 2000 AD, as well as Marvel, it appears the company is finally ready to make a big splash in the market beyond its original works.
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