Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why Judge Dredd?

It may be a shocking realisation to people who only partake in the US comics scene, but we brits have the main pillar of our comics in sci-fi, as far removed from cliché superheroics and companies like Marvel and DC as you could possibly get, outside of arty indie books no-one sincerely wants to read. The biggest and... probably only... mainstream sci-fi series over here is 2000AD, the weekly prog where characters like Strontium Dog, Nikolai Dante and, yes, Judge Dredd get their mad-on in distinctly british and mildly insane adventures. I am a fan of this, and moreso the huge monthly injection of amazement that is the Judge Dredd Megazine, the sort of comics mag that puts all others to shame.

Which is the obvious reason to choose Dredd. The OTHER reasons to choose him and why he's a perfect choice for Thought Balloons is a little less personal and a lot more brilliant.

See, the world of Dredd is a brilliant mirror of the world we live in today, and is constantly adaptable to whatever surreal commentary is required. Adolescence, immigration, celebrity, reality tv, Dredd's world can address all of this, usually from the perspective of the unflappable man-chin that is Dredd himself. A man of the law unlike any other, unwavering in his loyalty to it in the face of whatever may come his way, his straight approach to a bent world is both comedic and capable of providing clarity to the messages and situations being bandied about in the stories.

Also there was that one movie no-one liked that is endlessly quotable and quite awful, so the lazier among us may choose to, I don't know, castrate Rob Schneider or something. Something that I'm sure won't be necessary for anyone in the upcoming Karl Urban-fronted film, which looks to be amazing, and enough of a reason for me to go "It's timely! There's a thing and so it works!", even if said thing is still far off on the horizon.

Dredd is one of my favourite comic characters of all time, and hopefully this week you'll get a glimpse into why.

If you want to read up on Dredd, check out this here WIKI page, and if you want to buy any of the superb 2000AD trades, progs or megs, then your local comic shop or the 2000AD website should be your suited ports of call.

So drokkin' get writing creeps. It's the law!


  1. I've not read a Dredd story in years until recently. A friend got me the Mandroid trade for my birthday last month. I really enjoyed that story so I'm actively looking to read more. If anyone on here has any recommendations I'm all ears.


    PAGE 1
    WIDE: We're on what used to be the main street of an abandoned town somewhere out in the Cursed Earth. A light dust storm drifts through the panel.

    In the centre of the panel is MEAN ANGEL. Around him are four members of his newly constituted gang-- they're all scary and scrawny looking with bad dental hygiene and questionable moral fortitude.

    MEAN: Reckon you're about done.
    Four bullets in you at last count.

    GOON: It was fiv-

    MEAN: Quiet!

    CLOSE UP on Mean, his hand reaching for the dial on his forehead. He smiles, teeth rotten and black, chewing tobacco gathered around the corners of his mouth.

    MEAN: Heh.

    CLOSE UP on the lower half of Dredd's face and that famous scowl.

    DREDD: Last chance.

    WIDE. On the left of the panel we can see JUDGE DREDD from his waist down to his knees. He has his back to us. His hand edges closer to the LAWGIVER on his right hip.

    On the right side of the panel we can see Mean and his gang, several yards in front of Dredd.

    MEAN: There's six of us you dumb bastich.

    GOON: Uh-

    MEAN: Merle!

    1.5 (INSET)
    CLOSE on Mean, spitting out a wad of tobacco.

    MEAN: Your law don't carry out here Dredd!

    WIDE: Dredd faces up, filling the panel from the waist up. His helmet is cracked and his uniform is peppered with four bullet holes, blood crusting around the cracked leather.

    The sleeve of his uniform has been ripped and a deep gash cuts a swathe through the exposed flesh.

    DREDD: Time's up.

    1.7 (INSET)
    CLOSE UP on Dredd's hand on the butt of the Lawgiver, ready to draw.


  2. The captcha for posting the last entry was 'CREDS'. I wished I'd screen-capped it.

  3. @Dan - Nice. Seems a silent Dredd is the type I like. I'm intrigued on this page and yet still get a vibe of what came before and what is about to come. That's good work. I dig it.

  4. Cheers. I read a couple of Wagner scripts in prep. Whilst I can't pull off his terse panel descriptions I tried to get his idea of Dredd across.


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