Friday, February 09, 2007

No respect for the law

So Judge Dredd has featured in a lot of issues of 2000 AD, written by more different writers and depicted by more artists than any other character in the comic - nearly as many as some of the world's most famous comic creations?

And in that time, there have been some more or less respectful interpretations of said Judge. Often, as presented by the man's very makers...

One of things us Brits like to brag about Dredd is that he's a wirey, sinewy hero - not a man with absurd bulging muscles like some of his US counterparts. Part of the idea of him being born of the 70s, when folk like Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds ruled the screens, not your Stallones and Schwarzeneggers. Of course there was a certain digression from this mission in the 90s what with Simon Bisley, Greg Staples and the like. But then Mike McMahon came back, one of those who defined Dredd's look (albeit by copying Ezquerra as well as he could). And he fleshed Dredd out in a rather different way, shall we say. (And yes, that is Judge Anderson in front of Dredd. My gosh)

Here's Wagner, Grant and Fabry making Dredd all cuddly (except in the head)

And here's Wagner again, this time using Jock to show how jumpy Dredd can be. At least he always hits what he's aiming at.

I don't really have a point with all this, just thought I'd throw up some funny scans of Dredd since I have a few. I'm sure there are many better examples of this kind of thing that I'll come across in due course.

And finally, since I can never just mock that hand that feeds me so much enjoyment and inspiration, here's a bit of Dredd getting a stern talking to in an incredibly sinister way. H'mmm. Looks like Wagner was already experimenting with the Dredd Paunch way back in 1981. Anyway, looks like it was all Wagner today, who'd have thought (yup, including the smoking bit from up top. Dream sequence, innit). It wasn't planned like that, but I suppose he has written the vast bulk of Dredd, so what did I expect? Someone else to be a bit cavalier with the man? Of course, Wagner is a genius, so he would know how to mock Dredd whilst building him up in our mind at the same time. And since about 1990 when he started being able to use his real name, everyone has known and celebrated this - except possibly the man himself, who seems to be the archetype of the humble creator who just gets on with it and doesn't complain. (Haven't met him, but he's surely a likeable man). I really ought to devote a bit more space here to him one day.

You know, while I'm on the subject, I'm reminded of a piece I read recently about how Mills and Wagner had very different ideas about how to develop Dredd. I wish I could remember where, or link to it somehow. Sorry*. Anyway, the idea is that Mills used the 'Return of Rico' and 'Cursed Earth' stories to really set Dredd up as a hero, whilst Wagner (with help from Grant) spent most of the next 100 Progs pointing out how fascist Dredd can be. Mills maintains that Dredd would be an even bigger deal now if they'd kept him less ambiguously heroic, but I think he's ignoring the skill Wagner shows in knowing when and how to let Dredd be heroic but also a bully. I guess this comes across best in the old Daily Star Dredd shorts, which occasionally got reprinted. The template for these was: introduce some weird future fad for MegaCity 1. Show citizens getting in trouble as a result. Dredd comes and sorts it out, often by foiling a criminal or saving a citizen. Dredd then arrests everybody 'cos they've all broken the law. A wry smile from the reader ensues. Dredd the hero works because he's so single-minded in his mission. But you can't be single-minded without getting on the wrong side of conventional morality every now and then. Also, more laughter. Mills surely has the power to make us laugh, but he's not as subtle as Wagner in this regard (except for the cross-dressing stuff, which both are prone to...)

* Found that link. From the mighty 2000AD review forums.


Blogger Ron Budd said...

I AM NOW COMMENTING ON THE TOP CAPTION. you are a new age turd! JUDGE DREDD DOES NOT SMOKE YOU HAVE GENITAL WARTS ...AND HE DOES NOT! HAVE A SEX LIFE....HIS....allegiance IS TO THE law!!!!!!!!!!!!!you are a stupid shit from orange county California...of mixed contents and pathetic intentions...........YOU ARE A SACK OF LARD AND INFECTED PISS....JUDGE DREDD DOES NOT SMOKE OR DRINK OR FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!TAKE THAT BACK TO YOUR BEZERKLEY QUEENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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