“Oh hi there, Judge Death here, the Duke of Demise, Emperor of Expiration and all round evil fiend. Just thought I’d stop by to wish my old foe Dredd congratulations on 25 years of his solo comic, before I head out to snuff the life of billions in my eternal quest to extinguish the living from all mortal planes. Best enjoy as many comics as you can humans, for soon I shall come for your corporeal souls… you have a great day now”
Uh, thanks for that Death… Borag Thungg fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo, and welcome to an anniversary edition of “Great British Comic Book Characters” wherein we shall be celebrating a quarter of a century of “Judge Dredd: The Megazine.”
That’s right Dredd devotees, 2000 AD‘s sister comic – The Megazine is celebrating 25 years of dispensing justice and thrill-power today. Launched way back in October 1990, Megazine collected classic Dredd stories from the past, including such greats as, “Young Death” and “America” and this awesome anniversary issue also sports a fantastic commemorative cover by Barry Kitson, who is triumphantly returning to the 2000 AD fold for the first time in 23 years!
The special edition cover contains the twenty five most heinous of Dredd‘s rogues gallery including such sadistic evil-doers as, Judge Death, Fink Angel, Judge Fear, Mean Machine, Captain Skank, and Rico Dredd. Like its sister publication 2000 AD, Megazine (formed from the wordplay of magazine and Mega-City One, fact fans) is an anthology comic, originally containing tales set only within the Dredd universe.
As the years moved on it expanded to include other unconnected stories, interviews with artists and writers, and a monthly supplement that would focus on the work of certain celebrity 2000 AD contributors such as Simon Bisley, Alan Grant, and John Higgins, plus from issue #276 they opened up a unique creator-owned slot that featured Tank Girl and American Reaper amongst its superstar guest characters. So here’s to another 25 years in the company of the world’s toughest lawman, by Drokk!
Judge Dredd’s Catchphrase Dictionary;
In case you ever find yourself stranded in downtown Mega-City One, and don’t know your skedway from your zoomway, well worry no more because here’s a handy dandy guide to Mega-City lingo that may just save your Grud-damn life!
Drokk: An expletive, profanity.
Stomm: Word for an unpleasant substance or food stuff.
Sov: Shortened term for East Megians, Soviets.
Jay: A Judge.
Jimp: Judge impersonator.
Slab: Pedestrian walkway or pavement.
Resyk: Recycling centre, where dead bodies are processed and recycled.
Mutie: Shortened from mutant.
Sked: Term used for roads, shortened from Skedway.
Zoomway: High speed, multi-lane motorways.
Iso-Cube: Isolation cube, various stacked prison cells.
Judge Dredd: The Megazine #365 Anniversary Edition is available at your local comic-book emporium and all good newsagents right now.
Judge Dredd and Judge Dredd: The Megazine are copyright – Rebellion.
Super-Villain Sunday returns with 2000 AD’s famous defiler of the living and Judge Dredd’s most dangerous adversary – Judge Death. Judge Death was created by 2000 AD stalwarts, John Wagner and Brian Bolland in 1980, making his first appearance in 2000 AD #149. Death hails from the alternate dimension known as Deadworld, where life was declared illegal by Judge Death, since only the living can commit crime.
Death was originally a psychopathic boy who enjoyed inflicting pain on innocents, joining his dimension’s version of the Judges, so he could murder more easily, he gained his moniker of ‘Judge Death’ from his fellow Judges for his propensity to execute all lawbreakers. Upon meeting the witch sisters, Nausia and Phobia he had himself transformed into a virtually invincible undead corpse and proceeded to exterminate all life on the planet alongside his three brothers of ruination, Judge Fear, Judge Fire and Judge Mortis, collectively known as The Dark Judges.
Once all life had been snuffed out in their their parallel dimension, the Dark Judges crossed over into Earth’s plane and continued in their calamitous campaign on this new world, only to be stopped short by Judges Dredd and Anderson. Death and his ghastly cohorts would return to Mega City One on several occasions to bring their brand of evil justice to it’s citizens, with their most successful foray in the 1990 multi part story Necropolis, where aided by his mentors, the witch sisters, they would annihilate over 60 million innocents, only to be thwarted once more by Dredd, who had been in exile at the time of their invasion.
Super-Villain Rating: Grim Reaper.
Judge Death reading recommendations: Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham, Judge Dredd: Necropolis, Young Death: Boyhood of a Superfiend.
Legendary British comic artist Brett Ewins sadly passed away yesterday after a recent illness. Brett was known for his work on the UK’s best selling 2000 AD comic, which has given the world such classic characters as Judge Dredd, Slaine and Rogue Trooper amongst many others. He is probably best remembered by his fans for his work on Judge Anderson and Rogue Trooper, though he also drew a plethora of other characters for the British weekly sci-fi comic including – Bad Company, Tharg’s Future Shocks and the ABC Warriors. Brett also worked for DC/Vertigo on Swamp Thing and Hellblazer in the late 1980’s.
In 1988 he founded Deadline comics alongside fellow 2000 AD artist Steve Dillon, Deadline lasted a mere seven years but introduced the comic-book world to classic characters like Tank Girl. Our thoughts go to Brett’s family at this time.
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Rakie Ayola, Jason Cope, Deobia Oparei, Langley Kirkwood. Director: Pete Travis. Writers: John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra (original comic characters), Alex Garland (screenplay).
Though primarily I am what most people would call a DC Comics ‘fan-boy’ (and they would be correct!), I am also a ‘Brit’ so grew up reading and loving 2000 AD, especially their primary star – Judge Joseph Dredd, arguably the most famous British comic-book character of all time. 2000 AD was first published in the UK in 1977, it was an amalgam of different characters per issue but always had one constant that ran in almost every single issue … Dredd.
Judge Dredd was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra in 1977 and made his first appearance in 2000 AD #2. Wagner had created many other grim and gritty characters in his career and Judge Dredd is the ultimate culmination of this, an authoritative, almost fascistic, grim and determined keeper of the law, a Dirty Harry of the future but with none of the levity of Clint Eastwood’s famous character. Judges are the ultimate peacekeepers in the future city of Mega-City One, Judge, Jury and Executioner … they literally are the law.
The 2012 Dredd movie is as close to it’s source material as it could possibly hoped to have got, this really hinged on getting the right actor to portray a character that is much loved by it’s very vocal fanbase, after what turned out to be a disappointing outing of the character in the 1995 Sylvester Stallone helmed version of Judge Dredd (fun movie … bad Dredd movie) It was ever more important to cast it well. Luckily they hit the jackpot with the brilliant (and still a little underrated) Karl Urban, a fine actor whose portrayal of Dredd is spot on, monotone, determined and to the point, exactly as Dredd would be.
Alongside Dredd in the movie is the second most famous of the Judges – Cassandra Anderson, my own personal favourite character from 2000 AD. Anderson is a member of the famed PSI division of the Judges, she is a very gifted and powerful psychic. Olivia Thirlby fills the Judge boots of Anderson in the film and again ends up being another extremely great piece of casting as she almost steals the movie with a fantastic and emotional performance of the gifted but troubled rookie Judge out on her very first patrol, with her future career ultimately being determined by Dredd himself.
Working out of the Halls of Justice, the Judges are the last line of defence in the future city of Mega -City One. Walled off from the irradiated wasteland outside known as the Cursed Earth, this metropolis comprises 800 million citizens, living in close proximity, crime and chaos is rife and the tide is held back by just a few thousand Judges. It is here that we meet Dredd, the ultimate lawman, as he and his new cadet, Judge Anderson investigate a multiple homicide at the mega complex of Peach Trees.
The investigation ultimately leads Dredd and Anderson to the movie’s villain – Ma Ma, the sadistic and badly scarred Queen of crime and leader of one of the sectors biggest and baddest gangs and largest trafficker of the super drug Slo-Mo. Ma Ma is played by English actress Lena Headey, best known for her roles in Game of Thrones and 300, Headey’s portrayal of the psychotic Ma Ma is excellent, grounded but at the same time chilling and unsettling.
Though we only get a brief glimpse of the city itself as most of the movie takes place in the Peach Trees Mega-Block, what we are given is a sprawling dystopian vision of the future, a run down collection of ugly grey Mega-Scrapers and giant motorways in the sky, exactly the sort of enviroment that would breed a murderous villain like Ma Ma and a grim protector of the innocent like Dredd.
Director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland present us with a violent, gritty comic-book world inhabited by super cops and maniacal villains and it pulls no punches, it deserves its 18 rating with some graphic and overt action sequences, Dredd’s world is a dark and desperate place teetering on the brink of self destruction. The ultimate test of the film’s success lies inevitably with the fanbase, and Dredd is universally loved by it’s fans, and even though box office receipts were initially disappointing, Dredd has ultimately recouped its budget, though a sequel is still unconfirmed the film’s creators, actors and fans strive to bring Dredd back to the big screen once more, Hopefully this will be sooner rather than later as this particular Dredd movie is fantastic and is highly recommended to all fans of the comic character himself and anyone into violent sci-fi action movies.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 years in an iso-cube out of 5.