Forty-four years ago, the ultimate lawman of the future blazed into action in the pages of 2000 AD‘s second issue!
Celebrate the anniversary of Judge Dredd’s debut with 30% off Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files volumes 1 to 34 and Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files volumes 1 to 4!
Created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, Judge Joseph Dredd has appeared in 2000 AD almost continuously since 1977.
A fascistic policeman in Mega-City One, a vast crime-ridden megalopolis of 400 million people set 122 years in the future that occupies the Eastern coast of America, the Judges have draconian powers that allow them to summarily execute criminals or arrest citizens for the smallest of crimes.
Wagner created Dredd for Pat Mills’ new science-fiction weekly from elements of his ‘tough cop’ series for Valiant, One-Eyed Jack, Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, and an advertisement for the film Death Race 2000, which he sent to artist Carlos Ezquerra for inspiration. Part dystopian SF and part satirical black comedy, Dredd serves a brutal and repressive system but his incorruptible principles make him unlikely anti-hero.
The first published episode, ‘Judge Whitey’, written by Paul Harris, appeared in the second edition of 2000 AD in March 1977. Ezquerra was unhappy that the first episode of his character was drawn by new artist Mick McMahon and he also left the title, not returning until 1982.
When Wagner returned to the strip he began a close working relationship with writer Alan Grant and as they fleshed out Dredd’s world the strip quickly took on its famous brand of black humour and hyper-violence. The strip now mixes police procedurals and complex, even political, storylines with standard short madcap stories.
Arguably the most famous British comic book character in the world, his name has now entered the lexicon as a label for oppressive state behaviour.