Snow in the Mega City. Traffic Chaos.

CF 01Citizens were confused by cold white particles falling from the sky today. Eldsters quickly identified this freak phenomena as snow – something that hadn’t been see outside greetings vids for years. Traffic chaos ensued.

This was part of a daring plan by the infamous Judge killer known simply as Whitey. Using a home-made device he hi-jacked Weather Control and summoned up a blizzard allowing him to escape maximum security prison Devils Island. Whitey injured a guard, killed his cellmate and a passing citizen, then took a hostage before being re-captured by Judge Dredd who was heard to say “[He’s] got the rest of his life to cool off.”

Story: Devil’s Island
Appears: 2000AD Prog 31
Issues: 1
Writer: John Wagner
Art: Ian Gibson
Dated: 24 September 1977

A good use of a previous character and some dramatic action.

The Return of Rico Dredd

Corrupt ex-Judge Rico Dredd, brother of Mega City’s top lawman Judge Joe Dredd, escaped Titan Penal Colony and returned to the Big Meg for revenge. After a shootout between the two brothers Rico was killed. The Grand Judge was on the scene and Dredd carried the body to the waiting ambulance himself.

Dredd was heard to say “He ain’t heavy – He’s my brother!”

Story: The Return of Rico
Appears: 2000AD Prog 30
Issues: 1
Writer: Pat Mills
Art: Mike McMahon
Dated: 17 September 1977

An awful cheezy line but a good story that expands the world and endows Dredd with genuine emotions.

Robot and Owner Murdered

CF 01Anti-Robot hate group The Neon Knights kills again. Dredd took them down after his own robot, Walter, was robo-napped. Klan leader unmasked as cyborg.

Story: The Neon Knights
Appears: 2000AD Prog 29
Issues: 1
Writer: Pat Mills
Art: Ian Gibson
Dated: 10 September 1977

Unusual art style. Thick blacks and minimal background detail. Good racism analogy and very nice twist at the end.

More Than I Can Chew

Well this is quite fun. Reading the early Dredd, reviving half-remembered stories and seeing all the seeds of Mega City One slowly germinating. Trouble is I have got a year to cover two-thousand stories. Reading wise it only takes me a minute or two per Prog but it takes me about twenty or thirty minutes to pump out my literary criticism, track down some art (or fail to track down art), and make it all look pretty. I love doing it but I also love eating and sleeping and I would have to give them up if I wanted carry on this in-depth coverage.

My goal is to read the Dredds and this blog is to keep track of my progress. There some awesome blogs out there that do what I have been doing much better. Where do you think I have been stealing the art from? Take a look at:

There are good summaries of the early issues, then follow the link to his new site for the current 2000AD issues.

For just Dredd you can’t beat this guy who has detail as his first, middle and last names:

So rather than compete I am going to try something different. For each storyline I will produce a headline in the style of a Mega City news report. And for the art, because you’ve gotta have art, I will put up the book I read it in so you can go find it yourself. I might put up the 2000AD cover if it is relevant instead. And for big stories you may get a full on review. Hey it’s not like anyone reads this anyway!

Prog 27 to 28 – Academy of Law

Prog 27Story: The Academy of Law
Appears: 2000AD Prog 27 to 28
Issues: 2
Writers: John Wagner
Art: Ian Gibson & Mike McMahon
Dated: 27 August 1977 to 3 September 1977

Plot: A rookie Judge passing out gets Dredd for his final assessment.

Verdict: A really good story. We learn a lot about the Judges and the two issues are just enough to cram in a bit of drama, a bit of characterisation and some excitement.

There is a slight crossover between Harlem Heroes, another story that also appeared in 2000AD, as the rookie Judge is the son of one of the Heroes. Another touch is the list of graduating Judges named after 2000AD writers and there is even a memorial to Judge Alvin – the first judge to ever die in a Judge Dredd Story in Prog 2.

In typical Dredd fashion we learn that cadet judges train with live ammunition so they can get shot and expelled on the same day as there is no room for careless Judges.

We have now left the wonderfully innovative and chaotic layout of the early strips in favour of squarer panels. The art is still good and portrays the action very well.