Prog 518 – The Interrogation

Story: The Interrogation
Appears: 2000AD Prog 518
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Kim Raymond
Dated: 18 April 1987

This should be the calibre of every Dredd story. There is proper suspense and tension, and a real feeling of jeopardy for Dredd that most of his stories don’t have. We also have a returning character from a long time ago that rewards long-term readers and adds to the authenticity of the drama.

Like all great Dredd stories we learn more about the world. And most importantly what a nasty one it is.

Infrequent artist Kim Raymond seems a lot more at home with the material now and goes for bold and abstract depictions over realism which proves a good choice.

Prog 413 – Spugbug

Story: Spugbug
Appears: 2000AD Prog 413
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Kim Raymond
Dated: 13 April 1985

Building on the timeless theme of the prank call this reflects the heyday of the Jerky Boys while ominously foreshadowing the future problem of cyber bullying. As usual it is when the citizens turn on each other that things seems most tragic and it is always the innocent who suffer. And a new word enters the wonderful Mega-City lexicon. It was probably the printing but the blacks were much too thick and at points made some of the text unreadable.

Prog 393 to 406 – City of the Damned

Story: City of the Damned
Appears: 2000AD Prog 393-406
Issues: 14
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brett Ewins, Ron Smith, Kim Raymond, Ian Gibson
Dated: 24 November 1984 to 23 February 1985

This is a strong mini-epic that despite digging up and beating the dead Judge Child villain is a tense and rewarding read.

The alternate/ future setting allows the writers to run riot and kill off major characters to up the stakes. Despite the citywide disaster backdrop this feels extremely personal. Anderson gets a chance to shine and behave like a real human being which is something we rarely have opportunity for in a Dredd story.

For the unique tone and creepy setting this is definitely a classic.

Prog 384-386 – Gator

CF08Story: Gator
Appears: 2000AD Prog 384-386
Issues: 3
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Kim Raymond
Dated: 22 September 1984 to 6 October 1984

With the Big Meg as your backdrop you can tell any kind of story. Here an urban legend becomes the basis for a Dredd adventure as blind white alligators have infested the pre-Meg sewer system. Throw in a City-Def survival exercise and it is all good.

The story shines in the throwaway lines and the little glimpses into the nature of the Megacity. We learn how sewerage works and how it is not just Resyk that doesn’t let anything go to waste. The devil is certainly in the details here.

The Kim Raymond art actually finds a niche at last. The almost black panels of the sewers come across much better than Raymond’s earlier efforts and the gator jaws splash page is excellent.

Prog 372 – Bingo

CF07Story: Bingo
Appears: 372
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Kim Raymond
Dated: 9 June 1984

We can colonise distant planets – we can send probes through the heart of the sun – but we still can’t find a cure for bingo” – Judge Dredd.

This disposable story is a neat little joke and another step in the career of rookie Judge Dekker.

Prog 370 to 371 – Superbowl

CF07Story: Superbowl
Appears: 370-371
Issues: 2
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Kim Raymond
Dated: 26 May 1984 to 2 June 1984

American Football was making its presence felt in the UK in the 1980’s and so even Judge Dredd had to take notice. The bionic implants remind me very much of the Luna Olympics.

It’s nice to see Dredd turn up to protect the team and end up sending most of them to the cubes. This is the reason the Radiators lost in the previous story, Portrait of a Politician. A very good tie in.

It’s nice to have a female judge who occupies more than two dimensions. The Rookie Dekker will go on to star in more stories.

Kim Raymond is back on art and the drawings do look a bit scratchy. Worse still the lettering is defiantly below par. Being reproduced in the smaller format of the Complete Casefiles it is very hard to read.

Prog 350 – Pieromania

CF07Story: Pieromania
Appears: 350
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Kim Raymond
Dated: 7 January 1984

Dredd gets a custard-substitute-pie in the face on TV which starts a pie throwing trend.

This story predicts happy slapping and the viral video 30 years before they would arrive. Our desire for fads which was being commented in the 1980’s is still with us.

New artist Kim Raymond has a distinctive style with very thick black lines and quite a few missing backgrounds pointing to a very hastily completed job. Maybe a last minute replacement took place as the next two issues were reprints of Mutie the Pig from progs 34-35.