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Greetings fellow tropers! Being a fan of the 40k aesthetic, I've bumped into quite a few comparisons to Judge Dredd. I was wondering if the Dredd comics were worth reading, and if so, where I should start. I suppose it'd be best to start with book one, but hey, people recommend trying Guards, Guards! or another novel before The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic, so I think it'd be best to consult the fans on this one.
Don't start with volume 1; it's crap. It should really only be read by existing fans who want to see how it started.
As for where to start, I'd recommend volume 4 or 5 of The Complete Case Files. These collect all the strips from 2000 AD issues 156 - 207 and 208 - 270 respectfully. Each of these is about an inch thick, and costs about £15.
Vol 4 starts with the "Judge Child Quest", a 26-part saga in which Dredd and some other judges travel across Earth and space searching for a lad who is propesied to save Mega-City One. It's a grand adventure, though I felt is dragged a bit towards the end. Events from this story influence events in subsequent volumes, though I don't recall any mentions of it in volume 5.
After that, it's back to business as usual, with Dredd intervening in riots, harassing a business magnate who pushes ugliness as a fashion * This guy was introduced in vol 3, but the volume 4 story includes a convenient recap and fighting various criminals and aliens, as well as the last scion of the villainous family from "Judge Child." There's also a story about a mad pirate trying to nuke Mega-City One, which has repercussions in volume 5; once again, however, the vol 5 stories include quick recaps so you don't need to have read vol 4.
Vol 5 is probably the best starting point, and it's also the best of the trade paperbacks currently available. It starts off with a long series of one- to three-parts stories which each turns the spotlight on some form of crime in Mega-City One. This is a good introduction to the setting, and also illustrates the difficulties the judges face, as Dredd finds himself sending a small-time crook to jail who had a good reason for turning to crime, while the crime boss gets off scot-free due to no evidence against him.
After that, we meed the Dark Judges in "Judge Death Lives!", a three-part story that introduces Death's buddies, Judges Fire, Fear, and Mortis. This builds on events of from vol 3, but again, is written so that it can be understood by a new reader.
Following this, there are a few meat-and-potatoes crime-busting stories before "Block Mania" begins. This story involves all of Mega-City One going crazy, and the city's descent into anarchy as territorial urges flare up among the citizens and judges. It lasts for nine parts, and sets up the next story, "The Apocalypse War."
"The Apocalypse War" is 26 parts long and involves Mega-City One's enemy, East-Meg One, launching a nuclear strike followed by a ground assault. It's one of the most intense, thrilling stories I've ever read, and includes an astonishing number of nukes, Dredd personally euthanising a group of radiation victims because they can't spare any medicine, and later dumping the bodies of a bunch of collaborators in a mass open grave. Garth Ennis cited this story as one of the defining moments of his life (moderate spoilers).
If you're in America, there's also "Masters of Mega-City One", which was compiled specifically as an introduction for Americans. It has a selection of shortish (up to five-part) stories by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and various British writers who are well known in America. I can't comment on its quality as I don't know which stories are in it, but it seems to be fairly well-received.
One thing to be aware of is that Judge Dredd was, and is, published in weekly instalments of between four and nine pages. As a result of this, if you're used to American comics, you'll find the pacing to be very different, and highly compressed compared to American comics, even those that aren't actually decompressed.
Actually, I liked Case File #1, for the cheesefest it was.
Call-Me-Kenneth is priceless. If you'd like those sort of old cheesiness, by all means, get the earlier case files, but what Buddha said.
edited 21st Dec '10 4:09:30 PM by JackMackerel
Thanks for the info Buddha! That's a pretty comprehensive list, and I appreciate all of it! I'll definately start with 4 and 5 then. I may have to look into Megacity Masters though, as I am in America.
As fort he cheesefest, I'm totally in. There's nothing quite like a Large Ham in my book.
ARE YOU DELIBERATELY CONFUSING JUDGE DREDD COMICS WITH DISCWORLD????
No, he was just comparing them.
Vol. 1 most notably covers Dredd's time on Luna 1; a decent chunk of those strips are definitely worth checking out (particularly the ones drawn by Brian Bolland), although most of those can be found in this collection along with the first two Judge Death arcs and a few other strips from Dredd's early days (mostly other stuff drawn by Bolland).
Also, I'd maintain that the greatest story ever written with Dredd's name on it is "America," but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't read much of anything else with the character.
I just finished "America" and that was crushing...
Now Im reading Case Files v5.I hear thats the place to start.
This is kinda weird,After the dead serious Apocalypse War we have Dredd wrestling robots and fighting the League of Fatties.Im not complaining thou.
Btw,how was Garth Ennis-es run?Im interested in seeing how he and Steve Dillon meet.
Ennis' early *Dredd* work is actually really good. He was never quite as good as John Wagner or Alan Grant, but his material is solid, and he's the best of the new 90s writers. Ennis himself is a lot harder on himself than most of the strips fans are.
His later output does decline, degenerating into shallow parodies of recent movies. This seems to be because of the stress of writing a six-page strip every single week; after a couple of years, writing duties were split between Ennis, Grant Morrison, and Mark Millar, and Ennis' work starts to recover. Alas, this happened quite soon before he was hired by Marvel, so the recovery was only present for a short time.
Thanks,I appreciate that.
I was somewhat familiar with a few newer stories(like Block Judge),so going back one thing suprised me-aliens.(Newb question)Was that early weirdness or are they still around?
edited 26th Mar '16 8:24:40 AM by 8Kids
They're still there, but nowadays they appear less often. The Kleggs are only really used in occasional comedic storylines, and other aliens are for one-off horror stories.
Thanks.That was confusing,since I went from Block Judge and America to Snookie Glanders.
I jumped tho Case Files 15.Mark Millar also had a story.Dredd steals Christmas.
Emerald Isle is the best story in the collection for me.Terrorists with spud guns.I mean SPUD.GUNS.It wasnt exactly Garth we know,but you can see how he developed from here.
Judge Dredd/Batman was just sorta weird.
two very different comics, there is no room for Batman's form of justice in Dredd's world, and there is no rooms for Dredd's form of Law in Batman's, though 1 and 4 are the only ones worth reading.
speaking of that, I recall an old Dredd story where he battled the Bat Mugger who was really a billionaire philanthropist, Dredd only figuring out his identity when after getting punched by the Bat and the bruise developing in the exact same patten as the ring Justice Department honoured the billionaire with for his work towards the city
JD hates vigilantes.But he was somewhat sympathetic for Nate Slaughterhouse.
CF 20 were fun.A showdown with 2 undead super-judges,another Xmas special(Millar kinda repeated himself here),and Walter the Wobot returns as a dark messiah.That was the best part.
So I just read the Dredd Batman crossover. I thought it would be trash. It was hilarious! Is that the usual tone for a Dredd comic?
More or less, yeah. It tends to be goofier than the 2012 movie but more serious than the 1993 movie.
That said, there obviously variation. The 70s and 90 stories could be pretty wacky, while the 80s and 10s tend to be serious with a constant undercurrent of dark humour. I haven't read much of the 2000s so I can't comment on that.
I also read the Aliens crossover. It fit the setting perfectly.
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