How do you plead?
August 8, 2016 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Dredding Every Minute of It: MeFi's own Artw lays down the law on Dredd at the Seattle Review of Books, lightly framed as a review of John Wagner's Judge Dredd: America. As a Judge, I sentence you to READ, CITIZEN!
posted by mwhybark (23 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Oh dear, autocorrect 'fixed' the link title and I didn't catch it in time. Should be "Dredding Every Minute of It," of course.
posted by mwhybark at 2:20 PM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Wait, how the hell did I not know that Artw wrote for Terror Tales?
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:20 PM on August 8, 2016

Great read. America sounds fascinating. Thumbs up to Artw for the gratuitous computer gaming mentions.

Worth mentioning for a non-UK audience that the name "Judge Dredd" has absolutely been a cultural reference point/shorthand for decades in the same way that e.g. Daleks or Sherlock Holmes were, even prior to their popular contemporary versions.
posted by comealongpole at 2:30 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wait, how the hell did I not know that Artw wrote for Terror Tales?

Modesty is the hallmark of all true Englishmen. Fortunately, he knows a coupla loud Yanks.
posted by mwhybark at 2:38 PM on August 8, 2016

I'm all for freedom, but not at the expense of order.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:40 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Judge Dredd is one of those rare comics characters who I find genuinely unsettling -- Dredd is usually presented as an admirable person working for a deeply unpleasant cause, a cause which is, maybe, the best option that Mega-City One can hope for. Every triumph of the hero is also a triumph for a fascist state with all the hidden corruption and privilege encoded in fascist ideology, corruption that robs Dredd of satisfaction in his own work. Mega-City One is a kind of hell, where rooting for anyone pretty much guarantees that you will be rooting for evil in some way.

Anyway, reading the review makes me want to read Judge Dredd: America, which is more than I can say for most reviews. Well done, Artw!
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:41 PM on August 8, 2016 [8 favorites]

Nice one Artw!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:01 PM on August 8, 2016

A clarification: I wrote some Tharg's Terror Tales, not for Terror Tales.

Thanks for the kind words everyone! Wwirdly I find this sort of thing much harder than just writing comics, so I'm glad it came out alright.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on August 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Mod note: Fixed the link title; carry on.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:42 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

(thanks for the linktext massage, nameless mod LM!)
posted by mwhybark at 5:18 PM on August 8, 2016

Awesome stuff, Art! Always proud to say I know you!

(You are ALL awesome, but Dredd's always had a special place in my heart, a sad, dark, grim, violent place, but special nonetheless.)
posted by Samizdata at 6:50 PM on August 8, 2016

Always good to see more Dredd. (Except for the Dredd we don't talk about.) 2000AD Prog 1 was the first comic I ever bought. And, no, I no longer have it because I am stupid and traded it for some Close Encounters of the Third Kind trading cards. Which I also no longer have because I traded them for a dead snake. I traded the snake in a jar, dead snakes smell for some reason, for some Battlestar Galactica trading cards.

Which I then threw out when I was a teenager.

But Dredd is good and a rich and challenging body of work. Thanks, Artw!
posted by nfalkner at 7:11 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Dredd's a weird one. My take on him is that future technology and claustrophobia have made Megacity One so crazy that it really needs rigorous law enforcement. Dredd isn't an anti-hero and he doesn't want to be a hero either. He just wants to keep some degree of normality in a world where random citizens can fall prey to space plagues or accidentally create addictive candy. So he enforces the law and everybody (or at least most people) live another day.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:15 PM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I only started getting into Dredd after hearing about it from podcasts, and looking through the reading guide created a few years back by Douglas Wolk in his Dredd blog, Dredd Reckoning.

As someone who is slowly coming along with the Judge Dredd canon (via Block Mania/Apocalypse War in Case Files 5, and America), and who doesn't live in the US/UK, reviews and observations like these make me wish even more that our local comic shops and bookstores had all of the other Dredd stuff.
posted by FarOutFreak at 7:21 PM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Dredd for me wasn't good, wasn't bad, he was just batshit insane in a useful direction. Seriously, merciless lawman who shared an apartment with Walter the Wobot? Not stable.
posted by N-stoff at 9:04 PM on August 8, 2016

Case Files 5 is a really solid place to start. 2 and 4 are pretty good too, covering a couple of the early "mega-epics".

If you're interested in my stuff specifically the movie tie-ins are collected in the brilliantly named "Dredd: Urban Warfare". My other stories are not collected, but 2000AD has some very good tablet apps where you can download issues of 2000AD or the Judge Dredd Megazine separately.
posted by Artw at 9:40 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Huh, thought I posted this before - but if this is new to you and you haven't seen it already, Karl Urban's recent Dredd film is fantastic, and gets the gritty deadpan insanity of the character perfectly. Great soundtrack too.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:48 AM on August 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

I tried reading some early Dredd and bounced. Would trying again at America be a good entry point?
posted by Hactar at 7:04 AM on August 9, 2016

As ArtW's article points out there is quite a long run in to America within the on-going Dredd strips. It is set in 2112 while the Democracy stories start around 2108 and the years run equivalent to real time (ish) but 122 years ahead. These stories are mixed in with others, including some major event stories such as the Oz story line, which in some ways is more typical of the Dredd universe (though may be a little dated now, this is all over 25 years old). You could start with America and it is a good read, quite possibly the best Dredd story ever, with excellent art but some of the context will be missing.
posted by biffa at 8:33 AM on August 9, 2016

Yeah, it's a bit of a transitional moment. That said, if you've read any Dredd at all (or watched the movie) you shouldn't have any trouble with it.
posted by Artw at 8:35 AM on August 9, 2016

America is one of those fairly rare stories that takes a lot of pulpy sf tropes and somehow makes fine art out of them
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:45 AM on August 9, 2016

(to a citizen about to jump off a building)

"Don't do it, citizen! Littering the streets is an offence"
posted by mdoar at 10:45 AM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

I started reading Dredd as a very young child and just loved it, the futuristic setting, the bizarre characters, the violence, I couldn't get enough.

But then I remember reading the first story where he put down a democracy protest and my small mind was just blown. How could this be? Democracy was a good thing, but my hero was against it. The confusion lead to questioning and a much deeper appreciation of the strip. The fact that a comic could get such a tiny mind (in every sense) to start contemplating and discussing such huge topics is a testament to the huge talent of the writers.
posted by ciderwoman at 1:52 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older “Revolver” by way of funk and soul   |   Here's the drill: There will be no drill. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments