2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Prog 425

The line of 2000 AD re-prints continues to expand as, this prog, there is an advertisement for "The Judge Dredd Collection", a book containing the first run of Saturday strips from The Daily Star. It makes a nice change to see that IPC, the publishers of the weekly, have had the foresight to produce this collection and not, for example, the rapidly growing Titan Books who repackage everything else.

The Daily Star Judge Dredd strip began three years before in 1982 and is great. Approximately nine panels long, each episode is a self contained, tightly scripted, concentrated hit of Judge Dredd goodness. Ron Smith draws the strip for years making him, in many people's minds, the definitive Judge Dredd artist, I'm sure. Each episode is beautiful to behold. Interestingly, John Wagner is credited as writer by his real name which, at the time, I interpreted, probably incorrectly, as him taking greater pride in his work for the newspaper than for 2000 AD.

Over twenty years later, I'm amazed that this arrangement between The Daily Star and 2000 AD ever happened. Not because a British newspaper ran what is essentially a strip for boys at a time when, broadly, comics were seen as being read by either children or illiterates but because the paper had the insight to run it in the first place. Look at the Daily Star in 2008 and it's hard to imagine their journalists having to do anything other than watch Big Brother and write copy to accompany photographs of poorly educated young women. If the paper was essentially the same in 1985, how did something as finely crafted as the Judge Dredd strip manage to get commissioned at all?

After careful consideration, I have decided not to include the series of Judge Dredd Collections as part of The Slog. However, I would like to take this opportunity to suggest that Rebellion, the owners of 2000 AD in 2008, consider repackaging the strips from The Daily Star in a format similar to the recent Peanuts collections published by Fantagraphics. That would be great.

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  • Concur! I've been thinking about doing a feature on the Daily Star strips in my Reprint This! series. Maybe later this month...

    Then again, it's not like Rebellion's announced collections of Missionary Man, Armitage or The Stainless Steel Rat. I might end up jinxing the Judge Dredd strip by talking about it!

    By Blogger Grant, at 8:48 pm  

  • Reprinting the newspaper strip Dredd just seems like a no-brainer. How could it not be successful? Great creators, great entertainment value, with a strong, recognisable lead character. Do it. Do it now!

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 10:07 am  

  • Grant, I would be delighted if they reprinted the recent Strontium Dog stories by Wagner and Ezquerra too. Can you have a word? :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:46 pm  

  • Later Ken, the strip becomes daily and continuous. I would love to see those reprinted too.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

  • John Wagner's pseudonyms were (usually) because he shared the Dredd writing duties with Alan Grant.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 7:58 pm  

  • Paul, there's a trade of The Kreeler Conspiracy - the one that started in Prog 2000 - supposedly due out in October or November, actually. Rebellion's problem is that there's just too darn much good stuff to reprint in bookshelf format, and only two books a month!

    By Blogger Grant, at 8:50 pm  

  • ***Reprinting the newspaper strip Dredd just seems like a no-brainer. How could it not be successful? Great creators, great entertainment value, with a strong, recognisable lead character. Do it. Do it now!***

    Not really. There was a hardback release of all Ron Smith's Daily Star Dredds several years ago. I don't remember it exactly running off the shelves.

    By Blogger garageman, at 2:04 am  

  • Titan / Rebellion have packaged up far more marginal strips with, it seems, scant regard for commerciality. Rain Dogs?

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 10:21 pm  

  • but that wasn't your point. Your point was that it would sell successfully. I don't think it would.

    By Blogger garageman, at 12:45 am  

  • Grant, great news. One for the Amazon wish list.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:14 pm  

  • Garageman, I'm with Ken on this one. I accept your point but the market has changed and if they publish it in a well designed "with extras" manner I'm sure it would do as well as any other books they publish.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:17 pm  

  • Garageman, my point *is* in there - if the definition of 'success' is 'it'll sell better than some of the trash we've had to shift to remainder shops and giveaways'.

    We may just have to agree to differ ;)

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:28 am  

  • i used to have most of the Ron Smith reprint volumes. Have the Ian Gibson and others (who were the other artists?) from the Daily Star also been collected?

    By Blogger Simon C, at 7:28 am  

  • these, and the Quiz Book, were my first exposure to Dredd. They ran in one of the papers over here, briefly. I recall the break-proof glass episode vividly.

    By Blogger Drhoz, at 9:22 am  

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