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2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Judge Dredd The Megazine 2.61 02/09/94

Keith Floyd is paid tribute to in this issue’s Brit-Cit Brute story by Robbie Morrison and Xuasus which is a coincidence given that the TV chef died the other day and this story was drawn fifteen years ago. All of the Floyd stylings are honoured, including his directing of the director, except he’s called Quentin Freud and is kidnapping VIPs to cook and eat on air. This is probably the first Brit-Cit Brute story I’ve liked, although Xuasus insists on painting the British judges in Mega City One uniforms which, quite frankly, is unacceptable.

At this time I think I was trying to make the break from The Megazine, giving the comic up but returning to it every now and then. I had come to realise that there is more to the appeal of Judge Dredd than the characters and world; the writers’ voices are important too. The current generation of writers that were being used didn’t seem to be contributing very much that was new. Their ideas for strips seemed to be obvious, lacking in hooks and not always compellingly told.

Current Dredd story, The Tenth Planet, by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra is a diamond in the rough of everything else. It’s a lead up to the next cross-over mega-epic and sees Dredd, McGruder and her assistant Castillo stop off on the planet Hestia on their way to Titan. Dredd is under arrest for falsifying evidence against the Mechanismo project but McGruder can’t resist an opportunity to show off her robot judges to a new audience. This really is a beautifully paced story, narrated in Castillo’s hesitant voice, that’s sprinkled with great moments of character insight and imaginative wonder.

I guess John Wagner is why I couldn’t draw a final line between myself and The Megazine at this time. Having said that, now revisiting these comics for The Slog, I wonder if the comic would have been better off using the newer writers exclusively. Perhaps all the new guys needed were a sense that they weren’t writing Wagner’s warm up acts and the space to assert their own voices more. Of course, this might have been the excuse old geezers like me needed to vacate The Magazine permanently but, who knows, we might also have been pleasantly surprised.

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