2012 was a very eventful year for fans of Dredd.
February saw the 35th anniversary of 2000AD, 35 years of Thrill power. Many readers have grown with the comic, seen it go through lean times and seen it resurge as a flagship of good British comics. Loyalty has kept a core readership, but quality of product has ensured this.
I recall the four page pull out advert that heralded this comic. 1977 was a time when my imagination was really starting to grow and I saw what this comic was intended to be, took the advert to my Dad and requested the first issue. Dan Dare swayed him, my Dad had been a big fan in the past. I loved the first issue and soon my parents put in a reservation at our local news agent for weekly issues.
Dredd wasn’t my favourite strip to begin with, not sure if it being introduced in the second issue affected that. I preferred Flesh, Invasion and Harlem Heroes. But I loved each strip, so competition was tight. But over the years Dredd has continued to deliver.
All through the year the creators of Dredd were building towards Chaos Day. Something that was destined to change the shape of Dredd’s world on a huge scale. This had started in July 2011 and wouldn’t come to an end until June 2012. The story not only included one of Dredd’s biggest recurring villains of Dredd, P J Maybe, but it re-introduced Judge Death’s Dark Judges for the first time in 20 years – Judges Fear, Fire and Mortis. The over all plot was fallout from the Apocoplypse War, originally published in 1982.
August brought Dredd 3D. Yes I know it wasn’t released until September 7th in UK but I saw it on 30th August (see my full reaction here) after winning the chance on Twitter. I’d been nervous about the film, I didn’t like the 1995 Stallone attempt at all. But this new film was brilliant. Granted Dredd’s uniform & the city didn’t look like they do in the comics – but the feel of the film, the characterisation of Dredd and the storyline were great. Alex Garland made a great Dredd film.
I am not sure how many times I paid to see the film, I think 5 times. Each time I enjoyed it, and each time I was thrilled at how much detail was packed in there. I’m looking forward to the blu-ray and I am planning doing a retrospective of the film in the coming week or so, it’ll be spoiler heavy and intended for people who have seen the film.
November brought us Judge Minty. a very long anticipated fan film based on a character from the pages of the comic. There are two reviews on my blog. The first I wrote after seeing the film for the first time as part of the 2012 Leeds Film Festival and is spoiler free (here). The second I wrote after seeing the film again 6 days later at Thought Bubble 2012, Leeds premier Comic Convention, this review is spoiler-light (here).
Judge Minty is an absolute joy of a film. The attention to detail is amazing, very loyal to source. Out of this film came Planet Replicas, who sell replicas of the Judge Dredd uniform and equipment. The uniform is as close to the comic as is achievable, well worth a look. There is so much in this short film that I expect I still missed some details that the team managed to include.
I can’t possibly say this too many times – if Judge Minty comes to a Comic Convention or Film Festival near you, go see it. If it is the only small budget film you see in 2013, see it. I will publicise future dates as I become aware of them for now, see here.
And in December we receive the culmination of the Dreddworld crossover story Trifecta. Three seemingly unrelated stories in different strips all set in Dredd’s world (it is important to remember that 2000AD does not have a shared universe) were revealed in October to be connected (prog 1807) and in the final part they were merged in to one continuous strip for the whole issue. This had never happened before in the history of 2000AD.
Not everyone enjoyed Trifecta as much as I did. Not everyone was so impressed by the clever working of the intertwining stories, Marvel and DC have done these events many times after all. But the whole thing was done without fanfare. Prog 1807 was a surprise to all and 1812 was unprecedented.
So, all in all, 2012 was a great year to be a Dredd fan. 2013 will bring me the Dredd blu-ray. Who knows what it will bring in print. Judge Minty will be seen by more people as it continues to tour the country, hopefully it will also end up being streamed on the internet.
What a Dredd full year it was.