Robot 6

Douglas Wolk gazes into the fist of Dredd

Quickly becoming the defacto reporter-of-record for comics on the mainstream industry scene, prolific writer Douglas Wolk is taking his critical eye to a bastion of UK comics publishing: Judge Dredd. In his new blog, Dredd Reckoning, Wolk is delving into the long-running Dredd stories from 2000AD and other outlets beginning with his first stories from 1977.

Although Dredd is a unifying figure for British comics fan, he’s largely been held at arm’s length by American audiences like a distant relative they just can’t warm up to. At one point, DC even attempted a U.S. Judge Dredd series drawn by a young Michael Avon Oeming that failed to grip audiences. This critical assessment of Dredd could be an eye-opening journey for American readers who want to know more but don’t know where to start or how to appreciate the work.

And this isn’t the first time that Wolk’s embedded himself in a narrow comics subject and went at it. His blog 52 Pick-up provided a week-by-week, blow-by-blow annotation of DC’s 52 series. Wolk has written about comics for Rolling Stone, Wired, and released a long-form, award-winning book on comics called Reading Comics.

There’s no word yet if Wolk will attempt to review the botched Sylvester Stallone flick from the 1990s, but here’s hoping.


One Comment

Judge Dredd is brilliant. If you want to start with the earlier stuff, I’d recommend starting from Case Files Vol.2; the first volume (and to a large extent the Restricted Files) is essentially testing the waters and trying out different iterations on the same character and themes. It’s interesting looking back on those experiments when you’re familiar with the character but I wouldn’t recommend it as an introduction at all. It DOES have the two part Judge Rico story, but that’s not really all that important until years later.

Volume 2 has the Judge Child Quest and Judge Cal megaepics and are a fun introduction to the character and his world. Volume 5 is the Apocalypse War, arguably the strongest early Dredd stories. The ‘new’ Dredd – from America/The Pit onwards – is probably one of the finest comics on any side of the water. John Wagner should be lauded much more than a lot of his US counterparts for maintaining a level of consistency and quality for over 30 years. Garth Ennis was right when he said Wagner’s the only one who can handle that character; everyone else pales in comparison.

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