Andrew Newton reviews Judge Dredd: The Daily Dredds – Volume One…
For those of you old enough, cast your minds back to the far reaches of 1976 (those of you like me who are not old enough just imagine). For children it was one of the best years ever with one of the hottest summers on record, the Muppet show, Raleigh Chopper bikes and no end of year exams. But little did children of the time know that in a little room, hunched over a desk were Pat Mills and John Wagner and they were in the process of developing what was to become one of the most popular UK comics of all time, 2000AD. In particular, they were designing new characters for the publication and one of those under development was the futuristic fascist policeman we know and love as Judge Dredd.
First appearing in Prog 2 of 2000AD in 1977, Dredd became a firm favourite of the comic. His popularity was such that in 1981 the publisher was approached by British tabloid newspaper, the Daily Star, and asked to do a Dredd short story strip to be published daily. This proved to be amazingly successful and as such, ran from 1981 until 1998.
If you haven’t guessed already, it is these Daily Star strips that are the focus of this new graphic novel. In particular the strips that appeared between 1981 and 1986. These early stories of Dredd’s adventures in Mega City 1 are a great trip down memory lane. Those of you who like colour will be disappointed but you shouldn’t be as the artwork is spot on perfect. It’s classic Dredd artwork created by Ron Smith, Ian Gibson, Mick McMahon, John Higgins, Steve Dillon and Brett Ewins.
Each strip is a self contained short story and serves as small introductions to, not only the mean streets of Mega City 1 but also to some of the hobbies and crazes that are loved so much by its citizens. Do you remember ‘Boing’, the spray on bubble that you could bounce in? What about gluttony not being illegal and giving rise to the ‘Fatties’? Or perhaps you remember Otto Sump and his ‘Ugly Clinics’. All the crazes, hobbies and perp types of Mega City 1 can be found in this very excellent volume.
With stories from John Wagner, Alan Grant and Richard Burton you know there is going to be quality throughout this volume as all three writers are excellent at being able to blend humour into their stories (look out for the ‘More Pedestrian Crossings’ gag).
What makes this an essential purchase for any Dredd fan young and old is how thoroughly it has been researched and compiled. Barring one or two strips, (most notably from November ’83) there is every single strip that ever appeared in the Daily Star in this time period. It’s certainly been a hard task for Rebellion’s Graphic Novels Editor, Keith Richardson.
Do I think you should buy this? Yes, I would wholeheartedly recommend this to any Dredd fan. So come on, what are you waiting for? Go to your favourite retailer or visit here now or it’s 18months in an Iso-Cube.