JUDGE DREDD: THE RESTRICTED FILES VOL. 1 (2000 AD, First Printing, 2010; Softcover)
Collects the Judge Dredd stories from 2000 A.D. Summer Special 1977, 2000 A.D. Annual 1978-1985, 2000 A.D. Sci-Fi Special 1978-1984, Dan Dare Annual 1979, 1980, and Judge Dredd Annual 1981- 1985 (cover dates Summer 1977- Annual 1984)
Writers: John Wagner, Alan Grant, Steve Moore, and Malcom Shaw
Artists: Mike McMahon, Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland, Kevin O'Neill, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, Ian Gibson, David Jackson, Keith Page, Colin Wilson, Cliff Robinson, Robin Smith, Jose Casanovas, and John Byrne
This book collects the material from the ancillary specials that should have been included in the core Complete Case Files line. I am guessing that the reason why they didn't go that route originally is that many of these issues are in color and the first bunch of CCFs are in black and white. Later volumes in CCFs are in full color, but the optimal route would be what they did for the third Rogue Trooper collection: Coated stock paper so that they can print the color stories in color and in their proper place. That ship has sailed, although there is a hardcover of The Complete Case Files Vol. 1 on the horizon. We'll see if that rectifies this error. If it does, that, along with the larger trim size that it will boast, may just suck me in for the double dip. Kill me now.
These stories are all over the place in terms of quality. These are all self-contained short stories for obvious reasons, since they appeared in random special editions to lure new readers into the fold. There are a number of references to then-current events in the core title that would have made these stories more enjoyable if they were presented in their proper context in the Complete Case Files line, especially the one with the sort-of return of Fergie, King Of The Big Smelly.
We get treated to a Brian Bolland drawn story in The Alien Zoo from the 2000 A.D. Annual 1982. I was shocked to see John Byrne handle the artwork in Block Out At The Crater Bowl from 2000 A.D. Sci-Fi Special 1983. I was unaware that he had ever done work for the UK comic industry. It also makes me wish that he would have been able to give this character a shot, because I think that he could have done some cool stuff with him. Oh well, at least we have this one story.
It's interesting to see the airbrushed and water colored art, as some UK comics were printed on slick paper. While it looks primitive by modern computer coloring it was a real step forward. I remember seeing some of the Marvel Magazines from the late '70s and thinking how cool comics on slick paper with an expanded color palette looked.
This was an uneven but entertaining read. Aside from the stories mentioned this is for completists only.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.
The OCD zone- These books are wider than standard trade paperbacks, although they are still smaller than the original publications.
Five of the covers which Judge Dredd appeared on are presented in coloUr in the back of the book.
Linework and Color restoration: High resolution scans with minimal tinkering. Since many of these are in color you get to see the limitations of the printing processes of the time.
Paper stock: Thick glossy coated stock.
Binding: Sewn binding on a softcover? Yes please.
Cardstock cover notes: Dull matte coating on the cardstock which is easily scuffed, even when handled gingerly.