JUDGE DREDD: DREDD VS. DEATH (2000 AD/ DC, 2005; Softcover)
Collects selections from 2000 A.D. Nos. 50-52, 57, 110, 120, 127, 149-151, 224-228 (cover dates February 4, 1978- September 5, 1981)
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Artist: Brian Bolland
I am a sucker. I saw the new Dredd flick and then started seeking out books. There is a forthcoming Judge Dredd: The Complete Brian Bolland hardcover from IDW, which reprints all of these stories plus more, all newly colored and in hardcover. I'll pass on that but figured that it is worth mentioning for those interested it. I figured that his highly acclaimed run would be a great place to dip my toe in the water. Unfortunately for my wallet, the water is so fine that I plunged in with both feet and already acquired Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 1. There are 19 of those. Ugh.
2000 A.D. was responsible for helping to launch the careers of the '80s British invasion of creators like Alan Moore, Alan Davis, Brian Bolland, and other exceptional talents. Bolland's artwork was very good early on, and before too long he achieved the greatness which I present in these pictures here. The writing is extremely clever here as well. The Dark Judges are from an alternate reality where they determined that all crime is the byproduct of life. Their solution? Eliminating all life would equal the elimination of all crime. Genius, or so I thought. When I told my wife about this as we were reading in bed, her unqualified opinion was “that is stupid”. What does she know? She only has a collection of degrees.
The violence in these stories is over the top since British comics weren't subject to the Comics Code Authority and these were only available over here in the US as scarce imports. Every aspect of this series holds up well some 30 years later. The artwork looks every bit as fresh as something in a modern comic book, a testament to Bolland's visionary talent. I love his covers on Jack of Fables but have never read the series.
In typical DC fashion, the covers to most of the issues are not included. They threw a few Bolland covers in, some to the issues collected in this book, most of them not. It's not like this was a Bolland branded collection, just that DC are a bunch of assclowns without a clue how to put together a comprehensive collected edition.
This is a great read that is still available if you look in the usual spots, but I wouldn't wait too long. A lot of these books are falling out of print, as I've discovered with a few others that I tried ordering recently.
Pointless, mostly unrelated commentary: I had the Anthrax Among the Living tour shirt with Judge Death on it back in high school. I wore the shit out of that thing, and part of me wishes that I still had it. I wouldn't wear it anywhere these days, so whatever, no biggie. Just waxing nostalgic.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This book is slightly wider than a standard DC trade paperback, being printed in the exact dimensions of the UK version. The paper is outstanding dull matte finish coated stock and smells wonderful. The cardstock cover has a nice thick wax coating that makes me happy. I am ill, but I own it.
Linework restoration rating: 5 out of 5.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5.
Binding rating: 5 out of 5.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5.
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