The Judge is coming back to the shores of NorthAm.
Okay – to translate, Dynamite Entertainment has landed the rights from Rebellion to produce an original Judge Dredd comic aimed at an American audience, with Garth Ennis and John Wagner as Dredd’s likely creators/overseers.
No – get the Sylvster Stallone movie out of your head. Comic-wise, Judge Dredd is the longest running strip in the UK’s 2000AD, created in 1977 by John Wagner, his editor Pat Mills and artist Carlos Ezquerra. Dredd is the most famous of MegaCity One’s Judges, law enforcement officers who act as judge, jury and executioner in the hyper-violent giant city of the future. In the UK, it could be easily argued that Judge Dredd has followed in the footsteps of Doctor Who, becoming a unique cultural icon.
Original Dredd comics have been seen in the American market before, notably when DC Comics produced two series mostly starring an alternate version of Judge Dredd in the mid ‘90s to lackluster sales. Dynamite’s plans to involve Ennis (who’s written many classic Dredd stories in the past) and Wagner are aimed at reaching a broader audience by staying true to the character.
Nick Barrucci, President of Dynamite Entertainment said that the deal with Rebellion is something that he’s been hoping to work out since he started the company.
“I had stopped by Garth Ennis’ apartment one day to talk about some of his other work, and Rebellion came up,” Barrucci says. “I told him that I had wanted to publish Judge Dredd in the United States for a while and had not had any luck in reaching the right person at Rebellion. Garth told me that he was in touch with one of the editors over there, Matt Smith, on a somewhat regular basis, and offered to reach out to him. Garth made the introduction, smoothed the way for us a bit, and from there, we started working with Rebellion’s business affairs, and we started the ball rolling. We’ve been working on this for the last four months, at this point.”
Barrucci says that Dynamite’s plan is to start with a new Judge Dredd series featuring all new stories in early to mid 2009. While Dynamite does have access to other Rebellion properties, Barrucci feels that focusing on Judge Dredd at the start will allow an audience to build. Once the audience is there, Dynamite will both look at bringing in other characters as well as releasing collections of earlier Dredd storylines, repackaged for an American audience.
The new stories will have an American flavor, Barrucci says, thanks to Ennis. “What we’re hoping for, and I’m putting the cart before the horse here a little, is to approach John Wagner, who is the voice of Judge Dredd, to write it, and in a perfect world, have Garth serve as a consultant, much like Quentin Tarantino on Crimson Tide. It will be all John, but Garth, having lived in America for the last few years, will be there to help make it work for an American audience.
“Don’t get me wrong - that’s something that’s always been tricky – making Judge Dredd work for an American audience, while being consistent and true to the character. We want to create an audience for Judge Dredd – by creating a great monthly, like we did for Red Sonja, when we move forward with the trade paperbacks and collections of the evergreen material, we can reach a larger audience.”
While Barrucci said it’s too early to talk about interior artists, he did confirm that classic Judge Dredd artist Brian Bolland an Alex Ross will contribute covers.