Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd is a comic book franchise based on the longest-running comic strip in 2000 AD (1977), a British weekly anthology comic.

Judge Dredd
Dredd Apocalypse War.jpg
Illustration by Carlos Ezquerra
Publication information
IPC Media (Fleetway) 1977-2000
Rebellion Developments 2000-present
First appearance2000 AD no. 2 (5 March 1977)
Created by
In-story information
Full nameJoseph Dredd
Team affiliationsMega-City One Justice Department
Notable aliasesThe Dead Man
  • Excellent marksman
  • Expert in unarmed combat
  • Bionic eyes grant 20/20 night vision and reduced blinking rate[1]

The titular character in the franchise, Judge Dredd, is a law enforcement officer in the dystopian future city of Mega-City One, which covers most of the east coast of North America. He is a "street judge", empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals.

Publication historyEdit

When comics editor Pat Mills was developing 2000 AD in 1976, he brought in his former writing partner, John Wagner, to develop characters. Wagner had written a Dirty Harry-style "tough cop" story, "One-Eyed Jack", for Valiant, and suggested a character who took that concept to its logical extreme. Mills had developed a horror strip called Judge Dread (after the stage name of British ska and reggae artist Alexander Minto Hughes),[2] before abandoning the idea as unsuitable for the new comic; but the name, with the spelling modified to "Dredd" at the suggestion of sub-editor Kelvin Gosnell, was adopted by Wagner.[3][4]

The task of visualising the character was given to Carlos Ezquerra, a Spanish artist who had worked for Mills before on Battle Picture Weekly. Wagner gave Ezquerra an advertisement for the film Death Race 2000, showing the character Frankenstein (played by David Carradine) clad in black leather on a motorbike, as a suggestion of Dredd's appearance. Ezquerra added body-armour, zips, and chains, which Wagner initially objected to,[5] commenting that the character looked like a "Spanish pirate."[6] Wagner's initial script was rewritten by Mills and drawn up by Ezquerra. The hardware and cityscapes Ezquerra had drawn were far more futuristic than the near-future setting originally intended; in response, Mills set the story further into the future,[7] on the advice of his art assistant Doug Church.[8] The original launch story written by Wagner and drawn by Ezquerra was vetoed by the board of directors for being too violent.[9][note 1] A new script was needed for the first episode.

Mills initially based the characterisation of Judge Dredd on Brother James, one of his teachers at St Joseph's College, Ipswich. Brother James was considered to be an excellent teacher, but also an excessively strict disciplinarian to the extent that he was considered abusive. In his blog, Mills detailed the moments of rage for which Brother James had a reputation and his own experience witnessing them.[10] The De La Salle monks at the school were a major influence in the 2000 AD design of the 'judge, jury and executioner' attitude of the judges. The name Joseph refers to the school.[11]

By this stage, Wagner had quit, disillusioned that a proposed buy-out of the new comic by another company, which would have given him and Mills a greater financial stake in the comic, had fallen through.[12] Mills was reluctant to lose Judge Dredd and farmed the strip out to a variety of freelance writers, hoping to develop it further. Their scripts were given to a variety of artists as Mills tried to find a strip which would provide a good introduction to the character. This Judge Dredd would not be ready for the first issue of 2000 AD, launched in February 1977.[13]

Judge Dredd's first appearance, in an advert in 2000AD #1 (26 February 1977). Art by Mike McMahon, from a story later published in #6.

The story chosen to introduce the character was submitted by freelance writer Peter Harris,[note 2] and was extensively re-written by Mills, who added a new ending suggested by Kelvin Gosnell.[14][15] It was drawn by newcomer Mike McMahon. The strip debuted in "prog" (issue) no. 2. Around this time Ezquerra quit and returned to work for Battle. There are conflicting sources about why. Ezquerra says it was because he was angry that another artist had drawn the first published Judge Dredd strip.[16] Mills says he chose McMahon because Ezquerra had already left, having been offered a better deal by the editor of Battle.[17]

Wagner soon returned to the character, starting in prog 9. His storyline, "The Robot Wars", was drawn by a rotating team of artists (including Ezquerra), and marked the point where Dredd became the most popular character in the comic, a position he has rarely relinquished.[18] Judge Dredd has appeared in almost every issue since,[note 3] most of the stories written by Wagner (in collaboration with Alan Grant between 1980 and 1988).

In 1983, Judge Dredd made his American debut with his own series from publisher Eagle Comics, titled Judge Dredd.[19] It consisted of stories reprinted from the British comic. Since 1990, Dredd has also had his own title in Britain, the Judge Dredd Megazine. With Wagner concentrating his energies on that, the Dredd strip in 2000 AD was left to younger writers, including Garth Ennis, Mark Millar, Grant Morrison and John Smith. Their stories were less popular with fans, and sales fell.[20] Wagner returned to writing the character full-time for 2000 AD in 1994.

Judge Dredd has also been published in a long-running comic strip (1981–1998) in the Daily Star,[21] and briefly in Metro from January to April 2004.[22] These were usually created by the same teams writing and drawing the main strip, and the Daily Star strips have been collected into a number of volumes.

In 2012, Dredd was one of 10 British comic characters commemorated in a series of stamps issued by the Royal Mail.[23][24]


Dredd's first stories take place in the year 2099, 122 years after its publication date in 1977. His regular stories are generally set 122 years after their real-world publication date unless otherwise stated as a flashback or prequel story.

The setting of Judge Dredd is a dystopian future Earth damaged by a series of international conflicts; much of the planet has become radioactive wasteland, and so populations have aggregated in enormous conurbations known as 'mega-cities'.[25] The story is centred on the megalopolis of Mega-City One, on the east coast of North America. Within Mega-City One, extensive automation (including intelligent robots) has rendered the majority of the population unemployed.[26] As a consequence, the general population is prone to embracing any fashion or craze they encounter.[27] Mega-City One is surrounded by the inhospitable "Cursed Earth".[28] Much of the remaining world's geography is somewhat vague, although other mega-cities are visited in the strip.

Mega-City One's population lives in gigantic towers known as City Blocks, each holding some 50,000 people.[29] Each is named after some historical person or TV character, usually for comic effect. For example, Joe Dredd used to live in the Rowdy Yates Block – Rowdy Yates was a character in the American TV cowboy drama Rawhide, played by a young Clint Eastwood. Eastwood would later play the lead in Dirty Harry – one of the thematic influences by which Judge Dredd was inspired. A number of stories feature rivalries between different blocks,[30] on many occasions breaking into full-scale gun battles between them[31] (such as in the story "Block Mania").[32] The story Origins revealed that Mega-City One was formed by urban sprawl rather than deliberate design, and by 2051 it was recognised as the world's first mega-city. The Judges' powers reflect the difficulty of maintaining order. Mega-City One extends from Boston to Charlotte; but extended into Florida before the Apocalypse War laid waste to the southern sectors.[33] At its height, the city contained a population of about 800 million; after the Apocalypse War, it was halved to 400 million. Following Chaos Day in 2134, the city was reduced to 50 million. However, immigration quickly increased the population to 72 million by 2137.[34]

There are four other major population centres in Dredd's Northern America: the first is Texas City, including several of the southern former United States and based on Wild West manners.[35] South of the city is Mex-City. Far north is Uranium City. Canada, now called Canadia, remains a nation with scattered communities. Mega-City Two once existed on the West Coast, but was destroyed in 2114 during the world war known as Judgement Day.[36] Nuclear deserts and destruction elsewhere in the world are also extensive: much of the North Atlantic is severely polluted, and is now known as the "Black Atlantic".[37] An underwater settlement known as Atlantis exists in the Atlantic, half-way along a tunnel from Mega-City One to Brit-Cit (England).[38]

Nuclear desert also stretches across western Europe. The British Isles are Brit-Cit, Cal-Hab (Scotland), and Murphyville in Ireland.[39] The continent has Euro-City (eastern France and part of Germany), Ciudad España (eastern Spain), the Ruhr and Berlin Conurbs in Germany, Vatican City, and a scattering of other city-states. Russia's East-Meg One was destroyed by Dredd at the climax of the Apocalypse War in 2104.[40] Further east is East-Meg Two,[41] which has other territories under the "Sov Block" banner. Mongolia, lacking a Mega-City or Judge system, has called itself the Mongolian Free State and criminals have flocked there for a safe haven; East-Meg Two performed vicious clearances there in 2125.[citation needed]

Compared to North America and Europe, South America is shown to be in much better condition. Large fertile farmlands still exist and feed many cities worldwide, as do jungles and a variety of wild life. The main population centres are the highly corrupt cities of Ciudad Barranquilla in Argentina and Pan-Andes Conurb in the Andes on the Bolivian and Peruvian borders. Formerly two other cities existed, South-Am City and Brasilia, both of which were annihilated on Judgement Day.

In Asia, separated from East-Meg Two by an extensive nuclear desert, are Sino-City One (destroyed during Judgement Day) and Sino-City Two in eastern China, with Hong Tong built in the remains of Hong Kong. Hondo City lies on the remains of the islands of Japan.[42] Nu-Delhi (previously Indo-Cit and Delhi-City) is in southern India. Surrounding Sino-City 2 is the Radlands of Ji, a nuclear desert containing outlaw gangs and martial arts schools.[43] In the Pacific, cities survive in southeastern Australia or "Oz" (the Sydney-Melbourne Conurbation), the Solomon Islands (Solomon City), Tonga (Friendly City), and the New Pacific City; New Zealand is said to exist as well. All of Indonesia's islands are now linked by a network of mutant coral called "The Web", described as a lawless hotbed of crime, although a city called Djakarta did exist there at one point but was lost on Judgement Day.

The Middle East is without many major cities, being either nuclear or natural deserts, and only the mega-city of Luxor, Egypt has survived; the Mediterranean coast is heavily damaged by mutagens. In Africa much of the south is nuclear desert and a 'Great African Dustbowl' has formed in the northwest; but a large number of nation states have survived, whereof Simba City (Gabon), New Jerusalem (Ethiopia), Zambian Metropolitan, and Dar es Salaam are the largest cities. Nuclear fallout and pollution appear to have missed Antarctica and the Arctic, allowing one mega-city (Antarctic City) to be constructed there.

The high levels of pollution have created instances of mutation in humans and animals. The mega-cities largely operate on a system of genetic apartheid, making expulsion from the cities the worst punishment possible.[44] Mega-City One ended apartheid in the 2130s, but encourages mutants to move to Cursed Earth townships instead of remaining in the city.

Earth's moon has been colonised, with a series of large domes forming Luna City;[45] another colony, Puerto Luminae, exists but is lawless.[citation needed] In addition, many deep space colonies have been established. Some are loyal to various mega-cities, while many are independent states, and others still face violent insurgencies to gain independence. The multi-national Space Corps battles both insurgencies and external alien threats. The newly discovered planet 'Hestia' (which orbits the Sun at 90 degrees to Earth's orbit) has a colony; there are some references to colonies on Mars; Saturn's moon Titan has a judicial penal colony;[46] and Mega-City One is known to have deep space missile silos on Pluto.[47]

The paranormal is both common and often openly visible and so is accepted by both civilians and Judges. Ghosts, demons, ancient gods and two different creatures both claiming to be Satan have appeared in Mega-City One, with the Grand Hall itself known to be haunted by a disgraced former Chief Judge. Magic is real and has been practiced by some criminals. Psi-Divisions worldwide tend to be the main defence against such threats.

The Judge systemEdit

Street Judges act as police, judge, jury, and executioner. Capital punishment in Mega-City One is rarely used,[48] though deaths while resisting arrest are commonplace. Numerous writers have used the Judge System to satirize contemporary politics.

Judges, once appointed, can be broadly characterised as "Street Judges" (who patrol the city), and administrative, or office-based Judges. Dredd was once offered the job of Chief Judge; but refused it.[49] The incorruptibility of the Judges is supposedly maintained by the Special Judicial Squad (SJS), although SJS Judges have themselves broken the law on occasion, most notably SJS head Judge Cal who killed the Chief Judge and usurped his office for himself.[50] The Judge System has spread world-wide, with various super-cities possessing similar methods of law enforcement. As such this political model has become the most common form of government on Earth, with only a few small areas practicing civilian rule. There is an international "Judicial Charter" which countries and city states join upon instituting a Judge System.[51]

Lists of storiesEdit

Almost all[note 4] of the stories from both comics are currently being reprinted in their original order of publication in a series of trade paperbacks. Stories from the regular issues of 2000 AD and the Megazine are collected in a series entitled Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files. This series began in 2005[54] and is still ongoing as of 2020. Stories from special holiday issues and annuals appeared in Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files. This four-volume series began in 2010 and concluded in 2012.

Major storylinesEdit

There have been a number of Judge Dredd stories that have significantly developed the Dredd character and/or the fictional world, or which create and adds to a larger storyline. These are listed below (for a complete list of all stories see here).

  • The Robot Wars (2000 AD progs 10–17; prologue in prog 9). The Mega-City Judges face an uprising by the city's robot servant workforce, led by carpenter-droid Call-Me-Kenneth. The first multi-part Dredd story. Walter the Wobot, a robot who often pronounces R sounds as W, helps Dredd against the uprising and rallies together other robots that wish to still serve humanity. As a result, he is made a "free robot." Due to his love and respect for Dredd, Walter decides to remain as the judge's personal valet, housekeeper, and cook.
  • The Return of Rico (prog 30). It is revealed that Joe Dredd is a clone who was artificially aged and trained to be a judge since childhood. The story also reveals he has an older (by 12 minutes) clone "brother" Rico Dredd who became a judge alongside him. Rico grew corrupt, taking bribes and killing people in his way until Joe arrested him, leading to a sentence of 20 years hard labor on Saturn's moon Titan (this penal colony will be mentioned again in several later stories, particularly as a place where renegade judges are sent). Now in 2099, 20 years later, Rico comes to Mega-City One seeking revenge. No longer used to Earth's gravity, Rico Dredd is outdrawn and killed by Joe, who seems to mourn his brother despite their differences. Some later stories expand Rico's life and personality.
  • Luna-1 (multiple stories; progs 42–59) Dredd is assigned to act for six months as Judge Marshall of Luna-1, a colony on Earth's moon governed by judges from all three Mega-Cities. This story introduced Luna-1 and Judges from East-Meg One and Texas City.
  • The Cursed Earth (progs 61–85). Dredd, accompanied by punk biker Spikes Harvey Rotten (and later the alien Tweak), leads a small group of Judges on an epic journey across the Cursed Earth, transporting vaccine for the deadly 2T-FRU-T virus that is devastating Mega-City Two. This multi-part epic is often referred to as 'the first Dredd epic' and was inspired by Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley.
  • The Day the Law Died (progs 89–108; prologues in 86–88). It's 2101. The insane Judge Cal, head of the Special Judicial Squad (SJS), arranges the assassination of Chief Judge Goodman and then assumes the man's position himself. By brainwashing Judges and employing alien mercenaries, Cal rules Mega-City One like a new version of Caligula. Dredd rallies together a few other Judges and Judge-Tutors to lead a resistance movement, and eventually Fergee kills Cal. This story introduced the alien Kleggs and saw Chief Judge Griffin assume the Chief Judgeship after Cal's death.
  • Judge Death (progs 149–151). The first appearance of Judge Death and Dredd's recurring ally Psi-Judge Anderson. On a parallel Earth, the undead Judge Death decides that since crime caused by the living, life itself is a crime and the only sentence is death. After laying waste to his Earth (later called Deadworld), Judge Death arrives in Dredd's dimension in 2102, determined to continue killing. His body is destroyed in battle with the Judges, leading his undead, gaseous spirit to seek a new host until he is trapped inside the powerful telepathic mind of Psi-Judge Anderson. Anderson subjects herself to suspended animation, acting as a living cage. A later story reveals Judge Death was not alone but was one of four "Dark Judges."
  • The Judge Child (progs 156–181; epilogue in 182). Along with taking Judge Dredd outside the boundaries of Mega-City One, this story introduced several long-running characters and concepts into the Dredd mythos including: Judge Hershey, The Angel Gang (except for Fink Angel, introduced later), Murd the Oppressor, the Judge Child, and the new head of the SJS, McGruder. This story also begins writer Alan Grant tenure as Matt Wagner's long-term co-writer of the Dredd series. The story starts when Psi-Judge Feyy, the best 'pre-cog' in Psi-Division, predicts that a psychic child bearing the mark of the Eagle of Justice will need to rule Mega-City One in order to save it from a future disaster. Dredd is assigned to lead a team on a galaxy-spanning search for the "Judge Child," Owen Krsyler, leading to several battles, as well as Judge Lopez losing his life. Dredd realizes the boy's psychic predictions of death and disaster are intentionally caused by manipulative, self-fulfilling prophecies. On finding Owen Krysler, Dredd concludes that he is evil and abandons the Judge Child on the planet Xanadu rather than risk Mega-City One having a corrupt ruler, despite his orders and the sacrifices made. In the epilogue, Dredd's reputation is shaken and Judge McGruder questions his judgment.
  • Judge Death Lives! (progs 224–228). Voted #3 for "best story ever printed" in the Dredd comics in a 2005 poll on the 2000AD online website, this tale introduced the other three Dark Judges: Judges Fear, Fire and Mortis. A year after Judge Death's defeat, the three other Dark Judges journey to Dredd's dimension, free Death from Judge Anderson's mind, and provide him a new host body. After the host body is killed and made undead, Judge Death regains his full power and leads the other three on a killing spree. Released from suspended animation, Anderson joins Dredd in fighting the Dark Judges. The two then follow the quartet to their native parallel Earth, the 'Deadworld.' By tapping into the psychic anguish of all their victims, Anderson is seemingly able to destroy the four Dark Judges (though they will return years later).
  • Block Mania (progs 236–244). Contamination of water supplies by Orlok the Assassin leads to madness and violent aggression in many citizens. Minor wars break out between many city blocks of Mega-City One. This story introduced Orlok and saw the death of Judge Giant.
  • The Apocalypse War (progs 245–270, except 268). In 2104, Mega-City One is still weakened by the events of Block Mania, leaving it a vulnerable target for the Soviet forces of East-Meg One. Almost half the city (400 million people) are killed in nuclear strikes, while more die from radiation sickness, starvation, and cold. The Mega-City Judges are unable to strike back, as the Soviet city is protected by a dimensional force field that sends all incoming nukes to a parallel Earth. The Judges fight a guerilla war that eventually culminates in the destruction of East-Meg One when Dredd captures a Soviet missile bunker. This story features the death of Chief Judge Griffin, with McGruder becoming the new Chief Judge.
  • City of the Damned (progs 393–406). It's now 2107 and the Judges have developed their first true time travel technology. Dredd and Anderson travel to the year 2120 to discover more about the disaster predicted by Psi-Judge Feyy. Arriving years after the disaster, Anderson and Dredd find Earth now a wasteland inhabited by monsters, vampire Judges, and a powerful being called the Mutant. During a battle with monsters, Dredd's eyes are impaled by claws and he's blinded. He then learns the Mutant is a clone of the Judge Child Owen Krysler, born with an inhuman appearance but inheriting all of his memories. The Mutant eventually caused the destruction of the human race and, for his own amusement, reanimated the future version of Dredd, making him an undead, zombie servant. Dredd fights his undead double before fleeing back to 2107 with Anderson, where his eyes are replaced by bionics that not only restore his sight but also grant night-vision and reduce his blinking rate by 50%. The Judge Child clone is then located in 2107 and killed, along with all those involved in his cloning, ensuring the terrible future Dredd and Anderson saw will no longer happen (though this is not certain for many years and the undead Dredd is seen again in a future story). This storyline was originally intended to be much longer, but the creative team became tired of it.
  • Oz (progs 545–570). When sky-surfer Chopper breaks out of jail and flees to the Sydney-Melbourne Conurb in Australia to take part in the (now legal) Supersurf 10, Dredd is sent to retrieve him. But Dredd’s real mission is to fight former Council of Five member Morton Judd, the scientist who created him from the cloned DNA of Judge Fargo. After escaping justice 40 years earlier, Judd has created a new army of clones called the Judda, planning to use them to dominate Mega-City One. Dredd destroys the Judda’s base (Ayers Rock) with a nuclear bomb, although some Judda survive and are captured.
  • The Dead Man (progs 650–662). When first published in 2000 AD, this was not billed as a 'Judge Dredd' tale and was printed as an extra storyline while the main 'Judge Dredd' series continued in parallel. No references to established Dredd comic locations or characters were made until the storyline's last few chapters. The story begins when a boy named Yassa Povey, one of a group of settlers living in a desolate landscape, discovers an amnesiac near-dead man whose entire body and face have been burned. Supernatural forces hunt the Dead Man, who then retraces his steps with Yassa's help. In the 11th chapter of the story, the two find the remains of a Judge uniform and a badge reading "Dredd." The Dead Man recalls he is Joseph Dredd and that, following the events of "A Letter to Judge Dredd," he recently lost faith in the system and retired, taking the "long walk" into the Cursed Earth (where Yassa lives). He was then attacked by psychic projections of the Sisters of Death, the witches who made the Dark Judges into supernatural monsters, which led to him falling into an acidic chemical lake. After encountering the Sisters again, Dredd returns Yassa home and heads back to Mega-City One.
  • A Letter to Judge Dredd (prog 661). Published alongside the penultimate chapter of "The Dead Man" storyline, this story reveals that during the Judges' suppression of a protest rally of Democrats (citizens who want democracy instead of Judge control), a protestor named Sholley was struck so hard he suffered permanent brain damage. Sholley has regular fits of violent delusions for the next two years, often attacking his family. Since Dredd was in charge of breaking up the rally that day, a boy named Wenders writes to him asking why Sholley was permanently injured during a seemingly peaceful protest. He also has several questions regarding the effectiveness and fairness of the Judge system when crime, violence, and corruption don't improve, the people fear their own protectors, and punishments are dealt so harshly by people whose judgment may not be perfect. Sholley has another violent episode and kills Wenders, whose letter is given to Dredd. Already having had doubts for years, Dredd questions the Judge system even more after reading it. Thus the story reveals what set in motion his retirement mentioned in "The Dead Man," and sets up a chain of events in stories to follow.
  • Tale of the Dead Man (progs 662–668). The first chapter of this story was published in the same issue as the final chapter of "The Dead Man," linking that story back into the main "Judge Dredd" series. As Dredd heads back to Mega-City One following the events of "The Dead Man," he recalls what led to him retiring and leaving for the Cursed Earth. Disillusioned with the system, Dredd assesses his younger clone-brother Kraken, a former Judda who is now a Cadet. During the assessment, Dredd's former mentor Morphy is killed, bringing up more feelings in Dredd that his own time as a Judge should end. Kraken impresses many but Dredd sees a glimmer of Judda attitude when the young man is angry, and recommends he not be a Judge. Dredd then announces his retirement and pardons all the Democrats he arrested from the protest two years earlier mentioned in the Wenders letter. The next day, he leaves for the Cursed Earth, leading into the events of "The Dead Man." This story acts as a prologue to Necropolis.
  • Countdown to Necropolis (progs 669–673). Kraken is sentenced to death based on Dredd's belief that he is still a Judda at heart. But this is actually a final test of loyalty to see if he attempts to defend himself. Seeing that Kraken accepts the sentence and is willing to execute himself, Chief Judge Silver makes him a full Judge. Since the population of Mega-City One and most Judges don't know that Dredd retired, Silver then orders Judge Kraken to pretend to be Dredd for the time being, to avoid admitting to the public that such a famous and trusted Judge lost faith in the justice system. Meanwhile, a woman named Xena is becoming obsessed with Judge Death, having barely survived an encounter with him during one of the previous Dark Judge rampages. It is revealed that the Sisters of Death have influencing Xena from Deadworld, gaining her loyalty and convincing her she will be the "Bride of Death." Eventually, they use her mind and life force to create a psychic bridge allowing them to manifest on Earth.
  • Necropolis (progs 674–699). Two months after Dredd left Mega-City One, the Sisters of Death attack and take control of the vulnerable minded Judge Kraken. Realizing Xena is too weak to be of much further use, the Sisters have Kraken bring them Psi-Judge Kit Agee so her psychic power can form a stronger bridge from Deadworld. Increasingly corrupted by the Sisters, Kraken later forces an extra-dimensional research lab to bring the Dark Judges back to Mega-City One. The Sisters use magic to corrupt MC1 into "Necropolis" and the Dark Judges take over, making Kraken a fifth Dark Judge and corrupting many Judges who can't resist. Under their rule, the population is systematically murdered, while some commit suicide to avoid horrific death. Finding the retired former Chief Judge McGruder in the Cursed Earth, Dredd recruits her and returns to Mega-City One. He then recruits Anderson and others. Locating Agee, they kill her, cutting off the Sisters' power and influence. Judges Mortis, Fear, and Fire are then captured. In the end, 60 million are dead, their bodies buried in a mass grave just outside the walls of Mega-City One. Freed from being a slave to the Dark Judges, Kraken welcomes his execution by Dredd. With Chief Judge Silver missing and presumed dead, McGruder returns to the position of Chief Judge but decides not to create a new Council of Five.
  • The Devil You Know and Twilight's Last Gleaming (progs 750–753 and 754–756). The long-running tensions in Mega-City One between the totalitarian Judge system and the movement for the restoration of democracy conclude with a vote. A large number of apathetic citizens take no part in the process, while the majority of those who do vote want the Judges to remain in control. A pro-democracy protest march of almost 2 million people heads for Justice Central and is ready to riot, but Dredd convinces the leaders the referendum was fair and votes were counted accurately. During this time, Dredd undergoes "rejuve" treatment for the first time, restoring his damaged skin and muscle from "The Dead Man" story and gaining more vitality and youth than a man his age should have.
  • Top Dogs (Judge Dredd Annual 1991). Published in 1990, this is the first crossover between Judge Dredd's stories and another long-running 2000 AD comic strip Strontium Dog starring Johnny Alpha. Mutated by strontium radiation fallout resulting from a nuclear war in 2150, Alpha (like many mutants) works as a Search/Destroy Agent, bounty hunters often referred to as "S/D" Agents or "Strontium Dogs." In this story, Johnny and his partner Wulf Sternhammer time travel from 2176 to pursue fugitives who have escaped to Dredd's time in 2112. Although Dredd realizes Alpha and Sternhammer are time travelers, he doesn't recognize their legal authority and considers their actions criminal. After a fight and chase, the S/D Agency transports Johnny, Sternhammer, and their bounty target back to 2176. Dredd regards Alpha and Sternhammer as wanted fugitives. Although this story implies Alpha's stories are set in Dredd's future, writer John Wagner later said the world of Strontium Dog is one of several possible futures for Dredd's reality.
  • America (Megazine 1.01–1.07). Dredd's philosophy is explored when democracy activists resort to terrorism. This story introduces the tragic characters America Jara and Bennett Beeny, as well as the terrorist group Total War.
  • Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham, an intercompany crossover story co-published by DC Comics and Fleetway, written by Alan Grant and John Wagner, and featuring painted artwork by Simon Bisley. The universe-hopping undead monster Judge Death uses dimension-jump technology to breach the DC Universe and attack Gotham City. Batman uses the same technology to travel to Dredd's reality, leading to a battle and then the Dark Knight's arrest. After scanning Batman's mind, Judge Anderson realizes they're on the same side and helps him return to Gotham to stop Judge Death and Scarecrow. Dredd reluctantly joins forces with Batman, returning home with Anderson once Death is defeated. The story was followed by three other crossovers also written by Wagner and Grant but with different artists each time: Batman/Judge Dredd: Vendetta in Gotham, Batman/Judge Dredd: The Ultimate Riddle, and Batman/Judge Dredd: Die Laughing #1–2.
  • Judgement Day (progs 786–799 and Megazine 2.04–2.09). Published in 1992, this was the first story to feature Johnny Alpha of Strontium Dog after his death in 1990. In this story, the villain Sabbat the Necromagus destroys a world in 2178 (two years before Alpha's Death) then journeys to Dredd's time in 2114. Johnny Alpha pursues him to ensure he doesn't completely alter future history. Using a lodestone to tap into Earth's own energy field, Sabbat re-animates most of Earth's dead, including the 60 million buried outside of Mega-City One after "Necropolis," and releases zombie armies against the world's Mega-Cities, causing the Fourth World War. Many minor supporting characters are killed, including Dredd's former cadet trainee Dekker. At an international conference of Judges, Sabbat briefly appears and explains that since he can control the dead, he will kill the entire human race to create a planet-scale army to conquer the galaxy. After learning the cities of Brasilia, Djakarta, Mega-City Two, Sino-Cit, and South-Am City have all fallen to Sabbat, Dredd suggests nuking them so the dead won't become new zombie soldiers. Although horrified this will kill any survivors still in those cities, the other cities agree and the attacks kill over 2 billion across Earth, with another billion later dying in the surviving cities from the zombies. When Sabbat's base is located in the Radlands of Ji (an area of post-nuclear China), Dredd leads a squad to stop him and Johnny Alpha tags along. In the end, only he and Dredd survive, decapitating Sabbat and pinning his head to his own magical lodestone so he can't regenerate or leave. With Sabbat's power shut down (even though his head lives), the undead armies fall. Dredd and Alpha are then forced to walk back to civilization from the Radlands, with Dredd deciding that Alpha's actions have earned him a pardon for crimes in Mega-City One. (The end of their journey together, and Johnny Alpha's return to the future, is told in the Big Finish Productions audio play Judge Dredd: Pre-Emptive Revenge starring Toby Longworth as Dredd and Simon Pegg as Johnny Alpha.)
  • Mechanismo trilogy (Megazine 2.12–17, 2.22–26 and 2.37–43). After "Necropolis" and "Judgment Day", Mega-City has lost far too many judges. To combat this, the Chief Judge test-runs 10 robotic "Mechanismo" Judges, with disastrous results.
  • Inferno (progs 842–853). Escaped rogue Judges from Titan take over the city, forcing the Judges into exile out in the Cursed Earth.
  • Wilderlands storyline (progs 891–894 and 904–918 and Megazine 2.57–2.67). This story introduced Judge Volt and Judge Castillo, revived the Council of Five, and ended many long-running subplots, including the Mechanismo Program and McGruder's second stint as Chief Judge. Dredd is exposed as falsifying evidence to shut down the Mechanismo project and is arrested, while Chief Judge McGruder attempts to remain in power and see Mechanismo implemented. When a malfunctioning Mechanismo crashes a space cruiser on an alien world in an attempt to kill McGruder, Dredd takes control of the survivors.
  • The Pit (progs 970–999). This story introduced the popular Judge Galen DeMarco, who would become protagonist of her own strip. Dredd takes the job of Sector Chief at Sector 301, an isolated area of the city that has become a dumping ground for corrupt and incompetent judges.
  • The Doomsday Scenario (progs 1141–1164 and 1167, and Megazine 3.52–3.59). The first series to run the same story from different viewpoints concurrently from start to finish, one in 2000 AD and the other in the Judge Dredd Megazine. One is told from the viewpoint of Galen DeMarco, now a civilian, as she is caught up in crimelord Nero Narcos' attempt to take over the city with his army of robots. The other is told from Dredd's viewpoint as he is taken prisoner by Orlok the Assassin and tried by the East-Meg One government in exile for his war crimes during the Apocalypse War. Once Dredd escapes (with Anderson's assistance), he secures the help of Brit-Cit in breaking Narcos' control over his robot hordes. The story saw the Judges briefly lose power and Chief Judge Volt commits suicide as a result. Hershey replaces him.
  • Blood Cadets (progs 1186–1188). This introduces a new, young clone of Dredd who calls himself Rico (no first name) to try to redeem that name. Blood And Duty(progs 1300–1301) saw the return of Dredd's niece Vienna Pasternak. With Vienna's reintroduction and the arrival of Judge Rico, Dredd is given a family and several new plot points for future stories, including the Justice Department creating a large number of Dredd clones, and Dredd's problems with trying to connect with his niece.
  • Judge Dredd vs. Aliens (prog 2003 special and 1322–1335). Dredd faces the famous Xenomorphs, with mutant criminal 'Mister Bones' breeding an army thereof to attack the Department of Justice.
  • Terror and Total War (progs 1392–1399 and 1408–1419). A pair of stories wherein the fanatical organisation 'Total War' smuggles 12 nuclear devices into the city and threatens to detonate them all unless the Judges leave. A standard thriller plot made more significant through explorations of Judge Dredd's extended family, including Vienna and another Dredd clone named Nimrod.
  • Blood Trails (progs 1440–1449). Following elements of Total War and Gulag (where Dredd led a Judge team to try and free prisoners from the Sov block), a clone of Sov Judge Kazan tries to attack Dredd by targeting Vienna, sending the face-changing assassin Pasha to abduct her. In the aftermath of the story, the Kazan clone is cut loose by East-Meg 2 and claims political asylum from Mega-City One. Dredd's long-term ally Guthrie is severely injured, losing both legs and an arm, eventually becoming a cyborg. Judge Giant and Judge Rico are severely injured.
  • Origins (progs 1505–1519 and 1529–1535; prologue in 1500–1504). Consisting largely of flashbacks, this story lays out the history of the Judges and founder Chief Judge Fargo, as well as scenes from Dredd's childhood during the Third World War.
  • Mutants in Mega-City One (progs 1542–1545). The first in a series of short stories in which Dredd campaigns to change the apartheid laws prohibiting mutants from entering the city. This results in Chief Judge Hershey being voted out of office and replaced with Judge Francisco.
  • Tour of Duty (progs 1650–1693). Judge Dredd is posted in the Cursed Earth to oversee the foundations of four new mutant townships. The corrupt Judge Martin Sinfield manipulates Francisco so he can become Chief Judge, and promptly becomes the target of repeated assassination attempts. Dredd is recalled to lead the investigation into the attacks, which are the work of serial mass-murderer PJ Maybe, who has assumed the identity of Mayor Byron Ambrose.
  • Day of Chaos (progs 1743–1789) depicts the deaths of 87 per cent of the population of Mega-City One by a biological weapon unleashed by survivors of the Apocalypse War.
  • The Cold Deck (progs 1806–1811; prologue in 1803, epilogue in 1812). A cross-over between Dredd and the spin-offs The Simping Detective and Low Life, this story sees the machinations of Black Ops head Judge Bachmann, who is plotting a coup (the three stories together are known as Trifecta).
  • Every Empire Falls (progs 1973–1990 and Megazine 371–374). An attempted coup in Mega-City One by the chief judge of Texas City, Pamela Oswin. Dredd is seemingly killed, but this is a deception to hide the fact that he has actually been kidnapped.
  • Harvey (progs 2024-2029) and Machine Law (progs 2115-2122). This story introduces a new generation of robot judges that prove significantly more reliable than their predecessors and continue to appear in later stories. Judge Hershey resigns and is succeeded by Logan as Chief Judge.
  • The Carousel (Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 5 #375, published in 2016). In the year 2138, Joe Dredd - now 72 years old - is ordered to undergo another "rejuve treatment" at the Carousel Clinic (the first rejuve treatment happened soon after "Necropolis" due to his injuries in "The Dead Man," in the years 2112 when he was 46). His entire epidermis, vascular system, and muscular tissue are restructured at a cellular level, giving him somewhat greater youth and vitality than a person his age and condition should have. Though he is told he can also have his internal organs and bones rebuilt, he turns this down, satisfied for now.

Alternative versionsEdit

Shortly before the release of the 1995 movie, three new comic book titles were released, followed by a one-off comic version of the film story.

Judge Dredd (DC Comics)[55]

DC Comics published an alternative version of Judge Dredd between 1994 and 1996, lasting 18 issues. Continuity and history were different from both the original 2000 AD version and the 1995 film. A major difference was that Chief Judge Fargo, portrayed as incorruptible in the original version, was depicted as evil in the DC version. Most issues were written by Andrew Helfer, but the last issue was written by Gordon Rennie, who has since written Judge Dredd for 2000 AD (Note: the DC crossover story Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham featured the original Dredd, not the version depicted in this title).

Judge Dredd – Legends of the Law[56]

Another DC Comics title, lasting 13 issues between 1994 and 1995. Although these were intended to feature the same version of Judge Dredd as in the other DC title, the first four issues were written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and were consistent with their original 2000 AD version.

Judge Dredd – Lawman of the Future[57]

From the same publishers as 2000 AD, this was nevertheless a completely different version of Dredd aimed at younger readers. Editor David Bishop prohibited writers from showing Dredd killing anyone, a reluctance which would be completely unfamiliar to readers acquainted with the original version.[58] As one reviewer put it years later: "this was Judge Dredd with two vital ingredients missing: his balls."[59] It ran fortnightly for 23 issues from 1995 to 1996, plus one Action Special.

Judge Dredd: The Official Movie Adaptation[60]

Written by Andrew Helfer and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra and Michael Danza. Published by DC Comics in 1995, but a different version of Dredd to that in the DC comic books described above.

Heavy Metal Dredd

From the same publishers as 2000 AD, this was a series of ultra-violent one-off stories from "a separate and aggressive Dredd world".[61] The first eight episodes were originally published in Rock Power magazine, and were all co-written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and illustrated by Simon Bisley. These were reprinted, together with 11 new stories (some by other creators), in Judge Dredd Megazine. The original eight stories were collected in a trade paperback by Hamlyn in 1993.[62] The complete series was collected by Rebellion Developments in 2009.[63]

Dredd (2012 film continuity)

In the week that the 2012 film Dredd was released in the UK, a 10-page prologue was published in issue #328 of Judge Dredd Megazine, written by its editor, Matt Smith, and illustrated by Henry Flint. "Top of the World, Ma-Ma" told the backstory of the film's main antagonist, Ma-Ma.[64] Five more stories featuring this version of the character were published in Judge Dredd Megazine: "Underbelly" in #340–342 (2013), "Uprise" in #350–354 (2014), "Dust" in #367–371 (2015–'16), "Furies" in #386–387 (2017), and "The Dead World" in #392–396 (2018) (there were also two Judge Anderson stories featuring the film version of that character in #377–379).

Judge Dredd (IDW Publishing)
  • In November 2012, IDW Publishing began a new monthly series written by Duane Swierczynski and illustrated by Nelson Daniel.[65] It lasted for 30 issues.
  • IDW began a new four-issue miniseries called Judge Dredd: Year One in March 2013, set during Dredd's first year as a judge.[66]
  • In September 2013, IDW began publishing the four-issue miniseries Mars Attacks Judge Dredd.[67]
  • In January 2014, IDW began another miniseries, Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two.[68] There were five issues.
  • In July 2015, IDW announced a new miniseries called Judge Dredd: Mega-City Zero,[69] starting in January 2016. This ran for 12 issues, and then was followed by a sequel, set 10 years later, called Judge Dredd: The Blessed Earth, which lasted for nine issues.
  • IDW and Dark Horse Comics published a four issue miniseries, Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens, beginning in July 2016 and ending in June 2017.
  • A four-issue miniseries, Under Siege, began in May 2018. It is not connected with any previous IDW Judge Dredd series.
  • Toxic began in October 2018 and ran for four issues.
  • False Witness is a four-issue miniseries in 2020.

In other mediaEdit


Judge Dredd (1995)Edit

An American film loosely based on the comic strip was released in 1995, starring Sylvester Stallone as Dredd[70] (it was said that Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally requested for the role,[71] but declined because in the original script, Dredd would keep the helmet on during major parts of the film). The film received negative reviews upon its release. It currently holds a 15% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with the critical consensus stating that "Director [Danny] Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work".[72] In deference to its expensive Hollywood star, Dredd's face was shown. In the comic, he very rarely removes his helmet, and even then his real face is never revealed. Also, the writers largely omitted the ironic humour of the comic strip, and ignored important aspects of the "Dredd mythology" (for example, in the film a "love interest" is developed between Dredd and Judge Hershey, something that is strictly forbidden between Judges (or Judges and anyone else for that matter) in the comic strip). In the United States, the film won several "worst film of the year" awards.[73]

The co-creator and main writer of the comic character, John Wagner, said:

I hated that plot. It was Dredd pressed through the Hollywood cliché mill, a dynastic power struggle that had little connection with the character we know from the comic.[74]

However the film has since been praised for its depiction of Dredd's city, costumes, humour and larger-than-life characters.[75]

Dredd (2012)Edit

Reliance Entertainment produced Dredd, which was released in September 2012. It was positively received by critics with Rotten Tomatoes' rating of 78%. It was directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland. Michael S. Murphey was co-producer with Travis.[76] Karl Urban was cast as Judge Dredd and Olivia Thirlby portrayed Judge Anderson.[77][78] Dredd's costume was radically redesigned for the film, adding armor plates and reducing the size and prominence of the shoulder insignia.

The main Judge Dredd writer John Wagner said:

It's high-octane, edge of the seat stuff, and gives a far truer representation of Dredd than the first movie.[74]

The film was shot in 3-D and filmed in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Funding was secured from Reliance Big Entertainment.


On 10 May 2017, Entertainment Weekly announced that independent entertainment studio IM Global and Rebellion have partnered to develop a live-action TV show called Judge Dredd: Mega-City One. The show is planned to be an ensemble drama about a team of Judges as they deal with the challenges of the future-shocked 22nd century.[79][80]

Jason Kingsley, owner of Rebellion, told the Guardian in May 2017 that the TV show will be far more satirical than the movie adaptions and could become "one of the most expensive TV shows the UK has ever seen".[81]

According to Karl Urban, the studio's concept is to "build the show around more rookie judges and young, new judges", where Dredd himself "would come in and out". Urban stated that he would be interested in reprising the role for this, on the condition that Dredd's part of the story be implemented in a "meaningful way".[82]

In November 2018, Rebellion began setting up a new studio in Didcot, valued at $100 million, for Film and TV series based on 2000 AD characters, including Judge Dredd: Mega City One.[83]


Video gamesEdit

There have been multiple Judge Dredd games released for various video game consoles and several home computers such as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Sony PlayStation and Commodore 64. The first game, titled Judge Dredd, was released in 1986. Another game, also titled Judge Dredd, was released in 1990. At one time, an arcade game was being developed by Midway Games but it was never released. It can however be found online and has three playable levels.[84][85][86]

A game loosely based on the first live action film, called Judge Dredd was developed by Probe Software and released by Acclaim for the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, and Game Gear.[87] Bally produced a Judge Dredd pinball machine based on the comics.[88] In 1997, Acclaim released a Judge Dredd arcade game, a rail shooter featuring 3D graphics and full motion video footage shot specifically for the game.

Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death was produced by Rebellion Developments and released in early 2003 by Sierra Entertainment for the PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. The game sees the return of the Dark Judges when Mega-City One becomes overrun with vampires and the undead. The player takes control of Judge Dredd, with the optional addition of another Human player in co-operative play. The game is a first-person shooter  – with key differences such as the requirement to arrest lawbreakers, and an SJS death squad which will hunt down Dredd should the player kill too many civilians. The player can also go up against three friends in the various multiplayer modes which include "Deathmatch", "Team Deathmatch", "Elimination", "Team Elimination", "Informant", "Judges Vs. Perps", "Runner" and more.[89] A novel was based on the game.[90]

A costume set for the PlayStation 3 video game LittleBigPlanet was released in May 2009, which contained outfits to dress the game's main character Sackboy as five 2000 AD characters, one of which is Judge Dredd.[91] Dredd's uniform is also used to create the Judge Anderson costume for the Sackpeople.

In 2012, Rebellion released Judge Dredd Vs. Zombies, a game application for iPhone,[92] Android phones, Windows 8[93] and Windows Phone.[94]

Role-playing gamesEdit

Games Workshop released a Judge Dredd role-playing game in 1985.[95] Mongoose Publishing released The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game in 2002[96] and another Judge Dredd game using the Traveller system in 2009. Their licence ended in 2016. In February 2017, EN Publishing announced the new Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game using the WOIN (What's OLD is NEW) role-playing game system.

On 17 July 2012, Tin Man Games released a Judge Dredd-themed digital role-playing gamebook titled Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106, available for the iOS operating system.[97][98]


Games Workshop produced a Judge Dredd boardgame based on the comic strip in 1982.[99] In the game players, who represent judges, attempt to arrest perps that have committed crimes in different location in Mega City One. A key feature of the game is the different action cards that are collected during play; generally these cards are used when trying to arrest perps although some cards can also be played against other players to hinder their progress. The winner of the game is the judge who collected the most points arresting perps. Players could sabotage each other's arrest attempts. Additionally, there were many amusing card combinations such as arresting Judge Death for selling old comics, as the Old Comic Selling crime card featured a 2000 AD cover with Judge Death on it. The game used characters, locations and artwork from the comic, but is now out of print.

In 1987, Games Workshop published a second Dredd-inspired boardgame, "Block Mania".[100] In this game for two players, players take on the role of rival neighboring blocks at war. This was a heavier game than the earlier Dredd boardgame, focused on tactical combat, in which players control these residents as they use whatever means they can to vandalize and destroy their opponent's block. Later the same year, Games Workshop released the Mega-Mania expansion for the game, allowing the game to be played by up to four players.

Mongoose Publishing have released a miniatures skirmish game of gang warfare based in Mega-City One called "Gangs of Mega-City One",[101] often referred to as GOMC1. The game features judges being called in when a gang challenges another gang that is too tough to fight. A wide range of miniatures has been released including box sets for an Ape Gang and an Undercity Gang. A Robot Gang was also produced but was released as two blister packs instead of a box set. Only one rules expansion has been released, called "Death on the Streets". The expansion introduced many new rules including usage of the new gangs and the ability to bring Judge Dredd himself into a fight. This game went out of print shortly thereafter, but was replaced by the "Judge Dredd Miniatures Game", which was published free in many stages as the company sought feedback from fans and players. In 2012, an expansion was released called "Block War!". Miniatures continue to be manufactured at a slow pace.

In November 2017, Osprey Games announced their development of a new graphic adventure card game, entitled Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth. The game is designed and based on The Lost Expedition, a game from designer Peer Sylvester.[102] In the game, one to five players "[lead] a team of judges against dinosaurs, mutants, and the Cursed Earth itself".[103] It was released on 21 February 2019.[104]

Collectible card gameEdit

There was a short-lived collectible card game called simply "Dredd". In the game, players would control a squad of judges and arrest perps. The rules system was innovative and the game was well-received by fans and collectors alike, but various issues unrelated to the game's quality caused its early demise.[105]


There was a four-player pinball game released in 1993, produced by Bally Manufacturing.


From 1993 to 1995, Virgin Books published nine Judge Dredd novels. They had hoped the series would be a success in the wake of the feature film, but the series was cancelled after insufficient sales.[citation needed] In August 2015, these novels were re-released as e-books.[106] The books are:

  • Deathmasques (Dave Stone, August 1993 ISBN 0-352-32873-8)
  • The Savage Amusement (David Bishop, August 1993 ISBN 0-352-32874-6)
  • Dreddlocked (Stephen Marley, October 1993 ISBN 0-352-32875-4)
  • Cursed Earth Asylum (David Bishop, December 1993 ISBN 0-352-32893-2)
  • The Medusa Seed (Dave Stone, January 1994 ISBN 0-352-32895-9)
  • Dread Dominion (Stephen Marley, May 1994 ISBN 0-352-32929-7)
  • The Hundredfold Problem (John Grant, August 1994 ISBN 0-352-32942-4) (Re-released by BeWrite Books in 2003, rewritten as a non-Dredd novel.[107])
  • Silencer (David Bishop, November 1994 ISBN 0-352-32960-2)
  • Wetworks (Dave Stone, February 1995 ISBN 0-352-32975-0)

Also in 1995, St. Martin's Press published two novelizations of the film:[108]

In 1997, Virgin published a Doctor Who novel by Dave Stone which had originally been intended to feature Judge Dredd, called Burning Heart. However this idea was abandoned after the film was released, and Dredd was replaced by another character called Adjudicator Joseph Craator.[109]

From 2003 to 2007, Black Flame published official 2000 AD novels, including a new run of Judge Dredd novels. After Black Flame closed in 2007, Rebellion picked up the rights to their "2000 AD" titles in 2011, and began republishing them as e-books. Their nine Judge Dredd books are:

In July 2012, three of these novels – Gordon Rennie's Dredd Vs Death, David Bishop's Kingdom of the Blind, and Matt Smith's The Final Cut – were republished in a single paperback volume titled Dredd, as a tie-in with the 2012 film of the same title. (ISBN 9781781080771)

In August 2012, Rebellion announced a new series of e-books under the series title Judge Dredd: Year One, about Dredd's first year as a judge (the stories in the comic strip having begun in his 20th year when he was already a veteran).[110] All three stories were published by Abaddon Books in a paperback book called Judge Dredd Year One Omnibus in October 2014.[111]

In 2016 and 2017, more e-books were published under the series title Judge Dredd: Year Two:

  • The Righteous Man (Michael Carroll, January 2016)
  • Down and Out (Matthew Smith, September 2016)
  • Alternative Facts (Cavan Scott, October 2017)

In 2020, more e-books were published under the series title Judge Dredd: Year Three:

  • Fallen Angel (Michael Carroll)
  • Machineries of Hate (Matthew Smith)
  • tbc (Lauren Sills)

Novels about related charactersEdit

As well as novels starring Judge Dredd, there are other novels and novellas in the franchise about other characters. For a list of books about Anderson, see Judge Anderson#Novels.

Michael Carroll wrote three novellas about Dredd's brother, Rico Dredd, under the series title Rico Dredd: The Titan Years. They were originally published as e-books, but the trilogy was published in an omnibus paperback volume by Abaddon Books in 2019.[113]

  • The Third Law (June 2014)
  • The Process of Elimination (October 2018)
  • For I Have Sinned (March 2019)

Another series of books, collectively called Judges, is about the first generation of judges, and are set six decades before Dredd's first stories to appear in the comic.[114] The books, all published by Abaddon Books, are:

  • The Avalanche (Michael Carroll, May 2018)
  • When the Light Lay Still (Charles J. Eskew, August 2018)
  • The Storm (George Mann, January 2019)
  • Golgotha (Michael Carroll, July 2019)
  • Psyche (Maura McHugh, January 2020)
  • The Patriots (Joseph Elliott-Coleman, March 2020)

These six books were later republished in two omnibus volumes.

A trilogy about the Dark Judges, The Fall of Deadworld, was written by 2000 AD's editor, Matt Smith, and published by Abaddon Books:

  • Red Mosquito (September 2019)
  • Bone White Seeds (February 2020)
  • Grey Flesh Flies (April 2020)

These were collected into an omnibus edition in June 2020.

Other booksEdit

  • Judge Fear's Big Day Out and Other Stories (2020), a collection of short stories by various artists which originally appeared in the Judge Dredd Megazine, edited by Michael Carroll.

Audio seriesEdit

"The Day the Law Died" and "The Apocalypse War" stories were produced by Dirk Maggs and broadcast in three-minute segments (40 for each story) on Mark Goodier's afternoon show on BBC Radio One in 1995. The cast include Lorelei King and Gary Martin. They were issued separately on dual cassette and double CD.[115] Both titles have since been deleted. "The Apocalypse War" also contains plot elements from "Block Mania", because this story set the scene for the main story.

In recent years, Big Finish Productions has produced 18 audio plays featuring 2000 AD characters.[116] These have mostly featured Judge Dredd, although three have also featured the Strontium Dog. In these, Judge Dredd is played by Toby Longworth and Johnny Alpha, the Strontium Dog is played by Simon Pegg. In July 2009, four further Judge Dredd titles were released under the banner "Crime Chronicles", once more featuring Toby Longworth.[116]

The list of 2000 AD audio plays featuring Dredd includes:

Note: 3 and 10 are Strontium Dog stories that do not feature Dredd.

In popular cultureEdit

  • The metal band Anthrax included a song about Judge Dredd on their third album (Among the Living) entitled "I Am the Law". It is one of their most popular and well-known songs, and often features as an encore to setlists. They also released a 12" single and a 7" picture disc, both bearing the image of Dredd.[117] One 12" version featured a fold-out poster of the band dressed as Judges drawn by drummer Charlie Benante. Also, the Cursed Earth tour had Judge Death as the main imagery of the shirts sold during the concerts.
  • The UK ska/Two-Tone band Madness also recorded a tribute single to Dredd under the name of The Fink Brothers, entitled "Mutants in Mega-City One". Released on the Zarjazz label in February 1985, the record featured a cover drawn by 2000 AD Dredd artist Brian Bolland.[118]
  • The UK band The Human League also wrote a song about Judge Dredd. "I am the Law" appeared on the album Dare.
  • The Screaming Blue Messiahs recorded a song entitled "Mega-City One" on their final album Totally Religious.[119]
  • The Manic Street Preachers' song, "Judge Yr'Self" was influenced by the comic, and was intended to appear on the Judge Dredd film soundtrack. It reached the demo stage, but after lyricist and guitarist Richey Edwards disappeared, the other members of the band said that a song for a soundtrack was the last thing on their mind.[120] Edwards himself was heavily influenced by the Judge Dredd and 2000 AD comics (the slogan "Be pure. Be vigilant. Behave" from the 2000 AD strip Nemesis the Warlock was included in the song "P.C.P."). A fully produced mix of "Judge Yr'Self" (by long time Manics producer Dave Eringa) was later released on the 2003 double-album of B-sides and rarities, Lipstick Traces. Richey was a great fan of Judge Dredd and even had one of his drawings published in the comic during his late childhood.[120] Richey himself was later parodied as "Clarence" of the "Crazy Sked Moaners" in the Dredd story Muzak Killer: Live! Part 3 (prog 838, 5 June 1993), in a scene which parodied the infamous 1991 incident of Richey carving 4 REAL into his forearm with a razor (Clarence lasers 4 RALE [sic] into his forehead).
  • Simon Pegg is a fan of 2000 AD, and Judge Dredd memorabilia (supplied by the comic) appears in the background of several episodes of Spaced.[121]
  • There is a rapper from Houston, Texas who goes by the name of Judge Dredd. He was featured on two tracks on Chamillionaire's Greatest Hits Mixtape.[122]
  • A sleeve illustration on German metal band Helloween's album Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1 depicts a pumpkin-headed character (a band trademark) wearing a distinctive Judge's uniform. It's placed next to the lyrics for the song "Future World", and was used as the sleeve illustration for the single release of that track.[123]
  • Multiple references to the 1995 movie are made on the sitcom Scrubs, notably by J.D. at the end of the episode "His Story II", while being wooed by Elliot.[124]
  • Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica refers to Judge Dredd in the song "Peacemaker".
  • The British band Pitchshifter, also fans of 2000 AD, released a Judge Dredd t-shirt for their final tour. It included the slogan "13 years punk", referring to how long the band had been together before they broke up.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the Imperium's police force, the Arbites, (Latin; translates as Judge or judgment) were visually based upon Judge Dredd stemming from the time Games Workshop held the rights to Judge Dredd games. The current range is more similar in design to RoboCop. The original designs for the Space Marine power armour and bikes also drew heavily on the Judges' uniform and Lawmaster bikes. In return the original design for the Space Marine jet bike also featured in an episode of Judge Dredd as a Judge antigravity bike. A number of artists who have worked on Judge Dredd have also worked for Games Workshop.
  • In the episode "Respawn" of 30 Rock, Liz Lemon is in court purposely trying to get community service in order to avoid spending the summer with Tracy Jordan. While in the court room, the judge's name is "Gregory L. Dredd" or "Judge Dredd".
  • Wizkids / NECA have released four figures of Judge Dredd as part of their Heroclix collectable miniatures game (Rookie, Experienced and Veteran and Promotional versions). These were only released in the United Kingdom, alongside other 2000AD related figures, as part of the "Indy" expansion to the game. This led to something of an outcry from the American fans of both the game and the character, and this style of "regional" figure-release was not continued in later sets of Heroclix. The Promotional version is not legal in normal game play. It has an entirely different blue ringed dial to the standard "Experienced" version, and the word "Promo" on the base.
  • Finnish band Ne Luumäet released a song called "Tuomari" which is about Dredd.[125]
  • In the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic, an achievement for the planet Oricon, home to the Dread Masters, a rogue faction of Sith Warriors, can be unlocked within the game called "I am the Law!" Unlocking the achievement also unlocks a title for the player's character called "Judged Dread".
  • Irish rock band Cursed Murphy Versus the Resistance released a song called "The Cursed Earth" inspired by Judge Dredd.[126][127]


Judge Elmer Dwedd
Judge Dredd was satirized by Marvel Comics, by combining the lawman with Looney Tunes character Elmer Fudd to create Judge Elmer Dwedd. This pastiche of Dredd appeared in a handful of issues of Howard the Duck prior to the release of the Judge Dredd movie, and the character was discontinued afterwards.[128]
Judge Sweeny
Appeared in the Whoopee! comic in 1985, with Sweeny Toddler as Judge Sweeny in one of the final issues of Whoopee! as a solo comic; this parody is now notoriously hard to find.
Judge Dreddz
Appeared in Ganjaman #4. Marijuana smoking parody written by Judge Dredd writer John Wagner.[129]
Justice Peace
A former officer of the Time Variance Authority, he rides a flying and (formerly) time traveling Hopsikle, wields a Peacemaker multipurpose gun, is based in "Brooklynopolis" and is genetically incapable of both lying and humor.[130][131]
Judge Dudd
Appeared in the Buster comic, which was published by Fleetway. As his name implies, Dudd was an inept law officer.[132]
Nudge Dredd
Appeared in Viz Magazine in 2016, the deluded watchman of a slots arcade (two-page comic strip). Another Dredd parody, the one-page Traffic Warden of the Future, appeared in a nearby issue, text and pictures, but not a comic strip.
Judge Fredd
Appeared in the Steve Jackson spoof card game Munchkin and "beats you to death for resisting arrest" if you fail to defeat him.[133]
Psycho Gran vs. Judge Dredd
In an issue of Oink! comic, which was published by Fleetway, Psycho Gran was transported through a time warp into the far future and materialised in Mega-City One just as she is training in a boxing gym and Judge Dredd was arresting a perp. She punches Dredd, knocking him out before apologising and disappearing back through the time warp. Dredd, explaining away his bandaged nose, later tells the Chief Judge that he was attacked by a gang of giant mutants, while behind his back he has the fingers of one hand crossed. Judge Dredd was also parodied twice in Oink! as "Judge Pigg", on the second occasion being featured as the cover star.[134]
Psycho Gran Vs...
In issue #1 of the Psycho Gran Vs... comic, published by Dead Universe Comics in 2016. Psycho Gran can be seen punching Dredd, knocking out a tooth in the process. Dredd can be seen thinking: "Oh Grud, not again!" referencing back to their original meeting.
Judge Dreck
Stan Hart and Mort Drucker parodied the 1995 film Judge Dredd in Mad magazine #338, August 1995. The cover of the magazine painted by Frank Frazetta portrayed Judge Dredd with Alfred E. Neuman.[135]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The story was eventually published in Judge Dredd Annual 1981.
  2. ^ A complete list of Harris's work for 2000 AD can be found at his entry on the 2000ad.org website.
  3. ^ Except issues #109, 155, 1100 and 1138.
  4. ^ Excluded from the Complete Case Files series were the stories "America" (Megazine vol. 1 #1–7), "America II" (Megazine vol. 3 #20–25), and "Beyond Our Kenny" (vol. 1 #1–3). They are collected in two other trade paperbacks under the titles Judge Dredd: America and Judge Dredd: The Art of Kenny Who?


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  4. ^ "DREDD – THE KILLING MACHINE". Pat Mills. Archived from the original on 1 January 2016.
  5. ^ Jarman & Acton, pp. 21–22
  6. ^ Dunt, Ian. "Fascist Spain meets British punk: the subversive genius of Judge Dredd". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  7. ^ Jarman & Acton, p. 30.
  8. ^ Mills, p. 37
  9. ^ Mills, pp. 47 and 69–70
  10. ^ Mills, Pat (13 August 2016). "IN THE LASALLIAN TRADITION 2". Pat Mills. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  11. ^ Mills, p. 112
  12. ^ Jarman & Acton, pp. 18 and 24.
  13. ^ Jarman & Acton, p. 34.
  14. ^ Jarman & Acton, p. 48.
  15. ^ Mills, pp. 70–72
  16. ^ Jarman & Acton, pp. 42–43.
  17. ^ Mills, p. 62–64
  18. ^ Jarman & Acton, pp. 62–63.
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  28. ^ 2000 AD #4 and 61
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External linksEdit