Saturday, 19 January 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Judges' Graveyard'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Judges' Graveyard'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Summer Special Supercomic

DATELINE
There is no cover date, but Barney gives it as 1st June, 1977, which would place it between Progs 14 and 15.

The 2000 A.D. Summer Special Supercomic would have set you back 30 pence Earth money, but in addition to Dredd you got Harlem Heroes, Dan Dare, M.A.C.H.1, Invasion and Flesh strips, a strip reprinted from Swift called The Phantom Patrol, a One-off text story called The Thing From Nowhere and a One-off cover by Kevin O'Neill.

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
A wounded Dredd must prove himself in a potentially fatal assessment course.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first six page Judge Dredd strip, his first appearance in a publication other than 2000 AD and therefore the first time a strip has been published during the run of another, namely between parts 5 and 6 of 'Robot Wars'. First artwork by Kevin O'Neill and the first strip for whom the writer is Unknown. First mention of IPC and the first appearances of a Lawgiver and Dredd's convenient bandage.

INFORMATION
The year is 2099 A.D. (there is no indication of when this strip is set, the absence of Walter implies before 'Robot Wars', and we can infer from what Dredd says that it's not Christmas)

In Mega-City One, Time Square was recently the location of a terrorist attack. There are CBC Public Video screens in the city that feature news broadcasts and adverts.

A Judge determined to be at less than 100% fitness is required to undergo a Re-Assessment Procedure. The Judge's Re-Assessment Centre is in the Washington sector. Nicknamed The Judges' Graveyard, it takes the form of an assult course containing at least 24 androids armed with live ammunition. Judge's guns can fire heatseeking bullets. The Law Rod is a Lawgiver rifle used by the Judges, it has an infra-red sight.

Pan-Martian operate a service to Mars. Pepsi-Coke is a drink. Sony make Holio Vision TVs.

The Schitzo Kid is a piece of entertainment, starring Pat Mills and Kelvin Gosnell made available by IPC for one week only.


JUDGE DREDD
In 2094, Dredd fired a heatseeking bullet in an area he was assured had been cleared of bystanders and the bullet hit Dimitrov in the arm. In 2099, he was critically injured in a terrorist bomb blast. He underwent surgery and was declared 99% fit, but with doubts about his trigger finger. He is required to submit to testing in a re-assessment procedure. Dredd gets 100/100 on the re-assessment test.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE CHIEF JUDGE
He considers a Dredd without the use of his trigger finger to be better off dead.

DIMITROV
Five years ago, lost his right arm when Dredd fired a heatseeking bullet and it hit him. He now has an artificial replacement arm, but still blames Dredd. By 2099, he was in charge of running the Judge's re-assessment centre. Dimitrov lives in a penthouse apartment in the Washington sector and he owns a Vacu-Mat robot. When Dredd is required to undertake the re-assessment procedure he attempts to take his revenge. Dredd breaks his artifical arm, he loses control of it and it kills him.

ARRESTS
None.

DEATHS
One. Dimitrov killed by his own artificial arm.

BEST LINES
Dredd: "Every hoodlum in Mega-City 1's gonna think it's Christmas with me off the streets. I gotta get back fast, Chief!"


WORST LINES
It feels very wrong to hear Dredd say "No way."

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd says "Drekk it!", which is presumably a variant on "Drokk it!" that is short lived. Possibly inspired by the Yiddish word, dreck or drek, which means crap.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
I presume Holio Vision written on Dimitrov's TV was supposed to read Holo Vision.

RETROSPECT
There was only ever one Summer Special.

NOTES
Presumably the use of Pat Mills and Kelvin Gosnell as the stars of The Schidzo Kid is Kevin O'Neill getting his own back after being portrayed as the villain in Judge Dredd: 'Krong'.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Unknown
Artist: Kevin O'Neill

Unknown wrote all seven strips and one text story featured in the 2000 A.D. Summer Special Supercomic as well as providing the artwork for five of them. It was the beginning of a varied career at 2000 AD. He or she worked mostly in 2000 AD's accompanying publications: Summer Specials, Sci-Fi Specials, Annuals as well as Tornado and Eagle between 1977 and 1991. Unknown wrote another five Judge Dredd strips as well as The Angry Planet, The Collector, Dan Dare, Tharg's Future Shocks, Captain Klep, Mega-City One, One-Eyed Jack, One-offs, Rick Random, Ro-Busters, Rogue Trooper, Doctor Sin and Strontium Dog. Unknown also wrote text stories for A.B.C. Warriors, Blackhawk, Dan Dare, Victor Drago, Rogue Trooper, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales, The Train Now Arriving at No. 14 Acacia Avenue, Strontium Dog, Walter The Wobot, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith and various One-offs. As an artist Unknown worked on Captain Klep, lettered much of Charley's War, provided both art and letters one Harlem Heroes strip and both wrote and drew Big E in Action, Invasion, Dan Dare, Victor Drago, Flesh, Tharg's Future Shocks, Harlem Heroes, M.A.C.H.1, Moon Runners, One-offs, The Billy Preston Report, Percy's Problem Pages, Shako, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith and Walter the Wobot. In addition to a smattering of covers, Futuregraphs and Star Scans.

Kevin O'Neill was the Assistant Art Editorial Droid of 2000AD and future creator of Bonjo From Beyond the Stars, co-creator of A.B.C. Warriors, Nemesis The Warlock and Marshal Law. He has drawn for all of his creations as well as Judge Dredd, two of Tharg's Future Shocks, Ro-Busters, Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tales and was one of many artists on Tharg's Head Revisited (Prog 500) and A Night 2 Remember 1 episode (Prog 1280). O'Neill also served as both writer and artist for Dash Decent, another Tharg's Future Shock called Wings (Prog 28) and Tharg The Mighty. Away from 2000 AD, he also created The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Alan Moore. He also has a character named after him in Judge Dredd: 'Krong'.

REVIEW
Less than special. This story feels as though it cheats the reader. We join Dredd after he has been injured by a terrorist bomb, he then recovers between panels and we follow him through a lengthy assault course, controlled by a man with vendetta against Dredd based on an incident that we also don't see, before getting to a hurried finish. We want to read strips about the terrorist attack. There's definitely scope in a strip about Dredd's recuperation. Kevin O'Neill's artwork however is this strip's one saving grace: the busy Mega-City One Public TV screens, Dredd's acrobatics, the schematic-like detail on the Lawgiver and the cheeky bandage across Dredd's face are all great.

The End.