Thursday, 18 July 2013

Judge Dredd: 'The Purple People Breeder'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'The Purple People Breeder'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Sci-Fi Special 1978

DATELINE
1 June 1978

The summer of 1978 saw the publication not of a Summer Special, but a Sci-Fi Special, this time also featuring Dan Dare, M.A.C.H.1, M.A.C.H.0 and Rick Random strips, a one-off text story, a Dan Dare article and a cover by Kevin O'Neill.

PAGE COUNT
8

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd goes after a serial killer who in turn goes after Dredd.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First eight page Judge Dredd strip. Last appearance of Fred. Apparently the first work by William Nilly and Subliminal Kid.

INFORMATION
Mega-City One has a Rehabilitation Centre For Delinquent Androids. Dock Street and South Side Wharf are in the city's docklands and contain dark, dingy and condemned warehouses. Level 374 is used as the venue for a presidential campaign rally.

There is a Presidential Election due to take place. Among the candidates are Howard Surb and a man named Dixon. Both Surb and Dixon are assassinated and believed to be the victims in a wave of murders by an individual that the media have dubbed the Purple People Breeder, due to a purple tint left on the skin of the victims. The victims are killed by making physical contact with suicide bombers.

Judges can make a Priority 'A' Request to handle specific cases themselves and call for a clean up crew to visit crime scenes.


JUDGE DREDD
He sent X-13 away for ten years. He is now investigating the Purple People Breeder murders. Dredd is drugged by Walter's replica, which slows his reflexes, but he manages to shoot X-13 in the arm and arrest him for the murders.

OTHER CHARACTERS
WALTER THE WOBOT
He is abducted and a replica returned to Dredd in his place. He falls through the floor at the warehouse he is being held in and escapes. He manages to save Dredd, but is almost destroyed when his replica explodes.

MARIA
She is away.

X-13
Android. He has served ten years in the Mega City Home For Delinquent Androids where has been a model prisoner. Upon his release he returns to killing and becomes known as the Purple People Breeder. He kills six people and attempts to use a replica of Walter to kill Dredd. The Judge shoots him in the arm and arrest him again.

ARRESTS
One. Dredd sends X-13 to jail for the rest of his days.

DEATHS
At least nine. Surb and Dixon are killed by X-13, they are the fifth and sixth victims respectively and at least one of Dixon's supporters is killed as well.

BEST LINES
Walter: "Fwed...We've got to wush...Judge Dwedd's in twouble!"

WORST LINES
X-13: "A bomb called Walter...instant walking death!...Oh and he's gonna kill Judge Dredd!"

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd gives us two more examples of "Drokk it!". Walter says bwought, cwikey, cwipes, Dwedd, Fwed, gweatest, hewo, huwwy, Mawia, wevealed, wush and twouble, while Walter's replica says angwy, bwighten, fwesh, fwiends, p'waps and wobot.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
This strip sees the brief return of Fred from Judge Dredd: 'Walter's Secret Job'. There are no other indications of when this strip is set, but probably between Return To Mega City and The Cursed Earth.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
'The Purple People Eater' is a novelty song by Sheb Wooley that reached number 1 in the US charts in 1958 and, bizarrely, was covered by British comedian Barry Cryer and topped the Finnish charts after legal wrangling prevented Wooley's version being released there.

At one point, X-13 wears a badge with a penny farthing on it like those in TV's The Prisoner (1967-1968) and his top hat disguise is very Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1865).

MISTAKES
What would the winner of the Presidential Election preside over?

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: William Nilly
Artist: Subliminal Kid
Letters: Tom Frame

William Nilly is unlikely to be anyone's real name.

Subliminal Kid is apparently a pseudonym for Brendon McCarthy.

REVIEW
This strip's artwork looks fantastic, but the story is convoluted and more hole than plot. Walter's role is nicely handled, but the convenience of the breaking floorboards and Fred's appearance undermine even that. X-13's motivation may be simple, but his methods are bizarre.