Ennis and Wagner to bring Dredd to Dynamite. Recipe for awesomeness, or recipe for disaster?


I recently read over on Comic Book Resources that Dynamite Entertainment have obtained the rights to publish all-new Judge Dredd stories in the US. This new series will be written by Garth Ennis and Dredd co-creator John Wagner. For the full story, please click here.

Now, let me start by admitting to you that I am a complete Dredd-head. I was born in Yorkshire in 1979, so I grew up in a period when there were still rather a large amount of British comics being published. I started out as a child reading comics like The Beano, The Dandy, The Bezer, and Topper. I soon graduated from these to read more mature titles like The Eagle, 2000 A.D. Judge Dredd Megazine, Toxic, Revolver, and Crisis. I am now 29, and I am still reading 2000 A.D. after all those other titles have faded into memory. So, accept for about 6 years when I was a poor student, then a poor Canadian immigrant, I have been following the adventures of Judge Dredd, Stontium dog, Nemesis the Warlock, ABC Warriors and more for most of my life. I now live in Canada and still get my weekly progs, and the monthly megazine. That means I read five Dredd strips a month, so I should jump at the chance read more right? Right? …. well, yes and no.

There have been a few ill-conceived attempts to bring Judge Dredd to the states before. In the 1990s DC published two Dredd titles, that were very badly received, and just crashed and burned. There was also a movie version, which I won’t even talk about here, because it hurts too much

Garth Ennis is one of the best loved and most well known writers working in comics today, he is also one of my personal favorite writers, having written so many fantastic, and diverse titles. John Wagner is the co-creator of Judge Dredd, and still writes Dredd strips to this day. In fact last year he wrote the epic Dredd: Origins tale, which was one of the best Dredd stories this decade. So, on the face of it this would look like a brilliant team to finally bring Dredd over the Ocean.

There are potential problems though. Garth Ennis has publicly stated many times, that Judge Dredd is his favourite comic character of all time. He has written several Dredd stories in 2000 A.D. but pretty much all of these stories have not been received well by fans. People say that he just can’t get Dredd right, and Garth has admitted himself that he thinks that he is too close to the character, and the weight of his long history. I quite liked some of his Dredd strips, particularly his chapter in the saga of PJ Maybe, but I understand why people might complain about his version.

John Wagner has dipped his toe into the American comic market in the past. He and Alan Grant wrote the series Outcasts for DC, which lead to them getting a stint on Detective Comics. John Wagner found that he hated working for DC though, so he quickly went back to British comics, leaving Alan Grant to go on to a very long ran on Detective Comics.

My fear is that these factors could add up to cause this title to crash before it really gets off the ground. However, I remain hopefully optimistic. Perhaps working with a small publisher like Dynamite might work out better for Wagner, and perhaps being freed from the heavy continuity of Dredd’s 30 year history will enable Garth Ennis to carve out his own variation of Dredd for an American audience.

Dynamite seem to be the right place to bring an idea like this too though, in past US versions, editors have imposed no killing rules on Dredd stories, and other such ridiculous ideas. But Dynamite publishes The Boys by Gath Ennis, so I doubt they will have a problem with Dredd teaching some creeps a lesson.

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2 Responses to “Ennis and Wagner to bring Dredd to Dynamite. Recipe for awesomeness, or recipe for disaster?”
  1. atomicker says:

    I was very cautious about this project when I first heard about it — as you say, Dredd stories out of the pages of 2000 AD or the Megazine have a stunningly bad track record — but I think we might be on to something with Ennis and Wagner. Fingers crossed!


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