JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Discuss or comment on Britain's sole surviving boy's comic from the 1970's. The home of Judge Dredd, Slaine, Nikolai Dante, ABC Warriors and Sinister Dexter. Has been running since 1977.

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

I've finally been able to visit the JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE in-depth, over two decades after it first hit the news-stands in late 1990.....or rather, I've looked through the first two volumes of around 100 issues, which cover [almost] the first 5 years.


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The Megazine is one of these publications that I always thought I should have 'got into'; but it was the same old story---I could never quite afford to buy it, although it's then-expensive early price tag of one pound 50 seems positively quaint today. Prices on e-bay are very reasonable indeed, even for the very early issues.

The glossy production values are an obvious asset, with a very upmarket ambience-----so does it live up to it's considerable promise, when studied in-depth at leisure?


Well it ain't bad at all, [although it definitely has an 'arty' outlook at times with seemingly wilfully obscure content.] There are considerable items of worth within it's coffee-table leanings, however.

Early delights include the backstory of JUDGE DEATH, in YOUNG DEATH: BOYHOOD OF AN ALIEN SUPERFIEND, a macabre black comedy that 'highlights' young Sidneys' early life and origins: the MEGAZINE is notable for encouraging emerging talents, and Peter Dochertys' artwork kicks off fairly rudimentarily, but by the end of the serial his technique has come on in leaps and bounds----a cracking yarn to boot.

Another early highlight is Wagners'/Ezquerras AL'S BABY, a rare non-Dredd tale with a pregnant male mobster, set in the then-far off 2014. More black comedy abounds here although the sequel wasn't quite in the same league.


A lot of the artwork in MEGAZINE does seem wilfully art-house and difficult to read in places, however there are undoubted hidden gems in there, with more immediate standouts including the VOL 2 'MECHANISMO', a sort of DREDD robocop satire, detailing Mc Gruders' misguided attempts to get proto-lawdroids onto the streets of the big MEG. The first serial with artwork by Colin Mc Neill especially is delightfully evocative.

The 2000 AD strip NECROPOLIS of 1990 was one of the highlights of Dredd History for me, but the actual details of what the DARK JUDGES actually got up to during the dark days of the apocalypse was woefully underwritten in my view: thankfully, the MEGAZINE exploits this untapped territory, with it's futureshocks-like connected tales, PLAGUES OF NECROPOLIS, which sometimes exudes the power to give the reader a delicious chill.

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SID
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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by SID »

As you can see from my avatar (unless you are reading this years later and the Megazine has ceased publication), I am a regular reader and although it will never be a second 2000AD, it has always been a good read.
My Regulars:
2000 AD (1977-), Judge Dredd Megazine (1990-), Spaceship Away (2003-), Commando (2013-), Doctor Who: TFTTC (2016-), MAD (2016-), Deadpool Unleashed (2017-), Marvel Legends (2017-), Batman: TOTDK (2020-), The77 (2020-).

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

Many thanks for replying, Sid--I thought this was going to be another 'necro-thread' of zilch responses [most of us get them from time to time] and I appreciate your interest.

The Megazine is notable for the USA-styled Dredd 'crossover' stories, in which the reader was obliged to buy both the regular 2000 AD weekly as well as the glossy sister publication in order to read the full story--Wagner must have had his work cut out constructing these stories so that they still made sense when read in isolation......JUDGEMENT DAY was one such offering on this score.

For filling in a lot of the sketchier details of Mega City One only hinted at in the Dredd weeklies, the Megazine does a sterling job: one of the earliest examples of digital Dredd colouring was presented in it's pages, and this Ezquerra-rendered job split the readers down the middle, as evident in the fan letters-based Dreddlines.

I'm currently reading early editions of Vol 3, which includes an intruiging team-up by Dredd, Mean Machine Angel and Judge Death [!] all together on the same side in a Cursed Earth Wild West pastiche---I'm dying to see how Wagner justifies this scenario!!!

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SID
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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by SID »

ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:I'm currently reading early editions of Vol 3, which includes an intruiging team-up by Dredd, Mean Machine Angel and Judge Death [!] all together on the same side in a Cursed Earth Wild West pastiche---I'm dying to see how Wagner justifies this scenario!!!
That does ring a bell but don't remember too much what the story is about nor why Dredd would need Death in the first place. Think I will need to re-read it when I get home.
My Regulars:
2000 AD (1977-), Judge Dredd Megazine (1990-), Spaceship Away (2003-), Commando (2013-), Doctor Who: TFTTC (2016-), MAD (2016-), Deadpool Unleashed (2017-), Marvel Legends (2017-), Batman: TOTDK (2020-), The77 (2020-).

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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by Mr McScotty »

Picked up 2000 AD - prog 1844- (along with the Beano) for only second time in many year, have to say I was pretty impressed with it , a great cover (mine was variant 2 of 2) - although it looked very like Hugh Jackman /Wolverine but a great new Saline strip with Clint Langley art (so you know how good that is) the rest was also (imho) pretty strong and I particularly liked the "Ten Seconders" - will def check it out again next week. The Beano looked very different from the last time I picked up an issue (about 4 months ago) obviously not my age band but I did like Jamie Smarts Poco Loco strip (but cant say I like his Roger version at all) always feel Jamie works best on his own creations (or strips like Loco if he didnt create that) would like to see him do a 2000AD strip, no honestly I would )

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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

Later editions of the Megazine chalked up some very worthwhile sidelines, including early Dredd retrospectives, and a highly informative series covering various touchstones in UK comics history-----[usually non-sci-fi]:

----why, they even put out a half-dozen or so pages of one issue, singing the praises of DESPERATE DAN, complete with tailored quotes from ex-Dandy Editors Dave Torrie and Morris Heggie----this article contained lots of insights about the 80s Dan I never even heard of before [ie: Ken Harrison was initially reluctant to take on the Dan assignment]

From MEGAZINE 236 [2OO5]: when the DANDY was still an active concern, obviously!

Very unusual [and very welcome] for a rival publisher to promote 'rival wares' as blatantly as in this example:


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AndyB
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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by AndyB »

Rebellion may have fewer hang-ups about that sort of thing, because it's independent and doesn't have a rival to the Dandy. Win for us the readers of course!

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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

:D :D :D :D

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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by felneymike »

The meg was best when it had British Icons in it, I discovered Sexton Blake through it, and then started my story paper collection.

I once started a Facebook group calling for the return of British Icons, but it only got one other member, who told me "I don't want that dentist's-waiting-room crap in my magazine" and left. I didn't know the likes of Take A Break had British comic articles...

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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

yes, felneymike, I saw the Sexton Blake article you mentioned, just at the weekend there; the MEGAZINE had an excellent overview of the UK comics scene/History, covering material as diverse as vintage newspaper strips based on TV output, or in-depth, two-part interviews with such 2000 AD stalwarts as Brian Bolland or Cam Kennedy. Great to hear about their attitudes towards the industry, and some of their working practices.

However, the most revealing interview was based on the memories of Robin Smith [not Ron Smith] who pulled absolutely no punches when it comes to describing the skin-of-the-teeth survivalist instinct of 2000 AD and it's creators, against the IPC suits and accountants who seemed Hell-bent on scuppering the publication.

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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by -MikeD- »

I’m not convinced by articles covering the process behind comics. Even interviews with artists and writers are always a little bit crap. Articles about recent or upcoming strips echo the behind-the-scenes puffery put out by the film industry, but make our industry appear even smaller and more navel gazing when these articles appear among the stories in the actual magazine (or magazine) and not in a fanzine or on a website where they belong. And historic articles are of interest to only a small minority, and feel like filler to me. The need to promote, contextualise and even mythologise has started to overshadow the actual product.

I recently started reading 2000ad again. It’s not a bad read over a coffee and a sandwich. I have to admit, although the stories are strong, I believe the quality and imaginative scope of the artwork has slipped somewhat. Photoshop is being used to polish more than a little bad draughtsmanship.
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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by philcom55 »

It's certainly possible to use Photoshop creatively but I tend to agree that some artists lean on it in the way that the music industry uses Auto-Tune! :roll:

On the interviews I really wish we had a British equivalent to Alter Ego!

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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by Lew Stringer »

philcom55 wrote: On the interviews I really wish we had a British equivalent to Alter Ego!

- Phil R.
We have Comic Heroes magazine which has interviewed many UK creators, but they tend to focus on current comics.
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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

Thanks for all your welcome responses, readers.

I do agree that Photoshop has yielded variable results as regards finished comics output [it's like any other artist's tool: great in skilled hands, not so great in the hands of half-baked talent!]

However, the technique often adds interest to otherwise static frames, and is great when used sparingly.


Some of the very best Photoshop effects are a real joy to behold, and they never cease to amaze me: here's a relatively recent well-executed MEGAZINE page courtesy of the highly-skilled pen of Cliff Robinson---this example also highlights the far darker tone taken by Wagner and others regarding the scripting of many of the tales---here we witness the exceedingly downbeat aftermath of a child-murder, which would have been unacceptable [in the context seen here, at least] within the pages of 2000 AD when I used to buy it regularly


The Megazine sure seems to be aimed at a 'mature' readership to be sure:


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Re: JUDGE DREDD the MEGAZINE

Post by Digifiend »

ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:----why, they even put out a half-dozen or so pages of one issue, singing the praises of DESPERATE DAN, complete with tailored quotes from ex-Dandy Editors Dave Torrie and Morris Heggie----this article contained lots of insights about the 80s Dan I never even heard of before [ie: Ken Harrison was initially reluctant to take on the Dan assignment]
That attitude is not surprising, considering he was replacing Dudley Watkins, whose strips were still being reprinted more than a decade after his death.

Of course, it isn't just that Rebellion had no Dandy competitor, DC Thomson no longer has a 2000AD rival either (not since Victor's demise). The two firms aren't really rivals at all, so their co-operation makes sense. Of course, such a feature could never have appeared in the Megazine while 2000AD was still owned by IPC, who did directly compete with DC Thomson.

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