The most popular comic book character in the United Kingdom, Judge Dredd is also the most successful mix of sci-fi, horror and comics to date. Created in 1977 by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, the character is just one of many great strips that ran in 2000 A.D. under the editorial leadership of Pat Mills. Set in a post apocalyptic future where mega cities are overrun with crime, the decision is made to endow the police with special powers to side-step the need for the legal process of a fair trial and actually murder criminals on the spot. A brotherhood unto itself, the greatest of these Judges is Dredd, one of a batch of clones designed to be perfect policemen. Embodying the cynicism and doom-laden outlook on the future, Judge Dredd was full of over the top violence, tough guy cops and horrific villains. In short, the perfect statement on Thatcher’s Britain. It also serves as an interesting statement on urban decay and the nature of modern city dwelling societies.
A mega success with young British boys, the comic strip also developed many rising stars of the comic book world of today including Grant Morrison (New X-Men, Batman R.I.P., The Invisibles), Brian Bolland (Batman The Killing Joke), Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank) and Mark Millar (Wanted, Kickass, Marvel: Civil War). All that being said, the character has remained more or less a cult hit at best in the United States. An embarrassingly poor film in 1995 has not helped matters. The Sylvester Stallone vehicle butchered the source material and more or less completely missed the point of the comic strip.
Rebellion and DNA Films (the guys behind 28 Weeks Later and Sunshine) have attempted to remount the project and finally bring about justice for Judge Dredd. Aimed at a 2010 release date, there is very little information currently available aside from some early designs by hot comic artist Jock.