Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection is a new series from Rebellion and Hachette Partworks featuring some of the best stories from Dredd’s nearly 40 year history. These stories are presented in well designed, well produced hardback graphic novels which feature an introduction by 2000AD editor Matt Smith and a “story so far” setting the stage for the stories contained within.
The stories are arranged thematically in six over arching groups Democracy, The Dark Judges, Psi Judge Anderson and Others, Robot Rampage, The Mega Epics and Mad City. The first issue costs only £1.99 so picking it up is a no brainer especially for anyone with an interest in checking out the world of Judge Dredd. Wisely the first book features one of the best Dredd stories there is – America.
America originally appeared in the Judge Dredd Megazine back in 1990 and quickly became known as one of the best stories in Dredd’s long history. Oddly though Dredd himself isn’t the main character in this story but rather a looming figure in the background of the story of lovers Bennett Beeny and America Jara. The story ,written by Dredd veteran John Wagner with art from Colin Macneil, is narrated from Beeny’s perspective and told in flashback as he relates a tale of young love turned tragic due to the reality of growing up under the oppressive shadow of the Justice Department. Beeny becomes a famous singer but America becomes involved with a rebel group intent on overthrowing the oppression of the judges and the Justice Department.
America is notable for several reasons one being a citizen’s perspective on growing up in the world of Judge Dredd, a world where stories of the Judges are used to scare children into behaving, and the story also packs an emotional punch not usually associated with Judge Dredd. The book also features several follow up stories continuing the saga of Beeny and America and their entangled relationship with Judge Dredd and the Justice Department.
The main problem with the Partworks approach is generally interest drops off part way into the series, whatever it is, and the series becomes financially untenable for the publisher leaving the people who are picking it up with only part of a collection. One of the crucial things that will either make or break Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection is whether Dredd fans think it’s a worthy investment for something they may already have in a different edition.
Rebellion have made a good effort regards previously unavailable content, with cover gallerys, artist sketches and contextual essays, this is alongside collecting together stories from both 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine that were in some cases seperated by several years. There’s a rather epic 80 books planned and collected together they will depict a piece of art featuring Dredd and various characters from his world.
Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection may appeal more to fans who want to cherry pick different issues as and when they are available rather than subscribe, also this series is aimed at newsagents rather than just comic shops. Whether newsagents will be stocking it is a different matter, a number of fans have already posted about being unable to find issue 1 on the Judge Dredd The Mega Collection Facebook page.