I’m not quite sure how, but for some reason I managed to completely miss out on the legend that is the 2000AD comic. I really don’t know why I never got into it, as it was all about spaceships and aliens and that kind of thing, so I should have loved it. The best excuse I can think of is that when I used to buy comics I somehow thought that 2000AD was for much older kids, and by the time I was that age comics had lost their appeal to me as I was heavily into computer magazines.
I was first introduced to 2000AD by some school friends, who were talking about a character named Judge Dredd, surely the most well known name to have come from the comic’s pages. What they were describing just didn’t sound like it should be a comic book, as I expected comic books to be full of either slapstick comedy or superheroes in the Superman or Batman mould.
I couldn’t work out from what my mates said whether Judge Dredd was supposed to be a hero or a villain. He was supposed to be a policeman, judge and jury all rolled into one, but given some of his actions he didn’t sound particularly lawful at times. However, given the state of things in Mega-City One, his kind of justice was probably a necessity – I certainly wouldn’t want to live there!
Interesting though it sounded I still wasn’t tempted to get a copy of the comic myself, simply because I didn’t realise there was way more to 2000AD than just Judge Dredd. Over the years it has seen a great variety of comic strips written and drawn by some of today’s best known comic book authors. I’m not a big comic fan, but I have heard of Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison, who were just two of the many.
2000AD was launched in 1977, and surprisingly it didn’t contain a Judge Dredd story (he had to wait until the second issue for his debut) but it did contain a reboot of the classic character Dan Dare from The Eagle. This reboot was perhaps a little too much however, as it didn’t appeal to old fans of Dan Dare, and failed to ignite the interest of the new audience either.
Whilst 2000AD may have been loved as a comic, it has also wanted to be loved in the medium of videogames, yet it has had a very patchy experience in this area. Over the years there have been several videogames of 2000AD characters, including many Judge Dredd games, a couple based on Rogue Trooper, and back in the Commodore 64 days games based on Slaine and Nemesis the Warlock, too popular strips at the time. Indeed, 2000AD is even owned now by a computer games developer, Rebellion, who have made Dredd and Rogue Trooper games that have sadly failed to live up to their source.
There have also been film adaptations of some of the strips, most notably Judge Dredd (of course) which was a 1995 film starring no less than Sylvester Stallone as Dredd. Whilst I admit to quite enjoying the film when I saw it, I could see why die-hard fans were disappointed. It starts promisingly enough, with Stallone looking awesome as Dredd when in full costume, riding around on his “Lawmaster” bike (with the Carlos Van Dango Super Wide Wheels) and shooting his “Lawgiver” gun, but before long he’s stripped of the helmet and plunged out of Mega-City One completely, framed for a crime he didn’t commit, yada yada yada…