In Dredd’s long and illustrious career we’ve seen many a female Judge stepping up to the plate, from Anderson to McGruder, but the iconic British strip has never been written by a woman. Until now.
2000 AD, a sci-fi anthology that has run continuously since 1977, has enjoyed a reputation for creating fantastic women characters (Halo Jones!) in the various strips that focus on personality first, and gender last. Judge Anderson is perhaps the most well known example, and her portrayal in the 2012 film Dredd by Olivia Thirlby cemented that wonderfully by showing her as Dredd’s equal in every respect – including costume. In fact that very under-appreciated film is one of the strongest comic book movies of all time in terms of gender politics, carried out in a very “no big deal” manner.
It’s little wonder then that women make up a significant sector of the 2000 AD readership, and yet despite both the wealth of women characters in the book, and the number of women creators in the UK, it’s also long held a reputation as being a boys club when it comes to writers and artists.
You can imagine my delight then in our roundtable review of Prog 1824 last month when I saw Emma Beeby’s name attached to a new strip, Survival Geeks. I first came across Beeby a couple of years ago at Glasgow Comic Con, and she is perhaps best known for her Doctor Who audio stories along with her co-writer both there and at 2000 AD, Gordon Rennie. Rennie of course has been writing great stories at 2000 AD for years, and is thrilled to be working with Beeby.
Not only is this the first time Judge Dredd has been written by a woman, but Suicide Watch also sees the introduction of the strips first ever Muslim Mega-City One Judge, Judge Hamida. It’s really refreshing to see a publisher stepping up to the plate in terms of diversity both on the page and behind it, and with a world of solid and well-rendered characters at 2000 AD, I hope it leads to the progs being read by an even wider audience.
As with all Judge Dredd strips, Suicide Watch is completely readable to newcomers while containing elements of previous storylines. The city is decimated since the Day of Chaos events with 87% of the population wiped out, and Suicide Watch looks at the psychological damage to the survivors as suicide cults become ever more popular in the desperate slums.
Something worse though is hunting in the shadows, something that Dredd can’t quite remember… Psi-Judge Hamida is on the case!
Suicide Watch will be told in three episodes, with the first appearing in Prog 1826 this very week.
Judge Dredd: Suicide Watch (Prog 1826-1828)
Writer: Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby
Artist: Paul Davidson
Colourist: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse
Editor: Tharg the Mighty, Matt Smith
Publisher: 2000 AD
It is actually Psi Judge Hamida’s second outing. She was in the three part Gordon Rennie story called Scream which ran from prog 1737 to 1739.
It was the first Dredd story that I read weekly in the prog so it is nice to see Gordon Rennie bring the character back.
Do you think it’s likely that this story will be included in a future Judge Dredd TPB? It–and some of the other stories described in last week’s 2000 A.D. roundtable–sounds interesting enough that I’d actually like to read it right now, but I’m not sure whether any of my local New York comics shops carry the individual progs. Even if they did, the last time I tried buying 2000 A.D. by the prog, each one cost something like $4.95. This seems a bit steep when you’re primarily interested in just one or two of the 6- to 8-page stories. And the $4.95 pricetag was from at least ten or fifteen years ago, so I imagine the U.S. price per prog is higher now.
Cheers Kurt, I didn’t realise that – oops. Nice to see her coming back then, that Gordon Rennie does good stuff!
Marfisa – I think they’ll definitely be included in upcoming tpbs, but I’m not sure how long the cycle is (hopefully Mike Molcher will drop in and let us know!). I believe 2000 AD do digital versions with are fantastic for international readers in particular due to the shipping frustrations.
“Not only is this the first time Judge Dredd has been written by a woman, but Suicide Watch also sees the introduction of the strips first ever Muslim Mega-City One Judge, Judge Hamida. ”
Which is a bit odd because if I remember correctly, Christianity is outlawed and I thought Islam was as well, moreover Judges aren’t allowed any religion of any sort anyway.
Hi, Mike from 2000 AD here!
Yes, in all likelihood this will appear in a collection, though probably not for some time. As Laura says, it’s probably easiest to buy digitally – either DRM-free PDF or CBZ through our online shop or through the 2000 AD iPad app.
Charles – Judge Hamida is a Psi Judge and, as the story points out, they receive much more latitude than street judges. There have been both Christian and Sikh Psi Judges in the past. Also, Christianity isn’t outlawed in Mega-City One, and neither is Islam.
It is not that religion or belief has been outlawed but reduced to irrelevence. There is only one true religion in the Big Meg and that is The Law. The Judges are the religous police and the Chief Judge acting as “Pope” .
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