THE CHARACTERS: Since his first appearance in 1977, Judge “Joe” Joseph Dredd has been patrolling the mean streets of Mega City 1 on an oversized motorcycle, dispensing justice via his voice activated super-gun and trademark grimace. Conceived as a futuristic, satirical take on Dirty Harry, Dredd’s stories are all considered canon – unlike most of his comic book contemporaries, Dredd’s universe has never been rebooted or retconned. He’s also aged in real time, taking him from a 33 year old ubercop upon his ’77 debut in the pages of 2000AD to today’s septuagenarian veteran still trying to chase down perps in the world of 2136.
Despite a wildly generic 1995 Stallone vehicle, 2012 saw MC-1’s toughest lawman return to cinemas with the sublimely straightforward entertainment of Dredd 3D. It starred Karl Urban and fucking rocked.
THE COMIC: Published 1994-1995, Crusade appeared in 2000AD progs 868-871 (occupying a scant 6 pages in each). Penned by Mark Millar (Wanted, Kick-Ass, Superior) and Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Final Crisis, The Multiversity), Dredd races against Judges from around the world to locate Judge Eckhart – a man who may or may not have met God on his deep space travels. To boot, this all happens in an abandoned Antarctic station…
Encountering unfortunate racial stereotypes was an occasional toll fans paid for reading Dredd, and Crusade employed a multitude of lazy international tropes (dimwitted Irish, brutal Russian etc). The nadir was however was undoubtedly a Japanese katana weilding Judge who ended up committing seppuku (spoilers).
None of this matters one damned bit however as the artwork by Mick Austin is simply superb. Like really. Austin would go on to leave the comic book industry the following year to focus on a successful fine arts career, but fortunately not before illustrating several 2000AD and Judge Dredd stories.
THE CANVAS: Measuring 1520mm by 600mm Judge Dredd: Crusade is mounted on a large piece of plywood, making it sturdy, but not too heavy for mounting (it’s been hanging in my living room for several months now). As with other works, two coats of clear glaze protect the finished product and provide a very nice shine. The dimensions and weight mean regular postal delivery isn’t an option, but local pickup (within Sydney) or a good courier might do the trick in getting it to you.
THE COST: $200