Thee Comic Column #52: Take Action for A Dredd Sequel

Ahhh, the movie Dredd. Written by Alex Garland and starring he-who-should-have-been-the-new-Batman Karl Urban, Dredd is quite a work of comic book adaptation art. If you have not seen it, you should – I’d easily call it one of the best comic book movies to date.

Bold statement? Yep. But one that I stand behind.

I’ll tell you right off the bat that I didn’t grow up reading the Judge Dredd comics in 2000AD. I knew of the character first via the Anthrax song I Am The Law and second through the Alan Grant/John Wagner/Simon Bisley’s Batman/Judge Dredd graphic novel Judgment on Gotham from DC/Fleetway in 1991. So obviously the character wasn’t one of the Go-To’s of my youth. However, I’ve always kept a peripheral eye on Dredd. I like the character, it just always seemed the books weren’t as prevalent in American comic shop culture as I’m now sure they were in Britain. Then Hollywood came round and Stallone got involved and oh, bollocks to that, eh?

When that first movie came out I ignored it. Comic book movies in the 90’s – with only a few exceptions – were usually just alienating to comic book fans. I learned my lesson after paying to see Batman and Robin in the theatre – stay the hell away from major studio comic book movies. Check. I did, for years and years. Obviously that’s no longer really an issue, but the good Judge had fallen off my radar insofar as another cinematic attempt arising. I fell backwards into a spiral of Marvel goodness and Christopher Nolan-penned darkness.

When Dredd hit theaters with pretty minimal promotion last year I didn’t even really know it was coming. Billboards hit Hollywood and at first I grimaced at the thought of the vehicle for Sly. However, then I saw Alex Garland had written the screenplay and Karl Urban was to star. Then I found out that ‘star’ wasn’t really the right verb. Urban would play Dredd yes, but unlike someone such as Stallone who puts himself first, Urban put the character first by reportedly signing the contract with the stipulation that he would not remove the helmet during the film. Reading of this I became very excited.

When my wife and I sat down in the cinema we feel head over heels into the beautifully visceral world of Mega City One, complete with it’s hordes of inhabitants, criminals, tech and of course, Slo Mo,  the cinematic drug of the century. By the end of the film we were blown away.

Now, obviously due to my lack of experience with the book I’m not the one to say how accurate this film was, although I suspect it was pretty accurate. What I can tell you is that Dredd is a no-holds-barred, knock down/drag out comic flick that, while hyper-violent, also has such a strong, consistent tone via its script, impressive casting and amazing art and costume design that it is more than a pleasure to watch. Add to this the dazzling, almost art-house Slo Mo scenes and you have a strikingly beautiful movie that is also very dark and very gritty. And in Dredd these two seemingly disparate elements compliment each other quite well.

Now, a couple weeks back I signed an online petition to get a sequel made. It’s no secret the first one didn’t do gangbusters at the box office so plans to do a sequel were I think, quelled early on. However, some concerned folks got together and launched the Make A Dredd Sequel campaign. I know, with all the injustices in the world it can seem a bit trivial to do petitions for this kind of thing but hey, if you want something bad enough and can possibly find others who feel the same, unite your voices and actually be heard, why the hell not? It took me all of 2 minutes to read about the campaign on Bloody Disgusting and then click over to the page and sign it. And you know what?

It worked.

Well, partially. The other day I received an email from the folks at the Make A Dredd Sequel Campaign. The email said they’d gotten the ‘moneymen’ to take notice and things were looking good but there was another step, one that should seal the deal. And if you dug the flick, really, the next step is both easy and a no-brainer. It calls for as many people as possible to buy, rent or stream Dredd on September 18th (this coming Wednesday). In the interest of letting these good people explain the parameters themselves, here’s the text from the email:

Thank you – you’re one of more than 80,000 people have now signed the petition calling for a sequel to DREDD! The response to the petition has been just incredible and the endorsement of the owners of Judge Dredd, 2000 AD and Rebellion, has seen the numbers surpass everyone’s expectations.

But we still need your help!

On 18th September, we’re encouraging everyone to take part in a massive DREDD SEQUEL DAY OF ACTION – we’ve already made the moneymen who could get behind a sequel sit up and take notice by consistently keeping the DVD and Blu-Ray in the charts on Amazon and now on Netflix.

We’re asking everyone who’s signed the petition to come together next Wednesday and drive DREDD back up the charts – if everyone who’s signed the petition bought an extra DVD or Blu-Ray (either for themselves or as a present for a friend) or rented/bought it on iTunes and Netflix it will send the loudest signal yet that WE WANT MORE DREDD!

So spread the word that on Wednesday 18th September, you’re going to bring DREDD back into the public eye! Plus, it’s the day that the new comic book sequel comes out, with lots of media attention planned for this and the campaign.

Thanks to Rebellion for helping put this newsletter together – we’re also really pleased to reveal that the official T-shirt for the campaign is now available, so you can wear your support with pride!

So, you ready?

Okay, again, having a “Day of Action” to benefit making a sequel to a movie may be a bit ridiculous in this age of atrocity, but come on – as a comic fan this is the kind of thing I’ve always DREAMED about. Imagine the sheer logistics of having that many people buy, sell or stream the movie on one particular day? The Universe itself might even hemorrhage up a sequel from the walls of Its possibility maps (apologies – I’ve been re-reading Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis – can ya tell?).

Anyway, I’m definitely taking part. I’ll probably also go sign a bunch of humane and worthwhile petitions this week too, just so as not to feel so… first world. But you know what’ll make me feel even better than that? If in a year or two when I’m watching an Alex Garland-penned film where Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby kick more perp ass!!!

I AM THE LAW! Yes you are Judge Dredd. Yes you are.

……………………..

Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

2 Responses to Thee Comic Column #52: Take Action for A Dredd Sequel
  1. [...] has bridged a large part of the gap between the fans and the creators. Recently I covered the Day of Dre... joup.co/thee-comic-column-56-punisher-fan-film-needs-help
  2. Chester Whelks

    Chester Whelks Reply

    I’ll be buying my uninitiated best friend a copy, will you?

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