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Author Topic: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?  (Read 942 times)

norton canes

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Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« on: 07 August, 2019, 05:05:29 pm »
Just wondering if people think 2000 AD could benefit from another strip like 'Dredd'? By which I mean an ever-present strip where a roster of script and art droids take turns to create short to medium length stories centered on the same character and their 'universe', self-contained but often part of their own 'continuity bubble' of developing plot arcs. 

With the rest of the prog featuring creator-owned strips generally served in long chapters and where art droids will spend a long stint, Dredd is something of an anomaly. What's the likelihood that a writer would want to create a character, start it off in a new strip then hand it over for others to develop? How would payments work practically? Would it effectively mean a return to the not fondly looked-upon days of the publishing company taking more profits?

Would the prog even benefit from such a strip? How difficult would it be to create an appealing character with defining characteristics that was nevertheless flexible enough to be cultivated by other writers? Would the prospect of such a major launch being a flop put Rebellion off trying?

Got any ideas about what this new 2000 AD hero(ine) could be like?

Just a few questions that popped into my mind :)

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #1 on: 07 August, 2019, 05:34:38 pm »
What's the likelihood that a writer would want to create a character, start it off in a new strip then hand it over for others to develop? How would payments work practically? Would it effectively mean a return to the not fondly looked-upon days of the publishing company taking more profits?

Well, I think your first question raises the first major hurdle — you need a decent writer to come up with a concept that has 'legs' and for them to forgo regular income from writing it exclusively, they'd expect to be handsomely compensated for the sacrifice.

Also, a lot of what happened with Dredd wouldn't fly now… for at least the first year, arguably the first couple of years, there was a huge amount of throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks — a lot of stuff was introduced as canon and then simply never mentioned again or retconned out of sight (MC-1 having a regular police force and about twelve judges, for a start). You just couldn't do that now, meaning that the aforementioned writer(s) doing the development would have to come up with a pretty watertight series bible… which is even more work they'd need compensating for.

That said, I think there might be legs to a kind of 'open world' series — an interesting setting like, say, Telguuth that offers enough scope for writers to do their own thing under an overarching concept. Again, though, someone would have to come up with the damn thing.
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Frank

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #2 on: 07 August, 2019, 05:57:21 pm »

Skip Tracer enjoyed a semi-permanent residency! Slaine, Sinister-Dexter and Nikolai Dante enjoyed similar not-quite unbroken runs in the nineties, although, as with Nolan Blake's adventures, only the artists passed through the revolving door.

I assume that if Tharg was to undertake your experiment, he'd appoint a single writer, and I imagine if you asked readers to pick a writer they wanted to read every week Dan Abnett would win by a huge margin. Not sure if you could tie him to an annual contract, though.

The two most notable examples of Tharg(s) attempting to engineer sure-fire successes are Rogue Trooper and Outlaw, one of which wasn't a success and the other was never a success as a sandpit for multiple writers.

So, you either ask Abnett to create an original strip and hope it isn't Sancho Panzer, task him with turning one of his existing strips into a weekly fixture, or hand him an existing thrill from the IP catalogue to fashion in his own image. Unless Tharg feels 10th time lucky on Rogue Trooper, the most obvious candidate is the newly-available Strontium Dog.



PsychoGoatee

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #3 on: 07 August, 2019, 06:03:27 pm »
I didn't realize that all other 2000AD strips are creator owned these days. That's cool. How long has that been the case? Are things like Sinister Dexter or Nikolai Dante from the 90s creator owned? And are older ones like ABC Warriors or Slaine creator owned? Is everything since say 2000 creator owned?

Good question, I think something like that could work. If a few writers and artists are interested in the idea and rotate duties on it, that could make for a good fixture. On who owns it, I guess everyone involved in creating it could share some royalties, on top of whatever they usually get for the strips they make. The "writer's room" approach can have positives.

As for what, my first thought is something a bit like the appeal of the X-Men in structure. A group of characters, maybe focusing on seven or eight, rotating cast. Bit of your TV style serialized character building and stuff, and some kind of premise to keep people coming back. Instead of mutant superheroes, it could be a lot of things... maybe something like Buffy/Angel in structure? Maybe it could be about some scamps on a spaceship, a'la Cowboy Bebop etc.
« Last Edit: 07 August, 2019, 06:07:15 pm by PsychoGoatee »

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #4 on: 07 August, 2019, 06:11:23 pm »
Unless Tharg feels 10th time lucky on Rogue Trooper

With the Duncan Jones movie seemingly making good progress, I think the chances of us not seeing the return of a blue-skinned GI to the pages of the prog in the fairly near future are slim to none.
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Jim_Campbell

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #5 on: 07 August, 2019, 06:14:19 pm »
I didn't realize that all other 2000AD strips are creator owned these days.

They're not. There's a convention that creators are allowed to continue working on strips they've created until such time as they say they don't want to, or otherwise indicate to Tharg that they have no intention of doing any more. [Insert pithy John Smith comment from Frank here.]
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Frank

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #6 on: 07 August, 2019, 06:20:47 pm »
I didn't realize that all other 2000AD strips are creator owned these days. That's cool. How long has that been the case? Are things like Sinister Dexter or Nikolai Dante from the 90s creator owned? And are older ones like ABC Warriors or Slaine creator owned?

Not really. Tharg generally wants all rights to everything. 2000ad's run a handful of strips that were creator-owned and most of those were only retrospectively declared the property of their creators or something Wagner and/or Grant knocked up for another comic.

A few, like Tank Girl*, Realm Of The Damned, Demon Nic and American Reaper ran in the Megazine, rather than 2000ad, in a slot specifically reserved for creator-owned work (I assume, to fill space in the comic at a reduced rate).

This list doesn't include Terra-Meks, a Robusters spin-off that Pat Mills managed to get printed on his own terms:




* I think Tank Girl ran before the advent of the creator-slot, but saying that would have fucked up my syntax and, look see, I've acknowledged that misstatement of fact.

Frank

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #7 on: 07 August, 2019, 06:41:19 pm »
Unless Tharg feels 10th time lucky on Rogue Trooper

With the Duncan Jones movie seemingly making good progress, I think the chances of us not seeing the return of a blue-skinned GI to the pages of the prog in the fairly near future are slim to none.

Yeah, but given the history of that particular strip, I wouldn't expect whoever's editing the comic at whatever time any film might appear to gamble the editorial budget on commissioning a year's worth of material to run continuously*.

I agree someone's bound to try, though.


*The Bishop/MacManus Thargship did that with Dredd at the time of the 1995 film (quite reasonably, in my opinion), with two strips running every week, front and back of the comic. The result was reader fatigue (this reader, anyway) and a perception in the company (Egmont) that the failure of the film had somehow made Dredd a drag on the popularity of the comic as a whole. A mistaken perception, I think. Seems more like corporate blame-spreading as the circulation of the comic returned to previous levels then continued to fall (as it had been for the previous half-decade).

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #8 on: 07 August, 2019, 07:15:36 pm »
As someone who doesn't believe in IP, I'm available... Shit, but available.

TordelBack

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #9 on: 07 August, 2019, 08:14:01 pm »
Apart from the challenge of hitting on a one-in-a-million concept, the key issue with any open-ended weekly strip is stasis, the bane of every superhero book. Without an over-arching plot, secrets and revelations, visible character arcs, can there be enough for a modern audience?

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #10 on: 07 August, 2019, 08:31:30 pm »

The Orville seems to be doing okay going back to the Trek monster/problem of the week episodic format - whilst Discovery's series-long infinite plot arc really turned me off.


Frank

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #11 on: 07 August, 2019, 08:33:12 pm »
Apart from the challenge of hitting on a one-in-a-million concept, the key issue with any open-ended weekly strip is stasis, the bane of every superhero book.

And even if it - whether it's a new strip or an existing strip - is generally popular, there aren't many strips everybody would be glad to see in the comic every single week*.

Scarlet Traces, Brink, Strontium Dog, even; not universally popular. Nothing is, but nothing else is in the comic every single time you open it up. Readers threatened to quit when Skip Tracer kept returning (even if they probably didn't).


* Even readers who like other things better than Dredd or have fallen out of love with it over time still accept its presence because it's always just sort of been there. Even if they don't love it, they don't mind it.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #12 on: 07 August, 2019, 08:50:49 pm »
And even if it - whether it's a new strip or an existing strip - is generally popular, there aren't many strips everybody would be glad to see in the comic every single week*.

Maybe not every single week, but for a long time, I’ve argued in favour of longer ‘residencies’ for perhaps two more strips alongside Dredd, in the same way that some combination of Rogue, Slaine, Robo Hunter or Strontium Dog would regularly sit in the prog for months at a time, before rotating out to be replaced by one of the others.

I don’t think this has really been tried in the prog since Sin/Dex and Nikolai Dante, but I’d suggest the semi-permanent presence of Lawless in the Meg benefitted the series which would otherwise have been robbed of its momentum.
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TordelBack

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #13 on: 07 August, 2019, 09:06:50 pm »
No argument here about the value of long residencies, a very different beast to a second 'Dredd'-type.

For a while I thought Damnation Station was going to fulfill the 'residency' role. How I loved that first run. :|

Greg M.

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Re: Does 2000 AD need another 'Judge Dredd'?
« Reply #14 on: 07 August, 2019, 09:12:18 pm »
I don’t think this has really been tried in the prog since Sin/Dex and Nikolai Dante

I've said it before, but these two benefited enormously from their semi-permanent status. I didn't like Sinister / Dexter at all, till fairly far into its tenure, but it was there every week, I read it, and it eventually grew on me. I'd even argue that it needs to be a regular fixture to work properly as a series - its current sporadic schedule doesn't serve it well.

That said - even if I'm in favour of residencies for certain stories, does 'Judge Dredd' itself still need to be one of them? Does it still need to appear in every issue? I know that for most, the answer is 'yes, of course, you fool' and it seems a commercial no-brainer to maintain its regular status, but would sales drop if Dredd only turned up occasionally? Personally, I'd no longer mind if, as per latter-days Strontium Dog, it only showed up when John Wagner had a new story he wanted to tell.
« Last Edit: 07 August, 2019, 09:16:45 pm by Greg M. »