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Author Topic: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?  (Read 328 times)

strontium pup

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do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« on: 14 August, 2019, 01:56:00 pm »
especially for new writers? his personality is pretty consistent but his actions  can vary from situation to situation.

Greg M.

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #1 on: 14 August, 2019, 02:07:20 pm »
After 40+ years of Joe and his world, for the bulk of which he's been written by his creator, I suspect it's not too hard for someone else to write a sort-of-ok Judge Dredd story but insanely difficult to write a really good one.

Frank

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #2 on: 14 August, 2019, 02:23:25 pm »

There are many talented new comic creators, here and in the USA. Very few of those talented new creators would, by choice, want to write or draw police procedurals and political thrillers about a taciturn, emotionally stunted, octogenarian tough-guy*.


* That also require them to create new architecture, vehicle, and clothing designs on every page. You get a Mick McMahon or Cam Kennedy once a generation, if you're lucky. We should take turns minding Henry Flint when he crosses the road and sterilising the surfaces in his home.

norton canes

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #3 on: 14 August, 2019, 02:37:36 pm »
All I would say is, you don't write Judge Dredd, you write Mega City 1 and incorporate Dredd.

Dandontdare

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #4 on: 14 August, 2019, 02:46:35 pm »
I'd say Dredd is very difficult to write because he isn't a hero, but at the same time he's not a villain - he's the enforcer for a fascist police state, and yet he is entirely incorruptible and self-sacrificing - that is a fine tightrope to walk.

Garth Ennis and Mark Millar are great writers and longtime Dredd fans and they couldn't quite get it right - they gave us a wise-cracking supercop who could beat every villain with a punch and a one-liner, and who was just aggressively mean with no purpose.

Funt Solo

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #5 on: 14 August, 2019, 03:05:01 pm »
So difficult to get right. I’ve noticed people writing him as suicidally stupid rather than just taciturn. Just lucky, rather than tactical. It can be pretty glaring.
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Frank

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #6 on: 14 August, 2019, 03:16:17 pm »
All I would say is, you don't write Judge Dredd, you write Mega City 1 and incorporate Dredd.

Been a while since we saw MC1. The early episodes of Sons Of Booth, maybe.

Most writers create their own judge characters, write stories about them, then invite Dredd aboard as a passenger. Same as has happened with Anderson; the house characters have histories that mean you can't do anything new with them and you can't build up any tension around whether they're going to survive this story, because of course they are.

Fair play to Rob Williams for clearing out his fridge completely in the space of a few months.



Bolt-01

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #7 on: 14 August, 2019, 03:49:22 pm »
Speaking as someone who has read actually hundreds of folk trying their hands at Dredd - yes.

Proudhuff

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #8 on: 14 August, 2019, 04:08:21 pm »
Speaking as someone who has read actually hundreds of folk trying their hands at Dredd - yes.

yes, its only once you've tried it that you realise how hard the balancing act is.
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TordelBack

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #9 on: 14 August, 2019, 09:11:30 pm »
One terrible thing about Dredd is that he feels wrong so often that when a writer gets him exactly right it pulls me out of the story to contemplate why.

There's also a problem with keeping MC1 itself fresh in a story - good example being this week's Dredd: while Weston's mutated/infected rats were absolutely superbly drawn, genuinely memorable, from a story perspective I was still left thinking "Rats? Just big deformed rats? Not very MC1". Having to fit the 'crazy city mould as well as very thing else sounds incredibly daunting.
« Last Edit: 14 August, 2019, 09:18:16 pm by TordelBack »

radiator

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #10 on: 14 August, 2019, 09:56:13 pm »
In many ways it's not that Dredd is such a fascinating character or concept in and of itself - there are plenty of similar 'future cop' type stories out there, it's that the best Dredd stories tend to have such a distinct flavour to them. And that's really hard to pin down.

I think it's that John Wagner's writing style is so inextricably tied to the character, and that his particular authorial voice has so many unique quirks and his sense of humour is so eccentric/peculiar that its really hard to emulate. Even in a really serious story, he'll lighten the tone with just the right amount of silliness.

I also think a lot of Dredd writers miss the simplicity of what makes a good Dredd story. The vast majority of classic Dredd stories boil down to either 'Dredd tackles a weird crime of the week' or 'Dredd is tracking someone or something down'. Even in the middle of a vast epic, Wagner always seems to have a knack for making individual story arcs feel really fresh and accessible, and the worldbuilding/continuity stuff feels organic and is usually on the periphery to the main story being told, whereas a lot of non-Wagner Dredd serials I've read sometimes seem a bit overcomplicated somehow, or overly mired in past continuity from a story from three years ago that I can barely remember, and/or they don't really show Dredd doing what he does best (being a cop!). It's hard to articulate - I hope that makes some kind of sense?

Another thing I've always loved about John Wagner's Dredd writing (and again it's super hard to articulate clearly) is that he doesn't get to bogged down in specifics - he has a way of keeping Mega City One and the wider world outside of it really malleable (without being story-breaking) and making it feel like we're only getting a glimpse of a tiny corner of this huge world.

The Adventurer

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #11 on: 15 August, 2019, 03:11:41 am »
All I would say is, you don't write Judge Dredd, you write Mega City 1 and incorporate Dredd.

Been a while since we saw MC1. The early episodes of Sons Of Booth, maybe.


The World According to Chimpsky & The Samaritan were both Mega City One Stories featuring Judge Dredd. IMO

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PsychoGoatee

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #12 on: 15 August, 2019, 03:33:03 am »
Always a fun topic, happened to listen to a great episode of the thrill-cast covering it the other day. The Beginner's Guide to Writing Judge Dredd with Rob Williams, Tom Eglington, Michael Carroll and Chris Weston.

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/2000adthrillcast/episodes/2017-06-13T21_00_00-07_00

Balancing the sometimes subtle aspects of his character, along with a voice that can fit with Wagner's which suits Dredd so well. Having such a legendary character make choices and actions that feel right, a big job in general.

I, Cosh

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #13 on: 15 August, 2019, 01:49:29 pm »
I think it must be as he's only had three letters in the last dirty years.
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Dash Decent

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Re: do you think Judge Dredd is hard to write?
« Reply #14 on: 15 August, 2019, 02:12:47 pm »
As long as you have Dredd fighting some well-hard perp on a conveyor belt, bish bosh, job done.