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Author Topic: Why does Dredd age?  (Read 5224 times)

Funt Solo

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Why does Dredd age?
« on: 25 July, 2018, 07:03:36 AM »
I know that time passes in Mega-City One at the same rate as time passes for us the readers, but MC-1 is 122 years in the future.  Therefore, Judge Dredd ages (unlike other comic characters who can stay eternally whatever age they're presented as being).

But why?  Whose idea was it?  Has it been that way since prog 2?
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Frank

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #1 on: 25 July, 2018, 08:02:32 AM »
I know that time passes in Mega-City One at the same rate as time passes for us the readers, but MC-1 is 122 years in the future.  Therefore, Judge Dredd ages (unlike other comic characters who can stay eternally whatever age they're presented as being).

But why?  Whose idea was it?  Has it been that way since prog 2?


The first indication I can think of that time is passing in Megacity One in a way it doesn't in a small village of indomitable Gauls:





Frank

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #2 on: 25 July, 2018, 08:53:34 AM »

... I should have pointed out that story ran in prog 45, dated 31st December 1977, pegging the day and month in MC1 to our own. The very first story had established the year as 2099.

The next time I can remember anyone even mentioning a date was Judge Feyy's prediction of disaster in 2120 (156*), 18 years in the future. I'm sure someone must mention the date at some point in-between, but the next indication time is passing that springs to mind is City Of The Damned, which puts that same prediction now just 13 years in the future (393**).

I don't remember the passing of fictional time being marked again until anniversary prog 520's Ten Years On (520), and I didn't get the impression the reader was supposed to think it was a huge aspect of the strip until the aftermath of Oz, when John Wagner started seeding mentions of Dredd ageing in preparation for Necropolis and his own exit from the strip (573).


* March 1980
** November 1984

sheridan

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #3 on: 25 July, 2018, 09:24:19 AM »
Cellular senescence, leading to an accumulation of changes in a human being over time, encompassing physical, psychological, and social changes :-P

sheridan

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #4 on: 25 July, 2018, 09:27:24 AM »
p.s. I certainly remember knowing in the mid-eighties that Dredd was based 122 years in the future, and that the years in Strontium Dog also increased in line with our own (unfortunately it appears that Grant and/or Wagner forgot all about that later as it went right out of the window).

Frank

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #5 on: 25 July, 2018, 09:47:06 AM »
I certainly remember knowing in the mid-eighties that Dredd was based 122 years in the future

Yeah, but the question is when and why it was decided MC1 wouldn't always exist in a permanent 2099.

Best reason I can think of (as opposed to an answer from anyone actually involved) is that Wagner and Mills often go on about how much they hated the comic industry of the sixties and seventies, where the same old characters went on forever, with nothing ever really changing.

Bathe in the irony.



Link Prime

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #6 on: 25 July, 2018, 09:52:33 AM »
I enjoy this aspect to Dredd's character, but less so as time moves on and John Wagner writes the strip less.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #7 on: 25 July, 2018, 10:04:37 AM »
I think it's good to have an element of permanence to the strip. To my mind, it's only really got two things wrong. The first is not really considering how the future would be for people in any kind of consistent manner. This has admittedly got better over time, but we too often have people and Judges pensioned off around 60, when Dredd has for ten or more years now been positioned as almost the last man standing of his era. Surely realistically, the Judges would have a shit-ton of tech to keep their people soldiering on.

The other error was Chaos Day stripping the city back so much. Mega City One never made any sense anyway. 800 million people sounds like a big number, but not in a city of that size. Given how people were crammed together in massive city blocks, the vast, vast majority of the city must have not had any people in – but you never got that impression. As Michael Carroll noted, they should have gone with a population in the billions to make that work. Now, you have a city of 100 million people, covering a massive chunk of the east coast. Either it should be compact and centralised, with massive wastelands surrounding it, or just be pockets of civilisation within nothingness.

Steve Green

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #8 on: 25 July, 2018, 10:38:29 AM »
p.s. I certainly remember knowing in the mid-eighties that Dredd was based 122 years in the future, and that the years in Strontium Dog also increased in line with our own (unfortunately it appears that Grant and/or Wagner forgot all about that later as it went right out of the window).

Did it?

The odd typo aside, the dates stack up pretty well when I was cobbling together a timeline as filler for the fan film page.

Frank

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #9 on: 25 July, 2018, 11:34:53 AM »
I enjoy this aspect to Dredd's character, but less so as time moves on and John Wagner writes the strip less.

#MeToo. It's only really Wagner's extraordinary tenure on Dredd, and the throughline of recurrent themes and consistency that appears to give the (illusory) unfolding larger narrative of the strip, that makes the ageing aspect anything but a gimmick.

It's the interplay of the fictional history of the strip and the professional history of one charismatic individual that lends the idea resonance - see my comment above about Dredd feeling his age and quitting just as his principle author felt and did the same.

I think that's why, by and large, other writers have left the Old Man And The MC1 aspect alone*.


* Rob Williams & RM Guerra's The Man Comes Around (Meg 344) is a really good strip, but it's an example of creators putting themselves in someone else's shoes and walking around for a bit, in the same way they would if they were producing a story about Batman being orphaned or what it's like for Superman to be functionally immortal.

Which is fine, but such stories can't ever have the extra resonance provided by the reader's relationship with the work of an author they've been reading since they were in short trousers when that author uses their relationship with their fictional avatar to communicate that they've decided to move on, decided that - what the fuck - they're going to carry on, or decided it's time to call it a day. How could they?

Magnetica

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #10 on: 25 July, 2018, 12:09:19 PM »
The first reference of Dredd himself aging that I remember  was in the 300s when he ends up getting the tight boots.

Wrt to Strontium Dog also advancing in real time or not, I guess that is harder than Dredd given it doesn’t appear every week and a story that takes place over a few days or weeks for the characters could take something like 4 years to be printed e.g The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha.

Anyway it is surely better for characters to age (not necessarily in real time though) than say be at school for 50 years. It’s all about character development.

It’s probably also the case that they didn’t think the strip would still be going on 40 years later and so Dredd reaching old age wasn’t meant to be a problem. But hey he has had a rejuve and a medical where he was told he could carry on for years (if not decades), so no problem.

glassstanley

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #11 on: 25 July, 2018, 12:26:47 PM »
The first episode is set in 2099AD, so it's established as 122 years into the future at the very start. New Year & Christmas usually happen around the same time in reality and in the fiction.

Earliest indication that we see that Dredd has aged is Return of Rico & Mutie the Pig stories, where we get flashbacks to Dredd's earlier life.

Multi-part stories obviously don't have a week's gap in Dredd-time between episodes (*), so there is some drift. There wasn't a Christmas episode between Block Mania/Apocalypse War, but there was one in the contemporary Daily Star strip, which helps to tie the date of the stories around that conflict down.

(*) Although the first few episodes of Robot Wars refer to events of the previous episoed as happening seven days ago!

Steve Green

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #12 on: 25 July, 2018, 12:33:22 PM »
If it wasn't for acknowledging Christmas and/or New Year they could have strung it out for much longer.

The Apocalypse War took place over a week in Dredd time, but 6 months in the real world.

I think I worked out Johnny's in his 50s in current SD, although he spent 10 years in a magical coma, so...

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #13 on: 25 July, 2018, 12:54:02 PM »
If it wasn't for acknowledging Christmas and/or New Year they could have strung it out for much longer.

The Apocalypse War took place over a week in Dredd time, but 6 months in the real world.

I think I worked out Johnny's in his 50s in current SD, although he spent 10 years in a magical coma, so...

The apparent lack of aging in Stront does irk me a bit. Ten years between Final Solution and Life and Death..., and a further two years pass early on during the latter story; and with the likes of Evans the Fist and Middenface being (in some cases significantly) older than Johnny to start with, shouldn't they now be the wrong side of sixty? Not a single character looks much older than when we first met them.

Evans talks about his imminent retirement during Blood Moon, which happens pre-Wulf - so that has to have been nearly twenty years ago!

Frank

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Re: Why does Dredd age?
« Reply #14 on: 25 July, 2018, 12:59:15 PM »
The first reference of Dredd himself aging that I remember  was in the 300s when he ends up getting the tight boots.

It's Morph who talks about ageing, buddy, not Dredd. That story, A Question Of Judgement (387), eventually ties into the issue of Dredd's ageing in the stories prior to Necropolis, but only because Wagner conflates that theme with Dredd's doubts concerning his role in the department, first expressed five years earlier.

Together with the schmaltz concerning a kid, Dredd's resurfacing doubts mean Tale Of The Dead Man (662-668) and A Letter To Judge Dredd (661) can be seen as Wagner picking up where he left off with A Case For Treatment (389). It's significant that Wagner only returned to these themes, which he thought weakened the character*, when he thought he was quitting 2000ad for good.


* 'Under pressure from the readers, Wagner & Grant first added major elements of Dredd's self-doubt and fallibility ... Wagner was unhappy with the development: "it was an experiment but I didn't like it. I'm very wary of altering his character at all. If you change a character you're in danger of losing it altogether" Judge Dredd: The Mega-History, p.103