It’s been the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic’s for almost 45 years. It’s got action, wry humour, and thought-provoking storylines. However, while many of us already know that 2000 AD, is more than just another boy’s-own comic, the film-makers who have dipped their toes into the murky waters of Mega City One, have somehow managed to miss, not just the subtlety, but the humour of a comic that has absolutely nothing in common with its American counterparts. So, Penguin’s decision to release a series of audio-dramas based on a selection of 2000 AD’s best-loved storylines should delight fans everywhere.
Included in March’s release schedule are two Judge Dredd stories: America and The Pit. Both tales date from the 1990s, which was, arguably, a Golden Age of British comics. As would be expected, the tales are an irreverent mix of violence and comedy, underscored with layer of social commentary, which never shies away from issues of race, gender, authoritarianism, and what it means to be human. In an era of political polarisation, with growing concerns about freedom, terrorism, and the rise of totalitarianism, John Wagner’s, America, has never felt more relevant. The choice of the very English Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare In Love) to portray the very American lawman, Judge Dredd, is surprising, but both stories offer-up a solid introduction to the wild and wonderful world of Mega City One.
There have been rumours for several years that Director, Duncan Jones (Moon), is interested in bringing the seminal tale of Celtic warriors and fickle goddesses—Slaine—to the big screen. In the meantime, Penguin’s new audio will do very nicely. Colin Morgan (Merlin) does a superb job of bringing Pat Mills’ creation to life. This is a genuine crowd-pleaser and should surprise the hell out of anyone who still thinks that comics are just guys in tights hitting each other. Pat Mills is a man who knows how to tell a tale and Slaine represents some of his most creative and audacious storytelling. And Penguin have, thankfully, got this pitch-perfect.
Better known as the man who wrote Watchmen, V For Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore actually cut his teeth on 2000 AD. And no audio collection would be complete without at least one of his strips. There’s plenty of choice, with titles such as Skizz and D.R. And Quinch firm favourites. But The Ballad of Halo Jones is a classic for a reason—and the powerhouse performer that is Sheila Atim (The Irregulars) pours every-ounce of her incredible talent into embodying 2000 AD’s greatest heroines.
Judge Dredd: America, Judge Dredd: The Pit, Slaine: The Horned God,The Ballad of Halo Jones, and Brink: Volumes 1-3, are available as digital downloads now from Penguin.