Monday 3 June 2013

1983: JUDGE DREDD ISSUE 1 LAUNCH AD (Eagle Comics)

JUDGE DREDD: Welcome to the United States!

This ad, from June 1983, was quite possibly the first sighting of ol' JD for most US comic buyers.  The advert, which appeared in COMICS INTERVIEW (and, no-doubt, elsewhere too), announced the launch of the US JUDGE DREDD monthly which, behind an impressive run of new Brian Bolland covers, reprinted the 2000AD strips.

The original UK pages were reworked to fit the different dimensions of US books (taller and narrower*), altered so that multi-part stories appeared to flow as one continuous story (albeit with tell-tale cliffhangers every few pages) and - most impressively - colour for the first time.

Eagle Comics was a joint-venture between IPC and Titan Books (who'd been publishing the 2000AD reprint albums since the beginning of the decade) intended to crack the US market.  The all-reprint line expanded fast to include more Dredd titles, Robo Hunter, a US edition of 2000AD and others.  However, they struggled to make the economics work and eventually allowed the license to pass to Dez Skinn's (him again!) Quality Comics.  Although, in typical Skinn style, that tie-up proved short-lived.

The company name was, of course, inspired by the classic (and just revived) British weekly although they never reprinted anything from either incarnation.

Considering the amount of 2000AD back catalogue that was coloured for Eagle/ Quality, I'm always a bit surprised that more of it hasn't resurfaced since.  It's not as if Tharg is adverse to reissuing the same material in countless different formats.

* Typical IPC, the format and dimensions of the British comics didn't make the strips easy to export.

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