Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Cursed Earth chapters 1 and 2

Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth
Chapters 1 and 2
by Pat Mills (script) and Mike McMahon (art)
2000 AD comics, May 1978

It's hard to believe that it was 40 years ago that 2000 AD comics began its first major story arc involving Judge Dredd: an epic, 25-chapter adventure titled The Cursed Earth. From Prog 61 (which had a cover date of 20 April 1978) to Prog 85 (7 October 1978), fans were treated to something entirely new and novel in the Judge Dredd universe.

At the time, no one in the US outside of a few dedicated fans of British comics even knew that The Cursed Earth was up and running, but it has since turned out to be one of the greatest comics of the 70s.

Printed in black and white and featuring Mike McMahon's distinctive artwork, which made up in its energy and dynamism for its lack of polish, The Cursed Earth combined sci-fi with violent action to fashion something quite unlike anything else appearing in English-language comics. 

The uniquely British sense of humor that permeated the comic gave it a nasty, satiric flavor that simply didn't exist in American comics of the same era. 

Showing the influence of contemporary English pop culture on the tenor of Judge Dredd, the second chapter introduced one of the most memorable characters in the 2000 AD lineup: the punk, and reprobate, 'Spikes Harvey Rotten'. 

As chapter 2 opens, Rotten is visiting a grammar school in order to tell the kids 'how terrible it is to be a lawbreaker', because, according to the confident warden of the Mega-Penitentiary that rehabilitated Rotten, 'we reform ninety-nine per cent of our prisoners here, you know.' Pat Mills's script takes this assertion and turns it into black comedy, as only Dredd can save the innocent from a looming bloodbath.

There are a number of compilations of the series that have been released over the years; the newest version, 2016's The Cursed Earth: Uncensored, features material that was deleted from early compilations for fear of trademark infringement litigation. 

Posted below are the first two chapters of The Cursed Earth

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