@’s by John Wagner!!!
"It should never be forgotten that Carlos Ezquerra created Judge Dredd; long before Mike McMahon's "big boots" look and Brian Bolland's classic shot of Judge Fear getting his head remodeled, Carlos had already designed an icon. From the eagle to the badge to that lethal-looking visor, he had the look nailed from the get-go. Even today his Dredd has an authenticity that few can match" - Garth Ennis
Russ Sheath here. This month IDW Limited continues its journey through the annals of the UK's greatest comics export with two very special Limited Editions of JUDGE DREDD THE COMPLETE CARLOS EZQUERRA Volume 1. Following swiftly on the heels of the runaway success that was JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE BRIAN BOLLAND, IDW offers readers a look at the origins of Dredd as it showcases the art of co-creator, Carlos Ezquerra.
As Garth Ennis so ably points out, while the likes of Mike McMahon and Brian Bolland helped refine the modern take on the future lawman, the look of, arguably, one of comics most iconic characters all came from the mind and the pencil of Carlos Ezquerra. As part of its ongoing celebration of Dredd's legacy IDW Limited has released two IDW Limited editions of its ‘Complete Dredd’ series. Available in RED and BLUE label formats, each edition breaks down as follows:
The BLUE Label is something incredibly special for hardcore fans of Dredd and of Carlos Ezquerra alike. Limited to only 25 hand-numbered copies that are sure to be snapped up quickly, each 'blue label' edition will feature a hand-drawn illustration by Carlos Esquerra himself and is presented in a limited-edition, custom-designed tray case. As well as the original art by Carlos Ezquerra the edition will feature a hardcover portfolio containing 12 lithographs of classic Ezquerra Dredd images. Within the 264 page hardcover you will find a mounted signature page signed by Judge Dredd co-creators Carlos Ezquerra and John Wagner as well as the presentation you have come to expect from IDW Limited, including:
Custom, exclusive to IDW Limited cover in metallic ink.
Vellum overlay of the title page.
New end pages designed to mirror the style of the slipcase and portfolio
For more information on the BLUE Label edition see here
The RED Label edition is limited to 250 copies and features the same eye-watering design elements, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra signature page, the portfolio (minus the original illustration) and is enshrined in a custom designed slipcase. For more information see here
And then there's the book. Some works are undeniably deserving of special treatment and that is very much the case here. Harking back to the first appearances of Judge Dredd in the classic comic book 2000AD, the first volume of JUDGE DREDD THE COMPLETE CARLOS EZQUERRA covers the artists early work on the character.
Showcasing the work in trademark IDW Limited style, the company once again works wonders in taking stories that originally appeared almost 40 years ago and presenting them in a new format. From the weight and quality of the paper to the fact that the material was originally produced in ‘newspaper’ stock, you have never seen the work of Ezquerra produced in such style, worthy taking pride worthy of taking pride of place on any book shelf this is a must have volume whichever edition you choose. To coincide with the release of JUDGE DREDD THE COMPLETE CARLOS EZQUERRA, I spoke to Dredd writer and the co-creator of Dredd, John Wagner.
RUSS SHEATH (RS): John, what does it mean to you, almost 40 years later, to see the original Dredd stories continue to be immortalized in showcase editions such as THE COMPLETE JUDGE DREDD?
JOHN WAGNER (JW): I didn't imagine it the comic would last more than a few years, nor that Dredd would be an ever-present. It's testament to great work from a lot of talented people, not just ourselves. And of course to Carlos for creating such a superb character.
RS: Of the numerous characters you have created both together with Carlos and independently, was there any indication during the creation process of Dredd that you had hit upon something special?
JW: I knew pretty much before I wrote the first story that Dredd would go down well, though I didn't imagine he would do quite so well. It's the combination of hero and villain that's so hard to beat.
RS: During that creation process,were there any elements, whether in character, premise or visuals that you were absolutely adamant upon? And, were there any elements that either of you disagreed over?
JW: Dredd had to be the bad guy. No matter how often he played the hero, I liked to make sure some poor innocent suffered as well. It's an intrinsic part of his character and what makes him different from the rest. As to his appearance, on first sight I hated Carlos's interpretation. It took me a while to come round to accepting him, but of course I should have trusted Carlos to get it right.
RS: If you could put your finger on any key ingredient that has contributed to Dredd's longevity and what made him stand out at the head of the very short list of truly great British comic book characters, what might that be?
JW: Ahem...I think I may have mentioned this once or twice already. Hero and villain in one package. And then there's the city, a character in itself. It gives you so much scope to tell just about any kind of story, its hard to get boring when there are so many exciting possibilities.
RS: Do you have any personal favorites amongst your own Dredd works?
JW: I'm very fond of a lot of the short Dredd, stories, one-offs and two-parters and I hope to present my favorites in a forthcoming IDW collection. As far as longer stories go, 'America' is probably the most rounded Dredd story I've written, beautifully realized by Colin MacNeil's art.
RS: John, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
JUDGE DREDD THE COMPLETE CARLOS EZQUERRA, Red and Blue editions are available to pre-order here
Check out IDW LImited here and follow them on twitter @IDWLimited You can follow Russ Sheath's blog Russwords here and @russellsheath on Twitter here.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G