Sum­mer of comic fun

Cin­e­matic art Mega-City One’s in­fa­mous judge dishes out an il­lus­tra­tive hay­maker, cour­tesy of Greg Sta­ples

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A meaner Judge Dredd and ar­chive Dan Dare sto­ries will make up just part of 2000 AD’s cel­e­bra­tory sum­mer. Pick up a copy, or risk a trip to the Iso-Cubes.

This July sees the hard­back re­lease of Judge Dredd: Dark Jus­tice, one of the most hotly an­tic­i­pated 2000 AD se­ries ever. This com­pi­la­tion of the 11-part weekly se­ries was two years in the mak­ing, and sees John Wag­ner back on writ­ing du­ties, with il­lus­tra­tions by Greg Sta­ples.

“The whole idea be­hind it was to make a comic that’s more like a film. It had to have an epic feel to it, like a big Hol­ly­wood block­buster,” ex­plains Greg. The artist came up with a top-se­cret tech­nique in or­der to re­alise the project.

“Peo­ple are sur­prised when they look at the art – they al­ways try to fig­ure out how it was done. That’s why it’s nice to keep a lit­tle bit of the mys­tery be­hind it,” says Greg. “My favourite artists wouldn’t give away their craft, and that got my imag­i­na­tion fir­ing!”

Greg worked with tra­di­tional medi­ums ex­clu­sively to cre­ate the pan­els, tak­ing twice as long as if he had painted the art­work dig­i­tally. He used photo ref­er­ences for the first time in his ca­reer to bring a cin­e­matic re­al­ism to the Dredd uni­verse; “I’ve worked on films as well. I’ve been on movie sets and stud­ied light­ing, so I brought all that into it.

“Orig­i­nally, Dark Jus­tice was go­ing to be ei­ther four or five episodes, and then John sug­gested mak­ing it a book, so it was al­most al­ways in­tended to be a book” re­counts Greg. “It’s dif­fi­cult for a story to main­tain that sense of sus­pense when you read it week by week. I think with a book, you’re able to just sit down in the same way you would watch a film, where it holds you. It will work much bet­ter col­lected, and I’m very much look­ing for­ward to it com­ing out the way it was in­tended.”

For more de­tails on Dark Jus­tice, visit www.2000adon­line.com.

Judges Dredd and An­der­son battle the Dark Judges in Greg Sta­ples’ cover

art to the fi­nal part of Dark Jus­tice. Dark Jus­tice re­ceived rave re­views when it was first re­leased weekly in 2014.

A grasp of cin­e­matic light­ing en­abled Greg to give Dark Jus­tice the comic equiv­a­lent of the big-screen treat­ment.

Judge Fire ter­rorises the in­hab­i­tants of Mega-City One, in th­ese pan­els taken from Dark Jus­tice.

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