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How To Start Reading Judge Dredd

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This is part of 45 Year Of Thrills, How to Love Comics’ celebration of 2000 AD’s 45th anniversary throughout 2022. Find out more and read other posts in the series here.

Judge Dredd is the most popular strip in the 2000 AD anthology. Every week, readers have been treated to action-packed adventures, cautionary tales, and dark satires starring this Lawman of the Future and the world built up around him.

Although, with decades of comics, Judge Dredd can appear intimidating at first glance – especially if you’re unfamiliar with how British comics operate. It doesn’t need to be, though.

This comprehensive guide will give you everything you need to know to start reading Judge Dredd. It will answer as many questions as possible, offer plenty of ways to begin reading, and include many helpful tips throughout.

Read on to discover how to read Judge Dredd.

Table of contents

Judge Dredd house ad by Carlos Ezquerra.
Judge Dredd house ad by Carlos Ezquerra.

Who was Judge Dredd created by?

Judge Dredd was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra in 1977.

What is Judge Dredd about?

The comic is set in a dystopian future, where much of the United States has been ravaged by nuclear war. Most of the population now live in Mega-City One, where hundreds of millions live in poor conditions and crime is rampant. Here, the Justice Department rules over the city, with The Judges enforcing their rule as judge, jury, and executioner.

Through this scenario, the series is a dark satire of authoritarianism, policing, and other facets of society. The strip explores these themes through different genres, including action, science fiction, parody, humour, thriller, procedural crime, and many more.

Judge Dredd Megazine #424 cover by Greg Staples
Judge Dredd Megazine #424 cover by Greg Staples

Who is Judge Dredd?

Joseph Dredd is one of the Judges of Mega-City One. He is the strictest follower of the Justice Department’s rules, following them to the letter without hesitation – even if they’re unjust. With his gun, the Lawgiver, and his “lawmaster” motorcycle, Dredd patrols the streets and deals out “justice”.

He is the personification of the law order, going as far as to proclaim, “I am the law!” on many occasions.

Judge Dredd: America art by Colin MacNeil.
Judge Dredd: America art by Colin MacNeil.

Is Judge Dredd a good guy or a bad guy?

If you’re unfamiliar with Judge Dredd, you’d assume he was a good guy. However, it’s a subject that’s not so black and white, with the character operating in shades of grey.

As discussed extensively, sometimes he’s the hero, saving Mega-City One from an external threat such as a supervillain or the apocalypse. However, at the same time, he’s a cop operating in an authoritarian society as part of a police force that acts as judge, jury, and executioner. To him, the law is the law. No rule is open to interpretation, even if it doesn’t seem fair. As a result, there are many stories where a criminal is brought to justice, but in a cruel irony, the victim also is punished for some minor infraction.

Writers have been able to explore these shades of grey by creating dark satires that explore different aspects of society and thrilling science fiction epics.

Why do people enjoy Judge Dredd?

While the world that the character and the world he lives in lean hard to the right, the vast majority of readers are left-leaning. This is because these ideas and concepts are an exaggerated science fiction-influenced reflection of our world. By showing them played out, they comment on what’s happening in the world today while also shining a spotlight on what could happen.

The character has endured for more than 45 years because it has been able to do it in so many different ways. Often giving readers not just a thematically interesting story but one that’s action-packed or full of humour too.

Judge Dredd Megazine 400 cover by Chris Weston.
Judge Dredd Megazine 400 cover by Chris Weston.

Where do Judge Dredd stories appear?

There are two places where Judge Dredd comic book stories primarily appear.

These are:

  1. 2000 AD
  2. Judge Dredd Megazine

Dredd first appeared in 2000 AD Prog* 2 all the way back in 1977. Here, Judge Dredd is one of many strips featured in the weekly anthology. During its publication history, a Judge Dredd strip has appeared in every issue except a few.

Judge Dredd Megazine came later in 1990 and is the sister series to 2000 AD. This monthly magazine publishes Judge Dredd’s stories in every issue, plus other strips set in Judge Dredd’s world.

Both publications are set in the same universe, with stories crossing over on the rare occasion. However, it’s not essential to read both in order to follow Judge Dredd. Think of it a bit like Batman and Detective Comics or Superman and Action Comics.

*Short for “program”, Prog is what 2000 AD call their issues.

The storytelling approach to Judge Dredd

If you’re a regular reader of American comics, you’d be used to reading comics in 18-25 page increments. Judge Dredd doesn’t work this way. Instead, it operates in the British tradition of serialisation in smaller increments.

Judge Dredd stories found in 2000 AD are released in ~5-page increments. Judge Dredd Megazine offers a bit more space, with chapters spanning ~10 pages.

While it’s not uncommon to see done-in-one stories, most Judge Dredd tales are told over a handful of chapters. Then there are the mega-epics. These are the huge stories – the equivalent of comic book events – told in anywhere between 15-50 chapters.

Judge Dredd’s approach to continuity

Judge Dredd has an approach to continuity that’s different from other comics. A lot of this comes from the fact the series progresses in real-time. One year in publication history is a year in Dredd’s world. As a result, Judge Dredd is perpetually set 122 years in the future.

With that in mind, Judge Dredd comics tend to rely less on previous stories when it comes to storytelling. You don’t need to have read 45 years of comics to understand the latest story. Most of the time, background reading is not required as the story is focused on what is happening in the world’s present-day as opposed to something published 20 years ago.

That’s not to say continuity doesn’t get involved. There are two ways that continuity can be involved in Judge Dredd stories:

  1. Pivotal moments in Judge Dredd: Huge events in Judge Dredd history can sometimes be referenced or have stories built from them. For instance, The Apocalypse War is still being referenced decades after it happened.
  2. Thematic sagas: These are a collection of self-contained stories that build off each other to evolve the exploration of a theme. The Democracy arc is a good example of this. The other is Mechanismo, which has many follow-ups.

That being said, I wouldn’t worry too much about continuity. Even the more continuity-focused stories have self-contained elements that readers will find value in. Just dive in and enjoy the stories!

How to start reading Judge Dredd

There’s no official best way to start reading Judge Dredd. You’ve just got to dive into it head-first.

You’ll pick up the shades of grey of the character, the world, and Mega-City One as you go. The majority of Judge Dredd’s stories are self-contained, so you should be fine as long as you’re not landing in the middle of an extended storyline.

Check out the next section to discover ways you can dive into Judge Dredd comics.

Where can you read Judge Dredd?

There are many ways to read Judge Dredd. Each option has its own perks and will depend on your preference as a reader and how much material you want to read.

Read on to find out each option to find out which one works for you.

2000 AD 2184 cover by Steven Austin.
2000 AD 2184 cover by Steven Austin.

2000 AD/Judge Dredd Megazine Progs

As mentioned earlier in this guide, Judge Dredd’s stories appear first in 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. For those who enjoy the single issue experience, you can pick up the latest issue and enjoy the Judge Dredd stories every week/month.

If the latest issue is in the middle of a story, you might need to wait for another story to begin in a few weeks’ time. Otherwise, you could look for previous progs in print or digitally through the 2000 AD webshop.

This is not so much of an issue if you take out a digital subscription. One of the perks for subscribers is that they gain access to three months of previous progs – making it easy to catch up on what you’ve missed.

Free Samplers

Do you want to dip your toes into Judge Dredd before putting money down? Luckily, there’s a way to do that. When you sign-up for 2000 AD’s newsletter, you’ll have access to a range of free sampler PDFs – including a Judge Dredd one.

Alternatively, you can find the free sampler on the 2000 AD Webshop.

Essential Judge Dredd: America cover by Colin MacNeil.
Essential Judge Dredd: America cover by Colin MacNeil.

Essential Judge Dredd Line

The Essential Judge Dredd line is a series of curated collections that are an excellent introduction for new readers. Unlike The Complete Case Files (see more below), it’s a selection of Judge Dredd’s greatest hits, including mega-epics and notable sagas. Better yet, these are presented in oversized dimensions, allowing the art to shine.

The line is ongoing and publishes approximately two volumes a year. This section will be updated when more books are announced.

Take a look at the Essential Judge Dredd collections that are currently available.

Essential Judge Dredd: America
Written by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Garth Ennis. Art by Colin MacNeil, John Higgins, John Burns, and Jeff Anderson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 460, 531-533, 656, 750-756 and Judge Dredd Megazine 1.01-1.07

Essential Judge Dredd: America collects pivotal stories from the Democracy arc in one book. This includes Letter From a Democrat, Revolution, The Devil You Know, Politics, America, and Twilight’s Last Gleaming. These stories chart the movement for democracy in Mega-City One and explore the effects of an authoritarian society on the people.

While there are many highly regarded stories in this collection, the title story, America, is considered one of the most regarded Judge Dredd tales. If you’re looking to experience some of the high points of the strip, then this is a great place to start.

RELATED: Judge Dredd: America Is Even More Relevant 30 Years Later

Essential Judge Dredd: The Apocalypse War
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Mike McMahon, Brian Bolland, Steve Dillion, and Ron Smith.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 236-267, 269-270

Originally published in the early 80s, The Apocalypse War and its prelude Block Mania are a science fiction look at the Cold War’s worst-case scenario. Mega-City One is at war with East Meg One (essentially Russia) – and it’s not going to end well for anyone.

The Apocalypse War was a sizable event, with few stories able to top it in scale. The events of it became an unshakable tentpole in Judge Dredd’s history, inspiring many subsequent stories – often in surprising ways.

Essential Judge Dredd: Origins
Written by John Wagner. Art by Carlos Ezquerra and Kev Walker.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1505-1519, 2007 (Christmas Special), 1529-1535

As previously mentioned, Judge Dredd is a comic that tends to focus on looking forward instead of looking backwards. However, readers were treated to an extended look at Judge Dredd’s origin in this story.

Essential Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs Death
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson, and Robin Smith.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 149-151, 224-228, 416-427, 1114-1115, 1168 and Dice Man #1.

This is a collection of early and notable appearances of the Judge Death and the Dark Judges. Included is Judge Death Lives!, which features the most famous Judge Dredd panel ever.

Essential Judge Dredd: Necropolis
Written by John Wagner. Art by Carlos Ezquerra.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 669-699

Necropolis is another Dark Judges story that takes the horror-centric storytelling and ramps up the scale to align with the mega-epics like the previously mentioned Apocalypse War.

The Dark Judges have arrived during a time when Judge Dredd is in self-exile in The Cursed Earth. As a result, The Dark Judges are unopposed and cause havoc on a scale not seen before.

This is one of the more continuity-heavy stories in the Essential Judge Dredd line. Readers would benefit from reading The Dead Man and Tale of the Dead Man beforehand. Being too long for this collection, the events of these stories are summarised at the beginning of the book. Check out Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 14 as an alternative to reading this story along with the build-up.

RELATED: Necropolis: The Horror-Drenched Judge Dredd Epic

Essential Judge Dredd: Judgement Day
Written by Garth Ennis. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Peter Doherty, Dean Ormston, Chris Halls, and Anthony Williams.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD 786-799 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.04-2.09

Judgement Day is a mega epic that saw Judge Dredd teaming up with Strontium Dog’s Johnny Alpha. In this mega-epic, the pair must prevent a zombie apocalypse from taking over Mega-City One.

Essential Judge Dredd: Judgement Day is available on April 11th, 2023.

Buy Essential Judge Dredd collections on…

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01 cover.
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01 cover.

The Complete Case Files

If you want to read big chunks of Judge Dredd’s publication history, then The Complete Case Files is the way to go. These collect Judge Dredd in chronological order of publication in about 300 pages of comics – roughly 6-12 months of Dredd’s publication history.

Take a look at each of the volumes that are part of the Complete Case Files line, along with publication details and notable annotations.

USEFUL RESOURCE: Looking for a particular Judge Dredd story/stories in The Complete Case Files? Wikipedia user Richard75 has created invaluable indexes that can be cross-referenced with the details below. Check out the 2000 AD Judge Dredd Index and the Judge Dredd Megazine Index.  

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01
Written by Charles Herring, Gerry Finley-Day, Joe Collins, John Wagner, Kevin Gosnell, Malcolm Shaw, Pat Mills, Peter Harris, and Robert Flynn. Art by Bill Ward, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Ian Gibson, John Cooper, Massimo Beladinelli, Mike McMahon, and Ron Turner.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 2-60
Publication Years: 1977-1978
In Universe Years: 2099-2100

The first volume collects the earliest Judge Dredd material. However, I would only recommend reading this as a curiosity if you’re a new reader. During this period, the strip had several different writers, and it took a while to find its identity. Skip it for now and come back to it later.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 02
Written by John Wagner, Chris Lowder, and Pat Mills. Art by Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Garry Leach, Mike McMahon, and Ron Smith.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 61-115
Publication Years: 1978-1979
In Universe Years: 2100-2101

Judge Dredd started to find its groove in the latter half of 1978. At this point, John Wagner had become the primary writer, which allowed the strip to find a consistent voice and solidify the themes. There were also longer stories, which helped flesh out the primary ideas.

Notable stories in this volume include The Cursed Earth Saga and The Day the Law Died.

When it comes to The Cursed Earth Saga, it’s worth noting that some chapters are missing in The Complete Case Files 02. This is due to the parody of commercial characters and brands. However, these chapters saw the light of day in 2016’s Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored collection.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 03
Written by John Wagner and Pat Mills. Art by Barry Mitchell, Brendan McCarthy, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Garry Leach, Ian Gibson, John Cooper, Mike McMahon, and Ron Smith.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 116-154 and 2000 AD Annual 1979
Publication Years: 1979-1980
In Universe Years: 2101-2102

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 03 features the first appearance of Judge Death and Judge Cassandra Anderson.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 04
Written by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Kelvin Gosnell. Art by Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, Ian Gibson, Mike McMahon, Ron Smith, and Steve Dillon.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 156-207
Publication Years: 1980-1981
In Universe Years: 2102-2103

Notable stories in this collection include The Judge Child and Unamerican Graffiti, which is the first appearance of the character Chopper.

It’s also worth noting that there is no material collected from 2000 AD Prog 155. This is because there was no Judge Dredd strip in it – a very rare occurrence.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 05
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Barry Mitchell, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Colin Wilson, Ian Gibson, John Cooper, Mike McMahon, Ron Smith, and Steve Dillion.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 208-270
Publication Years: 1981-1982
In Universe Years: 2103-2104

Notable stories in this collection include Judge Death Lives!, Block Mania and the massive The Apocalypse War.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Brett Ewins, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Ian Gibson, Jim Baikie, Kim Raymond, Ron Smith, and Steve Dillon.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 271-321
Publication Years: 1982-1983
In Universe Years: 2104-2105

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 07
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Brett Ewins, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Ian Gibson, Jim Baikie, Kim Raymond, Ron Smith, and Steve Dillon.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 322-375
Publication Years: 1983-1984
In Universe Years: 2105-2106

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 08
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Brett Ewins, Cam Kennedy, Ian Gibson, Ian Kennedy, Kim Raymond, Robin Smith, Ron Smith, and Steve Dillon.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 376-423
Publication Years: 1984-1985
In Universe Years: 2106-2107

This volume includes the notable City of the Damned story.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 09
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Barry Kitson, Brendan McCarthy, Bryan Talbot, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Cliff Robinson, Ian Gibson, John Higgins, Ron Smith, and Steve Dillon.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 424-473
Publication Years: 1985-1986
In Universe Years: 2107-2108

Notable stories in this volume include The Chief Judge Resigns, Letter From a Democrat, and Bug.

Bug includes the first appearance of PJ Maybe, who is one of the longest regularly recurring villains in Judge Dredd.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 10
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Barry Kitson, Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson, Garry Leach, Ian Gibson, Jeff Anderson, John Cooper, John Higgins, Jose Ortiz, Kevin O’Neill, Kim Raymond, Mark Farmer, Paul Hardy, Robin Smith, Ron Smith, Steve Dillon, and.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 474-522
Publication Years: 1986-1987
In Universe Years: 2108-2109

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 11
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Barry Kitson, Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson, Dave Elliot, Garry Leach, Jim Baikie, John Higgins, John Ridgway, Liam McCormack-Sharp, Mike Collins, Robin Smith, Steve Dillon, and Will Simpson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 523-570
Publication Years: 1987-1988
In Universe Years: 2109-2110

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 12
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Alan Davis, Barry Kitson, Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson, Colin MacNeil, Glenn Fabry, IAn Gibson, Jamie Hewlett, Jim Baikie, John Ridgway, Liam McCormack-Sharp, Mick Austin, Steve Parkhouse, Vanyo, and Will Simpson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 571-618
Publication Years: 1980-1989
In Universe Years: 2110-2111

This collection includes the first Judge Dredd strips in full-colour.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 13
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Art by Barry Kitson, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Christ Weston, Cliff Robinson, Colin MacNeil, Dougie Braithwaite, Jeff Anderson, Jim Baikie, John Higgins, Liam McCormack-Sharp, Mick Austin, Mike Colline, Paul Marshall, Pete Venters, Steve Yeowell, Vanyo, and Will Simpson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 619-661
Publication Years: 1989-1990
In Universe Years: 2111-2112

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 14
Written by John Wagner. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Jeff Anderson, and Will Simpson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 662-699
Publication Years: 1990
In Universe Years: 2112

This volume is the most focused yet. The core of it is the mega-epic Necropolis and the lengthy build-up to it.

For all the completionists out there, you will want to track down a story called The Dead Man (2000 AD Prog 650-662). It hasn’t been collected in The Complete Case Files as it was not billed as a Judge Dredd story. However, it becomes clear that it is at the end and is part of the build-up to Necropolis.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 15
Written by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Garth Ennis. Art by Anthony Williams, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Dean Ormston, Dermot Power, Gary Caldwell, George Coleman, Jim Baikie, John Hicklenton, Mike Hadley, Ron Smith, Steve Dillon, Steve Yeowell, Vanyo, and Will Simpson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 700-735 and Judge Dredd Megazine 1.01-1.10
Publication Years: 1990-1991
In Universe Years: 2112-2113

With this volume onwards, The Complete Case Files will include stories from 2000 AD’s sister publication, Judge Dredd Megazine.

For completionists, it’s worth noting that the classic story America is not included in this collection. Even though it was serialised in Judge Dredd Megazine 1.01-1.7, it wasn’t billed as a Judge Dredd story. However, it has been reprinted many times.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 16
Written by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Garth Ennis. Art by Brian Williamson, Jose Casanovas, Charlie Adlard, Christ Weston, Cliff Robinson, Colin MacNeil, Dean Ormston, Dermot Power, Gary Erskine, Glenn Febry, Greg Staples, Jeff Anderson, John Burns, Peter Doherty, Russell Fox, Sam Kieth, and Simon Coleby.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 736-775 and Judge Dredd Megazine 1.11-1.20
Publication Years: 1991-1992
In Universe Years: 2113-2114

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 17
Written by John Wagner and Garth Ennis. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Chris Halls, Dean Ormston, Greg Staples, Ian Gibson, Peter Doherty, Sean Phillips, Simon Coleby, Steve Dillon, and Yan Shimony..
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 776-803 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.01-2.11
Publication Years: 1992
In Universe Years: 2114

This volume includes the Judge Dredd/Strontium Dog mega-epic Judgement Day.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 18
Written by John Wagner, Garth Ennis, Alan Grant, and Mark Millar. Art by Anthony Williams, Barry Kitson, Brett Ewins, Carl Critchlow, Carlos Ezquerra, Colin MacNeil, Greg Staples, Jeff Anderson, John Burns, John Higgins, John Hicklenton, John McCrea, Jon Haward, Peter Doherty, Ron Smith, and Xuasus.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 804-829 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.12-2.26
Publication Years: 1992-1993
In Universe Years: 2114-2115

Notable stories in this collection include Mechanismo and its follow-up Mechanismo Returns.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 19
Written by Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, John Smith, John Wagner, and Mark Millar. Art by Brett Ewins, Carlos Ezquerra, David Milgate, Dermot Power, Greg Staples, Jim Vickers, Manuel Benet, Mick Austin, Paul Marshall, Ron Smith, Steve Brown, Xuasus.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 830-855 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.27-2.43
Publication Years: 1993
In Universe Years: 2115

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 20
Written by Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Gordon Rennie, Jim Alexander, John Smith, John Wagner, John Tomlinson, Mark Millar, Robbie Morrison, and John Higgins. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Clint Langley, Colin MacNeil, Dermot Power, Greg Staples, Ian Gibson, Jim Vickers, John Higgins, Mick Austin, Mike McMahon, Nick Percival, Paul Peart, Peter Doherty, and Ron Smith.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 856-887 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.44-2.56
Publication Years: 1993-1994
In Universe Years: 2115-2116

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 21
Written by Alan McKenzie, Chris Standley, Dan Abnett, and John Wagner. Art by Anthony Williams, Carlos Ezquerra, Cyril Julien, Ian Gibson, John Burns, John Higgins, Mark Harrison, Mick Austin, Peter Doherty, Ron smith, and Trevor Hairsine.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 888-915 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.57-2.68
Publication Years: 1994
In Universe Years: 2116

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 22
Written by Grant Morrison, John Wagner, Mark Millar, Peter Hogan, and Si Spencer. Art by Ashley Wood, Carlos Ezquerra, Cyril Julien, Dean Ormston, Dermot Power, Emilio Frejo, Jason Brashill, John Burns, Kevin Cullen, Mick Austin, Paul Marshaell, Ross Dearsley, Siku, Simon Davis, Steve Sampson, and Tom Carney.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 916-939 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.69-2.80
Publication Years: 1994-1995
In Universe Years: 2116-2117

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 23
Written by Chris Standley, Garth Ennis, Gordon Rennie, Jim Alexander, John Wagner, Pat Mills, and Robbie Morrison. Art by Andrew Currie, Anthony Williams, Carlos Ezquerra, Charles Gillespe, Chris Foss, Chris Weston, David Hine, Jason Brashill, Jim Murray, John Burns, John Higgins, Mike McMahon, Nick Percival, Paul Johnson, Pete Venters, Siku Steve Sampson, Tom Carney, and Trevor Hairsine.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 940-958 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.81-3.03
Publication Years: 1995
In Universe Years: 2117

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 24
Written by Alan Barnes, Andre Cartmel, Alan Grant, Dan Abnett, Jim Alexander, John Wagner, Mark millar, Pat mills, Paul Neal, Robbie Morrison, Tony Skinner, and John Smith. Art by Anthony Williams, Ashley Sanders, Cliff Robinson, Dean Ormston, Jason Brashill, John Burns, Steve Yeowell, Lee Sullivan, Marc Wigmore, Maya Gavin, Paul Marshall, Ray Bryant, Simon Davis, Simon Jacob, Tom Carney, Carlos Equerra, and Colin MacNeil.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 959-983 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.04-3.16
Publication Years: 1995-1996
In Universe Years: 2117-2118

This collection contains the notable stories The Pit and Hammerstien. The latter crosses over with 2000 AD series A.B.C Warriors.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 25
Written by John Smith, John Wagner, Paul Neal, Robbie Morrison, and Marc Wigmore. Art by Alex Ronald, Carlos Ezquerra, Greg Staples, Henry Flint, Jason Brashill, Lee Sullivan, Marc Wigmore, Paul Marshall, Paul Peart, Peter Doherty, Simon Davis, Tom Carney, and Trevor Hairsine.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 984-1028 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.16-3.18
Publication Years: 1996-1997
In Universe Years: 2118-2119

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 26
Written by Gordon Rennie, John Smith, John Wagner, Mark Millar, and Robbie Morrison. Art by Andrew Currie, Calum Alexander Watt, Cyril Julien, David Bircham, Enric Rebollo, Eoin Covenay, Greg Staples, Henry Flint, Jack Couvella, Jason Brashill, Jim Murray, John Burns, Sean Phillips, Siku, Trevor Hairsine, and Graham Stoddart.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1029-1052 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.19, 3.22-3.32
Publication Years: 1997
In Universe Years: 2119

Material from Judge Dredd Megazine 3.20-3.21 are not included in this collection as these issues didn’t have any new Judge Dredd material in them.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 27
Written by John Wagner. Art by Alex Ronald, Calum Alexander Watt, Cliff Robinson, Greg Staples, Henry Flint, Ian Gibson, Jason Brashill, John Burns, Kevin Walker, Lee Sullivan, Paul Marshall, Peter Doherty, Steve Tappin, and Enrique Alcatena.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1053-1083 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.34-3.38
Publication Years: 1997-1998
In Universe Years: 2119-2120

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 28
Written by John Wagner. Art by Alex Ronald, Carlos Ezquerra, Cliff Robinson, John Burns, Julian Gibson, Killian Plunkett, Lee Sullivan, Paul Marshall, Sean Phillips, Siku, and Trevor Hairsine.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1084-1099, 1101-1110 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.39-3.45
Publication Years: 1998
In Universe Years: 2120

There is no Judge Dredd material from 2000 AD Prog 1100 as the whole issue was dedicated to Sláine.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 29
Written by Alan Grant and John Wagner. Art by Alex Ronald, Andrew Currie, Cam Kennedy, Greg Staples, Henry Flint, Jason Brashill, Jim Murray, John Burns, Paul Marshall, Peter Doherty, Rafael Garres, Steve Tappin, and Paolo Parente.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1111-1140 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.46-3.51
Publication Years: 1998-1999
In Universe Years: 2120-2121

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 30
Written by John Wagner. Art by Andrew Currie, Cam Kennedy, Charlie Adlard, Colin Wilson, Mike Collins, Mike McMahon, Neil Googe, Simon Davis, Stephen Baskerville, Steve Tappin, and Peter Doherty.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1141-1164 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.52-3.59
Publication Years: 1999
In Universe Years: 2121

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 31
Written by Alan Grant and John Wagner. Art by Andy Clarke, Anthony Williams, Ben Oliver, Ben Willsher, Cam Kennedy, Colin Wilson, Dean Ormston, Duncan Fegredo, Henry Flint, Jason Brashill, Jock, Mike McMahon, Paul Marshall, Peter Doherty, Richard Elson, Siku, Simon Coleby, Simon Davis, Steve Parkhouse, and Wayne Reynolds.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1165-1185 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.60-3.69
Publication Years: 1999-2000
In Universe Years: 2121-2122

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 32
Written by Gordon Rennie, John Smith, John Wagner, and Roland Grey. Art by Arthur Ranson, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Dylan Teague, Frazer Irving, Henry Flint, Jock, Simon Davis, Simon Fraser, Peter Doherty, Laurence Campbell, Chris Weston, Paul Marshall, Siku, Steve Parkhouse, Ben Oliver, John Higgins, and Patrick Goddard.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1186-1222 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.70-3.73
Publication Years: 2000
In Universe Years: 2122

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 33
Written by Gordon Rennie, John Wagner, Robbie Morrison, and Alan Grant. Art by Anthony Williams, Cam Kennedy, Cliff Robinson, Colin Wilson, Duncan Fegredo, Dylan Teague, Ian Gibson, Jock, Patrick Goddard, Richard Elson, Siku, Simon Fraser, Staz Johnson, Steve Parkhouse, P.J. Holden, Joseph Elson, Paul J Holden, and Will Simpson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1223-1249 and Judge Dredd Megazine 3.74-3.79
Publication Years: 2001
In Universe Years: 2123

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 34
Written by Alan Grant, Garth Ennis, Gordon Rennie, John Wagner, and Robbie Morrison. Art by Adrian Bamforth, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Cliff Robinson, Colin MacNeil, Frazer Irving, Greg Staples, Henry Flint, Ian Gibson, Jock, John Burns, Paul Marshall, Peter Doherty, and Richard Elson.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1250-1275 and Judge Dredd Megazine 4.01-4.06
Publication Years: 2001-2002
In Universe Years: 2123-2124

This volume includes the notable story Helter Skelter.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 35
Written by Alan Grant, Gordon Rennie, John Wagner, and Robbie Morrison. Art by Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Colin MacNeil, Ian Gibson, John Burns, John Higgins, Kevin Walker, Mike Collins, Paul Marshall, Peter Doherty, Richard Elson, Robert McCallum, Wayne Reynolds, P.J. Holden, Paul J Holden & Lee Townsend.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1276-1301 and Judge Dredd Megazine 4.07-4.13
Publication Years: 2002
In Universe Years: 2124

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 36
Written by Andy Diggle, Gordon Rennie, and John Wagner. Art by Anthony Williams, Ben Willsher, Carl Critchlow, David Millgate, Dylan Teague, Henry Flint, Ian Gibson, Jim Baikie, John Ridgway, Mike Collins, Paul Marshall, Siku, Simon Fraser, Staz Johnson, P.J. Holden, Mick MCmahon, and Carlos Ezquerra.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1302-1335 and Judge Dredd Megazine 4.14-4.18
Publication Years: 2002-2003
In Universe Years: 2124-2125

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 37
Written by Garth Ennis, Gordon Rennie, Ian Edginton, John Wagner, and Robbie Morrison. Art by Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Charlie Adlard, Dean Ormston, Dylan Teague, Ian Gibson, Inaki Miranda, John Burns, John Higgins, Lee Sullivan, Paul Marshall, Simon Coleby, Simon Fraser, Steve Pugh, P.J. Holden, John Ridgway, Paul J Holden, Chris Blythe, Gary Caldwell, and Eva de la Cruz.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1336-1364 and Judge Dredd Megazine #201-206
Publication Years: 2003
In Universe Years: 2125

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 38
Written by Alan Grant, Gordon Rennie, John Smith, and John Wagner. Art by Cam Kennedy, Carl Critchlow, Carlos Ezquerra, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Robinson, Graham Manley, Jim Murray, John Burns, Siku, Val Semeiks, and Chris Blythe.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1365-1387 and Judge Dredd Megazine #207-213
Publication Years: 2003-2004
In Universe Years: 2125-2126

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 39
Written by Alan Barnes, Alan Grant, Gordon Rennie, Ian Edginton, John Wagner, Pat Mills and Simon Spurrier. Art by Ben Willsher, Cam Kennedy, Chris Weston, Colin MacNeil, Dave Taylor, David Roach, D’Israeli, Duke Mighten, Henry Flint, Ian Gibson, John McCrea, John Ridgway, Shaun Thomas, Simon Coleby, Simon Davis, Ron Smith, Alex Ronald, Alan Craddock, Dylan Teague, Gary Caldwell, Len O’Grady, Chris Blythe, and Angus McKie.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1388-1407 and Judge Dredd Megazine #214-223
Publication Years: 2003-2004
In Universe Years: 2125-2126

This volume includes the notable story Terror.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 40
Written by Alan Grant, Gordon Rennie, John Wagner, and John Smith. Art by Anthony Williams, Boo Cook, Carl Critchlow, D’Israeli, Henry Flint, Ian Gibson, Jason Brashill, John Higgins, Patrick Goddard, Shaun Thomas, Simon Coleby, John Burns, Chris Blythe, and Len O’Grady.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Prog 1408-1436 and Judge Dredd Megazine #224-229
Publication Years: 2004-2005
In Universe Years: 2126-2127

This volume includes the notable story Total War.

The Complete Case Files is still ongoing, with approximately two new collections released each year. This section will be added as more volumes are announced.

Buy Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files on:

In addition to The Complete Case Files, there are collections known as The Restricted Files. These follow a similar format but collect strips and rarities were not included in 2000 AD or the Megazine.

Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01
Written by Alan Grant, John Wagner, Malcolm Shaw, and Steve Moore. Art by Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Jose Casanovas, Cliff Robinson, Colin Wilson, Ian Gibson, Keith Page, Kevin O’Neill, Mike McMahon, Robin Smith, Steve Dillon, David Jackson, and John Byrne.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Annuals and Specials
Publication Years: 1977-1984
In Universe Years: 2099-2106

Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 02
Written by Alan Grant and John Wagner. Art by Arthur Ranson, Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Bryan Talbot, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Jose Casanovas, Ian Gibson, Jeff Anderson, John Higgins, Kev Hopgood, Kevin Walker, Mark Farmer, Mick Austin, Mike Collins, Steve Dillon, Vanyo, Will Simpson, Tony Wright, and Phil Elliot.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Annuals and Specials
Publication Years: 1985-1989
In Universe Years: 2107-2111

Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 03
Written by Alan Grant, Alan McKenzie, Dan Abnett, John Smith, John Wagner, Mark Millar, Peter Milligan, Robbie Morrison, Simon Furman, Steve White, Tony Luke, and Andy Lanning. Art by Brett Ewins, Cam Kennedy, Cliff Robinson, Colin MacNeil, David Roach, Dean Ormston, Dermot Power, Geoff Senior, Greg Staples, Ian Gibson, John Burns, Kev Hopgood, Lee Sullivan, Mike Hadley, Paul Grist, Paul Marshall, Ron Smith, Shaky Kane, Steve Yeowell, Glyn Dillon, Manual B, Simon Hunter, Edmund Kitsune, and Richard Preston.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Annuals and Specials
Publication Years: 1990-1993
In Universe Years: 2112-2115

Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 04
Written by Alan Barnes, Alan Grant, Alan McKenzie, Gordon Rennie, Jim Alexander, John Wagner, Marc Wigmore, Mark Millar, Pat Mills, Robbie Morrison, and Si Spencer. Art by Adrian Salmon, Bryan Talbot, Calum Alexander Watt, Carlos Ezquerra, Cliff Robinson, Colin MacNeil, Dean Ormston, Del Frost, Henry Flint, Jim Baikie, Jim O’Ready, Jim Vickers, John Burns, John Hicklenton, John Richardson, Mike Perkins, Paul Neary, Paul Peart, Peter Doherty, Robin Smith, Rufus Dayglo, Sean Longcroft, Shaky Kane, Simon Jacob, Stuart Mac, Tony Luke, Trevor Hairsine, Roberto Corona, Sammy Martini, John Cromer, Morak, C. Bravery, Jack Couvela, James Joyce, and Sean McNaughton.
Collects: Material from 2000 AD Annuals and Specials
Publication Years: 1994-2012
In Universe Years: 2116-2134

Judge Dredd: Blaze of Glory TPB cover by Liam Sharp.
Judge Dredd: Blaze of Glory TPB cover by Liam Sharp.

Trade paperbacks collections

Judge Dredd stories are also available in trade paperback collections. Unlike The Complete Case Files, these are less focused on collecting everything and more on a particular story, theme, or work from a creator.

There are way too many Judge Dredd collections to list in this guide. My advice is to browse the 2000 AD Webshop’s Judge Dredd section. There you will find what is available (in print and digitally) and descriptions of the stories featured in them. Check out the ones that grab your interest.

Buy Judge Dredd collected editions on…

Judge Dredd #1 cover by Nelson Daniel.
Judge Dredd #1 cover by Nelson Daniel.

The IDW Material

IDW Publishing acquired the rights to Judge Dredd in the 2010s for comics specifically for the US market. During this time, the publisher released ongoing series, many miniseries, coloured reprints, and hardcover collections focused on Judge Dredd creators that were known in the US.

These comics don’t 100% align with the original Judge Dredd comics found in 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. Instead, they have their own continuity. However, they don’t stray too far away, making them a good introduction to the character, concepts, and settings.

IDW’s Judge Dredd comics are easy to pick up, with the miniseries telling a self-contained story. They’re also written assuming that readers might not know much about Judge Dredd. As a result, you shouldn’t be lost while reading them.

Find out more about the IDW comics by heading to the Wikipedia page.

Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection advertisement.
Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection advertisement.

Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection

Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection was a partworks series that published hardcover collections of Judge Dredd stories. It ran from 2015-2018 in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand for an impressive 90 volumes.

The stories featured are a mix of classics, curiosities, and Judge Dredd spin-offs in a nice collectable edition. Most of these are self-contained, so you could pick almost any of these and get a satisfying read without prior reading.

These partwork collections are long out of print, but you can find them on eBay.com and eBay.co.uk.

Where can I find Judge Dredd comics?

Now that you know how to read Judge Dredd, you need to know where you can find them. I go deep into this topic as part of the 2000 AD guide. Check that out if you want a more comprehensive explanation.

However, 2000 AD, Judge Dredd Megazine, and collected editions can be found in all good comic book shops, online stores, eBay, Amazon/Kindle, and the 2000 AD Webshop.

Find out more about where you can find comics and graphic novels with this comprehensive guide.

Lawless Book One: Welcome to Badrock cover by Phil Winsdale.
Lawless Book One: Welcome to Badrock cover by Phil Winsdale.

What about the Judge Dredd spin-offs?

With so many Judge Dredd stories over the decades, the series has built itself into a significant world full of all kinds of characters and concepts. As a result, there have been numerous strips that explore different corners of Dredd’s world.

What often is the case, a character will appear in a Judge Dredd strip and either resonates with readers or the creative team want to explore that character further. By giving them their own strip, readers can see Judge Dredd’s world from another perspective or experience different kinds of storytelling within the context of the franchise.

Other times, a Judge Dredd spin-off will offer the readers a particular question. The most popular is “What is the Judges Department like in other countries?”, which has allowed writers to explore different possibilities on the Judge Dredd formula.

Some notable spin-offs include:

  • Judge Anderson, Psi Division
  • Judge Death
  • The Fall of Deadworld
  • Devlin Waugh
  • Tales from the Black Museum
  • Chopper
  • Lawless
  • The Simping Detective
  • Insurrection
  • Cursed Earth Koburn
  • Mean Machine
  • Armitage

In most cases, the spin-offs don’t require much, or any, prior reading. However, they’re best enjoyed if you have some understanding of the Judge Dredd franchise. As a result, you’re better off checking them out after you’ve read a few stories first.

Dredd: Underbelly cover by Henry Flint.
Dredd: Underbelly cover by Henry Flint.

Are there comics set in the world of the 2012 movie Dredd?

Yep. While that movie never got the sequel many fans hoped for, Rebellion published several comics set in its world. Find out more about them here.

Batman/Judge Dredd Collection cover by Mike Mignola.
Batman/Judge Dredd Collection cover by Mike Mignola.

Other American Judge Dredd comics

I’ve already mentioned the IDW material. However, they’re not the only publisher that has published Judge Dredd comics in the American market.

From 1983-1986, Eagle Comics reprinted 2000 AD material. Judge Dredd was a fixture of these reprints, with an ongoing series (running for 33 issues) and a number of limited series. The series was picked up by Quality Comics, with an additional two issues were released before being relaunched. This new reprint series ran into 1991 for a total of 61 issues.

DC Comics also flirted with Judge Dredd in the mid-90s to capitalise on the popularity of the 1995 movie starring Sylvester Stallone. There was a title called Judge Dredd, which ran for 18 issues. The series was based on its own continuity, separating it from any other version. This was followed up by Judge Dredd – Legends of the Law, which was aligned closer to the 2000 AD version thanks to John Wagner and Alan Grant’s involvement.

2000 AD/Rebellion has recently collected Legends of the Law in trade paperback.

However, the DC Comics tenure is best known for Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham. This 1991 story – written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, with art by Simon Bisley – was a huge success in the US and UK and helped raise Dredd’s profile. It was followed up by Batman/Judge Dredd: Vendetta in Gotham (1993), Batman/Judge Dredd: The Ultimate Riddle (1995), and Batman/Judge Dredd: Die Laughing (1998).

Looking for story recommendations?

Not sure what Judge Dredd story you should read? While I have mentioned many stories throughout this guide, I’m currently putting together a mega-list of Judge Dredd reading recommendations. Look out for it towards the end of the year.

Have your say!

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