Comic Legends: How Carlos Ezquerra Defined Judge Dredd's Timeline

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundredth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As part of our celebration of SEVEN HUNDRED of these things, this will be a special holiday weekend where we honor seven comic book greats that we lost this year with a legend devoted to each one of them (Steve Ditko, Russ Heath, Gary Friedrich, Marie Severin, Norm Breyfogle, Carlos Ezquerra and Jim Novak). As I add the legends, you can click on the given person's name and it will bring you to their legend!

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Judge Dredd is set in the far off future because Carlos Ezquerra decided to draw it that way.


Basically True

I've written in the past a bit about the odd origins of Judge Dredd, about how the famous 2000 A.D. character evolved from a Pat Mills' horror character named Judge Dread (who was, in turn, named after the reggae singer of the same name) that John Wagner felt didn't really fit in the then-new science fiction comic book magazine, 2000 A.D., so Mills dropped it and Wagner asked if he could use the name for a new future cop character he was coming out with that would be a twist on Dirty Harry, Death Race 2000 and Fahrenheit 451.

Now, do note the references there. Fahrenheit 451 was not supposed to be the far-off future and Death Race 2000 was specifically, you know, the year 2000.

So when Mills asked Carlos Ezquerra to come up with some designs for this new character, Death Race 2000 was specifically the sort of thing he gave to Ezquerra to use to base the setting on...

Amusingly, Wagner did not like Ezquerra's original designs for Judge Dredd...

He joked about how it looked to him like a Spanish pirate.

In any event, when working on their first Judge Dredd story, Ezquerra began drawing the backgrounds and decided to make the city a lot more futuristic than he was initially asked to do. Mills loved it and told him to do it even more that way. He even planned for Ezquerra's vision of Mega-City to be used on the back cover...

Mills, though, decided that the first Judge Dredd story was a bit too rough for the introduction of a new character, so he decided to have Wagner write a replacement story. The problem there, though, was that Wagner then quit the book over an unrelated financial issue. So Mills just got another writer to pitch an idea that Mills then greatly re-wrote and had Mike McMahon draw the first Judge Dredd story (this is why the story was delayed until the second issue of 2000 A.D.). However, he took out a piece from Ezquerra's original story, which was later printed in a 2000 A.D. Annual and had it be the topper of the new Dredd story!

Ezquerra was not pleased and it would take him quite a while before he eventually returned to draw the character that he had co-created.

But yes, in any event, Mills decided that the series would be set in the far off future (2099) based on Ezquerra's designs, which is a neat aspect of Judge Dredd history.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Discover the major change that John Carpenter did to Halloween after a film executive that he screened an early version of the film criticized the film!

One more legend left for this week's edition!

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