Judge Dredd’s Crime File 4 (November 1985)

Judge Dredd's Crime File #4

Ron Smith only illustrates a fourth of this issue. Then “big-chin” Ian Gibson takes over for the rest. Something about Gibson’s cartoony style doesn’t work for me on Dredd. He goes too obviously to the humor and if Judge Dredd is nothing but a laugh, it can’t sustain itself past a punchline.

The writing–of three stories–in this issue is decent. Not so much the last story, which has to do with a game show where contestants try to top each other’s couples’ confessions to felonies. Something about it doesn’t work. Writers Wagner and Grant don’t give it any charm and Gibson makes everyone so visually repugnant, there’s no sympathy to it. There’s no hook.

The first story is the best. And not just because it has the Smith art. It’s Dredd hunting down dirty cops in the candy trade. All of a sudden Crime File has the problem of too much picking and choosing on the 2000 AD source material. The assembled stories for this issue don’t go together well. They seem too forced a compilation.

The second story, with Dredd defending cute aliens slaughtered for part of their brains, is okay. Gibson does real well on the cute aliens. Wagner and Grant are a tad too cynical for the story though. It goes for an ironic cheap cuteness; it gets there, but another creator team could’ve gotten it further with sincerity.

CREDITS

Writers, Alan Grant and John Wagner; artists, Ron Smith and Ian Gibson; colorist, Janet Landau; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

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2 thoughts on “Judge Dredd’s Crime File 4 (November 1985)

  1. I like Gibson’s art a lot. To be fair to 2000 AD’s editors, they did seem give him the more comedic Dredd stories. He also illustrated a series for Alan Moore when he was at 2000 AD in the mid-eighties, “The Ballad of Halo Jones”, which I’m looking forward to reading sometime.

    1. My Gibson aversion might be irrational… when I first heard about Dredd as a kid, you’d see Bolland covers, then Gibson interiors…. “Ballad of Halo Jones” has been on my “to read” list for ages. Had a lovely album-sized collection of it. For a while, it was one of the only 2000AD Moore’s you could get in the States.

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