Legendary British comic book 2000AD is asking its readers to help solve a mystery – where have key episodes from the Judge Dredd newspaper strip gone?
Later this year, 2000AD is reproducing the long-running comic strip from the national Daily Star newspaper (they ran some of them in the 2000AD Free Comic Book Day edition), but a number of strips – including the first ever – are missing from the 2000AD archives, previous incomplete collections, and even the records of the British Library.
Judge Dredd is currently featuring prominently in the British Library’s ‘Comics Unmasked’ exhibition and the appeal for help gives readers the chance to contribute to the preservation of comics history.
The strip, which ran for around 2,980 episodes from 1981-1998, was written by co-creator John Wagner and writing partner Alan Grant – the same people who were also working on Judge Dredd for 2000 AD. Other than the first one, the missing episodes were all drawn by fan favourite artist Ron Smith, who produced the vast bulk of the strip, which went further than merely compressing existing stories from the weekly anthology comic and was responsible for fleshing out many of the aspects of Dredd’s world.
While low resolution scans have been found, high resolution digital versions or good quality physical versions have eluded 2000 AD’s graphic novels team – leading to this unusual appeal from 2000AD’s publishers, Rebellion.
The missing strips are:
21st August 1981: Devil’s Island
17th September 1983: Baffin Island
10th December 1983: Manta Tank
30th June 1984: Strike Bound
7th July 1984: The Hunch
4th August 1984: Glaring
11th August 1984: Go See A Shrink
5th January 1985: Job Vacancy 1
2nd February 1985: War and Peace Part 1
• Some of the missing episodes are featured here on the 2000AD facebook group. Any Earthlets who have access to either scans or good physical copies should contact 2000 AD by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org