JUDGE DREDD NEVER TAKES HIS HELMET OFF (except when…)
- …he’s ordered to by a gang of perps in Prog 8’s Antique Car Heist.
This is a particularly problematic moment in Dredd’s continuity and history in retrospect; the perps’ reactions to Dredd’s revealled face suggests he is grossly and grotesquely disfigured. But in an insane future city where being ugly is a fashion statement, Otto Sump is a media celebrity, mutants are commonplace and an orang-utan was once mayor, why would hardened criminals react in such a way to a face that was, well, just another ugly face?
No - Dredd might not posess matinee idol looks, but nor is he likely to be particularly grotesque or disfigured. There must be another reason for the gangsters’ outrage at the face that is usually concealled by the helmet.
In this dystopian future the historic figure of Judge Eustice Fargo is reveared to a point of almost being deified; his face graces banknotes and propaganda posters, history books and tee-shirts, he is immortalised in museums and in statue form the length and bredth of Mega City One - he even has a public holiday and city-wide procession of honour in his name…
…and then this two-bit cop takes named Dredd - hated and feared by the entire criminal fraternity - takes off his helmet and…
…the face of Judge Eustice Fargo glares at them. It’s a younger face and it is far less benign, but it is also unmistakably the face of the great and beloved leader from the history books, museums, banknotes and statues in public parks.
BLASPHEMY! It’s horrible; with a face like that Dredd shouldn’t be allowed to live!
- well, that’s my take on it thirty-odd years later!
- Guru Mog.
Scan from The Antique Car Heist 2000 AD prog 8 (16/4/77) by Charles Herring, with art by Massimo Belardinelli.