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Judge Dredd's 'A Better World' is born in part from a desire to push against the idea of 'copaganda'

The iconic fascistic cop is many things, but never intended to act as a fantasy for the future of policing

Judge Dredd
Image credit: Henry Flint/2000 AD/Rebellion

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Judge Dredd is, as he’s said on more than one occasion throughout his near-50-year career, the law — but despite some people’s perceptions, that doesn’t mean that the Judge Dredd comic strip is anything close to an endorsement of his support for the inflexible fascistic regime he works for. Proof of that can be found in the current Dredd storyline running in iconic UK anthology 2000 AD; ‘A Better World’ sees the Justice Department deal with the success of a trial program that seemingly proves that defunding law enforcement in favor of social programs results in a healthier, more secure society.

The current arc builds on a long-running thread through the past few years of Dredd comics, with writers Arthur Wyatt and Rob Williams demonstrating that forces on both sides of the argument over policing are suspicious of the idea of law enforcement attempting to reform itself in any meaningful way. (And, because it’s a sci-fi action strip, the extremes that some of those people will go to influence the conversation.) According to the duo, who talked to Popverse last month about the storyline, they were aware that this kind of “Defund the Police” story would get a lot of attention, but was never likely to escape criticism from readers.

“Some people are just going to be upset at something no matter what, and if we spent all our time second guessing them we’d never get anything done,” Wyatt argued. “Any time I’ve been writing Dredd and something like Ferguson or some other horrible thing has come on the news I’ve felt bad about not dealing with the real world enough and letting Dredd be a sort of copaganda fantasy, so if anything I’m pushing a bit harder so I’m not disappointed in myself.”

His writing partner on this storyline agreed. “I don’t think you can go into a story like this scared of upsetting people,” Williams said. “Ultimately you write the characters and try and push them into tough choices. It’s up to the readers how they respond.”

‘A Better World’ continues in current issues of 2000 AD, which are available via the 2000 AD webstore. Read the full conversation with Wyatt and Williams right here.

In other recent 2000 AD news, Duncan Jones’ Rogue Trooper movie has completed initial production and announced its cast list to celebrate.

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