Judge Dredd:Year One Interview With Artist Simon Coleby

Tuesday, Apr 2nd, 2013

Hey Dredd fans! This week we got our hands on the brand new Judge Dredd: Year One written by Matt Smith with art by Simon Coleby. Speaking of Simon Coleby, he was kind enough to answer our questions about the process of bringing a character as iconic as Dredd to life, and how the early time period directed his art choices. Enjoy this peek into the mind of a brilliant artist as he brings order to the world of Mega-City One Dredd’s first year as a bona fide Judge!



Given your previous experience working with the character, how has your approach differed in regards to the story taking place so early in Dredd’s career as a Judge?
Dredd, in this story, is slightly less grizzled than we are accustomed to. He is already absolutely firm in his convictions -- perhaps moreso than he will become at various, challenging, points in his long career -- but he is finding his way in a hostile world. It's a fascinating challenge to express that through the subtleties of body language and what limited expression one can show in Dredd's face. On a more pragmatic level, we see various landmarks and technology, which are specific to the chronology of the story. 

Your past stories depicted a much older Dredd at age 70; are you taking the age difference into consideration, or are you viewing Dredd as virtually ageless?
It's a fine distinction to make. I see Dredd's uniform -- his outward projection -- as ageless and impersonal, but the story is also about the man inside the uniform. On a pragmatic level, I have tried to show the little we see of Dredd's face as slightly less chiseled and worn than we are customarily used to. I have also tried to portray his body language in a way appropriate to the early stage of his career. He is not quite yet the rock solid, immutable force-of-nature that he will become. Also, there are scenes where he shows respectful deference to superiors.

Aesthetically speaking, how does the earlier time period inform your choices developing Mega-City One? How is this a different city from the standard continuity?
There are elements of architectural interest in this story which reflect the early stages of Mega-City One. For example, we see some suburbs which are reminiscent of the city as it would have been at a much earlier stage of its history. These will inevitably be swept away as the city expands, but they hint towards events before Dredd's time.

What attracts you to Judge Dredd projects? What are some of the challenges you find yourself facing while drawing the post-apocalyptic setting and the gritty characters?
It's never a challenge so much as an endless opportunity. Dredd's world is as dangerous and as expansive as any creator's imagination. It's also built upon a wonderfully solid foundation, with a superb (if eccentric) internal logic. It's a terrific environment for any artist or writer to play within.

With a character historic and beloved, what points of reference are you drawing from with Judge Dredd: Year One? Whose take has inspired you the most with this particular story?
I revisited the amazing work of both Mike McMahon and Carlos Ezquerra -- their creativity was foundational in making 'Judge Dredd' the story that it has become. The series has run in real time, and so there was much in their work that applies to 'Year One'.

Are you going to be the artist that finally reveals Judge Dredd’s unmasked face?
I wouldn't think so! Firstly; Dredd's 'face' is a helmet and a Perspex screen with flashes of light slashed across it. Whatever lurks beneath is almost incidental.

Secondly; John Wagner has expressed a wish that Dredd's face should not be revealed. When it comes to Dredd, he is the law!


Thanks Simon! For more Dredd goodies, check out http://www.2000ADonline.com and don’t forget to continually check in at
www.idwpublishing.com for the latest news, interviews, and sneak peeks on all of your favorite IDW comic books!


Tags judge dredd

Preview of the month