For much of the 1980s and 1990s, Judge Dredd was appearing in a newspapeer comic strip as well as the pages of 2000 AD. Granted the paper was the Daily Star, a tabloid fonder of massive mammaries than hard news, but Dredd's adventures got syndicated round the world thanks to that three-panel strip. When I took over as editor of 2000 AD at the end of 1995, I wanted to freshen up the writers on the Daily Star strip and brought in the likes of Gordon Rennie and Robbie Morrison. I even wrote a story for the strip myself, but the Daily Star cancelled most of its comics page and replaced that with an expanded horoscope section.
Just for fun, below you'll find the script for week one of my unpublished effort. The plotting's all too obvious and the "IT BEGAN..." captions get real old real fast, but there's some wry nods to TV series like The Invaders and NYPD Blue. The biggest influence on this story is The X Files which was enjoying massive popularity at the time. If memory serves, my story's title was the original working title for The X Files movie. Charlie Adlard was going to draw this. He's now much celebrated in America for his work on hit comics series The Walking Dead.
JUDGE DREDD: THE BLACKWOOD INCIDENT
WEEK ONE • Day One
1. Double-width opening panel. Head and shoulders image of Dredd, lit from beneath. Black, burnt trees in background.
THE BLACKWOOD INCIDENT
IT BEGAN IN DARKNESS...
2. Close on Dredd's grim face.
...IT ENDED IN TRAGEDY!
1. Night. Sideview of a car driving on a road through a forest. In the background is a billboard advertising the BLACKWOOD DINER - 1 MILE.
IT BEGAN ON A QUIET COUNTRY ROAD IN AMERICA, AFTER TWELVE ON A HOT SUMMER'S NIGHT IN 1998.
2. Inside the car where a man in his 30s is trying to stay awake as he drives.
IT BEGAN WITH ACCOUNTANT VINCENT MORTIMER, A MAN TOO LONG WITHOUT SLEEP.
3. Mortimer turns his car off the road, past a sign: THIS WAY TO THE BLACKWOOD PARK DINER - HOME OF THE STATE'S BEST COFFEE!
IT BEGAN WITH A LONELY, DESERTED DINER, WHERE TIME ITSELF WOULD EXPLODE...
1. Mortimer stops the car, its headlights catching the BLACKWOOD PARK DINER in their glare. It looks deserted and Mortimer is frustrated.
GREAT! SO MUCH FOR THE STATE'S BEST COFFEE!
2. Off to one side a blazing white light appears in the nearby woods.
IT BEGAN WITH AN UNEARTHLY WHITE LIGHT, BURNING BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN.
3. Mortimer throws his hands up, white light flooding over his face.
WHAT THE HELL?!?
1. Mortimer walks towards the white light blazing in the woods.
IT BEGAN WITH THE SMELL OF BURNING, AND THE TERRIBLE NOISE OF A MAN SCREAMING.
2. Cut to the interview room of a police station, where Mortimer huddles in a chair, a steaming mug of black coffee in his bandaged hands. We don't yet see the faces of the two people interviewing him...
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD A MAN SCREAMING? IT'S THE MOST HORRIBLE SOUND I'VE EVER HEARD...
3. Back to the woods, where the light engulfs the screaming Mortimer.
"THEN I REALISED I WAS THE ONE SCREAMING..."
1. Mortimer watches as a lone figure walks towards him from the light.
WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU?
2. The white light starts to fade behind the figure who approaches Mort.
"AT FIRST, HE JUST SMILED. THEN HE SAID SOMETHING THAT CHILLED THE BLOOD IN MY VEINS..."
3. Now the evil, smiling face of the figure is revealed - it's Todd Coster.
I'M FROM THE FUTURE, OF COURSE.
1. Establishing shot of the Blackwood police station, dawn.
LOOK, I WENT OVER THIS WITH THE COPS AND NOW I'VE TOLD YOU TWICE.
CAN'T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?!
2. Cut inside to the interview room where Mortimer goes over it again.
NO, WE NEED MORE INFORMATION. LET'S GET BACK TO THE TWO MEN AT THE DINER...
YOU SAID THEY CAME FROM THE FUTURE...
3. Just Mortimer, wild-eyed and exasperated, spilling his mug of coffee.
YES, BUT THE SECOND ONE TURNED UP LATER.
HE SAID HIS NAME WAS JUDGE DREDD!