The Cursed Earth (Judge Dredd story)
|"The Cursed Earth"|
|Publication date||May – October 1978|
|Title(s)||2000 AD #61-85|
|Main character(s)||Judge Dredd|
|Editor(s)||Tharg (Kelvin Gosnell and Steve MacManus)|
|The Cursed Earth||ISBN 1-84023-459-8|
|Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 02||ISBN 1-904265-83-9|
The Cursed Earth is the second extended storyline of the Judge Dredd character to appear in 2000 AD, and the first to exceed twenty episodes: as such it is sometimes called the first Judge Dredd epic. Written mostly by Pat Mills, the series added many core elements to the backstory of the world of Mega-City One.
The storyline ran from 2000 AD #61 to 85 (May to October 1978).
In 2100 Mega-City Two, on the West coast of North America, becomes infected with a virus called 2 T (fru) T that makes its victims into a violent mob. Scientists in Mega-City One on the East coast have been able to make an antidote, but it is impossible to safely land at the airports in Mega-City Two. The only option is to send a land expedition of Judges in a tank across the Cursed Earth, a radioactive wasteland that covers most of the former US. Judge Dredd is assigned to lead the mission and en route they encounter many perils including a cloned tyrannosaurus called Satanus, and President Robert L. Booth, the last president of the United States.
The Cursed Earth was also notable for a lawsuit involving the publishers of 2000 AD, McDonalds, Burger King, and the Jolly Green Giant. Four episodes in the series, written by John Wagner and Jack Adrian, featured trade marked characters used without permission. One storyline depicted wars between rival gangs, headed by the Burger King and Ronald McDonald – including scenes of Ronald executing a gang member who spilled a milkshake. Unsurprisingly, the owners of these characters objected to the use of their trademarks and sued. Publishers IPC settled out of court, publishing a half-page retraction and agreeing never to reprint the offending episodes.
In 2014 the law was changed to implement a European directive on copyright law allowing the use of copyright-protected characters for parody. As a result, Rebellion Developments announced in 2015 that it would re-publish the suppressed episodes for the first time in a book to be published in July 2016.
The series has been reprinted in many trade paperbacks. However, given the controversy, they are missing "Burger Wars" (episodes 11-12) and "Soul Food" (episodes 17-18) from the full 25 episode run.
Notable reprints include:
- Judge Dredd Epics: The Collected Cursed Earth (Titan, paperback, 1994, ISBN 1-85286-406-0)
- Judge Dredd Epics: The Cursed Earth (Titan, hardback, 2000, ISBN 1-84023-459-8)
- Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 02 (Rebellion, paperback, 2006, ISBN 1-904265-83-9)
The 2016 edition including the banned episodes will be titled Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored.
The K2001 Landraider and Killdozer two part vehicle used by Judge Dredd and his team was based on the K-2001 Raider Command Matchbox toy from the Adventure 2000 range. When the Cursed Earth story began, the Matchbox toy was offered as a competition prize in the comic.
- Kevin O’Neill interview, Death Ray #17, February/March 2009
- 2000 AD #71-72 and 77-78
- "Judge Dredd: The Mega-History," by Colin M. Jarman and Peter Acton (Lennard Publishing, 1995). Pages 85-86. (ISBN 1-85291-128-X)
- "Parody copyright laws set to come into effect", BBC, 20 October 2014 (retrieved 2 November 2015)
- Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014, at legislation.gov.uk
- "Judge Dredd comic book story showing him being force-fed fast food to be re-printed for first time in decades", The Independent, 1 November 2015
- 2000 AD's reprint information
- 2 Warps to Neptune
- The Cursed Earth at the Comic Book DB
- Lengthy precis of the storyline, by Paul Scott
- Judge Dredd - Banned in Britain?, a discussion of the controversy and examples of the material missing from the reprints.
The Robot Wars
|Major Judge Dredd stories
The Day the Law Died!