The Cursed Earth (Judge Dredd story)

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For the fictional location, see Cursed Earth.
"The Cursed Earth"
Cover of Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth  (2003), trade paperback collected edition.
Publisher IPC Magazines
Publication date May – October 1978
Title(s) 2000 AD #61-85
Main character(s) Judge Dredd
Creative team
Writer(s) Pat Mills
John Wagner
Jack Adrian
Artist(s) Mike McMahon
Brian Bolland
Letterer(s) Tom Frame
Editor(s) Tharg (Kelvin Gosnell and Steve MacManus)
Collected editions
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.

Publication history[edit]

The storyline ran from 2000 AD #61 to 85 (May to October 1978).

Kevin O'Neill has said that the story was inspired by Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley.[1]


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.[2] 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. 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.[3]

In 2014 the law was changed to implement a European directive on copyright law allowing the use of copyright-protected characters for parody.[4][5] 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.[6]

Collected editions[edit]

The series has been reprinted in many trade paperbacks.[7] 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:

The 2016 edition including the banned episodes will be titled Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored.[8]

Other media[edit]

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.[9] When the Cursed Earth story began, the Matchbox toy was offered as a competition prize in the comic.


  1. ^ Kevin O’Neill interview, Death Ray #17, February/March 2009
  2. ^ 2000 AD #71-72 and 77-78
  3. ^ "Judge Dredd: The Mega-History," by Colin M. Jarman and Peter Acton (Lennard Publishing, 1995). Pages 85-86. (ISBN 1-85291-128-X)
  4. ^ "Parody copyright laws set to come into effect", BBC, 20 October 2014 (retrieved 2 November 2015)
  5. ^ Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014, at
  6. ^ "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
  7. ^ 2000 AD's reprint information
  8. ^ Amazon
  9. ^ 2 Warps to Neptune


External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Robot Wars
Major Judge Dredd stories
Succeeded by
The Day the Law Died!