An exclusive news item, courtesy of the good folk at 2000AD: Emma Beeby, the first woman to write a strip for Judge Dredd, is also going to be the first female author to write Judge Anderson—Judge Dredd‘s best-known female character—later this month for the Judge Dredd Megazine.
The psychic Judge Cassandra Anderson, originally created by author John Wagner and artist Brian Bolland in 1980, has been written almost entirely by Alan Grant and drawn by various male artists since her inception.
She carried her own title (Anderson: Psi-Division) for several years and has appeared regularly in her own strip in the Judge Dredd Megazine. Anderson was also one of the female leads in Dredd (2012), portrayed as a no-nonsense, kick-ass rookie Judge by Olivia Thirlby.
Although her competency as a Judge has never been in doubt, some of her visual depictions have been at the least gratuitous and at most heinously objectifying: licking the barrel of her Lawgiver on the cover of an issue of the Megazine; straddling a chair in non-regulation heels; or posing topless while being groped by ghosts, because, you know, she’s psychic. Thankfully, in more recent years this sexualization has mostly been abandoned in favor of focusing on her abilities and personality.
Yet the fact remains that Beeby’s inaugural Judge Anderson story will be the first time that a woman has had the opportunity to bring this iconic character to life.
According to Beeby, the story places Anderson in a new environment with a rookie, and plays with the opposition between the Psi-Judges’ “more feminine” psychic powers against the stereotypically masculine world of the street Judges.
This could signal a new trend for Judge Dredd and for 2000AD as a whole—not only including female creators on their rosters, but featuring narratives that foreground women’s perspectives and experiences. If that does come to pass, it could also encourage more female authors and writers to join the ranks of 2000AD and to become major creative forces in British comics.