Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection is here to help.
Published by 2000AD and Hachette (not Rebellion, the usual publisher), the Mega Collection is a series of collected hardcover editions of major Judge Dredd storylines. Each edition constitutes an issue, with a new edition/issue coming out every two weeks. The Mega Collection also includes bonus content such as concept sketches and cover galleries with each issue – and placing all of the issues next to each other in order creates a piece of Dredd art across their spines. Issues will be available in shops, or you can subscribe.
If your subscription begins with issue 1, you get free gifts with the first four issues, including a replica Judge Dredd badge. “Who really wants one, though?” a friend asked when I brought up the Mega Collection. Me, that’s who. I’m hoping that if I get the badge, the costume will follow (sort of like that Malcolm in the Middle episode where Reese argues that if they get a saddle, their parents will have to buy them a horse). A couple of free gifts are also available if you start with a later issue, but quite frankly I wouldn’t recommend saying no to any course of action that gets you a free Dredd badge. It also helps that the first issue is a collection of “America,” which is often described as the greatest Judge Dredd story of all time.
The first two issues are £1.99 and £6.99 respectively; the price increases to £9.99 per issue after that. Pre-ordering your subscription before the cutoff date of January 21 automatically enters you into a prize draw for a completely free subscription. Be warned, though: at almost £10 per issue for 80 issues, the price adds up considerably. Also, Dredd fans outside the UK and Republic of Ireland will have to wait — the Mega Collection can only be delivered to those two regions.
The Mega Collection looks more like a treat for hardcore fans than an introduction for new readers. First, the hardcover format of this collection is clearly aimed at the dedicated completist; splashing out nearly £10 every two weeks on a prestige format is a lot to ask of Dredd newbies. You have to know what you’re getting, and be thinking of how cool these new editions of familiar stories will look on your shelves, if you’re making that kind of commitment. Plus, while the re-issuing of key story arcs does provide a nicely packaged version of the Judge Dredd universe, part of the fun of the comic is the the short strips that don’t make it into the big stories and might seem ridiculous (often because they are), but nevertheless help to create a more comprehensive picture of a terrible yet hugely entertaining future*. I sort of hope that the Mega Collection will include a volume of just these strips, such as the one where the Judges bust a comics smuggling ring for pushing old copies of 2000AD to children.
Since I’m in the hardcore fan category, I’ve already subscribed — even though the Mega Collection might just be enabling my addiction at this point. I’m going to need a bigger bookshelf.
*Except for that badly drawn strip wherein Dredd was attacked by some lady’s collection of dismembered butts. We’re trying to pretend that never happened.