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los angeles, ca, United States
My name is Dave Davenport, but I am sometimes known as "Dogspunk", and sign my artwork "DDOG". I've been tattooing since 1996 and making comic books since 2004. In a past life I animated video games. To view galleries of my work, visit my website and click on the teeth menu on the left...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

that "gay" Dredd story...

I finally got around to reading prog 1817 of 2000ad, the issue featuring the Judge Dredd one-and-done by Rob Williams (script) and Mike Dowling (art).

I wasn't purposely putting it off... it was among a handful of issues that Diamond skipped distribution of here in the states, so I eventually gave up on hard copies and read it digital-like (on my birthday tablet, thanks baby!).
The story is now 4 months old, so I think a synopsis is safe.

          ( S P O I L E R S )

     The story follows a young man named Taylor Cook, who is gay. He is busted in a raid on a fetish club, one where Dredd himself is the fetish. But that is skipping ahead... first, we are introduced to the club, and then to the protagonist.
     Taylor tells us a bit about himself and his story; mom has died, leaving dad even more distant. As Taylor discovers that his feelings for his best friend are more than platonic, his father finds them and beats the crap out of his would be lover. After weeks of avoidance from both his friend and his father, the catastrophe known as "Chaos Day" happens, and his father disappears.
     Regretting that his father never truly knew him, Taylor decides to hide his true self further in the closet. 5 months go by before he learns from the Judges and a surveillance video how his father died... at the hands of Judge Fear, the undead villain whose gaze causes one to die of fright. 
     Later, an online friend gets the young man to try the nightclub. Soon, he is attending in Judge garb. And then, the bust. The crime? Impersonating a Judge ("jimping") is a serious offence. Taylor has the chance to bolt unseen through a back entrance, but decides to turn himself in and not hide any longer, vowing to leave the closet behind in the "cubes" (prison) when he gets out.

Seems like a lot for a 6 page story, huh?
What I like about it:

  • It's amazing that this idea hasn't been picked up on before, the idea of the fascistic, leather-clad #1 authority figure being used in gay role-playing scenes. It makes perfect sense, every single aspect is already in use by someone or another in gay culture. Bondage, leather, domination, submission, the cop from the Village People... and much more, all rolled into one fantasy. For gay Dredd fans, it makes a giggly fun club scene. 

  • The poetic justice of his father, the homophobe's, death at the hands of Judge Fear. To imagine what his deadly fear might have been...
  • The cat-call in the club. Perfect. Any more would have reduced it to camp, but the one added a bit of humor to the serious tone of the story.
  • The handling of the issue at hand. There is no judgement by anyone, even the Judges, excepted Taylor's dad. He is the only person with a problem with homosexuals here. 
  • The Dredd-as-foil story. This is what Judge Dredd, as a comic strip, does best. Stories about the people of this future city, where Dredd only shows up as a representative of the system... and then he really could be any Judge- it's just him because his name is on the book. The story is about Mega-City One. 
  • Rob Williams. I've been reading a lot of his stuff lately, and really enjoying it. His series "Low Life", featuring Wally Squad (undercover) Judge "Dirty" Frank is top notch. 

Go ahead, pick up a copy, support positive gay characters in comics. I think you just might like it...