Our viewing choice on Boxing Day night was Dredd. Not the Sylvester Stallone effort but the Karl Urban one that came out this year on a much smaller budget. While the Stallone flick did a good job of making Mega City One look large and dystopic, Dredd did a far better job of capturing what Dredd was all about. The Dredd I knew.
I grew up reading about Dredd’s exploits in his dystopic world in the weekly magazine called 2000 AD. I assume that much of the various storyline’s with their social commentary (this was the Thatcher years) went over my innocent head. I do however like to think that just by BUYING 2000 AD that part of me must have felt a little rebellious. Certainly the newsagents gave me odd looks when I displayed my choice of reading material besides my other choices of less anarchistic Mandy and Bunty and Beano.
2000 AD was my first real foray into science fiction. Granted I was watching Space 1999 and Blakes 7 and (of course) Dr. Who, but 2000 AD represented something very exotic even compared to those ground breaking shows. I already loved comic books. My Uncle here in Canada used to send me some of his old comics – he was QUITE the collector – and I have some great old Superboy’s and Justice League Americas. I also used to hit our local comic shop for their selection of DC and Marvel titles, but those weekly British comics were not only much more affordable, but much more appealing. The artwork fascinated me. Mike McMahon, Carlos Ezquerra,Dave Gibbons, Frank Quitely are still some of my most favorite artists. Their work was so different from all the pretty people in the DC and Marvel books. I think the grittiness of the world of Dredd and his cohorts was more appealing to myself….fitted more into the world I currently existed in but with an almost sexy edge.
Dredd was a counterbalance to the unobtainable world of Bunty and her types. All the great books I read (mostly fantasy) were about lovely English girls and boys having amazing adventures. Scottish girls who lived in council housing did not have those adventures. The science fiction that was emerging in the UK in the 70’s counterbalanced those idylic tales with pessimism that clouded the current times. Shows like Blake’s 7 and 2000 AD were about unpretty people doing unpretty things. Even the heroes weren’t pretty. You never saw Dredd without his helment and Strontium Dog was no Brad Pitt. The world of 2000 AD was not a place to yearn for but you could certainly relate to it. At least if you were a working class kid in the UK.
The kid who read Dredd can totally relate to a daughter who can play with Barbies, listen to Carly Rae Jepson and then read and play Arkham Asylum and wear Batman t-shirts. We had quite a chuckle when her Uncle called to ask if a giant size Batman figure was a good choice for Adam. We said no, but his sister would love it. He was boggled. But we were right. She LOVED it. It is her new boyfriend.
I am glad that my kids have inherited my ability to like ‘different’ things. I am glad they have the confidence in themselves to not worry (yet) about conforming to the ‘norm.’ It certainly makes gift shopping more interesting. Caity received Barbies AND Batman books. Adam LIKED getting clothes because we found fun stuff that he would enjoy wearing. They LOVED their Lava Lamps and the mix of books we picked up for them too. Tara claims to love all things princess and pink BUT her and I were curled up looking at Batman art last night while she happily named all the bad guys.
I like my kids…I made them weird.