Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Texas City Judge

Today is the 168th anniversary of the installation of the State government of Texas. You’re most welcome.

Texas, or more correctly, Texas City, or less formally and correctly Mega City 3 is an interesting place in the Dredd universe. Big, of course, taking in the original state plus Louisiana, Alabama and other parts besides, it has a long-standing rivalry with the still-unseen and even less-spoken of Mex City, and seems forever on the verge of actually splitting from the ‘union’ of Mega City One and its late lamented West Coast sibling. Plus ca change.

I quite like Texas City though, and still get a quiet thrill whenever it appears in the parent strip. It’s one of a few cases where an outside megacity has been created on points of difference as well as similarity to Dredd’s hometown, and perhaps there’s no better place to see this than the relatively obscure Megazine two-parter Texas City Sting, by John Wagner and Yan Shimony. In this, Dredd and his colleague, the Hershey-clone Colovito head to the southern megacity in pursuit of outstanding warrants on absconded perps from MC-1, but run afoul of Texas City’s belligerent Deputy Chief Judge who refuses them jurisdiction in his town. Undeterred, Dredd and Colovito turn Texas’ more liberal laws more creatively and become legally armed debt collectors, nearly scoring a hundred per cent catch (and gleefully being cheered on by their Texan shadowers.) Rather silly and wonderful, it might have been a classic in the early days of the strip in 2000AD, so it seems a shame this was relegated to the Meg, and the choice of Shimony as artist is perhaps another fumble. It’s not bad artwork – a little cartoonish and quite dynamic, but it lacks the style that a wittier artist like Ian Gibson or Mick McMahon would have given it.

Ah, McMahon again. The creator of the Texas City look. True, Brian Bolland may have given us the first true Texan judges in Che, Tex and Mex all stationed on the moon city of Luna-1, but the city itself and its resident judges get a proper role on the later strip, The Judge Child Quest (which also gave the world Texas City’s most notorious villains the Angel Gang) The judge here is simply an adapted Mega City uniform, fitted with a Stetson or ten-gallon hat and with the Texan star superimposed over the badge of justice. It’s a simple conversion, and says enough, really. We’re really blessed, though, with McMahon’s Texas City, a character in itself; all mutant reservations, theme parks, big, bold and utterly wild western ideas transported into the future.

McMahon's Texas City is a wonder to behold - goofy, solid, and filled with lots of little details, the tops of the buildings becoming stetsons, saloon doors, saddles... you name it. I love it.


  1. I knew very little about the real America when I first read Dredd. Even though I watched a lot of TV shows and movies, I never really thought about the culture of it all that much. So my entire knowledge of Texas was the phrase "Everything's Bigger In Texas" and I reckon that's exactly what inspired McMahon as well.

  2. Definitely the starting point, which probably made the brief all that more interesting as MC-1 isn't exactly a shrinking violet either. I wish Shimony had taken a leaf from that book, though. Nobody's come close to MM's vision yet, even in aping the character of the cityscape.