Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bruja Judge

This week was the anniversary of the French Recognition of Haiti, which may have been expressed as “Mon Dieu! Bonjour Haïti, je pensais que c'était toi, mais je n'étais pas sûr au début!", I’m not entirely sure, I wasn’t there at the time.

Haiti as we are told, in Dredd’s time is the island state of Bruja, approximately, which is an unfortunately auspicious name, for ‘Bruj’ means witch, and Haiti in popular culture usually boils down to drugs or voodoo. Sorry, Haiti.  The Judge Dredd Megazine of the early Nineties decided to dilute such généralisations when its turn came up and it made Bruja a merciless police state as well; as seen in Robbie Morrison’s Judge Hershey story Asylum, in which some refugees from the brutal Bruj regime land in Mega City one, are pursued by the thuggish Judge Greene (presumably named after the British author of The Comedians and, y’know, not actually someone significant from Haiti), and then some zombie stuff happens. Siku illustrated it in his colour-drenched painterly style, and consequently to this day I don’t know what colour the Bruja uniform is – it’s a sort of blue, or white, or both.

I don’t know where you go with a judicial system for a city that’s never seen and only encountered by repute and one bent copper possessed by a vodoun sorceror, so I decided to embrace it for all its schlocky Seventies exploitation vibe. Here’s Judge Durand of Bruja with his big stick, some Sugar Hill zombies (Romero-style would be inappropriate) and Baron Samedi watching over the whole thing.

One day I promise I will draw a judge that's all feet
Bruja only appeared in two stories (including a cameo in the mega-epic Judgement Day), so maybe things will have moved on since then. On the other hand, it’s still not the worst stereotype another mega city has had to suffer in the world of Dredd…

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