Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Luxor Judge

Yep, in the future of Judge Dredd's world Egypt's law enforcement looks like this. The Pan African Judge system was expanded somewhat in the early 90s through the Dredd strip Book of the Dead by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar.

 Mostly harmless, the strip was pretty standard far for its time - Dredd gets sent off to another Megacity to kick arse and show the locals how it's done, and being a Millar/Morrison strip inevitably someeone ends up fighting someone else on a conveyor belt (it happens). Dermot Power, who went on to provide some stunning concept visuals for the Star Wars prequels, did the art duties. Luxor's an interesting place - a tiered class system, high-tech society (the Judges buzz about on hovering scooters and wield some sort of energy-weapon baton), and an affectation towards the ancient Egyptian pantheon. Senior Judges (i.e. those who can afford it) are embalmed after death, and there is a genuine belief in an afterlife - and even some form of the gods, as Book of the Dead goes on to illustrate via the then-regulation Big Bad Dredd went up against in the last chapter.

So far, so good. But the god aspect interests me because, as the Dredd strip has loosely established over its near-forty-year run, the concept of 'God' in Dredd's world becomes interchangeable (albeit on a colloqial level) with the epithet 'Grud'; a tradition going back to the late 70s by my reckoning, and built upon in subsequent years by other alternative entities: namely, Jovus and his mother Mavis (no joke!) Of course, other religions exist, and there seems to be an acknowledgement that higher powers may intervene in the affairs of mortals (thus Mega City One's Exorcist Judges, one assumes.)

But what of the Luxor Judges and their gods? Well, Millar and Morrison returned to the strip a few years later with the generally-derided 'epic' Crusade, in which Judges from all over the world converge on a mining outpost in the Antarctic to chase down and claim a 'god'. Moron- sorry, more on that in a later installment, but suffice it to say the Luxor Judges get a look in, and from Book's counterpart Judge Ramses no less. In his time of destiny (possible atop a conveyor belt) which god did he appeal to in his terrors? One called "Yad".

Make of that what you will...

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