Today, IDW issued a press release about a special March 2013 release for a new series: Judge Dredd Year One. I remember reading Judge Dredd comics way back when, and to see IDW and their partner in this series, 2000 A.D., take on the history of Dredd means something amazing is in the works!

We’ve seen some exposure to the character of late, what with a Dredd movie being released not too long ago (OK, I don’t think it did spectacularly well, and I swear I never saw any trailers for it…) but this is a title that’s been around for a while. Having been conceived of as an idea in the 1970s, Dredd was made popular within the British anthology book 2000 A.D. The character took on a life of its own and grew to popularity.

For the first time, it appears that the origins of Judge Dredd are now being explored in a Year One format.

IDW and 2000 AD Take DREDD Back to YEAR ONE!

The Legendary Lawman’s Early Days to Be Chronicled in Upcoming Miniseries!

San Diego, CA (December 3, 2012) – Though Judge Joseph Dredd’s exploits have changed the post-apocalyptic sprawl of Mega-City One forever, there was a Mega-City One before Dredd ever hopped aboard a Lawmaster. In March 2013’s JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE, Eagle Award-winning 2000 AD Editor-in-Chief Matt Smith takes up arms with Dredd veterans Simon Coleby on interiors and Greg Staples on covers to deliver the thrilling exploits of a younger Judge Dredd!

One would be hard pressed to call the young Dredd “fresh-faced” or “eager,” but there is certainly a learning curve to policing Mega-City One’s vast and vicious criminal element. This thrilling period of Dredd’s career was previously explored by Smith in Judge Dredd: Year One – City Fathers, the hit e-novella published by 2000 AD earlier this year, but was immediately recognized as an avenue perfectly suited for a different story told through a comic-book miniseries.

“Dredd’s a notoriously difficult character to get the voice right—and it becomes even more of a challenge when you’re writing him as an eighteen year old, fresh out of the Academy,” said Matt Smith. “But it’s been great fun charting his early cases, feeding into the stories the elements that will go on to make him Mega-City’s most feared lawman. And it’s terrific to have Simon Coleby on board, a superb artist and well experienced in portraying the madness of the future metropolis.”

In “The Long, Hard Road,” Smith and Coleby tell a tale where “all the young juves, carry the news,” only in this case, that news is that juves across sector start manifesting psychic abilities. Dredd must team up for the first time with Psi-Division to combat the spreading chaos. But just what is causing the psi-outbreaks as it crosses the dimensions—and what does it have in store for Mega-City One?

By taking to the comics page and telling a new tale from Dredd’s early years on the force, IDW and 2000 AD are thrilled to be bringing fans a Dredd story the likes of which they’ve never seen; not to mention a rare look at the kind of harrowing futuristic criminal saga that built Dredd’s signature grimace. Like the old saying goes, “You can’t strike fear into the deranged heart of a criminal underbelly without breaking a few legs.”
“Matt Smith has been doing a masterful job of steering Judge Dredd’s exploits for years, and his e-novella showed he was equally adept at serving as chronicler as well as editor,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief. “And the story Matt’s telling in this miniseries is a very different tale of Dredd’s first year than his prose story, but both combine to add relevant details and backstory to the character of Judge Dredd.”

In addition to the stellar team of Mega City One veterans on the book, dedicated Dredd fans will also find variant covers by Cerebus mastermind Dave Sim and Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra in the offing! Fans are urged to appear at their nearest comic shop for judgment, lest they face eternity in the iso-cubes!

JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE #1 (FC, 32 pages, $3.99). In stores 3/27/13

So what do you think? Sounds pretty sweet, huh? Now let’s take a look at one of those alternate covers:

Judge Dredd Year One #1

Is this something you’re interested in? Looking forward to the return of Dredd in a Year One story? Let us know your thoughts below!