Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges

05 March 2023
The Dark Judges are some of the most iconic and terrifying villains in the world of Judge Dredd. Created by John Wagner, they first appeared in 2000 AD #149 in 1980, and have since become a staple of the series. The Dark Judges are a group of undead, supernatural beings who seek to rid the world of all life, believing that only the dead can be judged fairly.

The inspiration for the Dark Judges can be traced back to the 1970s and the popular horror comics of the time. In particular, the series drew on the work of horror authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the tradition of the supernatural in horror fiction. 

However, what sets the Dark Judges apart is the fact that they are not simply monsters, but beings with a twisted sense of justice and morality.

The design of the Dark Judges was the work of Brian Bolland, a British comic book artist who is well known for his work on Judge Dredd. Bolland's design for the Dark Judges is iconic, with each character having a distinct, eerie look that perfectly captures their otherworldly nature. The design of Judge Death, in particular, has become one of the most recognizable images in Judge Dredd.

The Dark Judges exist to serve as a counterpoint to the justice system in Mega-City One, which is often criticized for being overly harsh and punitive. The Dark Judges seek to create a world in which justice is absolute and all life is judged equally, regardless of any other considerations. However, their vision of justice is so extreme and merciless that it is ultimately incompatible with any kind of society that values life and liberty.

The Dark Judges have appeared in many episodes of Judge Dredd. 

In "Judge Death," Judge Death and his fellow Dark Judges are introduced as they arrive in Mega-City One, and begin their campaign of slaughter and destruction. In "The Dark Judges," Judge Dredd and a team of other Judges are sent to the parallel dimension of Deadworld, where they face off against the Dark Judges and their followers. In "Necropolis," the Dark Judges return to Mega-City One, leading an army of the undead in a final assault on the city.

In each of these episodes, the conflict with the Dark Judges is ultimately resolved through a combination of brute force and ingenuity. However, the Dark Judges are never truly defeated, and always manage to escape, ready to return and continue their quest for justice. This perpetual conflict serves as a reminder that the struggle for justice is never truly over, and that there will always be those who seek to impose their own twisted vision of it on the world.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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