John Wagner - the writer behind Judge Dredd

19 April 2023
John Wagner is a British comic book writer, best known for co-creating the iconic character Judge Dredd in the weekly British comic book 2000 AD. Born on February 1949 in Pennsylvania, United States, Wagner spent much of his early childhood in Scotland before moving back to the United States in his early teens.

Wagner's early work in the comics industry began in the 1970s, where he wrote scripts for British publishers such as DC Thomson and IPC.

He started working for 2000 AD in 1977, where he created the character of Judge Dredd with artist Carlos Ezquerra

john wagner judge dredd

Judge Dredd quickly became the flagship character of 2000 AD and a pop culture icon, featuring in numerous comics, novels, video games, and movies.

Wagner's writing style for Judge Dredd was notable for its gritty, dystopian vision of a future society in which the judges, a group of law enforcement officers with the power of judge, jury, and executioner, have become the only source of law and order. His stories often explored themes such as political corruption, social inequality, and the abuse of power.

In addition to Judge Dredd, Wagner has also created other notable comic book series such as Strontium Dog, Button Man, and A History of Violence, which was adapted into a critically acclaimed film by director David Cronenberg in 2005.

Throughout his career, Wagner has won numerous awards and accolades for his work in the comics industry. He has been inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame, the British Comics Awards Hall of Fame, and the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, reflecting his lifelong passion for football.

Wagner's impact on the comic book industry cannot be overstated, particularly in the United Kingdom, where his work on Judge Dredd helped to define the genre of British comics. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential comic book writers of all time and continues to inspire new generations of writers and artists.


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