May 2017

Curator talks comics

No, I don't mean Bill Bailey; nor The Beano for that matter. Something a bit more futuristic.

One of the great things about a motor museum is that cars make for all sorts of interesting connections. Now, I'm not an avid reader of science fiction – although I enjoy a good movie - but something caught my eye a little while ago when leafing through one of the supplements in my Saturday newspaper. It was an article about 2000AD, the comic that introduced the character Judge Dredd to the world. Launched in 1977 when it cost just 8 pence in Earth money, it is celebrating 40 years and more than 2,000 issues (or progs). I picked up a few back copies to see what 2000AD was all about.

2000AD 40th Anniversary 2017

2000AD is 40 years old this year

Conceived by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, Judge Joseph Dredd was a 'street judge' - policeman, judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one. He patrolled the futuristic dystopian world that was Mega-City One. Unlike it its American counterparts, DC and Marvel, 2000AD was firmly British. Judge Dredd, therefore, had a characteristically dry wit whilst meeting out his, sometimes gruesome, form of justice and parodies of British culture often featured in his storylines.

At one point he even declared his own comic illegal under Mega-City One law!

Pic 1

2000AD prog 458

Pic 1 & 2: 2000AD often referenced British culture – the Adrian Mole stories and the band the Travelling Wilburys (ask your parents if you don’t know)

Pic 2

2000AD prog 628

Pic 3

2000 AD prog 625

Judge Dredd even outlawed his own comic…


Naturally, Judge Dredd was great raw material for a film. In 1995 Sylvester Stallone starred as the Judge in the eponymously-titled movie, although it wasn't a fantastic success. 

And here comes the car connection. The vehicles chosen for Mega-City One were Land Rovers, appropriately rugged for the year 2139. These 'City Cabs' were angular looking affairs, with the cabs designed to look like Judge Dredd's distinctive headgear. The styling work was carried out by Land Rover's own design studio.

2000AD prog 950

Sylvester Stallone’s Judge Dredd graces the cover in 1995

The cars were based on retired military Land Rover 101 forward controls – around 22 were made for the filming in total. 

You can see one of the startling Land Rover City Cabs from the movie in the Museum. It is the only car that was fully constructed inside and out, used for the interior shots as well as exterior filming and one of just a handful that remain.

Retired Military Land Rover 101

From this…

Judge Dredd - Land Rover City Cabs

…to this

Happy 40th Birthday 2000AD!

All cover images © Rebellion

  • Visit England Gold Accolade