FCBD 2021: The ‘2000 AD Judge Dredd’ FCBD Special

by Richard Bruton

It’s finally going to be Free Comic Book Day, albeit not the FCBD we were expecting. Covid meant shifting the day from its traditional May date to a new date of Saturday 14th August. Here’s what to expect from 2000 AD this year…

(Cover by Caspar Wijngaard)

It’s a great looking cover, and inside you’ll find a brand-new Judge Dredd story from Al Ewing and Caspar Wijngaard. Obviously, this is great news as Ewing’s last Dredd story in the 2020 Sci-Fi Special was one of the absolute best (and certainly the funniest) Dredd moments of last year when Dredd met up with Zombo.

But you could make an argument to say that it’s slightly misnomered as the Judge Dredd special issue, as this FCBD Special only appears to feature the one (hopefully brilliant) Dredd story.

Having said that though, it’s not a bad line-up at all, with two breakout series featured in the 32-page full-colour FCBD comic reprinted from 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, many of them acting as trailers from some particularly tasty looking collections coming through the end of 2021. This means that you’ll be seeing previews of Dreadnoughts by Michael Carroll and John Higgins, without doubt one of the highlights from the Megazine in 2020/2021. You’ll also see Judge Hershey from the recent Hershey: Disease by Rob Williams and Simon Fraser, featuring more of Hershey and Dirty Frank attempting to undo the global damage wrought by Judge Smiley.

That, as far as we know at the moment, is the three-strip line-up for the Judge Dredd special issue… one new Dredd, one Dreddworld prequel in Dreadnoughts and one Dreddworld proper strip in Hershey. But remember kids, it’s FREE, so no complaining!

Moving FCBD to one day in August is definitely a better idea than the somewhat diluted 2020 solution of having a whole summer of FCBD. Having one definite FCBD gives the retailers who take part a chance to really put on a show, make the day a very special one, and get as many customers through the door as possible – hopefully, by August, retailers will be able to get them through their door as we keep all our fingers crossed that all national lockdowns have been lifted by then.

One final thing – if you do go and support your LCS on Free Comic Book Day 2021, remember that they have had at least a year of utterly terrible sales and they need your cash more than ever. I say this every FCBD, but this year it’s even more important – the comic retailer has paid for the comics it’s giving out for free, which means it’s making a LOSS on every FCBD comic that goes out the door. So, when you are picking up the FCBD comics, don’t be the jerk about things, pick up something else, pick up that new series you were thinking about, grab a new graphic novel to try, ask the staff for their recommendations, and put some much-needed cash into their tills.

For a full list of all the 2021 FCBD titles – head here. And for more info on FCBD, including whether your LCS is taking part, head here.

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