I had a bit of a day out at the new Forbidden Planet store in Cambridge and came away with a copy of the Judge Dredd: Henry Flint collection. Seven self contained stories from the Prog and the Megazine spanning the decade from 1997-2007.
One of the Megazine stories: Street Fighting Man was written by Robbie Morrison, the rest are written by John Wagner. Likewise Cam Kennedy gets a partial art credit on the Turkey Shoot story. Henry Flint is my favourite of the current Dredd artists. I have an original page from his first ever Dredd story framed on the wall above me here as I write this and it's interesting to see his progression as he develops his portrayal of Dredd's world. His figures were much neater in the early days, still exaggerated but with a cleaner line and a more organised look to Mega-City One. His work reminds me of Frank Miller's Ronin as the sinister buildings sprawl and spread out in an almost organic fashion. Fortunately Flint's work has just got better and better and he hasn't descended to the appalling cartoon work that Miller produced in books like the Dark Knight Strikes Back and Holy Terror.
John Wagner's writing is as good as ever, particularly when we get to the last and best of the stories, The Gingerbread Man which reintroduced the serial killer P.J.Maybe into Dredd's rogues gallery. Wagner and Flint are the perfect partnership on this tale which sets up many of the events of the Tour of Duty storyline, and also prove that being Dredd's partner on the streets is a fairly dangerous position for a Judge.
So it's a fun collection of stories with lovely art, and even though it's 6 years old now it succeeded in getting my money off me. But would it kill Rebellion to put a bit of extra material into these collections? I know they are not a huge publisher and that the margins on the comics and reprints are always fairly tight, but couldn't we have an introduction and maybe a few sketches from Mr Flint in the back of the book? There are plenty of well qualified people on this website or the forums who would be happy to write an introduction for nowt. Pete Wells Block or Senior Street Judge Burdis could do an excellent job I'm sure.
The only book they have out recently with an introduction was the Halo Jones reprint which began with a few words from the science fiction writer Lauren Beukes. That was pretty disappointing stuff to be honest. Come on, Tharg. Let's have a bit more back and front matter in these collections please.