John Wagner, the creator of Judge Dredd, recently visited the set of Dredd in Cape Town, South Africa, and posted his impressions to his Facebook page. Besides praising actors Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, he also admits that he's changed his mind and AGREES with screenwriter Alex Garland's direction for the law-dispensing judge.
Alex Garland and I have had our disagreements but he has usually had a convincing argument for doing things his way. On the main issue, concentrating the plot on a slice of life rather than trying to convey the whole sweep of Dredd and Mega-City life, I now see that he's right. It was one of the flaws of the first movie, they tried to do too much.
Wagner is, of course, referring to the 1995 adaptation, starring Sylvester Stallone. Judge Dredd showed Mega-City, the ABC Warriors, the Angel Gang and Judge Rico—but too much of a good thing wasn't good enough to save the movie.
Wagner's approval bodes well. As a former editor and script advisor of 2000 AD, as well as one of 2000 AD's core writers, he knows what a good story looks like.
This isn't Wagner's first foray into adaptation: One of his graphic novels, A History of Violence, was turned into a movie starring Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris, in 2005.
2000 AD is a weekly comic book (known as "progs"), typically consisting of Judge Dredd and four other strips. Other popular runs in 2000 AD include Strontium Dog, Sinister Dexter, the ABC Warriors and Nikolai Dante. Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison's first professional comic writing all appeared in 2000 AD.
Judge Dredd made his first appearance in 2000 AD's second prog, in 1977.