Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bonus post! If you read enough 2000 AD, nothing surprises you.

I've mentioned before how inventive the early years of Judge Dredd in 2000 AD were: for example, the classic epic "The Cursed Earth," featuring Dredd versus a cloned Tyrannosaurus, ran in May to October 1978, some twelve years before the novel Jurassic Park. Not that the novel necessarily steals the idea, but the point is Dredd often seems to be ahead of the curve, probably because the writers have to crank out stories every week.

All this week, though, ads for "The First R-Rated Film from M. Night Shyamalan," The Happening, have been all over the place. I was working on a post for Friday on the subject of Shyamalan and his films, and something about those commercials kept gnawing at me. It seemed familiar, somehow. Like I had seen something about it before. The guys jumping (falling? It looks like suicide, but could be something else) to their death, though, that was it: it's only a split second cut in the ad, and a striking visual, but the jumpers don't seem angry or worried or anything. As if Dying is no big thing.

Suck it, Shyamalan!  Here's how you commit mass suicide! I dinged the "J" off "Judge Dredd" in the title, which is probably an offense...

The mega-blocks of Mega-City One have thousands of inhabitants. In this story, 747 of them commit mass suicide in a lemming-like jump off the roof. Or observation deck, or whatever. (Do lemmings actually do that, or is that a myth? Check it out here!)
I don't usually think of Dredd as a great detective, but you can get pretty good results with psychics, lab guys, no due process...
"The Lemming Syndrome" was only a six page story, and Dredd and the Judges don't find any cause for it other than "the contamination (of) the City itself," as in the stresses of modern life. The Happening may or may not have a better twist...I don't honestly think that Shyamalan stole from this story, but I do think Judge Dredd, and 2000 AD, are often sharper than you might think at first glance.

Script by "T.B. Grover," alias John Wagner; art by Ron Smith. Reprinted in Judge Dredd #41 (Fleetway/Quality).

More on the subject of Shyamalan on Friday, I think.

1 comment:

Sea-of-Green said...

What I wanna know is, why is everyone making such a big deal out of the fact that this is Shyamalan's first R-rated film? Hitchcock's only R-rated film is generally considered one of his worst -- and it didn't do so well at the box office, either.