Finally, there’s the best bit of all, to me the greatest moment in comics history: part 22 of The Apocalypse War. Having fought a losing battle against the invaders, seen half of Mega-City One destroyed, massacred collaborators and euthanised the critically wounded, Dredd has led an elite team of Judges into an East-Meg missile silo. Following one of the best action sequences I’ve ever read in a comic, the Judges find themselves unable to gain access to the operations room, until Dredd simply bangs on the door with his pistol and shoots the curious halfwit who opens it point-blank. Our boys storm the ops room and seal the door. Anderson, the telepath (and only volunteer in the Apocalypse Squad- no peacenik cosmic wandering in those days) pulls the launch codes out of the silo commander’s mind. The nukes are targeted on East-Meg One. “Please, Dredd”, begs the commander, “There are half a billion people in my city–half a billion human beings! You can’t just wipe them out with the push of a button!” And Dredd doesn’t hesitate, not even for a second.
He can and he does. I still think about that today; what it meant about the character, and about the comic I was reading (aged 12). Even now I don’t know if Dredd was right or if he was wrong. It was the only way to win, to avoid the further slaughter and enslavement of his own people–but it was genocide. It was moral courage on an almost unimaginable level–but it was appalling. In the end, it was a dilemma not unlike those faced by a number of good and bad men in our own history, and if I had to sum it up in one line, I’d say this: what are you prepared to do when there isn’t any easy way out?
And that, I think, is why I’ve never been able to care about Batman, or Wolverine, or Iron Man… or any of them, really. Not because of what characters like that would or wouldn’t do, but because their publishers would never have the courage to have them written into such a situation.
– Garth Ennis, from Bleeding Cool.
When your fave writer speaks, you listen. It’s stuff to think about — and to remember — that you write what you know, or what you know to be true to the characters you write about. It may a bit cliche to talk about it like that, but sometimes we forget that we can’t pander to political correctness for the sake of sacrificing authenticity; if we do so we forsake any form of credibility or respect as a writer. Might as well just go ahead and become an ST journalist.
Keep it real, friends.