Since first appearing on the scene in 1977, Judge Dredd has been the comic-book world’s answer to Dirty Harry, serving as judge, jury and executioner in a dystopian future.
The anti-hero policeman was the creation of writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, and inspired two distinct movies: the Sylvester Stallone camp clunker Judge Dredd (1995) and the actually bad-ass Dredd (2012), with Karl Urban in the title role.
Now, in the latest issue of 2000AD, titled “Closet,” it appears as if the legendary lawman is coming out of the closet.
On the first page of the comic, Dredd is shown sharing a passionate kiss with another man, with a caption reading: “I guess, somehow, I’d always known I was gay. I was just too scared to admit it.”
You won’t see Dredd in a London Pride march anytime soon, though, as publishers at Rebellion revealed (SPOILER ALERT) it’s actually a guy in a Judge Dredd cosplay costume.
Writer Rob Williams says he wanted to play up the fact that so little is known about Dredd’s personal life: “Can you imagine what would happen if that repression ever fell away, just for an instant?” he told the Guardian. “Sure, Dredd could be gay: You can’t look at the original costume design of leather and chains and not see a fetishistic edge there. But Dredd’s feelings are so deeply hidden, he is extremely unlikely to ever let them show.”
The next issue of 2000AD hits comic-book shops on Wednesday.