No. 126 – Mega-City One

Mega-City 1 futuregraph by Carlos Ezquerra (1947–2018) from prog 3 (1977) vs. Robert Crumb’s City of the Future from Zap Comix #0 (Apex Oddities, 1967)

As much an excuse to celebrate the mega-city* concept in Judge Dredd as an excuse to feature the work of Robert Crumb – and in no way casting aspersions on the originality of Señor Ezquerra’s conception** – we’ll quote John Newsinger, professor of history at Bath Spa University, UK, from his scholarly work The Dredd Phenomenon: Comics and Contemporary Society (Libertarian Education, 1999; p.17-18), on Dredd’s stomping ground:

“Crucial to the success of the Dredd strip is Mega City [sic] One, the vast, towering urban jungle where 800 million people are crowded in together. Here the problems of our own cities exist but in magnified, exaggerated form. There is 87 per cent unemployment, with most people never having had a job, and 95 per cent of the population live within mile-high tower blocks, each housing 60,000 people. The tedium of this life of claustrophobic boredom and idleness drives many people mad: citizens go “futsie”, attacking and killing innocent bystanders without reason or warning. Outbreaks of mass suicide are common enough to be known as “the Lemming Syndrome” (prog 445 [1985]). Wars between the great tower blocks are not uncommon with often thousands of casualties, and, on one occasion, there was even an attempt by one block, the Sonny Bono, to declare itself independent (prog 208 [1981]).”

And while we’re here: one of the earliest visions of a futuristic mega-city form Fritz Lang (1890–1976):

*Hyphenated, definitely hyphenated
**Mega-City One was initially intended to be a futuristic New York city

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