Comic book hero Judge Dredd "might be gay"

The writers of the legendary lawman Judge Dredd have caused a stir by suggesting he might be gay. The latest edition of the comic 2000 AD is titled 'Closet'  and deals with the issue of a teenager coming out.

The first page has been released on the internet and apparently shows Dredd - a judge/policeman from the future - kissing the youth in a gay club. Reaction to the teaser, which was released online last month, has been mixed, with some fans so hostile to the idea they have threatened to burn the comic. A spokesman said: "We have had quite an extreme reaction. Dredd has always been satirical, while touching on serious issues. This is another example of this."

But there is a twist in the tale, with all not being as it seems. Dredd is a Street Judge in the American metropolis Mega-City One, with the power to enforce law and impose an instant sentence, including execution.

Karl Urban who potrayed the Judge in 'Dredd' (Credit: Wenn)
According to writer Rob Williams, Dredd's sexuality - whatever it is - is buried beneath his love for the law. He said: "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 feeling are so deeply hidden, he is extremely unlikely to ever let them show."

The writer said comics were a "great" place to deal with issues such as homophobia, adding:  "As long as you stay true to the character throughout - which I think 'Closet' does - you can deal with all sorts of issues in a story.

"And if they push people's buttons, fine. I'd rather a story be provocative than just 'and they have a fight'. Plus, putting Dredd in a gay club filled with men dressed as him is a pretty funny image. It's worth it for that alone."
The strip, illustrated by CLiNT magazine's Mike Dowling, will be available on Wednesday.