The following is an interview with writer Laura Bailey and artist Rob Richardson regarding their work in developing Judge Dredd character Galen DeMarco and her upcoming return in Judge Dredd Megazine 462 with 2000 AD. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Bailey and Richardson about their shared approach to developing the character, what they are most excited for readers to experience with the upcoming story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your work with 2000 AD and Judge Dredd has followed one of the most fascinating characters in the franchise’s history with Galen DeMarco. What makes this character so interesting to work with, and what has been your experience in seeing her evolution over time?
Laura Bailey: Galen DeMarco is someone full of contradictions. She was born into riches but is now penniless and trained to be a Judge, despite being a non-conformist at heart. The career-ending decision she made when she broke the Law to kiss Judge Dredd demonstrates her personality well; she fell in love someone seemingly devoid of feeling and completely emotionally unavailable.
I thought to myself, she’s completely unhinged… and very relatable.
Now working as a Private Investigator, Galen is slowly letting go of her Judge indoctrination bit by bit. Mega City Laws are not her problem, anyone can hire her to investigate as long as they pay. As her own boss, she decides where to ethnically draw the line for work as investigation. Sometimes, the need to earn a living causes a lapse in Galen’s judgement…
Rob Richardson: Prior to this I wasn’t familiar with DeMarco, so I set about doing the research and delving into her past. On reading Laura’s script, it was apparent that, for my purposes, all that mattered was the here and now. The interesting part was finding out who our DeMarco was: discovering her quirks and mannerisms, how she fitted into this world, and how she responded to these bizarre situations. It’s all there in the scripts, and the challenge is telling it visually.
BD: DeMarco will soon return in the upcoming release of Judge Dredd Megazine 462. How would you describe your approach to the character for this new story, and do you find that there is a familiarity in writing her voice once again?
LB: Honestly, Galen feels like family to me, perhaps because we share the same approach and we both have questionable taste in romantic partners. This is the third time I’ve written for DeMarco, and, hopefully, with each story, I expand on her worldview. Her core personality will never change, but I want each job Galen accepts to leave a mark on her – she doesn’t have a badge to hide behind anymore.
RR: I began by finding reference and inspiration, especially for the world that DeMarco lives in, along with costume ideas, vehicles and props, etc. Next was the standard comics process of doing rough layouts, pencils, inks, then colour. I use a mixture of traditional and digital methods, culminating in final digital artwork. This approach allows everything to be flexible throughout and I can make changes at any point along the way.
BD: Laura, your own trajectory with 2000 AD has been an impressive one, having been one of the winners of their annual Talent Contest. In looking back at your time with the publisher, what has been your experience in becoming such an important voice for its titles and characters?
LB: I cannot describe the euphoria of winning the Talent Contest, and I’d recommend anyone interested in writing comics to do it. Keep applying till you win – that was my tactic anyway!
Looking back at my time with 2000 AD, it’s full of moments that I can’t believe. Like being included in the all-female sci-fi special, or working together with my Talent Contest Winner Artist counterpart Paul Williams on DeMarco previously. Even recently, a character David Hitchcock and I created called Quilli was collected in the Best of Tharg’s Terror Tales. It’s an experience I enjoy so much, and long may it continue.
BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in working with one another to bring the story and characters to life in this latest issue?
LB: Creating comics is a meeting of two minds minimum, I think a writer should finish their script and try not to interfere unless asked. Poor old Rob has to decipher my monkey-with-keyboard writing style, so the least I can do is give him some peace. Plus, I always look forward to seeing the artist’s pure perspective of my writing, and really looking forward to seeing it lettered by Simon Bowland, too!
RR: Laura and I have worked mostly independently, keeping in touch in case anything needs discussing. I’ll get a script and work with that until the artwork’s done. I love how Laura’s approach is totally idiosyncratic, so, when combined with what I do, we end up with something that neither of us saw coming. I think it’s that collision of two characters that’s been good for the series, and I hope readers respond well to it!
BD: Rob, did you have a specific vision in mind for the tone and look of the characters and world as you approached this story, and do you find that that vision complements the existing Judge Dredd world or pushes its boundaries in new directions?
RR: I saw ‘P.I.’ in the title and took that as license to explore crime noir visuals (or, at least, to watch Humphrey Bogart films, the TV show Crime Story, and Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer). Danger Man and The Avengers from the 1960s fed into DeMarco’s quirky side and helped to set the tone. For the city, we tend to be down at ground level and in the thick of it, with huge mega structures looming in the distance. It’s pretty much how I approached it for Judge Dredd.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
LB: I’m a little superstitious about talking about work when it’s not complete. I will say, I have my fingers crossed for more DeMarco stories in the future!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Judge Dredd Megazine 462 and your other work?
RR: I’m on Instagram @fatrobotillustration and Bluesky and X @fatrobotdraws where I’ll post about what I’m working on whenever there’s something newsworthy.