From October 1990: one of the great survivors of British comics (and the only one of the wave of Mature Reader chasing title to launch in the early 1990s to get any traction): the first issue of JUDGE DREDD THE MEGAZINE.
This was seen as far from a safe bet back at the launch and IPC, and then Maxwell, had toyed with launching a ROY OF THE ROVERS type spin-off for the best part of the previous decade but always backed off for fear of cannibalising the success of 2000AD. The collapsing market for traditional weeklies was the final shove Fleetway's management needed to take a chance.
The success of DREDD stateside in he licensed Eagle and Quality reprints also convinced the publisher that they could double their income streams by issuing a bookshelf/ prestige format US edition. That part of the project ultimately proved short-lived.
Its been a rocky 25 years as the megazine has endured a sucsession of relaunches, bloated confidence that the 1995 movie misfire would catapult Joe D into the mainstream and a succession of budget cuts that forced the editors to reprint some good, but not always appropriate strips, just to stretch finite budgets further and keep the book alive.
Volume 1 ran for 20 issues through to May 1992.
Deemed a success, the second volume saw the frequency upped to fortnightly for an 83 issue run, ending in 1995 to coincide with the overhaul of the 2000AD family of titles on the eve of the movie release.
The 79 issue third volume startedfortnightly but, once it became clear that the movie was not the success that everyone had hoped for, management lost faith and the schedule was dropped back to monthly. This was accompanied by a new fortnightly, LAWMAN OF THE FUTURE, chasing a younger crowd attracted to the franchise by the Stallone outing.
Volume four ran a mere 18 issues, ending with the overall 200th issu of the Meg's run.
Volume 5 is the one currently on sale. It launched, with issue 201 in January 2001 and is still going strong.
Happy Birthday Joe!