Last year, IDW Publishing launched a series of one-shots under the Deviations banner, exploring alternate timelines of several of their most popular titles. Utilizing popular stories, the one-shots featured alternate realities that are created when a single decision deviates from the previously established timeline.
The Deviations one-shots have returned and this time, and for the Judge Dredd: Deviations story, IDW have recruited the legendary John McCrea to write and illustrate a tale inspired by the classic Dredd story, Cry of The Werewolf, originally told by John Wagner & Alan Grant and the late Steve Dillon. IDW has also reprinted the original story in a one-shot, insuring that not only new readers can enjoy this classic tale, but also with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Hero Initiative in Steve Dillon’s name.
John McCrea took some time to discuss the one-shot, the appeal of Dredd and his friend, the late Steve Dillon.
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FOG!: How did you get involved with Judge Dredd: Deviations and how did you select Cry of The Werewolf as the story you used?
John McCrea: I had a story idea for Dredd that I pitched to Denton (Tipton) at IDW- while he liked the idea, it didn’t fit within the IDW Dredd universe… but on the back of that, he asked me about the Deviations and if I had a specific story I would like to do- and it took me .3 nano seconds to reply saying Cry of the Wolf.
I loved this story as a spotty teen and since becoming good friends with Steve Dillon it was a no brainer to say to Steve – “Look, you really are one of my favourite artists”! This was while Steve was still alive but he passed away while I was midway through the story, which changed the whole feel of the book- it became a memorial to the man and his work.
Both you and the late Steve Dillon (who drew the original story and who your story is dedicated to), You were reading his work before you broke into the industry. What was Steve like?
Steve was a big bloke who smoked and drank and liked a flutter on the ponies, and when I met him he was married with kids, so he seemed like everyone’s cool Uncle, we all looked up to him and were slightly in awe.
To top that off I then realised he was only 4 years older than me (I was 22 he was 26) but so much more mature both artistically and mentally.
When I was 12 and a lifetime away from becoming a decent artist, Steve was being published in Hulk Weekly at the tender age of 16 and his work was fantastic. But he was never arrogant, just friendly and welcoming and easy to hang out with.
Both you and Steve collaborated simultaneously with Garth Ennis; Steve on Preacher and you on Hitman. Together you and Steve worked on Preacher Special: Tall in the Saddle. What was that collaboration like?
Obviously getting to work with Steve on Preacher was a big deal- I learnt a lot about storytelling and economy in your work. but it was a two way thing- the story featured horses, which Steve hated drawing (and I love drawing), so he would just roughly blob in a horse and I would do the main penciling and inking. Win win!
IDW re-released Cry of the Werewolf, which I thought held up remarkably well for a 33 year old story. You’re currently working on Dredd stories for 2000 AD. As a creator, what makes Dredd so appealing?
He’s a fantastic looking character and he has such a brilliantly realised world with so much great back story- just a joy to delve in and splash about!
Are there any other Dredd stories that you’d want to tackle as a ’Deviation’?
What else are you working on?
Finishing my 6-part Dredd story for 2000AD, doing quite a bit of advertising work, and will soon be starting up a new Image book.
What are you currently geeking out over?
I’m currently reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Tom Hardy. As for comics, Ms Marvel, Black Science, Deadly Class, the Last American, Love and Rockets, and Kirby’s Kamandi and The Forever People. For music, it’s Xmal Deutschland, ELO, Kris Kristofferson, Bow Wow Wow, and the Ruts.
I watched the first episode of Stranger Things the other day – very good, I’m sure I might get round to watching the rest….
Judge Dredd: Deviations is available in stores and via digital now.