Back in March of 2020 (which feels like it was about 5 years ago right now), Rebellion announced a deal with Penguin Random House to produce audiobooks from their catalogue.
Since that point, we’ve been seeing news of the first set of releases in the audiobook line, including recently announced adaptations of Judge Dredd: The Pit, Halo Jones, and Brink.
Obviously, the majority of the Penguin RH deal of around 30 titles a year will involve Rebellion’s sci-fi novels, simply because they’re easier to adapt.
But over the last few weeks we have been hearing about what the first titles in the 2000 AD audiobook adaptations are going to be.
Now, this is a far more difficult thing to do. After all, you make an audiobook of a prose novel by simply reading the novel most of the time. And that’s what Rebellion have done so far with the recent audiobook version of the Michael Carroll edited Judge Fear’s Big Day Out And Other Stories. The audiobook adaptation here is just a narrated unabridged reading of the prose short stories.
But doing an audiobook of a comic? Well, that is far more of an adaptation, effectively needing the comic to be broken down and transformed. It’s not new, of course, with Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman recently getting a pretty much word for word audiobook adaptation by Dirk Maggs involving a massive voice cast.
So far, we’ve had announcements of Judge Dredd: America by John Wagner, Garth Ennis and Colin MacNeill, and Slaine The Horned God by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley, both as adaptations with an as-yet unannounced cast and both available on 4 March 2021.
And now we have another three titles to add to the audiobook slate – Judge Dredd: The Pit, as written by John Wagner and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, Brink by Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard, and the classic Halo Jones from Alan Moore and Ian Gibson.
As with Slaine and ‘America’, these are out on 4th March 2021 and feature the same line about the adaptation featuring “an accomplished and exciting cast (to be announced)”. So it looks as though they’re going for the more complicated option of effectively creating the entire thing as a radio play, complete with a voice cast.
With The Pit, they’ve picked a nice chunk of Dredd, effectively a detective story with reduced cast, as Dredd investigates Sector House 301, nicknamed The Pit, “the isolated dumping ground for Mega-City One’s every misfit and foul-up Judge.’ Dredd gets sent in to take over and uncovers ‘a trail of deceit and murder that leads to the very top levels of command.”
The other two newly announced audiobook adaptations are a bit more expansive though.
Presumably, we all know of Halo Jones? Alan Moore and Ian Gibson‘s feminist space opera adventure, with 18-year-old Halo going from her boring existence on ‘The Hoop’ in the 50th Century to an adventure among the stars, onboard a luxury space-liner and then deep into an interstellar war. That’s sure going to take some work adapting.
Similarly, Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard‘s Brink is another one with a massive scale to it, very much a good old-fashioned cop procedural onboard the many habitats, the ‘Habs’, where what’s left of humanity finds itself. But it swiftly ramps things up with Hab-Security Investigator Bridget Kurtis getting herself into all sorts of trouble with religious cults, missing planets, and huge conspiracies.
More on all this as it develops in 2021. But if they do them right, this could well be another impressive move from Rebellion.