The mission statement of ‘TaintTheMeat.com has always been Comics, Movies, Toys and other Miscellaneous Curiosities… well you don’t get much more miscellaneous or curious that this.
Produced some time in the early 1980’s these two candles featured wax versions of Judge Dredd and his nemesis Judge Death, stars of the weekly British science fiction comic 2000AD. Out of all the merchandising to feature ‘old stony face’ this surely must rank as one of the oddest.
Measuring nine inches in height both candles were made from brightly coloured, hand-painted wax and featured a resolute looking Joe Dredd (with his faithful Book of The Law), and a suitably sinister Judge Death standing over a pile of skulls.
I first encountered the pair in a candle shop (imaginatively called, if I remember correctly, The Candle Shop) in Covent Garden Market in November 1984, while visiting London on a school day trip. I don’t recall why or how my fellow school mates, with all of the West End to explore, ended up in a candle shop but I clearly remember my delight on spying these candles on display. Unfortunately they cost £4.95 each which was well beyond the limits of meagre pocket money so I left the shop empty handed. Happily, almost exactly a year later we had another school trip to London (to visit The Tate Gallery as I recall) and this time I made sure I had enough money with me to buy the pair (thankfully they hadn’t gone up in price), and I still have them to this day.
About five years later, soon after I moved to London to start my first full-time job, I visited the shop again in the hopes of buying another pair of candles, but sadly they no longer stocked them.
Both candles were also available through mail order from Forbidden Planet and were advertised as coming in boxes. The pair I purchased didn’t come boxed so I suspect whatever packaging they came in was probably quite plain. I’ve scoured the Internet and can find precious little information on these candles (hence this post) or the boxes they came in.
The craftsmanship of the candles is pretty high — I love the level of detail of the skulls on the Death candle — and the hand painting was very well done. Compared with modern candles they probably look a bit crude but I think they have a real charm, enhanced greatly by the bizarreness of the concept.
Both candles have the name Somerville etched into them so I can only assume that was the name of the person who crafted them. Whoever he or she is I salute their fine work.
I’ve taken a look on ebay and can’t find any listings for either the Judge Dredd or Judge Death candles, so I’ve no idea what their current value might be. It’s a moot subject anyway, these two candles are among the jewels of my collection and there’s no way I’d part with them. My only regret is I didn’t have enough money to buy another pair that rainy November afternoon in 1985.