Brian Bolland's depiction of Judge Cal and his army of Klegg mercenaries from the cover of Prog 98.
|Publisher||IPC Magazines, Fleetway Publications, Rebellion Developments|
|First appearance||2000 AD prog 94 (6 January 1979)|
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Kleggs are alien mercenaries in the Judge Dredd comic books.
A Klegg looks rather like a large man with green, scaly skin and the head and tail of an alligator or crocodile. They only take payment in meat, since they are pure carnivores. They are reasonably intelligent, but their ferocity and propensity for eating their foes dominate others' perception of them. Their society - the Klegg Empire - is essentially feudal.
In the story "The Day The Law Died", the insane Chief Judge Cal hired in the Kleggs to put down a rebellion inspired and led by the outlawed Judge Dredd. With their "Klegg-Hounds" (alien beasts rather like large dogs with crocodilian heads, which track enemies by tasting the ground where they have passed) the Kleggs kept the citizens of Mega-City One cowed and terrorized. Their battle-cry was "Klegg-Hai! Klegg-Hai!" and, in The Day The Law Died, they also preceded this with a war-song: "slicey slicey, oncey twicey, claw and fang'll kill Dredd nicely! Meaty beaty, chop 'em neatly, death or glory no retreatee!". Cal appointed their leader, Grampus, deputy chief judge.
After Judge Cal's death, the Kleggs were outlawed from Mega-City One; any citizen who sees a Klegg is required to either kill it or report it immediately to the Judges so that they may do so. Although most of them left, some remain, hidden here and there in the ruined parts of the city. Due to bitter memories of the Kleggs, other, more peaceful aliens have found Mega-City One less than welcoming on occasion. A few rare Kleggs have since been allowed back into the city.
The space-set spinoff The Corps presented a brutal war of attrition between Mega-City One's Space Corps and the Klegg Empire in the Spiral Arm, and that the Empire had a peace treaty with Sino-Cit, with "peace fort" bases at the Kaeli moons that divided Klegg and Sinese space. In a soft retcon, Corps commander Keitel said that the original Kleggs were "lard-butt mercs" who'd been banished from the Empire and that the imperial army were a more dangerous threat. The Kleggs themselves were even drawn differently, more muscular and menacing, and spoke in normal English to the Sinese. Later strips have ignored this look and gone back to the original Bolland design for all Kleggs.
Later strips and spin-off books have used the Kleggs as recurring mercenary characters. Other looks at the Klegg Empire itself included a one-off spinoff, The Kleggs!, where an education was rare and only for those born into the ruling high caste; rule of the Empire was gained through "time honoured traditions of backstabbing and treachery", and in 2124 Chorr took command from his uncle Grand Warmaster Grusk after an accident with an alien superweapon. In 2132, warlord Skull Khan Kirrz was on a war crime trial for committing the Edgeworld Marches atrocities.
One mercenary, a reconstructed Klegg who didn't eat people and got quite upset that people assumed he did, was named Sensitive Klegg, given the rank of "Rear Admiral", and drafted by Dirty Frank during the Trifecta storyline.
The Kleggs make an appearance in the Ace Trucking Co. strip, in the similarly titled adventure.
In popular culture
The Kleggs were the focus of a light-hearted piece in The Guardian during the British 2010 general election campaign, comparing them to Nick Clegg.
- Prog 1388: "Love Hurts"
- Prosg 918 and 919, "The Corps Part 1-3", by Garth Ennis, Colin MacNeil, and Paul Marshall
- Judge Dredd Megazine #201: "The Kleggs!" by Ian Edginton and Mike Collins
- "Killer Elite", Judge Dredd Megazine #329
- Crace, John (May 4, 2010). "The Kleggs and the Cleggs go head to head". The Guardian. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
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