The Cursed Earth is a part of the fictional universe from the Judge Dredd series that appears in the UK comic book 2000 AD.
Following the Atomic Wars of 2070 most of the U.S.A. became a radioactive wasteland. With only the three Mega-Cities surviving, the remainder of the country became known as the “Cursed Earth”. Although considered unfit for human habitation, the Cursed Earth is populated by all manner of creatures, scraping a living in a tough environment. Since the Atomic Wars, genetic mutations appeared, but mutants are banned from living in the cities, so they are forced to make their homes in the Cursed Earth. The communities are mostly poor, rural groupings with no industry, often dominated by quasi-religious movements. In more extreme cases, these communities become cults organised well enough to threaten Mega-City One as a revenge for the way the city has treated these outcasts.
In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Cursed Earth was best described as Hell. Little grew and radiation pits were everywhere. Much of it was lawless with tribes of mutants and renegades. As such, from the war until about 2100, no one crossed the Cursed Earth by land.
After Dredd’s mission to MC2, the Cursed Earth seems to have been opened up somewhat with settlement by MC1 colonists and some ground based shipping (at least between MC1 and Texas City).
In the North there is still areas of forest and woods (the hunting party) and, as of Origins, the Cursed Earth is notably greener than it has been in the past. Given the extended period of time since the war, the Cursed Earth is presumably in the midst of a (very) slow environmental recovery with a desert like environment.
The Atomic War was once described as the worst disaster since the death of the dinosaurs, and therefore it is likely that any proper recovery will take centuries and the return of bio-diversity, millennia if not millions of years.
Important Cursed Earth stories
The location first appeared in a one-part story during the first year of 2000 AD and has since made many appearances, in 2000 AD, in the Judge Dredd Megazine, in annuals and in the Judge Dredd film.
The Dead Man
Judge Dredd takes the Long Walk into the Cursed Earth, where he loses his memory due to the trauma of a massive psychic attack which almost kills him.
Death of a Legend
Judge McGruder was killed fighting cannibals in the Cursed Earth.
Dredd’s journey in search of his origins requires a long journey out into the Cursed Earth visiting a number of important locations.