It's well known that for a small country Scotland punches well above its weight in cultural output.

From Irvine Welsh to Primal Scream, Grand Theft Auto to AC/DC, a nation of just five million can stand against any when it comes to the arts.

One icon of popular culture whose Scottish origins are perhaps less well known is Judge Dredd, the comic book anti-hero which has been hailed as one of the greatest of all time.

Dredd was created by John Wagner, an American-born writer who swapped Pennsylvania for Greenock at a young age.

He tells The Herald: "It was a war marriage that didn’t work out so my mother brought the kids back here and that was it.

"It changed my life in a lot of ways. I was quite a wild kid in America and strangely Greenock brought a lot of discipline to my life, which was a good thing.

"I love Scotland, just coming up the Clyde on the boat the first day I fell in love with it."

Alongside artist Carlos Ezquerra he created Judge Dredd in 1977, and continues to write him today.

HeraldScotland: Judge Dredd, created by John WagnerJudge Dredd, created by John Wagner (Image: John Wagner)

Mr Wagner says: "I was editing Valiant at the time and I created a story called One-Eyed Jack which was about a tough cop who did things close to the edge.

“It proved to be so popular that when Pat Mills was developing 2000AD and he was looking for a new story, I suggested a future cop that was tougher than tough, more of a baddie than a goodie.

“He had another story about an occult detective called Judge Dredd and that story wasn’t working out so I said, ‘Can we use that title for this one? It’ll be judge, jury and executioner’.

“Dredd’s been with me for 45 years now, he’s defined my career in many ways, helped my buy my house - he’ll always be with me until the end.”

Dredd has spawned two feature films, the first in 1995 starred Sylvester Stallone and was largely reviled by fans and ignored at the box office. The second in 2012 was praised by critics but struggled to cut through with wider audiences.

Mr Wagner says: "On the first one the production values were incredibly good, they spent a lot of money on recreating the city – it’s just that they did the wrong plot.

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“In the second one the plot was within their budget constraints, it was a sensible plot and it was Judge Dredd. The first one wasn’t, the first was some generic future story – the clone of Dredd didn’t even look like Dredd.

“In many ways it didn’t make sense, but the second film was true to the comic character.

“Sadly though I think the first one screwed the pitch for the second one a bit, people had a very bad opinion of Judge Dredd so when the second one came out it was difficult to overcome that view of him.

“Although I believe the first one is actually in profit now. So I’ve heard…”

While Dredd may be his most famous character, Mr Wagner's favourite is Bogie Man, a mental patient escaped from a Greenock asylum who wanders the streets of Glasgow under the delusion he's Humphrey Bogart.

HeraldScotland: Bogie Man tells the story of a patient who escapes from an asylum in GreenockBogie Man tells the story of a patient who escapes from an asylum in Greenock (Image: John Wagner)

It remains the UK's highest-selling independent comic and, 35 years after it debuted, will be re-released as an anthology with new material later this year.

Mr Wagner says: "Alan Grant and I were writing for a comic called Ego and they were doing photostrip. We had this character called Joe Soap who was a really terrible private detective and they used this agency called the Ugly Agency which had all sorts of strange looking characters.

“He said, ‘we have access to a guy who looks like Humphrey Bogart’ – not that he was ugly, but he asked if we could use a guy who looked like Humphrey Bogart.

“We came up with a plot about this lunatic who thought he was Humphrey Bogart and got in with our private detective and created a strange, fictional story that they both followed up.

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“Gladly for us, the comic stopped using photostrip so the story was never used. You don’t throw away a good idea so we filed it away and later tried to sell it to DC Comics in New York.

“They weren’t interested, they thought there was no market for it, so when Glasgow was becoming the European City of Culture it was suggested to us by Robin Smith and John McShane that we do the Bogie Man set in Glasgow.

“It was just a perfect marriage.

"I think it gave it an awful lot of character it wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t set in Glasgow, it really made the story.

“Robin Smith went to a lot of trouble to recreate Glasgow in the story, to draw the buildings and the mood of the city.

"I think the first one sold between 20,000 and 30,000 which for an independent comic is quite spectacular.”

It too spawned a film adaptation, in this case an hour-long version by the BBC which, once again, left its creators disappointed.

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Mr Wagner explains: "It’s on YouTube if you want to see it but I would recommend you don’t.

“The writer twisted the plot around so that nothing made sense, and he did put all our jokes in but in the wrong place.

“It wasn’t very funny, the story didn’t make sense and Robbie Coltrane, who we liked, played Bogie and we liked him a lot but he played it as if Bogie realised he was a loon and that’s the one thing he doesn’t do: he treats it all very seriously.

“We were disappointed in that performance as well. It had a really good load of actors in it.

“It was a really good cast and it could have been good – it’s a pity they didn’t ask us to adapt it.

"There seems to be an attitude among people who do film and television that we do comics and they do the film.

“The guy who was in charge of the first Judge Dredd film, when it was suggested that I write it, said: ‘you do the f*****g comics, we’ll do the f*****g films’.

“That was the attitude. I wish they had asked us, because we wouldn’t have changed the story that much.

“It sort of destroyed everything, we had such high hopes for it and when it came out it hardly resembled the Bogie Man we’d created."

HeraldScotland: The cover of the Bogie Man collectionThe cover of the Bogie Man collection (Image: Wagner, Smith and Grant)

Dubbed 'The Incomplete Complete Collection' - one story which felt "no longer relevant has been omitted - the Bogie Man re-release features an entirely new story, Key Largs, which Kickstarter backers can star in themselves by sending a photo, allowing them to be drawn in the strip and see themselves beaten up by Bogie or tossed from a moving car.

Alan Grant sadly passed away last year, but Mr Wagner and artist Robin Smith feel they've created something true to Bogie's legacy.

The writer says: "It’s nearly 35 years since the first one came out and I don’t want it to be forgotten about because it’s probably my favourite story that Alan and I created together.

“I’ve been trying to get copies of it on Ebay and an album can cost you £60. We thought ‘we’d really love to see this out again’ plus we have new material that’s never been reprinted, we’ve got the Return to Casablanca story that was in the Judge Dredd magazine and has never been reprinted.

“We’d like to see it all collected in one nice volume. Alan, before his death, was all for it too. It’s a shame he’s not here to see it.”

You can contribute to the Bogie Man Kickstarter here