Douglas Wolk is a critical god as far as I'm concerned. His book, Reading Comics, should be read by anyone with a passing interest in really good arts criticism, as well as those wanted to read up about comics. His new blog project, Dredd Reckoning, is well worth checking out. He is exploring every Judge Dredd story in chronological order.
I don't remember much about the first Judge Dredd story I read, but it would have been the one in this issue:
This was the strangest comic cover I'd ever seen! I was eight, and it blew my mind!