¦ Features ¦ 2006AD
Sinister Dexter - written by Dan Abnett
Gavin Hanly: Unlike
the best artist award, this one is a little less crowded with contenders. While
most of the writers put in some sterling efforts, many of them weren't without
their downsides. Simon Spurrier has had a very busy year, eventually trying something
new with Chiaroscuro and it nearly worked - although I really would have liked
a little more focus on "real-life"
zombification which would have given the story a harder edge. He could also do
with a tighter editorial rein on his Kipling stories which are becoming a little
confusing. A very promising writer, certainly, but not quite there yet for me.
showed some dramatic improvement with Dante this year as he pulled it back from
the brink but needs to show that he can continue this form next year. Wagner
has proven dependable, but has lost some of his spark on the Origins epic which,
while compelling, reads a little too much like a history lesson.
But for simply providing two of the best moments in 2000AD this year and also
for making me actively look forward to Sinister Dexter, a feat that I once didn't
think possible, Dan Abnett gets the vote from me this year. Let's just hope he
pulls off a few more surprises in 2007.
James Mackay: How could
it be anyone else other than John Wagner? The
double-whammy of Origins and Cadet just proves what was obvious anyway: he’s
at the height of his powers, he’s enjoying himself thoroughly, and he’s
got thirty years of near-continuous writing of the lead strip behind him. In
a good year, there’s nobody to touch him – and this was a very good
Caballistics Inc. - written by Gordon Rennie
Not just for the continuing brilliance of Caballistics, Inc: Gordon
Given the thankless task of keeping John Wagner’s seat warm while we all
waited for Origins, Rennie might have been forgiven for lazily knocking out a
couple of page-fillers but produced several enjoyable stories that left enticing
plot threads for 2007 and beyond.
He also propped the Megazine up during its long thrill power vacuum, not once
but twice, contributing Regime Change, comfortably the best Magazine story this
year and also the always entertaining Cursed Earth Koburn.
Alex Frith: As I've said before, it's been
a great year. Mostly this is because of some fantastic stories. Edginton has
come close to being champion, especially with his late entry via Sir Isaac Newton
in the latest Red Seas installment. But the best writer of the year is undoubtedly Simon
Spurrier. Not just the most high profile with a high output, but also
the most diverse with unique offerings in London Falling and Chiaroscuro, not
to mention new and so far enduring 2000 AD hero Harry Kipling. On top of that,
an excellent return outing from Lobster Random and indeed some impressive episodes
on Judge Dredd. El Spurioso, we salute you.
Stephen Watson: For showing all
the pretenders how Dredd should
and indeed must be done: John Wagner
Not only for the variety of genre and sheer quantity of contributions
this year, but also for the breadth of imagination, believable characterisation
and intelligent plotting on offer throughout: Simon Spurrier.
Lobster Random - written by Simon Spurrier
ongoing series of Lobster Random and Bec & Kawl had their best outings yet,
with the respective highlights of a gangster whose conjoined twin is a Tyrannosaurus
Rex and a short-lived love affair for Kawl. Harry Kipling (Deceased) blasted
in as a new recurring character with the same vitality (well…) as early
Ace Trucking Co. Whilst the murderously dark Chiaroscuro delivered as advertised,
and pulled few punches, it was London Falling that impressed most with it's mixture
of less-explored mythical horrors amidst touching scenes of family life.
if all that wasn't enough, there have been various one-offs for Judge Dredd,
a contribution to Tales of the Black Museum, as well as the welcome return of
The Simping Detective in the last Megazine of the year.
Andrew Howe: A
review of last year’s finalists reveals that John Smith wrote exactly
two stories all year, Wagner hung his hat on the incomplete Origins and
Rennie took a break from the innovative Caballistics to script The
86’ers, which was anything but. As Dan
Abnett scripted my two
favourite stories in 2006 he should be a shoo-in for the award, but it ain’t
necessarily so, and that’s because he seems to be hedging his bets with
his third major offering for the year.
You know what I’m talking
about. Since the post-Eurocrash reformation Sinister
Dexter has been going nowhere fast, and in 2005 Abnett finally did something
about it. Ray blown away by his lover, Finnegan driving off with a blood-soaked
Billi by his side, the tantalising prospect of an orgy of violent retribution
to rival Johnny Alpha’s in Rage – I sang Abnett’s
praises that day, and my mood only improved when I witnessed the memorable final
panels of Malone. I know comics are renowned for their inability
to allow major characters to rest in the arms of the reaper, but I dared to believe
that maybe, just maybe, Abnett wouldn’t allow the chance for true greatness
to slip through his hands.
And now Ray’s back, but not necessarily in action. There
can only be one reason for this unexpected turn of events – either Abnett
wants to give the character an emotional farewell, or he doesn’t want to
turn his back on a lucrative franchise. The first choice will hammer home
his claim as one of the finest creative talents ever to work for the weekly,
the latter will ensure he’s forever remembered as a writer who couldn’t
stick to his guns when it mattered the most.
Regardless of the outcome, he’s
certainly earned this year’s award. It’s
a statue of Wulf, and the inscription on the base reads “No hard feelings,
but sometimes death really should be the end”.
Origins - written by John Wagner
Bryan Coyle: John Wagner should really be
excluded from this, if only to give everyone else a chance - but he's not, so
I'm picking him.
Adam Crabtree: . Hands down: Simon
Harry Kipling. Lobster Random. Chiaroscuro. London’s
Falling. The “Dominoes” duplex for the Dreddverse. It’s been
a good year indeed for this slightly cracked scribe, who has the scripting chops
to back up his guano loco ideas. Exposure? You’re not kidding; one prog
this year had three quarters of its content fuelled by El Spurioso. Hasn’t
hurt him a jot in my opinion. He’s only GROWING in talent as well, developing
a slightly less cluttered and over-worded writing style while retaining the
essential attitude and spirit of invention.
He’ll have to watch out next year though; if
you ask me, Al Ewing’s on his tail something fierce…
David Knight: 2000AD
has a great stable of writers at the moment, but it’s Ian
Edginton whose work in 2006 (on The Red Seas) impressed me most.
Edginton is a master of synthesis, taking pre-existing historical and fictitious
worlds and blending them together seamlessly, and infusing his stories with a
post-modern and nostalgic old-fashioned adventure papers sensibility.
So exactly how many stories did Mr Simon Spurrier write
in total this year? I've lost count! Perhaps there's no need to explain this
because if you look back you'll clearly see that Simon Spurrier almost took
over every prog of the year. But that isn't why he's getting
the vote. His stories, while a bit confusing and
way over- wordy, are very interesting indeed. It would seem that Simon's got
a hell of a lot of strange ideas going through his head and don't we all just
love them? To name a few, Harry Kipling, Lobster Random, London Falling (which
was my favourite) and Chiaroscuro (which was more interesting than
strange). Every one of them are very clever and the research put in for London
Falling was brilliant.
The VCs - written by Dan Abnett
Martin Charlton: . I’m not
entirely sure why, I just have Dan Abnett's name rattling about in my head.
Malone was awesome, Sinister Dexter has been a hoot, Kingdom promises much, he
had a couple of above average Black Museum tales, tied the V.C.s up nicely, and
just generally deserves some credit for a consistently strong body of work this
WR Logan: As with many categories we can’t
vote for Dredd we’ll when his
creator and main writer is still on fire 30 year after creating the character
maybe they should be taken out of the running as well. There have been some great
stories and moments in 2000 AD this year all of them written by a host of great
writers but without doubt I have to give my vote to John
Pete McCosh: Simon Spurrier in
all his variety. I certainly haven’t liked everything he’s done but
he’s shown a really
wide range this year, from the zany humour of Bec ‘n’ Kawl to the
horror stylings of Chiaroscuro. His virtually silent Dredd strip, Versus, was
both a neat story in its own right and a clever riposte to the accusations that
his writing is too wordy.
Joseph Saxton: Tricky one this, as one of
my personal favorites, Ian Edginton, has in hindsight not had the best of years. Stone
Island was a bit of a mess, and The Red Seas has been better (though With a Bound,
He was Gone was a return to the tight pacing and plotting that disappeared in
the Hollow Land). He also failed to make much of Rogue or Dredd, suggesting
he’s most comfortable in his own creations -
Stickleback looks like a step in the right direction, though.
it really comes down to Rennie and Wagner and I think this year it’ll
go to John Wagner as he’s been one of the most prolific
writers in the prog and the meg and hardly dropped the ball. Origins in particular,
bar a slightly shaky start, has turned into a titan.