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Home ¦ Features ¦ Igor Goldkind interview

Igor Goldkind - A 2000 AD Review Interview
7th June 05

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind
Our younger readers may not credit it, but there was a brief moment in the late 1980's and early 1990's when comics were about the hippest art form in Britain. Igor Goldkind, first at Titan and then at Egmont Fleetway's 2000AD, was the PR man behind the hype. He also, in the quirky tales of The Clown and the rather grittier Judge Hershey strip, proved a very promising writer for the comic.

Talking exclusively to 2000AD Review, Igor gives the inside story of the wild times, the creative struggle and... Bros?

Interview by James Mackay

How did you start working for 2000AD? Were you always a fan, or was it just an accident?

I was originally hired by Titan Books and the Forbidden Planet chain to promote and market their titles as well as comics and the SF and fantasy genres in general. Previously I had worked as a radio journalist in Paris. It was a broad brief but fit in perfectly with the plans of the owners Nick Landau and Mike Lake at the time, who were not only expanding their Forbidden Planet retail chain, their import business of US books, merchandise and comics but Nick especially, was trying to market his softcover compilations of 2000 AD material into British bookshops.

So anything I did to promote comics, SF and fantasy was going to wind up putting money in their pockets one way or another.

Make no mistake, it was a combination of financial risk, marketing expertise and new, good work that made the whole graphic novel/adult comics campaign possible.

I was able to help Nick sell his softcover compilations (my first exposure to Judge Dredd and 2000AD), into bookshops as well as support his publishing and selling of co-editions of US graphic novels. The big two being Dark Knight and Watchmen.

Those two books alone broke through to mainstream market that allowed a lot of other stuff to get through as well. I was able to generate write-ups, interviews and reviews in the press like the Sunday Times, The Observer, The Telegraph; even the News Statesman, the Economist and the London Review of Books.

Suddenly graphic novels and their writers and artists were the flavours of the year.

For a brief period, I hired James Robinson (later to write the film script to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) as my assistant. He was working on his graphic novel London’s Dark at the time.

But it was about that time that I parted company with Titan and joined the ranks of 2000AD as a marketing consultant. The easy reason to say is because the Managing Editor Steve McManus offered me more money. But he also offered me the opportunity of participating in a kind of vision that had been brewing but never came to boil during my tenure at Titan.

See, the folks at 2000AD had watched their star writers like Pat Mills, Alan Moore and later Grant Morrison being steadily offered more and more work by DC and Marvel comics. The feeling was that 2000AD was investing in the nurturing of this new talent only to see the mature fruit, so to speak being plucked and eaten by the man from Del Monte.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind

So I told Steve at the time that the only way to stop that was to fight back and start offering competitive deals to the British talent. That’s when the whole battle for royalties and copyright started. That battle would go on for years and accrue casualties, but in the end the creators (as they were called at the time), were given greater compensation for their efforts and a greater share of the profits they generated.

This was a time when comics publishers considered themselves (their characters, their IPR’s their editorial staff), not the talent, as the main motor for generating sales. Steve had the insight that it was the draw of the writers and artists themselves that could make or break a title.

Steve already had his own idea of launching a new stable of comics and I was very excited to get involved in a revolutionary publishing project that could ultimately change not just the face of the comics industry but the way comics relate to the mainstream media as a whole. Only 2000AD had the clout to do that kind of thing in the UK.

That was the vision that I bought into and the reason I came to work for 2000AD.

Pete Ashton's blog credits you with "popularising the term 'graphic novel' to describe something that, while certainly graphic, was not really a novel". Do you accept the charge?

Well, yes.

In fact I stole the term outright from Will Eisner who was the first comics artist to put the badge on the spines of his self-published comics.

What I did was take the badge (today it's called a 'brand') and explain it, contextualise it and sell it convincingly enough so that bookshop keepers, book distributors and the book trade would accept a new category of 'spine-fiction' on their bookshelves.

The term 'novel' is derived from the French 'nouvelle' or 'new'.

Anything really, truly new, is certainly novel; stick a spine on something new and you can call it a novel if you care to.

I'm being slightly flippant in that there is some consensus about the novel structure which is where I believe Ashton is coming from; but I would ask him to apply his criteria to the body of published work that appears in high street bookshops and ask him how many long published fictions he would qualify as novels.

We get blogged down with semantics.

How's this for a criterion: if it's really good, I can call it a graphic novel; but if it's not, it's not?

You began by working in PR for the comic. What did this involve?

I never stopped working as the PR for the comic although normally that involved merely sending out a press release ever time there was a new character, strip or annual coming out.

I did organise all the PR and publicity events and materials for the launch of Crisis and then Revolver.

Or more accurately I squabbled with (then) IPC Youth Group’s internal marketing department on to spend the marketing budget.

Things like Fly posting or creating obvious relationships with big metal bands had never been tried by 2000 AD before and the hierarchy considered it all a bit dangerous.

I also organised more professional press conferences before major signings and national comic book signing tours, which hadn’t really been done on a big scale in this country before. I remember the Judge Dredd vs. Batman graphic novel signing launch at the Virgin Megastore at Oxford Circus in London amazed even the police with the numbers that lined up around the block to get their book signed by Simon Bisley, John Wagner and Alan Grant. The store manager said it was a bigger draw than when David Bowie had done a signing the month previously.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind
The comic during this period lost a great deal of circulation. Was this simply inevitable with an aging readership, or do you think that managerial and/or editorial decisions contributed to the problems?

—Huh— that sounds like a backhanded insult.

2000AD was steadily losing circulation before I came on board and continued well after I departed. It was a natural market trend that affected all British comics and underlined the business need to exploit the same material (i.e. characters, stories, intellectual properties) in other forms. To me this meant graphic novels in the bookshops (to keep the stories alive for the readership) and then film.

The actual sales of the magazine might have gone down but with the launch of the Megazine, the exploitation of graphic novels and the selling of film rights, the company was making more money.

Which is what the comics publishing game is really all about.

The editors you worked with (Steve MacManus, Alan MacKenzie) don’t always get the best press from writers and fans. Were they easy to work with?

I’ll always be indebted to Steve for persuading me to come along on his magical mystery tour in the first place. Also for the support he always demonstrated for me professionally and personally, even when we didn’t agree and especially when I was completely wrong.

Like I said, I often disagreed with Steve but he was always a diamond geezer and ultimately took hits on his own career (within IPC and later Maxwell), to stand up for the principle of creators rights in a share of the spoils they generated.

He doesn’t get any credit for it, but before Steve changed things, writers and artists didn’t even get credited on the pages of 2000AD, much less royalties off of their work.

Not everything Steve (or I) tried, worked.

But we both tried to make things better for both creators and readers; and that was Steve more than anyone else.

I knew Alan MacKenzie as a work mate, a boss (I was accountable to him as assistant editor when I wrote Tharg), a long time devotee of 2000 AD and a writer.

People have said a lot of negative things about Alan in the past; most of which I have no business commenting on one way or another, mainly because I can’t be bothered.

I always got along with both Alan and the then editor Richard Burton. There was a great sense of camaraderie at that time and these guys had a great sense of humour. Lots of laughing, lots of stress to make deadlines, lots of production issues. They were good times and I remember them fondly.

I’d have to read the specific criticisms to comment further, but in general I’ve found that it’s very easy to criticise when you’re on the outside of a situation. Trying to make things work from the inside, when it’s your job and contractual ass on the line is a different matter all together.

The comics industry on both sides of the Atlantic was never an anarchist collective or a co-operative. Those brief attempts by independents in that direction all failed.

Fans may have fantasies about how they would like the comics industry to operate; my advice is to get a job in the industry and try to make those changes yourself.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind

You were also heavily involved, I understand, with the very successful spin-off title Crisis. How did this come about, and what was the nature of your involvement?

As I mentioned, I was originally hired to launch Crisis and its sister title Revolver, promoting 2000 AD was later added to my brief.

Neither title was financially successful.

But both titles were avidly read on both sides of the Atlantic as showcases for new artistic and writing voices.

To some extent, the 2 titles were the about proving that there was a an older 16-24 age group market for comics; that girls would start reading comics again if they were offered good stories; that you could do anything in a comic that you did in a film and tell good stories and the audience would follow.

Did you enjoy working with Pat Mills and the other creators?

Yes. Absolutely. These guys were mavericks, anarchists and dangerous people. I loved it.

The glee by which Pat would openly proclaim his intention to completely subvert the editorial limits at 2000AD and take on some issue, figure or member of government, just to tweak their noses was a delight to witness.

The evident sadism in John Wagner’s voice when he would describe Judge Dredd blowing somebody away.

John Smith’s and Grant Morrison’s evident mental and emotional problems that injected their writing with day glow colours and at the same time meant I couldn’t leave either of them alone in the same room with a newspaper journalist.

At times I felt I was Hannibal Lector’s PR: “Hey sorry, about your face, but have you seen his new series in the Megazine?”

It was like working in a day care centre stocked with chemical weapon hand grenades.

I remember once incident on the Crisis tour when Carols Ezquerra (who we had flown out from Spain for the tour), Pat Mills, John Smith, Jim Baikie (a great Scottish bear of a man) and Steve, Richard and I were all having a tour launch meal at the Red Fort in London’s Soho.

We were all sitting at the bar waiting for a table when Pat noticed through the large plate glass windows, a commotion outside on the front steps of the restaurant so he asked me to go find out what was going on. I opened the door to see two, tall blond guys with piercings and ripped denim signing autographs for a crowd of rent-a-fans. The had their backs to me and in a moment of madness I stepped forwards and whispered in one of their ears if they’d like to meet the creators of Judge Dredd?

Both of them responded to Dredd and left their fans standing to come back into the bar area of the restaurant with me. I introduced them to Carlos Ezquerra even though I didn’t know who they were. Someone later told me it was Bros. who were big at the time, but even that didn’t register. I left them at the bar with Carlos and went back to the table where Pat and Steve were sitting.

“So who was that?”, Pat asked.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind

“I don’t know, some pop star wankers" I replied, trying to be one of the boys. Unfortunately my voice carried and next thing I knew both Bros were throwing wet bar towels in my face and threatening me with further violence. They were removed from the restaurant by a concerted effort of the staff and their own minders. But they were furious at me and would have kicked me, if they hadn’t been restrained.

After they were removed, I calmed down with a drink in the bar with Pat, sitting next to the plate glass window and was about to forget the whole thing, when through the window we gaze in fascination at one of the Bros twins running back up the street to shake his fist at me through the window, his face even whiter than normal with rage. It was so surreal and he was just about to come in after me when one of his large, uniformed minders jumps him from behind and hauls him away, all the while he’s shouting and shaking his fist at me.

Pat and I stared at each other in open-mouthed amazement.

The funny things was that not only didn’t I know who Bros were; I didn’t even know what a ‘wanker’ was. But now that I know who they were and what the word means, (in my opinion), they were total wankers.

The Evening Standard has a gossip write-up about it the next day; without mentioning me or Judge Dredd; but it was at that moment I realised that comics had arrived, at least as far as pop was concerned.

With all the other work you were doing, why on earth decide to get involved with writing comic strips?

I didn’t really want to do PR anymore.

I wanted to be in the loony bin with the other lunatics. PR was serious be-suited publishing and although I could pretend to be that person for limited periods of time (and was occasionally quite good at it), I really wanted to be rolling down there in the mud with the rest of the creatives.

I wanted to tell stories that provoked people into seeing things differently; to look at life a little bit beyond what you’re told to see or are told is important. My series of one offs on what Steve called ‘the duality of man’ The Farmer and the Soldier, the Soldier and the Painter, The General and the Priest for Crisis were attempts to change people’s thinking; to offer a different context.

Storytelling: For me it’s not about changing reality, it’s about change the ideas we have about reality.

I also felt that for comics to really ever come into their own as a popular medium, that the publishers should just connect up the writers and artists with the readers and then get out of the way.

Maybe hire the letterers and make sure the pages don’t get switched around at the printers.

But not much else.

Unfortunately or not, publishing is about business and business is about always looking for the next revenue stream; ‘how do I exploit this further?’ Which is fair enough; everybody wants more money, even writers and artists.

So to keep myself sane and also learn a little bit more about the process of creating a comic, I started pitching little one offs to Richard.

He rejected over a dozen written proposals from me before he accepted one and I suspect mainly because he thought I was so disheartened I was going to give up trying.

Only a contributor to 2000AD can tell you the nirvana-like bliss of getting your first Future Shock published in 2000AD. You carry copies around with you, subjecting friends and family to reading the same 4 pages over and over again. You sit by yourself on a street corner, under a streetlight, by yourself, poring over the pages, whispering to yourself “yessss, yessss”.

I’m surprised I wasn’t shot in the back of the head and left in the piss-drenched alley behind Forbidden Planet.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind

Presumably it was easy to get your script accepted, given that you worked in the Command Module…

On the contrary, it's so competitive and everybody was so worried about being accused of nepotism that I think it actually took me longer to have my first story accepted than if I had been nagging on the telephone and knocking on the door.

Once you could be counted on as a reliable supplier of story lines, then occasionally you got extra work doing fillers that you’d have be on the spot to take advantage of. But these were always last minute odd pages jobs, like ‘could you write us a 2 and a half page story so we can fit an ad in’?

How the hell did you come up with the ideas behind The Clown? Were drugs involved?

Yes. Drugs are always involved.

That and sticking your head down the nearest, darkest abyss and screaming ‘who you staring back at, Jimmy!’

I had had a couple of one-offs under my belt at the time in both 2000AD and Crisis, so Richard and Alan were waiting for me to pitch something that would make a series; the next kind of quantum step on the ladder at 2000AD.

Neil Gaiman had been writing Sandman for just about a year and was getting a lot of flak in the British fan press for what was viewed as a pretentious and overly floral writing style. Pretentious, lui?

He’d also got a contract straight from Karen Berger at DC without supposedly paying his ‘proper’ British comics writers dues at 2000.

So he was a focus for resentment, jealousy as well as some genuine criticism. But the thing was, I really liked what Neil Gaiman was doing. He was playing around behind the same door Alan Moore had opened up a couple years before him: the door with the sign that said just because it was a comic didn’t mean you couldn’t write it like literature. (Neil had also intensely interviewed Alan Moore on writing for at least a hundred publications before Neil submitted his first Future Shock.)

That was an axiom I truly believed and still do; but not everybody did. So I figured the best way I could play behind the same door that Neil was digging behind at 2000AD without alienating a mainly British readership was to take the piss out of Neil. The Clown was always The Sandman on laughing gas.

Of course Neil actually greatly improved on his writing of Sandman after the first year and really came into his own, whereas The Clown languished as an inept, unsung and unfinished figure of ridicule.

The point of The Clown is that here’s this sad, stupid character to whom horrible things happen which transforms him into a twisted ludicrously psychopath bent on murderous revenge.

Just like all of us.

On top of that the narrator takes everything so intensely seriously that it becomes metaphysical slapstick. It’s that adolescent, ‘everything is metaphysical’, and romanticism that I certainly felt strongly when I was 14 and 15 and that I felt my readers might respond to.

And learn to laugh at, as I had.

The Clown is kind of an existential Mr. Magoo, who just never sees things quite clearly. Someone who is more fixated on his ideas about reality than reality itself. We’re blinded by the very ideas we use to deal with reality. Which is just like all of us and why I think he’s funny.

Young Werther by Goethe was also an inspiration.

The idea that someone could attempt suicide from an overly romanticised view of the world was a strange subject for 2000, but was nonetheless I felt, relevant to the audience.

The artwork of Robert Bliss really stands out from just about everything else 2000AD did at the time. Where did you get him from, and why did he do so little 2000AD stuff?

Robert was the brother of a contributor that Steve introduced me to. He’s a very talented artist, whose twisted visual perspective was perfect for The Clown. He was like Dr. Seuss on peyote (an occurrence, I believe Dr Seuss once admitted to), which is exactly what I wanted.

Unfortunately, the workload and Robert’s dedication to perfection eventually overwhelmed him. It took its toll in a nervous condition he actually had to get acupuncture for. The artwork got later and later and finally Steve replaced him. Of course, I told people that reading the scripts had driven him mad. But Robert certainly established the visual look of The Clown and was in on the whole joke.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind

I know I’m not alone in thinking that your work on the Judge Hershey script was the only really successful solo outing for that character. Did you have further plans for Hershey? Now that she’s Chief Judge, do you think that the character is played out?

Thanks for that, I didn’t realise that my treatment had gone down so well. The idea with Hershey was that she was underdeveloped as a character. The male writers on 2000AD didn’t really know what to do with female characters. Everybody agreed that female characters needed more profile and development on the pages of 2000AD, but with the exception of Alan Moore, no one really knew how to get beyond boy-written, 2 dimensional tom-boy caricatures.

My idea with Hershey was to make her a woman. Trapped inside of a man’s world and being confronted primarily with male concerns, sexuality etc., but a woman nonetheless. I suppose my idea of a female character didn’t preclude her from being tough and smart, especially when circumstances made these traits a requirement for survival. My wife proved an inspiration in some ways; that tough but caring, compassionate, but effective character. And very, very smart.

Wise exercises of power that benefits rather than destroys; like the exact opposite of US foreign policy.

I always thought Jodie Foster was able to portray the essence of this kind of character.

Of course, artist Kevin Cullen’s extraordinary artwork was a great help on those strips, especially on the sublime Harlequin’s Dance. How did you come up with the idea of mixing colour & B&W? Any idea what Kevin’s doing these days?

Ever seen the Wizard of Oz?

Kevin was another untried talent Steve foisted on me who then paid off. Kevin hadn’t done much professional work previous but his noir style was perfect for my new take on Hershey. Because Kevin was inexperienced, he didn’t realise that I was a novice as well so he permitted me a lot of licence to play with the visual ideas in the strips.

I don’t know what he’s doing now.

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most profound and overlooked stories of spiritual questing and personal transcendence ever. The characters all start by yearning for what they already have, but don’t recognise. Dorothy can always get home because she’s never left home. Magic is about illusion and sleight of hand. Loyalty is more important than power etc.

The Wizard of Oz was also the first film I ever saw in colour.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind
Were there other scripts that you were particularly proud of? Did you do any work outside 2000AD and Crisis?

I’ve always been very proud of the under rated WROOM that used to appear in CRISIS which I wrote with artist Andrew Dixon, who I found wandering the corridors of 2000AD (and who's now a successful book illustrator and strip artist for The Guardian). We were IZ & DIX and carried on this meandering existential narrative about a man in a room with an imaginary cat who had bicycle wheels where his hind legs were supposed to be. We never explained the origins of Bicycle Cat or any of it and just wandered around the inside of our own brains. It was like LOST, but ten years earlier.

DIX is one of, if not the best artist I have ever worked with and I would kill all my puppies to work with him again on just about anything.

I did a one off strip with Glen Fabry called Along for the Ride for A-1 and had several scripts and proposals in at DC’s new imprints Piranha and Vertigo. One was a socialist take on Batman where one of the criminals he beats up takes him on a Dickinsonian tour of Gotham City’s underground. I wrote some Hellblazers that Jamie Delano had endorsed that never got commissioned, a lot to do with atheism and the Gnostics within that whole Alan Moore theological universe thang.

The thing that I was most proud was a graphic novel length (before Graphic novels were common currency) interpretation of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra intertwined with his biography that at one time the yet-to-be-known Dave McKean was going to illustrate.

I still have that script but there was this really weird editor at Vertigo (not Karen Berger), who kept claiming he hadn’t received the script after I had sent copies on several different occasions. I finally confronted him at a convention and it was immediately apparent that he had received the scripts but just hadn’t bothered to read it. Then he lied and pretended he had read it, which was just pathetic.

I got really pissed off at the whole editorial process in the US and in general. Here I was spouting the virtues of so-called ‘adult comics’ and the publishers were mouthing the same line in order to make sales but their editors didn’t really believe in what they were saying. Not only that, but it was becoming more and more apparent that most of what I was submitting just wasn’t comprehensible to the people I was submitting to and their confusion was compounded by the fact that I had a position on the publishing side of the industry. Obviously there were some outstanding exceptions, but THEY know who they are.

You said in a post on 2000ADonline.com that “I never got to write Hershey again because I got incredibly drunk at a Glasgow Convention, insulted Alan Grant (and a few other people) by telling him what I thought of him.” Would you be willing to elaborate? Surely one drunken night can’t end a career like that?

You’d be surprised.

I wish I could turn this into a funny anecdote but I really can’t. It should be funny in hindsight, except that it caused me great distress and had rather painful repercussions for others as well. I apologised humbly to Alan and his wife very shortly afterwards but he didn’t want to know; not that I really blamed him.

It’s also a difficult story to relate to anyone who hasn’t arrived at some point in their lives when alcohol has more control over your life than you do. I wish I could say it was the drink, the drugs the rock and roll, but in fact it was just the drink.

I lost control.

The thing about losing control is that you don’t just drop everything and say ‘I’ve lost control’ and sit down until you’ve regained control. No, that would be sensible. Instead you do everything you can do to deny you’ve lost control. You struggle desperately and impotently to limit the damage you’ve done all the while denying and justifying the unjustifiable. And making things worse.

I’m not going to do a Charles Kennedy here but suffice it to say that due to various pressures and defects in my own character, I lost control of the tense balance between my desire to write (and the accompanying frustration) and the PR role I had successfully carved for myself, which I then hated. I just couldn’t do both and trying to, ultimately, unravelled me. Also, I didn’t like that I was perceived and resented by a lot of British artists and writers as a gunslinger PR who could make somebody rich and famous merely by waving my magic PR wand (nothing to do with talent or hard work!).

All this was getting in the way of what I really wanted which was a writing career. I had hoped to pursue both but I was coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t possible. With the exception of friends like Garth and John Smith, most other writers saw my trying to write comics as transgressing their ground.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind
So I fired myself from the industry, albeit it in a rather public and self-destructive manner.

At the time I was working at 2000 AD, they had opened their doors to a lot of new talent. A young writer or artist who had been sweating and dreaming for years to get in the door at 2000AD was suddenly being offered all expenses paid trips to London, press coverage, publicity tours plus being promoted in the comic itself. A lot of dreams were coming true over night, a lot more money was being paid out and a lot of drink was being consumed. The atmosphere itself was intoxicating but on top of it all was a very macho, very punk attitude about getting drunk and crazy.

Previously, I had to pull a lot of comics ‘stars’ out of embarrassing situations. On more than one occasion I had so-called stars crashing at my flat in London because they were too drunk to get home. But on this occasion, it was me that fell down a hole.

And I got too drunk. If Garth Ennis hadn’t got me to my room, I probably wouldn’t be alive today.

Garth Ennis saved my life: it’s his fault, so take it out on him.

The only thing further I have to say about this is that whether it’s drink, drugs, sex, money, your job, a sports car whatever . . . as soon as you start doing more for it than it does for you, you’re a slave. No matter how much you kid yourself, you’re no longer free and what you have to ask yourself is what exactly do you get that is worth more than being free?

How did you leave 2000AD, and what have you been doing since?

I left 2000AD during one of those periodic shakeouts that haunted Fleetway ever since Maxwell had bought it. In spite of my self-destructive display of drunkenness it took a full year for Fleetway to actually get around to asking me to leave.

In that time, I did little work for Fleetway apart from assisting in the packaging the Judge Dredd IPR for Cinergi. I did teach myself more and more about computers and started playing with this marginal, anorak-centred non-starter called the Internet.

By the time I was finally given my walking papers (very amicably, BTW), I had already made some in roads into The City through Andersen Consulting and was able to raise 6 figures to set up an electronic marketing and publishing concern I called Artemis Communications.

I landed on my feet, have been an IT and Communications entrepreneur over the past ten years for money and continued writing.

I write and publish poetry and fiction on a small scale. I have a couple of poems coming out in an Oxford based anthology late this year as well as completing a manuscript for a horror novella I’m touting around to publishers entitled SWILL: The Stuff of Human Garbage.

Horror has always been fundamentally about the anxiety of transformation. But how can you imagine something more horrible than the transformation of thousands of British and American soldiers into instruments of torture, murder and mayhem?

SWILL is about anti-Semitism in Middle England, framed within a comedy/horror narrative. It’s kind of like Straw Dogs meets American Werewolf in London with a dash of Fiddler on the Roof thrown in. It even has a Da Vinci Code-like theological puzzle dating back to the English Civil War, as a backdrop. (Did you know that Cromwell received a lot of money from Dutch and Spanish Jewish Merchants to fight the king and that part of the deal was that Jesus when he came back, he would land in England, the New Jerusalem because Puritans thought Jews could pull off things like that ?) Puritans have always had a strange relationship with Jews, even today, which is what I explore in SWILL. That and the very quintessentially English ability to make anyone feel like an outsider, no matter how long they’ve lived somewhere.

I’m going to ask DIX to illustrate it once I’ve got my contract, because he’s so good at depicting British rural characters.

I’m also sketching out a biography of the recently deceased playwright David Halliwell, who lived near me. He wrote Malcolm’s Struggle Against the Eunuchs, which was his only commercial success but was still a Yorkshire Samuel Beckett, completely dedicated to the art of language.

2000 AD -  Igor Goldkind

Do you still read the title? Would you still want to write for it?

I’ve picked up the odd copy over the years.

I think a lot of its anarchic appeal has mellowed which probably reflects the age of its stalwarts, but there’s some good new writing as well.

Given the right story to tell and the right artist, I’d love to work for the 2000 AD again.

I have great memories of the sense of community or at least the feeling of everybody being generally on the same side when I worked there both as a promoter and as a writer.

But also the buzz of writing a good story that hits an audience.

I also think there’s a long-standing tradition in the British narrative of the periodical, which is where Dickens and Conan Doyle really expressed themselves. These days the only serial periodicals are comics and I think it’s a tradition worth preserving not for its own sake, but for what it will bring us in the future.

I would jump at the opportunity to contribute to that future.

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Original content (c) 2002 Gavin Hanly (contact 2000AD Review).