¦ Features ¦ Igor
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?
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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'.
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,
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
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.
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.
you worked with (Steve MacManus, Alan MacKenzie) don’t always get the best
press from writers and fans. Were they easy to work with?
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
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.
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.
Steve (or I) tried, worked.
But we both tried
to make things better for both creators and readers; and that was Steve more than
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.
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.
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.
was financially successful.
But both titles
were avidly read on both sides of the Atlantic as showcases for new artistic and
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.
enjoy working with Pat Mills and the other creators?
were mavericks, anarchists and dangerous people. I
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
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
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.
was that?”, Pat asked.
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
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.
the other work you were doing, why on earth decide to get involved with writing
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.
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.
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 wasn’t shot in the back of the head and left in the piss-drenched alley
behind Forbidden Planet.
it was easy to get your script accepted, given that you worked in the Command
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’?
hell did you come up with the ideas behind The Clown? Were drugs involved?
Yes. Drugs are
That and sticking your head
down the nearest, darkest abyss and screaming ‘who you staring back at,
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?
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
Just like all
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
of power that benefits rather than destroys; like the exact opposite of US foreign
I always thought
Jodie Foster was able to portray the essence of this kind of character.
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
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.
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.
other scripts that you were particularly proud of? Did you do any work outside
2000AD and Crisis?
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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
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?
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.
to ask DIX to illustrate it once I’ve got my contract, because he’s
so good at depicting British rural characters.
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.
still read the title? Would you still want to write for it?
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.