Published by Hibernia
Written by David McDonald
Edited by Mike Donachie
Layout by Richard Pearce
Hail, Star Troopers!
How Starlord Saved 2000AD
We Could be Heroes
The Turulent Tale of Tornado
The Tale of One Bad Rat
2000AD in the USA
Tharg Spreads the Book of Thrillpower!
Comics to Newspapers
The day Comics got Trendy
Our Daily Dredd
Bringing Dredd to the Masses
Mill’s Metal Mayhem
The Forgotten Robots
It’s Only a Comic, Chum!
Doug Church – In his own Words
Dredd and the House of Mouse
The first part of this book deals with the first comic to merge with 2000AD, Starlord. This in itself is separated in to two parts firstly dealing with the inception of Starlord and leading to the merger, followed by an interview of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra about Strontium Dog and ending with an article about Robusters.
Insightful and knowledgeable David gleans the key aspects of Starlord’s success from within the murky secrets of IPC. Success, yet it merged with 2000AD after only 22 issues. That merger brought fan favourites Strontium Dog and Rojaws & Hammerstein (and Mek Quake of course) to 2000AD. Those stars are currently all in 2000AD at the time I write this review.
We Could be Heroes deals with the second title to merge with 2000AD, Tornado. Tornado wasn’t a SciFi comic, it was a mixed genre. David discusses here the conception and delivery of the doomed title.
The Stainless Steel Rat was a particular favourite of mine and through this I found Harry Harrison who soon became my then favourite author and influenced my own writing for some time. So it was particularly interesting for me to read how it came to be that Slippery Jim DiGriz came to the pages of 2000AD,
The next article deals with taking Thrill Power to USA. Firstly there is an interview with Nick Landau, founder of Titan Publishing. Titan published reprints packaged for the US market under the name of Eagle Comics. Next follows an interview of Dez Skinn about his company, Quality. Following the interviews are articles about SQP and DC who both ran major reprints of 2000AD work. A list of the US reprints rounds off this part of the book.
The News on Sunday ran full colour comic strips from 2000AD creators and not only is this discussed in-depth here but the only ever reprints of two of these, Scatha and The Masquer are presented to us. I’d never read these before and it is great that the creators, Pat Mills, Glenn Fabry and Ian Gibson, agreed to this.
Many newspapers run comic strips and it was perhaps obvious that at some point Dredd would make it in to a tabloid. That tabloid was The Star. Firstly in the Saturday edition then weekly Monday to Friday. David takes us through that time and reprints some pages for us. He also deals with the short-lived run of Dredd in Metro.
Mills Metal Mayhem deals with lesser known stories about robot characters designed by Pat Mills Mekomania and Metalzoic. Interesting to see the connection to ABC Warriors from Mekomania.
The penultimate article is about Doug Church, who Pat Mills praised very highly in my interview with Pat last year. Part of this article was written by Doug himself. The rest by David and deals with the 1972 attempt to resurrect Eagle.
The final article is an interview with Colin Wyatt, a Disney animator turned comic Art Editor. This article includes several prints of panels edited from Action and 2000AD.
As with the earlier book from David that I reviewed on New Years Eve, The Death of Valiant, this book shows David’s in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and the level of input from the creators is particularly impressive. It is an interesting read and includes much that I didn’t know before reading this book.
This is a must read if you want to know more about the UK comic industry.