Preview: SERIAL KILLER by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill!

B - Jan 17 - Serial Killer Best known for their subversive, leftfield SFF comics, frequent partners writer Pat Mills and artist Kevin O’Neill had more recently been working on a satirical crime prose series ‘Read Em and Weep’. Various formats / media possibilities had been investigated before they decided to release the stories as prose electronically and in a limited print run book form under Pat’s own publishing imprint.

The first – Serial Killer – has been available since January but will launch officially at the 2000 AD 40th Anniversary event on Saturday 11th February 2017, the comic being Pat’s creation and the vehicle for his and Kevin’s fantastical comic creations. As part of the 40th Anniversary Pat and Kevin will (at time of writing) also be signing print books this evening at Gosh! Comics who will be the main bricks-and-mortar stockists in the UK.

Full title information and ‘Buy’ and other links can be found at the bottom of this page – but first we’re very pleased and proud to present a preview of SERIAL KILLER ITSELF. Read on and weep – or enjoy either way!


‘Who’s that Bumpy Man, sir?’


Stoke Basing Star August 16th 2016.


Two weeks ago, homeowner and builder John Trigger was horrified to discover a dead body while he was renovating his house. As theStarreported last week, Trigger, 54, knocked down a basement wall revealing a small secret room behind it. Under its York stone floor were the remains of a woman who, police have confirmed, was strangled with a fur boa found lying beside her.

It’s thought to be Mrs Jean Maudling, 32, who lived in Stoke Basing and was reported missing in 1957. Police have appealed to her daughter, Annie, 71, and son, David, 67, to get in touch with them.

The location and identity of the previous owner of Trigger’s property has not yet been disclosed as police enquiries are still continuing.

There was one further discovery for Trigger. Stuffed in the wall he demolished, along with old newspapers, he found a 1957 British comic The Fourpenny One which he described as ‘very rare, in mint condition’.‘My eyes lit up when I saw it,’ Trigger, told the Star.‘I just know it has to be worth a great deal of money, but I have no idea just how much. After all, you hear about old copies of Superman and Spiderman selling for thousands and thousands of pounds, so I really believe I’ve found treasure hidden in the wall.

‘I’ve put it up on eBay. Bit of a slow start so far, but now the word’s out there, I’m just waiting for those serious bids from collectors to come rolling in. I’m sure there’ll be an improvement on 10p.’


It was 1957 and eight-year old Dave Maudling was hoping for the best, even though he feared the worst. When he looked back on those formative Saturdays of his childhood, he didn’t recall them through a warm, nostalgic haze of sepia-coloured photography with a reassuring brass band playing. Neither did he remember them with endless rain spattering down on humble, gloomy, endless terraced streets as violins bitterly lamented life in the 1950s.

No, all he could ever remember was a white void, empty of meaning and of sound, with the newsagent’s shop floating menacingly in the centre of it.

Enticing him to enter. Demanding he entered.

Its window was crowded with magazines, jars and boxes of sweets, made-in-Hong Kong toys and home-made slogans all competing to catch his eye: “Authorised agent for biro pens and refills … Take home a family brick – delicious Neapolitan ice cream … Stop here for men’s magazines, biggest selection in East London. On sale to adults only.” He lingered for a moment, taking them all in, delaying the evil moment of entering the shop, but knowing he must; knowing, deep down, it really was best to get it over with.

Then he took a deep breath and went inside.

The doorbell jingled, betraying the boy’s presence, as he descended one step down into Hell. Hell took the form of a dingy, cramped, damp-smelling, dimly lit room; actually a living room converted into a shop.

He looked up in wonder at all the adult magazines attached to bulldog clips, suspended by strings from the ceiling, away from children’s eyes: Two-Pennorth, Thruppeny Bits, Wink!, Members Only, Birthday Suit and Casino for the Man About Town. Then, on the shelves below: Stately Piles, Kith and Kin, Forces Sweetheart, Slippers and Shawl, Pram and Oven, Sabrina, Tranny, and Twinset. All of the magazines had their own distinctive smells which combined with the confectionery and the damp to give the shop its unique, fusty, and not entirely unpleasant signature aroma.

He scanned the lowest comic shelf, looking past the bright, enticing logos of Basher, Scarper, Blimey!, Bazooka, Pinafore, Radio-Active, Goggle Box, Spunky and Homework, for the comic he was really after. The only comic that would do. The comic his playground peers insisted he must have if he wanted to be part of their in-crowd. Not to possess it would mean being cast out from the inner circle of five-stone players, flick-carders and marble shooters.

And then he saw it. Or rather he didn’t. There was a blank spacewhere his beloved comic should be.

His face dropped.

The silence in the shop was suddenly broken by a harsh voice that Dave recognised all too well. The voice of Mr Cooper the newsagent. ‘You stupid cow!’

A female voice cried out in pain.

The newsagent continued, ‘I’ve got a customer. I’ll deal with you later. I’ll come back and black the other one. You see if I don’t.’

There was a rustling sound from a beaded curtain that hid the back room from the shop and a man wearing a short brown jacket stepped through it.

He looked sourly down over the counter towards the boy with his severe short back and sides and lop-sided fringe, his face and feet barely projecting out of the raincoat he was still growing into, his woollen gloves dangling down from the cuffs by pieces of elastic.

Dave stared back up at him with Bambi-like eyes and a gap-toothed, nervous smile, silently appealing for mercy, not realising that this only whetted Mr Cooper’s appetite.

‘Ah, young Dave. What can I interest you in, young man?’

Dave couldn’t find the words to reply. He was paralysed with fear. To deaden his fear, he read the words on a box of Sherlock’s Liquorice Pipes. Silently repeating them over and over to himself. ‘He chews Sherlock’s. We choose Sherlock’s. Everyone chooses Sherlock’s pipes. They’re elementary. He chews Sherlock’s. We choose Sherlock’s…’

‘Caps for your cap gun? New spud gun? Ten Park Drive for your mum? Twenty Kensitas for your dad? Copy of Slapper for your sister?’ interrupted the newsagent, nodding in the direction of the magazines.

Slapper was Mr Cooper’s nickname for the glossy Sabrina magazine, aimed at girls who dreamt of becoming movie stars, and was a typical example of his rapier wit. He liked to comment on the publications his regulars purchased, and particularly enjoyed humiliating those brave enough to buy Birthday Suit, “The magazine for serious naturists”, and the only available photographic source of full-frontal, female nudity. He liked to warn purchasers of Birthday Suit they’d go blind or grow hair on the palms of their hands. He loved seeing them cringe with embarrassment.

But, out of all his customers, the one he enjoyed humiliating the most was young Dave.

Dave stopped his liquorice mantra and looked desperately again along the line of comics. Hoping against hope.

‘It’s not there.’ Mr Cooper produced a copy of The Fourpenny One from under the counter and held it between his heavily nicotine-stained fingers.

Dave felt a pang at the sight of his special comic with its bold red and yellow logo and that familiar huge fist smashing out through the ‘O’ in the ‘One’. It was all-action, it was fun, it mocked teachers, parents, park-keepers and other figures of authority, it was full of catch-phrases to be endlessly repeated in the playground.

‘I’ve kept it back for you special, see?’

Dave’s eyes lit up. He had no choice. He was under his comic’s spell. Summoning all his courage, he approached the counter, quietly repeating to himself, ‘He chews Sherlock’s. We choose Sherlock’s…’

‘It’s a free gift issue. You know what the free gift is?’ The newsagent enquired, looking knowingly at Dave who nodded apprehensively as he leaned forward to take his comic.

His tormentor slyly moved it just out of reach.

‘You know the routine,’ he smirked. He slid a ring off his finger in readiness and prepared his fist, clenching it in anticipation. Then, as Dave still said nothing, punched it impatiently into the palm of his other hand.

‘I’m waiting.’

For a moment, Dave was distracted by the lurid covers of the sweat mags for men on a spinner rack with endless battles between man and beast and titles like Man’s Man, Hard Man and Man Size. It was an image on the cover of Man Size that had caught his eye. A sadistic Nazi smiled as a crocodile was about to bite a tied-up, scantily-clad glamour girl, while a heroic American soldier fought his way to her rescue.

‘Step away from the spinner. I’ve told you before.’

Dave obeyed. But it had given him new courage. He knew what he had to do now. Like that square-jawed G.I. on the cover, like all the other Real Men snarling out at him from the spinner, facing overwhelming odds, facing certain death, showing him how to behave: he, too, must be a Hard Man, a Man’s Man.

‘Now come along, Davey. What is it you want?’

The boy’s resolve faltered again. He tried to say the words, but they just wouldn’t come.

‘A … F … F … F … F…’

‘What’s that …? “Fur … Fur …?” We don’t sell fur-furs here.’

Then, finally, he had the courage to say it.

‘Please, sir, I’d like a Fourpenny One.’

With a sadistic leer, the newsagent slammed his fist into Dave’s face.



It was 1975 and Dave was sitting at his desk, struggling to eat a gobstopper.

He gingerly felt his face. ‘This is breaking my jaw. If it wasn’t free, I wouldn’t bother.’

Greg, his assistant editor, looked up from proof-reading some artwork pages and sneered.

Dave removed the gobstopper and returned the sneer. ‘I see you disapprove of my breakfast. But I haven’t had to pay for my breakfasts since 1973. The cost to my health has been heavy; but it’s a price I’m prepared to pay: nothing.’

He reached into a large box of assorted free sweets given away with comics since the 1950s.

‘So let’s see what else there is in the bilious buffet.’

He extracted a packet of sweet cigarettes with an illustration of a cruel-looking teacher in mortar board and gown on the front. A medal hung from his mortar board and a cigarette from his mouth as he wielded his cane.

Dave read the brand-name. ‘Caning Commando Sweet Cigarettes.’

There was a further caption on the side. ‘For Tomorrow’s Smokers’.

‘Did you know these are worse for you than the real thing, Greg?’

Greg didn’t bother to reply. ‘I approve of that,’ Dave added.

He rummaged further. ‘Black jacks… Flying saucers… Aniseed balls. Once you’ve sucked off the outer layer, they make lethal mothballs … Yo Ho Ho liquorice chewing tobacco… Kojak lolly. “Who hates you, readers?” I do. And I always will… Edible false teeth…’

Greg lit a Black Russian Sobranie cigarette and shook his head disdainfully, continuing to ignore Dave. The cigarette completed his Man in Black image, with his black hair, black polo neck, black cords and blue and black, patent leather platform shoes. Dave disapproved, but at least it was preferable to Greg’s other look: Billy Liar, complete with flying jacket and boots.

‘Bit queer,’ Dave commented on the Black Russian cigarette.

‘No.’ replied Greg. ‘I smoke them to annoy you.’

‘You succeeded. Now. Whatever you do, Greg, don’t lose this box,’ Dave continued. ‘You wouldn’t like to see me when I’m not on my fizzy pop.’ He found a blue papeer cylinder with a liquorice straw. ‘Ah! The choky sherbet given away with Gulp! It lasted just three months. Let’s drown our sorrows in sherbet.’ He sucked up the sherbet enthusiastically through the liquorice straw. ‘Mmm … the sweet nectar of failure.’

As promised on the label, he started choking, scattering sherbet down his Marks and Spencer white safari suit. As he dusted himself down, Greg finally smiled. ‘It’s those bloody things you’re smoking,’ scowled Dave and opened the window wide, letting the chilly Autumn air fill the office.

It was the suit Greg had recommended after Dave realised he needed to improve his image if he was to find himself a girlfriend, which he reluctantly thought he should. After all, he had been single for a long time. Forever. And he was an editor, even if it was only editor of The Spanker comic.

Greg had told him he’d look like Roger Moore’s James Bond in a safari suit.

‘You’ll look so cool. You’ll be the Editor With The Golden Pun,’ he assured Dave.

‘You really think so?’

‘Definitely. Especially with your Hai Karate aftershave.’

‘There’s an instruction booklet of karate self-defence moves with it, to help me fend off lustful women driven crazy by the scent. I haven’t been attacked so far.’

‘You will be in a safari suit. Trust me.’

And Dave had fallen for it. It was necessary to be slim and trim to wear a safari suit; Dave was neither, and Greg knew that, which is why he suggested it. The suit looked terrible on Dave, just as Greg hoped it would. Dave’s old fashioned, old man’s haircut didn’t help.

This gave Greg enormous pleasure and made the experience of being his assistant tolerable.

Dave was unaware of just how unflattering it was. Cost was his first priority. The safari suit wasn’t expensive and that’s what mattered. Not least because he was saving up for something far more important.

It is said that we fight our inner demons or surrender to them. Dave had hung out a white flag to his a long time ago. After his traumatic childhood, he liked to boast that he was possessed by more demons than the Gadarene swine.

These traumas were no minor ‘character-building’ misfortunes. There was his mother’s mysterious disappearance, Mr Cooper’s ‘games’ every Saturday morning, his father’s breakdowns, and more.

It was his demons who had built his character so that he had becomethe newsagent.

Or as near as possible, as the editor of The Spanker.

The Spanker had absorbed The Fourpenny One, the comic of Dave’s dreams and nightmares, some years before. Its name was still visible on the comic’s masthead in small type:

THE SPANKER and The Fourpenny One.

There were other similarities between Dave and Mr Cooper. Both were involved in publishing: one at the beginning, the other at the end of the process. Cooper’s hatred of his customers mirrored Dave’s hatred of his readers. Cooper’s sarcasm inspired Dave’s sarcasm. Dave played secret games on his readers that surpassed even Cooper’s games. History was repeating itself. All that was missing was the newsagent’s brown jacket and the nicotine-stained fingers. Dave preferred a liquorice pipe.

Fortified by the knowledge that he was the embodiment of Mr Cooper, the purveyor to kids of all things cheap and usually rather nasty, Dave turned to Greg. ‘Today’s literary challenge. Did you come up with a new name for our great free gift?’

Dave held up a piece of red plastic that crudely resembled a delta-winged aircraft. ‘This example of finest Hong Kong plastic.’

Greg consulted his notes as Dave prepared to fly the plane with an elastic band.

‘Super Stuka?’

Dave scowled. ‘Loada crapper,’ he responded. It was typical of Greg, he thought, to suggest a Nazi plane. Greg was obsessed with all things German.

‘Bionic Bomber?’

By way of response, Dave fired the plane directly at Greg. It flew across the large, high-ceilinged Edwardian room, Greg ducked and it crashed into the frosted-glass partition wall that separated them from the Spanker art department. ‘Watch it! You could take someone’s eye out with that thing,’ Greg protested.

‘Good,’ said Dave. He smiled evilly as he picked up the futuristic aircraft. ‘We’ll call it The Super Nuker: The Red Terror from the skies.’

Greg looked appalled. ‘What? You’ll be giving kids nightmares about nuclear annihilation.’

‘I live in hope. Although I personally look forward to nuclear annihilation. No, really. I do.

Sadly, The Spanker would survive it. I’m sorry to say it will survive a nuclear winter.’ Dave considered his comic’s future. ‘Although we might have to chisel it out on a rock. There’ll be two-headed readers queuing up for it. We’ll be able to sell the little bastards two copies at once.’

Greg sighed, ‘Why can’t we have decent free gifts like Angus, Angus and Angus’s comics? The Whirly Bee. Or The Thunder Cracker. I loved those as a kid. They were great.’

‘You didn’t rate our last free gift? A conker with detailed instructions and free string?’

Dave fired the Super Nuker at Greg again. It flew past him, through the open window, and landed on the flat roof extension outside.

Dave scowled and continued. ‘Our readers don’t deserve a free gift that actually gives them pleasure. It has to be shite. I did suggest they give away real shite. I would have been happy to have made a donation.’

He went to the window and climbed out.

‘There must be something more interesting we can give them?’ pondered Greg.

Dave looked back at him. ‘There is. Something they’ll find useful all their lives. A free P45. I’d like to sack the lot. They’ll get no reference from me.’

Dave made his way out along the roof.

Fleetpit Publications, who published The Spanker,were housed in an imposing six-storey former Edwardian hotel on Farringdon Street just off Fleet Street. Many of Britain’s popular culture magazines were produced here. Women’s magazines like Darling, Twinset, Mumsy for Today’s Young Mums and Heroine Chic. Teenage girls magazines. Comics. Specialist magazines from Stately Piles to Advanced Caravanning. Sexy magazines like Casino for the Man about Town. Household names. The publications that had once filled Mr Cooper’s shop.

The wind blew the Super Nuker further along the roof and Dave followed it. The Spankeroffice was located on the third floor at the back of Fleetpit House, looking down on an inner courtyard. Across the void, he could see the offices of the teenage magazines: My Gang with tartan scarves and feather boas hanging up in the window; Hot Pants with a poster of Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors; Get It On! with a dreamy image of Gilbert O’Sullivan.

He glanced up to the sixth floor attic rooms. They were used mainly for storage and were unoccupied, except for Dave, who had been furtively living there for some months in the turreted tower at the very top of the building. He was content to see there was no sign of activity, so his secret was still safe.

He continued his rooftop stroll. He felt no sense of embarrassment at being out there, staring into everyone’s offices. Nothing ever fazed him, he was used to spying on people and to getting away with eccentric behaviour.

Nothing except…

From an office on the second floor below, he heard a long, whinnying, bleating laugh, instantly depressing, like the whine of a soul in eternal torment, and he trembled.

There it was again. It was hideous. Like the endless, monotonous drone of a buzz saw. It made him felt sick to the pit of his stomach and he had to steady himself against the wall and take deep breaths.

The hellish sound came from the editor of Laarf!, the most unfunny comic ever created. It filled Dave with dread, because, whenever he screwed up on the The Spanker, which was often, he was threatened with a six-month sentence on Laarf!

Sweating and shuddering at the thought, he carried on. He headed past Pinafore, edited by the tweedy, forty-something Bridget Paris. It was a rather dated, ‘nice’ comic, the kind parents and teachers approved of. A cigarette dangling from her mouth, she seemed utterly bored by the comic proofs she was checking and was oblivious to him passing by her window and leering in at her. He always felt there was something familiar about Bridget. He was sure he had seen somewhere before, but just couldn’t work out where.

Beyond Pinafore was the top-selling, not-so-nice Shandy, edited by Glaswegian Joy Glass. The Super Nuker had now completed its bombing run and landed outside her window. Picking it up, he casually glanced into her office.

Joy was in her underwear, trying on clothes. Her light-fingered friend Sofia, who worked at the legendary Biba’s,had ‘liberated’ some stock in August, just before Dorothy Perkins pulled the plug on the ailing store. Joy had bought three outfits from her at bargain prices: A gingham shirt and matching waistcoat and skirt. A pink, satin-weave, cotton trouser-suit. Cotton dungarees with a yellow and black Art Deco pattern, reminiscent of the Biba logo.

Unaware she was being watched, the striking twenty-four-year old tried on the pink trouser-suit. It fitted her perfectly. She imagined herself in a Nova fashion spread – the famous women’s magazine that had more male than female readers. That would show Daddy. She knew her Australian father wrote for Nova sometimes – alongside Graham Greene, Lynda Lee-Potter and Christopher Booker – giving readers his legendary, eye-witness accounts of wars in far-flung corners of the globe. She imagined the awed expression on his handsome, tanned, chiselled face as he saw his daughter staring out from its pages as he sipped his Pimms in the Long Bar inRaffles Hotel, Singapore. She had made it on her own.

Then she recalled Nova had just folded. Like Biba.

And all the time she dressed and undressed, Dave watched through the window, open-mouthed, slack-jawed, unable to avert his eyes from the object of his desire. His loins were stirred as never before. Joy was so intent on trying on her bargain-price purchases, she was unaware that she was giving Dave a long and intimate private floorshow. She pouted and posed in a mirror, imagining the effect on Greg, her current boyfriend, who seemed to have lost interest in her recently.

‘This should light your fire,’ she teased her lover in the mirror, her man in black, who was actually better looking than the Cadbury’s Milk Tray man in black. Greg could swing across the rooftops for her, anytime. She imagined him landing cat-like on the roof, deftly opening the window and entering her bedroom, and … Lost in her fantasy, she stepped out of her dungarees and turned seductively towards the window, running her fingers through his luxuriant, stylish black mane, murmuring, ‘Take me now.’

And there, indeed, on the other side of the glass, was a man staring in at her. Dave.

Her expression quickly changed to shock and fury and it was no-good Dave lamely pointing to his Super Nuker to explain why he was spying on her. His glazed expression and open, drooling mouth told her otherwise. In vain he covered his eyes, pretending he couldn’t see her in her underwear.

Then he shook his head, miming the words ‘No. No. You’ve got it wrong. It’s not you I’m interested in! No! Not you!’ and desperately pointed to something else in her office. The real focus of his lust. But she shook her fist, angrily pulled down the blind, and in a moment it was lost from view.

His fantasy was hanging from a coat hook within. Sexy, slinky, grey and white, with a generous, warm, soft, inviting collar. It was everything he had always wanted. Everything he had ever desired.

Joy’s vintage Arctic fox fur.

You can read the more – the first seven chapters – on request via Pat’s Millsverse website here, and you can buy the electronic book on a number of platforms here or the limited run print book by contacting Gosh! Comics.

Check out also our casual interview with Pat at 2016’s London Book Fair, A Coffee with Pat Mills on Carabas here!


The 1970s.

A dangerous time for kids. An even more dangerous time for the adults who wrong them.

Meet comic book editor Dave Maudling, the world’s laziest and most cowardly serial killer. Actually, he’s never killed anyone himself – yet.

Dave has been putting lethal information into his stories, hoping they will result in an early demise for his readers. But something unexpected and wonderful happens: the kids instead use the homicidal details that Dave provides to target their oppressors: abusive adults who believe they are above the law.

Meet Jean, Dave’s femme fatale mother.

She’s glamorous.

She’s dangerous.

She’s dead.

And she wants him to solve her murder.

It’s a lot of pressure to be under for a liquorice-pipe-chewing, failure-embracing man-child with a strange obsession with fur. Being blackmailed by a monster from his own childhood doesn’t help, either.

But curiously, despite casting himself as Villain in his life story, Dave is actually becoming something of a Hero.

Dave works round the corner from Fleet Street, at Fleetpit Publications, publishers of Britain’s most popular magazines. Working with him is girls’ comic editor Joy, a beautiful but foul-mouthed Glaswegian who doesn’t take any crap and is heroically pursuing her ambition to subvert the world of comics publishing. And fantasist Greg, Dave’s assistant editor, who likes to dress as his movie hero of the day and is only sleeping with Joy because he thinks her famous dad will help him get his novel published.

From Pat Mills, creator of 2000AD, featuring Judge Dredd, and Kevin O’Neill, award-winning artist-creator of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, comes a story of revenge for a lost childhood, of flawed and eccentric characters, strange passions and arrested development.

If you enjoy savagely funny novels such as Catch-22, The Life And Loves Of A She Devil and High Fidelity, you’ll love Serial Killer!

Serial Killer is the first book in a series of four novels about Dave Maudling and contains serious cliffhangers!

B - Jan 17 - Serial Killer