The 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival!

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival

We’re here at the Mega-City Block-esque Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith, lately arrived and soaking up the setting of the 40th Anniversary festival of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic 2000 AD!

There’s been some build up mind: do check out our February 2017 Book Highlights which includes the celebratory THE GALAXY’S GREATEST, a creator selected collection of the greatest one-off short stories, and ex-Tharg David Bishop’s THRILL POWER OVERLOAD, the forty year history of 2000 AD. On a similar note, from not so long back, there’s also ‘golden era’ Tharg Steve MacManus’s autobiography THE MIGHTY ONE from September 2016 – details here (scroll about halfway down to The Fact Behind the Fiction section). Oh and the creator of 2000 AD itself, first Tharg and writer of numerous flagship characters Pat Mills has just released with frequent collaborator Kevin O’Neill his darkly comedic crime satire about a comic editor SERIAL KILLER – and we’ve got a preview with title info and more here!

Right, back to the #2000ADFest (twitter link) itself. Looking forward to some cracking panels later and catching up with various folk but will be sharing a few things as we go – scroll down for more…

Splundig vur Thrigg people!

 

Opening Shots…

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (1) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (2)
Entrance guarded by a Genetic Infantryman (Rogue Trooper to the uninitiated) and a bloke with a lanyard. Strangely synchronised in their security sweeping… 😉

*****

Immediately drawn to this corner: the stall of the Dog House, makers of the unofficial but officially Zarjaz films of Judge Minty and now Strontium Dog! So looking forward to the screening of that later…

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (3) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (5)
2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (4)

*
Dredd film props: freeze creep – don’t ruin your photo!

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (7) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (6)

 

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (9) The main area: more artists and writers of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic than you can shake a Lawgiver or axe at!

 

The 4th Generation Panel

Great little session with comparatively newer additions to regular 2000 AD contributors in the Tir Na nOg room (Slaine reference). Hosted by CBR’s Steve Morris, there’s artists Tom Foster (Storm Warning, various Future Shocks), Eoin Coveney (The Alienist, also various shorts), Dani (Fiends of the Eastern Front) and writer Alec Worley.

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (10) Steve’s first checking in on their first experiences as readers of 2000 AD. Alec was a rather late starter but was blown away (as were we all) by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s SLAINE: THE HORNED GOD. For Tom it was through those random issues bought by family members while he was ill as a kid. Dani very much came straight in as a creator, developing a love and knowledge of the comic since then, while Eoin started with Prog 2 after there was such a buzz about the first Prog at school the week previous.

*

Of course (whatever the comic’s alien editor Tharg may or may not approve of) few people have been regular readers and not drifted away from the comic at some point. But what drew them back?

For Owen it was the ultraviolence, the art and the humour. He remembers Pat Mills being interviewed emphasising that kids are smart and that you can’t fool them. It reinforced to him that 2000 AD is a quality product with insightful thinking behind it.

For Alec in part it was that it got referenced in Spaced: that alone said to him that, yes, 2000 AD certainly was cool.

As to how to get into the comic as a creator, well they’ve all got their own quite unique stories. Eoin was an early starter but admits not giving his first outing on a John Wagner script the attention it deserved, having understandably if falsely built his self-image as a creator after getting a gig with Moebius. It’s been more recently that he’s finally got in properly as a regular contributor.

Alec notes seeing an interview with ex-editor Andy Diggle in which he says how everyone asks how to get into comics / 2000 AD – no one asks how to get better at what they do. Focusing on the latter is more likely to actually achieve the former. It’s something of having a zen-like mental attitude as Alec puts it. Both he and Eoin emphasise the importance of properly taking on feedback from rejections, and that they both ultimately got in from developing a whole campaign of submissions.

Dani had been working on her own comics and was essentially talent-spotted at a convention where she had a stall. Tom on the other hand submitted work to a competition at Thought Bubble, coming second two years running then, when the prize was actually being given a script to illustrate, coming first in its third year. He’s yet to work for one of the American publishers but feels he’ll be far better placed to work in the more expansive scheme of their strips having honed his craft in the more compressed approach of 2000 AD than the other way round. On a similar note Alec praises the scripting of Gordon Rennie and Rob Williams for being ‘so on point’ and ‘muscular writing’.

And right now? Tom’s got his first Dredd story coming up and something in a few weeks on ‘From the Drawing Boards’ on YouTube. Alec has a US one-shot of the Dredd movie version of Judge Anderson. Owen is working on the next series of The Alienist while Dani is working on her own comics with a Dirk Gently filler coming for IDW and something that can’t be mentioned for 2000 AD’s special issue for Free Comic Book Day.

Cheers all – smashing panel!

 

More to come…