As 2000AD and Judge Dredd celebrate their 40th birthday in 2017, Pat Mills at last writes the definitive history of the Galaxy's Greatest Comic and the turbulent, extraordinary and exciting events that shaped it.
The story begins in a garden shed in Scotland sometime in 1971...Pat Mills is the creator of 2000AD and one of the comic's top writers. He is also the creator of Action, co-creator of Battle, Misty, Marshal Law, Requiem Vampire Knight, Charley's War (described as 'the greatest British comic strip ever created') and the black comedy text novel Serial Killer.
'Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!' is the infamous slogan of Torquemada, the comic's favourite villain. It once appeared on the Berlin Wall, and symbolises the subversive nature of 2000AD that changed so many readers' lives and influenced generations of film directors, actors, rock bands, novelists and even school headmasters. Everything you've always wanted to know about Judge Dredd, Slaine, Nemesis, ABC Warriors, Flesh, Bill Savage and more, is in this book. Plus the writers and artists who created them and the real-life people and events they drew on for inspiration.
The scandals, the back-stabbing and the shocking story that was regarded as 'too sensitive' to ever see the light of day is finally told. Pat relates the dark story of the maths teacher who inspired his version of Judge Dredd, the creators' angry battles with the censors and each other, why certain writers, stories and even readers have been banished from the comic, a step-by-step account of how Judge Dredd was created, and how to write or draw for 2000AD today. There are new insights on the 2000AD creators' invasion of American comics, their failed French invasion, the Judge Dredd films, the forthcoming Judge Dredd TV series, other possible films featuring 2000AD heroes, the unusual secret of the comic's current success, the tough challenges it faces today, and its exciting future.
From the hilarious origins when Judge Dredd writer-creator John Wagner and Pat began their careers writing together in a garden shed by paraffin lamp, to the tragic stories of legendary comic artists who have passed, and the challenges as 2000AD fought for survival against The Suits determined to destroy it, this is a unique, personal, and passionate account by the man who made 2000AD happen. Funny, sad, angry, defiant, and outrageous: it's the comic book memoir of the year.
genuinely uncomfortable in places, kinda puts you off quoting the day job... but a fascinating journey for any fan of the galaxy greatest comic!
I'll say from the start, I'm a fan of 2000AD and I'm a fan of Pat Mills, he IS the Godfather of British Comics, that said, I would have enjoyed this book without knowing either
If you've seen Future Shock! The documentary about 2000AD, you'll know some of the things being referenced, but this puts a lot more meat on the bones... and then adds some more bones. It's not just a history of 2000AD, it's a commentary on British Comics and is stuffed with so many things I never knew, (like the US is only the 3rd biggest market for comics). It explains how comics work, how stories are developed, how writers and artists cooperate and then how things can go wrong.
But is does all this with a mixture of Pat Mills' famous tirades, as well as humour and genuinely emotional moments
If you like 2000AD, or comics, or just publishing, writing and the process of story telling in general, I can't recommend it enough
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Like most readers (listeners?) of this book, I was a loyal Squaxx Dek Thargo for many years - until it became rubbish in the nineties (again, probably like most others), and my sister read Misty, so this was a no-brainer when it came to listening.
It really is fascinating, and even though I knew a bit about Mills, I never realised just how involved he was in other comics during the seventies and eighties, nor some of the practices that carry on to this day (apparently).
The book is read by Mills himself. This is a good thing, because normally when a narrator expresses emotion, they're doing it as they interpret the words. Not in this case - you can really tell that Mills still feels passionately about things that happened over 40 years ago.
The most overriding factor to be gleaned from the book is that Mills is resentful and bitter. No matter how he tries to disguise it (and sometimes he doesn't) but bitterness just oozes out of the loudspeakers as he describes his experiences in the UK comics field, and compares them to international markets
Here's a drinking game: Every time Mills says 'the right thing to do', 'royalties', 'the late great', and 'Charley's War' take a shot. You'll be unconscious before you're two thirds of the way through the book.
So, yeah - a really good listen, but only if you're into UK comics, and have a bit of background knowledge already.
Anyone who grew up reading the 2000AD comic in the 70's/80's will find this book a fascinating insight into the beginnings of the world's greatest comic. Pat Mills gives a frank and detailed description of the UK's comics industry, how comics and the character and stories are created and developed and on how the developers, artists and writers are treated and rewarded, often poorly, for their efforts and the lack of ownership that they can have over what they create.
As well as covering the characters who originally appeared in those early issues Pat also covers many later ones too and the various spin-off comics that were to later appear but would either be merge with the 2000AD or fall by the wayside, and the reasons behind why this would happen. As a young reader from the first Prog these are things that I and many of my peers would have been totally unaware of and at times while listening to Pat’s narration I did feel that maybe I had taken for granted all the effort that was made on my behalf to bring me my weekly input of thrill power.
Pat also goes on to cover more recent developments including the Dredd films and proposed TV show and the reprints and merchandising. However he does return often to very important subject of royalties and how those involved with a character’s creation and development are often disregarded. So much so that I think his later chapters could have been called ‘What gets my goat.’
Overall I think that this is a great book and being narrated by the author he gives you the emphasis on his own words in the way he wanted which would be impossible to get from anyone else. Even if you had bought the printed book, which I have, I would highly recommend you buying the audio version as well.
wonderful narrative on 2000ad and the industry. mills provides a captivating insight into the birth, undeath and reainimation of 2000ad. could not stop.listening
I loved every minute of this book and listened to it avidly over a couple of days. It’s Pat Mills’ autobiography/history of 2000AD/polemic/political manifesto/guide for aspiring writers and artists. It’s really difficult to reduce this book to being any one thing. It was very much like sitting in the pub listening to him (and I mean that in a most complimentary way). Mills reads the book himself which really adds to the experience of the book.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s fabulous and certainly one of the best “history of” I’ve read or listened to. I came away with a real sense of how working in the British comics industry is like and how passionately Mills is about comics and their power to impact on society. Often, he wanders into great anecdotes which are really enjoyable. He’s very critical - though never personally abusive - about people he’s worked with and not afraid to call people out about injustices he believes they have carried out or gone along with. I would imagine if you were working at 2000AD you would know exactly who he talks about when he declines to give names.
Most importantly he repeatedly talks about the poor treatment of artists and writers by comics publishers in Britain and, if nothing else, this book makes a great case that the publishers need to rectify their neglect. This is really a matter of paying creators decently.
If you’re a general comics fan or even someone who used to read 2000AD as a kid, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this. Bravo, Mr Mills. Loved it.
Lots here for fans of 2000AD and comics in general. Funny, informative and very subversive .. in a good way. Mills narrates his words very well and conveys his frustration at the skewed comics system in the UK too. Made me feel like picking up a placard and hitting the streets myself, despite being retired. Highly recommended.
I'd read 2000A.D. since prog one, always loved it, then like most readers, stopped. Pat Mills tells his story of creating and then working for the galaxy's greatest comic with no punches pulled and no holds barred and I enjoyed listening to it, interesting to hear how characters are created and series developed.