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Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!

2000AD and Judge Dredd: The Secret History
By: Pat Mills
Narrated by: Pat Mills
Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)
Regular price: $10.65
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Pat Mills / Millsverse (P)2017 Spokenworld Audio & Ladbroke Audio Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This is a great reading of an engrossing book. After 50yrs of creating and writing for comics Pat Mills finally tells his side of the story." (Rehan Mirza)
"Revealing the truly unfair way creators are treated in the archaic British comic book industry I'm sure there are a lot of people behind the scenes who will wish this tome was never released. Well done Pat!" (Ceiron Bounds)
"Clearly a must-have for any fan of 2000AD and Judge Dredd, this is also an essential listen for anyone with an interest in the process of producing magazines and comics. It's also a nostalgia-inducing remembrance of an explosion within the British comics scene from the man who was right in the thick of it. 9/10." (Nick Joy, Scifi Bulletin)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Overall I have a lot of respect for Mills, but...

I actually have a lot of respect for Pat Mills and his obvious courage in bucking the establishment to bring the world subversive, thought provoking characters. That's why I wish I didn't listen to this book. Before I start, I'd like to state that the book is very well written and performed, and I had no problem following what Mills was trying to say. But holy crap, Mills, we get it. Everyone before you sucked because they were the 'old guard', everyone after you sucked because they didn't follow 'your vision.' America and UK bad, France good. Pagans good, Christians bad. You complain repeatedly about how you were either not or under paid, which is a very valid point, but then lament comics for having a profit motive. I am and will remain a Pat Mills fan, but now understand that many of the problems he has gone thorough are probably due part in the conflicting way he thinks about life.

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Required listening for any 2000 AD fan and, indeed, any human being in general

I have always been a fan of Pat Mills' writing, his fecund imagination, and his admirable candor. This book, far from tooting his own horn, shows a humble yet unrepentant Mills, who can rightfully be credited as not only the most important person in British comics today, but also a damn decent human being, with morals and business practices the rest of us should aspire to. He writes with flair, and delivers a brilliant vocal performance with an even and relaxed tone. I highly recommend this one.

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Eye opening!

genuinely uncomfortable in places, kinda puts you off quoting the day job... but a fascinating journey for any fan of the galaxy greatest comic!

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  • John Ottaway
  • 09-21-17

Thrillpower Reading

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • RichG74
  • 04-18-18

A really interesting listen

I've read so many of his comics but never thought about the man behind them. Very interesting history of 2000ad and the writer.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • 07-20-18

2000AD meets Alan Partridge

An interesting and enjoyable secret history of the development of the 2000AD comic... but I can't quite shake the feeling that I'm listening to one of the Alan Partridge biographical audiobooks!

Mills certainly deserves his place in British comics history, I like some of his work and I was already familiar (at least in passing) with many of his complaints about the treatment of creators by various comic companies (a view that I have some sympathies with) and difficulties with assorted editors so was interested to hear his side of the argument. Nevertheless, at points he borders on ranting and his voice, verbal mannerisms and phrasing (including his weird 'even now it makes me laugh ha ha ha ha' asides) put me in mind of the Alan Partridge's pseudo autobiographical works (or at least Steve Coogan's performance on the audiobook adaptions).

Overall I enjoyed it, found the creative process he describes interesting and some of the anecdotes both enlightening and / or shocking but I would take some of the more bizarre opinions and borderline gossip with a pinch of salt. His performance is OK and at least reasonably easy to listen (I would say 3.5/5 but there is no option for that). Overall, worth a listen for fans of his work, fans of 2000AD and for fans of unintentionalal Alan Partridge impersonators - 'Back of the net!'

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • 2 the bone
  • 03-23-18

Be pure

I really enjoyed it as it gave me an iSight in how 2000ad was run.the poor staff at the company all that aside I enjoyed the comic. If you loved 2000 ad you’ll enjoy this book👍

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • In car listener
  • 03-09-18

A good insight into the world of comic creation

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul Hough
  • 01-20-18

A fascinating look at the beginnings of the 2000AD

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John Mcnamara
  • 11-13-17

Just epic

wonderful narrative on 2000ad and the industry. mills provides a captivating insight into the birth, undeath and reainimation of 2000ad. could not stop.listening

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave Priest
  • 10-07-17

Great Read & Listen

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr I Buchanan
  • 09-24-17

zarjaz

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gus Honeybun
  • 01-05-19

Needless to say, I had the last laugh.

This is a pretty strange book, largely stemming from the fact that Pat Mills comes across as quite strange. He expresses a keen interest in implausible conspiracy theories and the paranormal, and it feels as though he uses a large portion of the book to get back at people that he considers have wronged him. In fact, there is a strong Partridgian undercurrent running throughout. Don't expect much in the way of modesty or self-awareness.

With that said though, this is an interesting insight into the world of British comics. Pat has created and helped to develop some legendary comic characters, and certainly has some interesting views and anecdotes. I think it's wise to take adversarial accounts like this with a pinch of salt, whoever writes them, but I was suitably entertained. If you're a 2000AD fan, then you should definitely buy this, you won't be bored by it.