The 'Godfather of British Comics' Pat Mills was presented an honorary professorship by Liverpool University this week for his contributions to popular culture and national literacy.
The creator of 2000AD, Slaine, Marshal Law and hundreds of other characters will be teaching at the University this coming autumn as well editorially advising on a new media incubator at the University - appropriately named SUBVERSION.
The news comes as Flesh returns to 2000AD (see news story) and news that Marshal Law, by Pat and Kevin O'Neill, is to be reprinted by DC Comics. The strip has had several publishers over the years, from Epic (Marvel), Dark Horse, to the original Toxic.
"I'm currently working part of my time as consultant to a new private/public incubation initiative called SUBVERSION at the University of Liverpool, on some new multi-media projects as well as intending to give talks on graphic novels to students at the uni," Pat tells us.
"Last week, to my great surprise, the University made me a 'Visiting Professor in the School of Arts' in recognition of my past work in British comics.
"Once I'd got over all the blushing and the obvious 'Prof' jokes from my partner and friends (Please! No more!!) there's one thing in particular about this that delights me: the appointment is intended to help raise the profile of British comics, British creators and what we can achieve in the comic media in Britain.
"For too long we've been in the shadow of American comics as well as being rather looked down upon as an art form in the UK - certainly by comparison with France," Pat argues. "As a result, we have run the risk of losing our very British comic identity.
"So if this enhances the public image of important series like Charley's War, comics like 2000AD, and also my forthcoming graphic novels with Clint Langley for British-based Repeat Offenders Ltd., that's got to be a good thing for our industry.
"The Repeat Offenders novels commence with American Reaper - a science fiction cop drama beautifully imagined by Clint. I think it will show just what we can do with the graphic novel art form when British creators are in the driving seat.
"It's fantastic that the University of Liverpool supports British comics in this way and my thanks to everyone there who made it happen.
"It's too early to talk more about SUBVERSION (love the name - clearly it's an organization I can relate to!), but I hope to have some news on it soon."
Gloucester gets set to have some sizzling summer comics fun - The mighty True Believers Comic Festival: Summer Variant Edition is incoming on the 5th of August, and I’ll be there
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