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Saturday, 11 February 2012

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! from art droid Patrick Brown

Nemesis the Warlock
by Patrick Brown
Name: Patrick Brown

Blog or web site: http://paddybrown.co.uk

Currently working on: The Cattle Raid of Cooley, an adaptation of the ancient Irish epic starring Cú Chulainn, the hero Sláine was partially based on. It's been running at approximately a page a week on my website since August 2008 and is about half finished, and it's also in print, five issues so far. Pros like David Lloyd, Donna Barr, Davy Francis and Malachy Coney have all been very enthusiastic about it.

First memory of 2000AD?

I can remember reading the early issues at my cousin's house, and loving Flesh (I was seven. What seven year old boy doesn't love dinosaurs?) and Dan Dare (I know it's not well thought of by fans of the real Dan Dare, but it was the only Dan Dare I'd ever known, and Massimo Belardinelli's art was spectacular. I wrote a blog post reappraising it here.) I didn't start getting it myself until Starlord merged into it - I'd been reading that and loved Strontium Dog.

Favourite Character or Story?

I think it has to be Nemesis the Warlock. The stories drawn by Kevin O'Neill especially. I was in the early stages of learning how to appreciate art, and I'd mentally divided artists into the "neat" ones (Gibbons, Bolland) and the "rough" ones (Ezquerra, McMahon), and along comes O'Neill and blows my cosy little categories apart. I didn't understand it, but it gave me chills. And I loved the manicness of Pat Mills' stories, the willingness to leap headlong, Douglas Adams-like, from idea to idea, trusting it'll all make some sort of sense by the time it finishes.

What do you like most about the 2000AD?

2000AD is a marriage of the minds of Pat Mills and John Wagner. Pat is a mad polemicist - he's not here to make you think, he's here to make you see - and John crafts precision-timed thrillers with a streak of stone cold evil, and good jokes. On top of that, there's the willingness to be experimental visually. Back in the 1970s, in a marketplace where everything looked like it was drawn by Geoff Campion (a fine artist in his day, but it gets boring when everybody draws like him), 2000AD gave us Ezquerra and McMahon, Bolland and Gibbons, saw the latent madness in a veteran like Ron Smith, repurposed girls' comic artists like Ian Gibson and Jesus Redondo, and of course let the inimitable Belardinelli and O'Neill do their inimitable things. And it continued through the years, introducing us to mad artists like Brendan McCarthy, Simon Bisley, Simon Harrison, Steve Yeowell, Colin MacNeill, all the way to Henry Flint and Jock.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?

Keep unearthing new artists and writers, and keep paying Mills and Wagner whatever it takes to keep them hard at it.

• This post is one in a series of tributes to 2000AD to mark its 35th birthday on 26th February 2012. More about 2000AD at www.2000adonline.com

2000AD © Rebellion

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