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Monday, 20 February 2012

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From author and fan James Swallow

2000AD 98
Name: James Swallow

Blog or web site:

I blog about writing and stuff over at http://jmswallow.livejournal.com/ and http://twitter.com/jmswallow.

Currently working on:

A whole bunch of stuff! I’ve got a new novel called Fear To Tread out later this year as part of the Horus Heresy series, and Stargate SG-1 and Blake’s 7 audio dramas, plus some top secret videogames work.

First memory of 2000AD?:

Prog 2. I remember me and my schoolyard pal George Sawyer going nuts for the Biotronic Man stickers that came with that issue – and then peeling off all the hair on my arms when my mum wouldn’t let me keep them on at the dinner table. I managed to find a copy of Prog 1 soon after, although the Space Spinner went missing pretty quick.

I remember my dad – a reader of The Eagle in his youth – taking it off me to read the new Dan Dare strip... But I still recall the first Judge Dredd story with keen clarity – “Looking for me, lawbreakers?”

Favourite Character or Story?

Dredd, natch. The enduring legacy of this character says it all – a uniquely British take on an American archetype, the unbreakable rock in a sea of crazy. If I had to pick a favourite Dredd story, it’s between “Judge Cal” and “Block War”.

But 2000AD had also always had a good line in military SF stories, something I’m a big fan of, and while Rogue Trooper holds the top spot there, I have a lot of love for The VCs.

I always had fondness for 2000AD’s “future sport” stories, too – stuff like the Harlem Heroes, Inferno and Mean Arena.

What do you like most about 2000AD?

The turn-over of strips always means that there is new and interesting stuff in every issue; you never get bored reading a Prog, and that format means you can have stories that might never have made it to the page in a single-title format. Abelard Snazz or DR & Quinch, Joe Black from PEST and Harry 20? Ant Wars and Ro-Busters...?

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

On the one hand, as an aging nerd I’d love to see some classic old-skool strips return, but I think what 2000AD needs to keep doing is what it has always done best – create cool and engaging SF & fantasy stories with grit and edge. I’m always interested to see a new story, wondering if the next one will be something with the staying power of Dredd, Strontium Dog or Slaine.

If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?

It’s a point of geek pride for me that I got to write for Joe Dredd and the Rogue Trooper, albeit in audio drama and novel formats, but I’ve never worked directly for the comic (although I’d love to – Tharg? Call me.)

• 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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