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Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From writer and fan Stephen Walsh
Name: Stephen Walsh
Currently working on:
WarWorldz for Strip Magazine with John Freeman and the artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo. Also working on scripts for Commando ("The Flaming Dagger" is out now) and further adventures of Charlotte Corday with Keith Page ("The Iron Moon" is available from Print Media; "London Calling" is available from TimeBomb Comics).
First memory of 2000AD?
I saw the "Tharg Arrrives on Earth" animated TV ad in February 1977. So I rushed down to the newsagent, only to find that a pal of mine had snagged the last copy. He proceeded to drive me mad for the next week with hints about the great stuff in the comic. Dinsosaurs! Politicians hung from lampposts! He completed my frustration by refusing to let me even glance through the issue. However, as sometimes used to happen in those days, extra copies of number one arrived the next week. So I had progs 1 and 2 in one go. Thrill power overload! Massimo Belardinelli's Dan Dare centre-spreads melted my brain. Organic spaceships! Yottleberry sun-shakes!
Favourite Character or Story?
Pat Mills' Dredd story "The Man Who Drank The Blood Of Satanus", drawn by the great Ron Smith; The early chapters of The ABC Warriors, with one-of-a-kind artists like Mike McMahon, Kevin O'Neill and Brendan McCarthy taking turns on episodes; Halo Jones; Frank Hart, the Visible Man...a very long list. We should resume this chat in the nearest pub.
What do you like most about the 2000AD?
What I remember most is the great sense of anticipation that each issue generated; the feeling that anything could happen; that whole universes of weird wonder were being opened and their howling, mad-eyed denizens unleashed on the readership.
Looking back, it's also clear that John Wagner's work on Judge Dredd is one of the greatest sustained feats of the imagination in comics. His influence is everywhere now; as a maker of stories and ideas that came to pervade the culture, he's right up there with Jack Kirby.
What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?
Unfortunately 2000AD stopped jumping off the shelf into my hand quite some time ago. I'd love it to jump out at me again; to be essential.
If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?
I remember bombarding the Nerve Centre with a different Future Shocks script every day for six weeks one summer. Later, when I chanced to meet the then-current Tharg, he told me where I could stick them. Golden days.