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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From writer and fan Benjamin Dickson

Name: Benjamin Dickson

Currently working on:

The Kestrels with Mick McMahon, a creator-owned children's adventure story set on the home front in World War 2. There's no publication date yet - mainly because we don't yet have a publisher on board - but more about this story will be made public soon.

In the meantime you can see some of Mick's concept sketches here: http://tuggingyourcoat.com/2011/06/08/kestrels/

The first part of a much more adult book, Unfinished City, should be published through Scar Comics later this year. Co-written by me and Jelena Stanovnik and illustrated by Robert Solanovic, it's the story of a woman's journey through the criminal underworld of a city in Former Yugoslavia to find justice for her murdered sister.

But that's already written - right at this moment I'm co-writing a book about the history of protest with Sean Michael Wilson.

First memory of 2000AD?

Reading a friend's copy in his bedroom after school, and marvelling at some awesomely bizarre Nemesis artwork by Kevin O'Neill.

I didn't really read 2000AD so much myself as a child, I read Eagle instead, but I picked up the Best of 2000AD fairly regularly, so I guess I've always been a collected edition reader more than a weekly reader.

I particularly remember reading "The Midnight Surfer" in that format - it was a hell of a ride.

Favourite Character or Story?

Judge Dredd is by far my favourite recurring character, but my favourite story published in 2000AD has to be Button Man.

Pretty much every "how to write" book you ever read will tell you that Button Man shouldn't work. Harry Exton is a central character with absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever, yet Wagner makes you root for him anyway. That alone is a great lesson in storytelling.

What do you like most about the 2000AD?

That it's adapted itself over time to ensure it never became outdated, yet never lost touch with the core principles of what Pat Mills set out to create in 1977. It must be a difficult balancing act. But more recently I've been really impressed with the line of graphic novels that have been coming out, particularly the chunky Dredd trades. It's been great to revisit the bits I knew and to read the stuff I missed.

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

Primarily I just want to see it keep going! In terms of specifics, I'd like to see James McKay being given a full colour strip to draw, as his painted work is really extraordinary.

I won't say I want to see X or Y return, as to me the point of 2000AD is to keep looking to the future and developing new stuff. So yeah, I guess that's what I'd like to see.

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

I've not yet had the pleasure of being Tharg's bitch, but I'd like to be at some point. You never know, it might happen!

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

2000AD © Rebellion

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