The concluding part of Luke’s history of “Finn”, where the off page action becomes more intriguing than the on.
A Potted History Part 2 of 2
MICK CASSIDY completes his own shameless Cursed Earth rip-off. Shirtless and lost, exhausted, delirious, and dehydrated. Through it all, trying to get this article, this precious article, to safety. “This CURSED Earth will NOT break me!”
Day Two almost didn’t happen. Like any good nerd at the Mecca, I gloriously overindulged and by Tharg, I paid the price the next morning. Want some good advice? Don’t chow down a bowl of guacamole and follow it up with four tons of Guinness. Do the math. You’re welcome.
Alright. I’ve pulled it together somehow. Regained control of my body and bowels. Newly minted Eisner Award winner Dave Gibbons is on my mind. His new book ‘How Comics Work’ is an excellent treat. I’d put it up there with ‘How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way’. Methodical, inspiring, insightful, and a breeze to read. Makes me actually want to run home and draw, most importantly for any book tasked with teaching one how to draw. Good chat with Gibbons. I insult his talents by gifting him a print of my Watchmen/Family Guy crossover (he pretends to love it), and make my escape before embarrassing myself further in the presence of greatness. (Learned from my encounter with Patrick Stewart: always know when to get out)
Non-story: Simon Bisley is signing and sketching at 2000AD’s booth but I have clashing Family Guy commitments. Would have loved a sketch but just can’t make it work. Mike Molcher and his crew very kindly take my books and promise to get them signed for me. Thank you, chaps!
Made it to the 2000AD panel later though. The turnout’s a bit sparse, sadly. The Molcher Man is joined on the panel by Dave Gibbons, writer Katy Rex, artist Liana Kangas, Jimmy Aquino, Graeme McMillan from the Hollywood Reporter and Paul Cornell. Half an hour in, we’re still talking about the 2000AD all-female creator Sci-Fi Special. I don’t want to bag on the Sci-Fi Special. I admire the intent and the statement 2000AD are making. Long overdue and I’m all for these characters and concepts getting explored and rendered by female creators. Ultimately for me, it’s just let down by some inexperienced writing and art, and I can’t give that stuff a pass, regardless of who’s responsible for creating it. But it’s an important step forward, one that’s currently happening in the animation industry too, and I’m happy to hear 2000AD say this is just the first step.
The panel moves on to the Rogue Trooper movie announcement, with Duncan Jones writing and directing. Gibbons has plenty of insight into Rogue I’d never heard before. (Or I’m too hungover to remember.) Gibbons wanted to explore the idea that Rogue could regenerate wounds. Arms could grow back. That he’d always intended Rogue’s skin to have scales, and that his color was meant to be translucent, shimmering like a snake in the light. He gives a very moving and powerful deconstruction of the strip’s concept; how the ‘Kung Fu’ TV show and (one of my favourite books also) Alfred Bester’s ‘The Stars My Destination’ were huge influences on Rogue and his quest for vengeance. We’re reminded that Rogue’s just a squaddie; a grunt born to kill but jaded by war. By the end, Gibbons has sold everyone on how large the myth of the last of the Genetic Infantrymen could and should be in a movie. Didn’t know we came VERY close to a Rogue movie before, with Vin Diesel. (Would that have been the one Grant Morrison was supposedly working on…?) That it fell apart because the movie company didn’t want to paint Diesel blue. Kinda wanted to ask if there’d ever been any earlier attempts beyond that, as I remember rumours in the past about Rutger Hauer and Sam Worthington being potentially involved. But I didn’t. That’s how I roll. Like Rogue. Show up. Fart a lot. Leave. (Sorry.)
Personally speaking, I think Rogue’s a great idea to move forward as a movie. Dredd’s got baggage now. Two attempts, both failures at the US box office. Rogue’s a simpler, more streamlined concept, a more relatable character, can be realised relatively cheaply and it’s different than anything else out there. Jones is the only X-factor. ‘Source Code’ and ‘Moon’ are great. ‘World of Warcraft’ is very much not. Still, great news.
Question from the audience asks who the panel would love to see brought to cinematic life next. ‘Strontium Dog’ is the overwhelming favourite. Kangas wants an ‘Anderson’ movie. Cornell wants ‘Nemesis’. Fair enough. (Even if they’re all wrong. FLESH! is the only acceptable answer. No. No. No. You’re wrong. Yes. FLESH! No, YOU shut up!)
As for Dredd, the final announcement you already probably know. Rob Williams has completed writing the Dredd TV show pilot. They’re scouting for locations in the UK. I’m stoked. Williams and Dredd’s like bread and butter for me. Always felt Dredd would work better as an ensemble, a la ‘Law & Order’. Less pressure on the character to do all the heavy lifting himself, so sounds like this is all in good hands. Molcher’s excitement is pretty obvious and contagious when he speaks about how much the 2012 Dredd movie is loved within the entertainment industry and how they’ve had a LOT of interest from studios wanting a piece of the pie. I’d well believe it. Very excited to see how this one plays out.
With that, that’s the end of anything 2000AD related for me. I wander off into the crowds, the parties, the secret tiki bar, the toxic cocktails, until finally back where it all started: in an Irish bar. With Simon Bisley. And a very, very sore head the following morning. I did all this for you. See you next year, folks!
Our resident Citizen Snork himself, MICK CASSIDY, braves the sunshine, the beautiful guys and girls dressed in scanty clothing, Simon Bisley, and copious amounts of just-about-acceptable Guinness from SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2018. Many braincells died to bring you this information.
Alright. Let’s get to it. I’m tired. I’m hungover. I bet I smell real tasty. I just want to go to bed. But Ross bailed out of SDCC this year, perhaps still scarred from watching John and Flint drink themselves into another dimension last time, so yeah, I’m all you’ve got if you want to know how it all went down 2000AD-wise.
New booth layout this time. More streamlined and accessible. As always, 2000AD’s got a plum location in the hall. You can’t miss it on one of the many tightly-packed and soul-destroying navigations though the hordes of sweaty and not-conveniently dressed con-goers from one end of the convention centre to the other on a quest for some shite you seemingly can’t live without today but won’t even remember you bought two weeks from now. I did notice much less attention and space to sculpts and replicas. The books were front and center. The Dredd standee was getting some good traffic as was Rebellion’s video game display. Overall, the booth looked happy and healthy. Staff were enthusiastic and helpful. Good to see.
My nerd boner cranked to Thrill-Power overload once I saw the upcoming Strontium Dog board game display though. Didn’t know the game would sport so many characters from every tier of Johnny’s saga. Beautiful sculpts that capture the strip perfectly. Exquisite paint-jobs too. Not even sure I’ll play the game but for these figures, it’ll be an essential purchase in the future.
Didn’t end up buying much in the end. That’s no critique of the stock, just that I’m a fucking saddo who already owns most of it. I knew there were pins available, but in typically nefarious SDCC fashion, they were only available at the licensee’s booth, not 2000AD’s. And the licensee had two booths. And they’re on opposite ends of the hall. And only one of them had the 2000AD stuff. And I’m at the wrong one. I refer you back to tightly-packed and soul-destroying navigations blahdeblah.
Moving on, I stumbled upon the 3A booth. Smaller than previous years and much less merch on display, although they had plenty behind the counter, including the big lad himself – the 1/6 scale Dredd. Always wanted one. Always procrastinate about the price. Kinda hard to resist when it’s Ashley Wood himself flogging it to you. An impressive forty seconds later and the wallet’s open.
Good chat with Wood. We’re both huge Kevin O’Neill and Nemesis fans. If you’re ever wondering why there’s never any original Nemesis art for sale, well, blame Ashley Wood. Sounds like he has vast swathes of it. Probably under armed guard.
The news isn’t great if you’re holding out for more 3A 2000AD stuff though. Doesn’t sound like the sales are there to justify more and these are expensive products to make. That’s a shame, particularly as he’s talking about an array of prototypes he has at home, including a 1/6 scale Hammerstein based on McMahon’s art and Johnny Alpha. Let’s not even talk about Nemesis and Torquemada. The molten tears will fry my computer.
When can we talk about Simon Bisley? Now? Room 4. 3PM. Mike Molcher vs Simon Bisley. Bring it.
Never met Simon Bisley before but in a rare moment of “my-proverbial-glass-of-boiled-pee-is-half-full-not-half-empty” bollocks, I’m well aware there’s something very cozy about 2000AD’s panels at SDCC. Yeah, they could be busier, it’s true, but if they were jammers, would I get to encounter my favourite artists up close and (too) personal? (It’s all about me, basically.)
Pretty excited. Not just because he’s a fucking beast of an artist; a top-of-the-food-chain planet-crushing mish-mash of Frazetta, Klimt and Sienkiewicz, but also because – if the many second-hand tales are to be believed – he’s pretty much the living human manifestation of his own art. And apparently he likes drinking. And Motörhead. Two of MY favourite things!
I’ve time to kill. I get to the room too early. There’s another panel going on. A nice but stunningly boring gentleman is talking about the time his house burned down and how he lost everything, and how he went and bought some paper and pens and made a graphic novel about it. And here’s a page from it. And here’s another page from it. One of the pages is four identical panels. A couple lying in bed. “I wish we could go home,” the wife says. Two panels of silence. “Me too,” says the husband. The woman beside me starts crying. I can feel my brain start to shrivel, like an orange left in the sun on the side of the freeway.
There’s a loud sigh in front of me. Bisley’s also arrived too early. He wears the expression of a rabid lion introduced to a toddler’s birthday party. He looks around, sees my expression aligns with his, and offers a fist bump in solidarity. Then his phone starts ringing. Naturally, the ring tone is an emergency klaxon. He takes the call, then he’s loping out, leaving me with the nice but boring man to talk about his next book, entitled “Mom’s Cancer”.
The panel’s fun. Molcher’s doing his best to give it some structure but it’s Bisley’s show. Ignoring the questions, interrupting his own answers, simultaneously confident and modest. Every bit a rock’n’roll comic artist superstar. He’s my favourite kind of artist. Not interested in deconstructing his own processes. He knows what he can do, he doesn’t want to talk about the hows and the whys. He never listened to his art teachers, knew he was better than them, wasn’t interested in being told how to do something, just went his own way from the start.
Good introspective of his career. Was floored to hear him admit he’d never painted a thing before his work on Sláine. Fabry’s inked work freaked him out and he didn’t want to try match it so he figured he’d just paint his version instead! Great hearing his take on the ABC Warriors as biomechanical rather than clunky metal men. (Wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for his reunion with Pat Mills and the Warriors, by the way. Sounds like he’s got a full plate, not the least of which is work for an upcoming very 2000AD-ish anthology called SPACE BASTARDS!) It being a 2000AD panel, didn’t get to talk as much about his brilliant run on Hellblazer. My favourite work he’s done since Horned God and he acknowledged he’s worked hard on his storytelling skills and restraint rather than just punching the reader in the balls with money shots. Great stuff. Very entertaining. Shook the mighty hand once it ended and then went for a sandwich and beer with him.
Ended the night chatting with SPACE BASTARDS! creator Eric Peterson while guzzling pints (See? I can multi-task). Quite a roll call he’s got lined up. The Biz, Clint Langley, Boo Cook and Colin McNeil for starters. He showed me a few pages of the McNeil art and fuck me, this is going to be something. Can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Alright. That was Day One. I’m going to bed. If I actually regain consciousness, I’ll have more tomorrow.
This year’s 2000AD FCBD contribution was an “all ages” take on some of our favourite characters. But this isn’t The Mighty One’s first attempt. The last published venture by the House of Tharg to create a younger / all ages title looked to capitalise on a certain mid ’90s film. Luke takes a look so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
By Luke Williams
Sean Phillips is known for quite a variety of Comic publishers including D.C. and Marvel but to us, his work on numerous 2000 AD strips is predominantly what we know him for. Those include Armitage, Devlin Waugh, Judge Dredd, Sinister Dexter, etc…
Here is a rather enjoyable video of him at work in his studio, where he reveals a few interesting facts about how he does his work!