MOVING HOUSE

Thanks for visiting!  There is a substantial archive of blog posts here that I hope you find interesting.

I’m now over at millsverse.com, where I’m writing posts like RATS ATE MY SCRIPT!, YOU’LL NEVER EAT BREAKFAST IN HOLLYWOOD AGAIN, and more serious matters such as THE GREAT WAR: ORGANISED MURDER.

On the millsverse I can also shamelessly promote my stories, such as Requiem Vampire Knight and PsychoKiller – available here from Comixology, and my books & merchandise that are available for sale on Amazon.

I still welcome and read all comments left here, and am always interested in your feedback.

Hope to see you at the millsverse!

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CLASSIC 2000AD REVIEW FROM MICK FARREN

I recently read a great original review of 2000AD by the legendary Mick Farren.  Many thanks to Colin Smith for tweeting about it, and to Paul Smith (@compu73E) for retweeting it to me.  Yes, there was a lot of tweeting going on… Continue reading

HAMMERSTEIN vs. THE US PRESIDENT

Hammerstein by Clint Langley

Great cover by Clint on the latest 2000AD.  And my favorite episode of “Return to Earth” follows shortly thereafter, which shows the United Kingdom in a less than flattering light.

If the idea of Britain as the bad guys seems a bit strange, it’s largely down to how unfamiliar that is in the pages of popular fiction, because they are generally written by conservative writers. Although in the pages of fact things are finally starting to change, even if they still have a long way to go.

Consider for instance, Cruel Britannia by Ian Cobain, published by Portobello Books, which relates the British torture of Nazi POWs during and after World War Two. It describes “the horrifying interrogation methods that belie our proud boast that we fought a clean war.” (tinyurl.com/9ju64mj)

And the excellent Unpatriotic History of the Second World War by James Heartfield (Zero Books). It describes how British officers pushed in front of their men to escape at Dunkirk.  It relates the Allied policy of taking no prisoners when fighting against the Japanese.  It talks about the British responsibility for the Bengal famine in which 1.5 million to 4 million people died.  It was not a natural thing, “the cause of the famine was an order from Churchill to starve the Bengalis, the order was called the Rice Denial policy.”

Actually, I think it’s patriotic to finally recognize that Britain is no different to any other country and is not morally superior – which is certainly what I was taught at school.  Or rather lied to at school.  I can remember being told how evil the Mau Mau freedom fighters in Kenya were. Ditto freedom fighters in Aden, Malaya and Cyprus. Anyone who challenges Britain and stop it stealing their wealth must – by definition – be evil.

No wonder the UK was known in other countries as Perfidious Albion.  We have carefully whitewashed over the darkness of our appalling history and we still today have jingoistic reporting of Prince Harry, after his recent shenanigans, as an intrepid hero in Afghanistan  – “Prince vows to fight on after deadly gun battle” –  which is nothing short of an old school, Imperialist Ripping Yarn designed to boost army recruitment, along with the Action Man toys owned by the MOD. I don’t know about his current tour, but an army officer told me the Prince was very well protected on his previous heroic tour.

So nothing’s really changed from the days of Kipling, Henty and all the other justifiers of Empire.  We still have the White Man’s Burden which I satirised – with co-writer Alan Mitchell – in Black Man’s Burden in Crisis. Powerfully illustrated by the late John Hicklenton, it showed the other side of the Tarzan coin with images from the British massacres of the Kenyans during the Mau Mau rebellion.  The printers were so appalled, they tried to stop it being published.  Britain just doesn’t do things like that. Or rather, it rarely gets found out.  This is a foreign edition, I’m afraid as – to date – it has never been reprinted by a British publisher, although I live in hope.

So look out for an upcoming episode of the ABC Warriors where a British Prime Minister (Old Etonian and Bullingdon Boy) and the descendant of  a Mau Mau leader fight to the death in a globally televised Rollerball-style Tournaphon.  They have both trained for months for a series of pentathlon-style contests, which viewers phone in and vote for, concluding with a single combat event.  War has just been banned by the United Nations so this is the way conflicts between leaders are resolved in the future.

Imagine such a scenario in real life and who might win.  Blair versus Saddam Hussein. Bush versus Bin Laden. Obama versus Assad  Ahmadinejad versus Netanyahu. Cameron versus Gaddafi.  Single combat is less absurd than mass-slaughter. Why should squaddies be sent to do their dirty work? How heroic would our leaders be if they had to do the fighting themselves?  I think they’d try a whole lot harder for peace if their own lives were on the line.The fact that it seems bizarre, ridiculous and science fiction to us, is a measure of how brainwashed we are to the logic and inevitability of war.  Yet surprisingly General Smedley Butler, America’s most decorated soldier, once talked in not dissimilar terms. He suggested that the only people who should vote for war  should be those who would be called upon to do the fighting and the dying.  “Only those who would be called upon to risk their lives for their country should have the privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go to war.” How ridiculous. Surely Blair and Bush and Obama’s way is superior?  The fact we don’t hear much today about Butler – who stopped an attempt by American corporations to stage a fascist coup in the US – is a measure of  his importance and the inconvenient truths he related about war and the arms industry.

Do check out the Tournaphon – it’s a great catharsis!

Savage Taking A Break

Image

BILL SAVAGE taking a break from fighting Volgans, for a charity calendar (Patrick Goddard, colours by Dylan Teague)
 

Patrick Goddard tells me: 

“It’s for a local comic shop (Fish4Comics) and they’re raising money for a charity for the homeless.  They invited local artists to contribute a month and I got July, and what better way for Bill to spend a sunny day at Barry Island.”

FINN TO APPEAR IN THE MEGAZINE

Aside

Delighted that Finn is being reprinted in the next Megazine.  Jim Elston’s art was fabulous.  Finn  was very popular – in fact, at the end of his run more popular than Slaine.  So i asked the editor at the time, Dave Bishop, if he wanted the character to continue. No, he said without explanation.  I never found out why but I’m pretty certain  it  was because some readers were complaining vehemently about Finn in the letters page being a sinister witch and saying his authentic pagan practises were a bad example to readers.  (In a comic with Judge Dredd?!  FFS!)  The editor actually encouraged some pretty ferocious  letters criticising creators – in my opinion because it “cut us down to size”.  Bizarre.  Anyway, Finn will be in the Megazine soon and you can make up your own mind.  But don’t copy him!  Or they’ll never reprint the second volume!

DAN DARE IN 2000AD

I thought it would be a good idea to gather some of my Facebook Notes here on my blog, so that non-FB users would be able to read them (it’s also a great way of instantly creating an Archive!).

Originally published on Facebook on Monday, 28 May 2012

Long term 2000AD readers may have wondered why those early Dan Dares by Bellardinelli and Dave Gibbons have never been reprinted.

I can shed a little light on this – it’s because the name ‘Dan Dare’ is owned by another company who own the DD rights.

I’ve noticed that the early 2000AD trade paperback collections sell very well and I’m sure Dan Dare would be no exception, so I offered this suggestion to Rebellion: How about if the logo was taken off the story and the name “Dare” deleted in the dialogue.  It could be replaced – where necessary – by “Commander” and a title like Space Commander used instead; with a subtitle like “Journey to Jupiter” for the first story.

It may or may not be necessary to amend/remove the DD on his chest in those early episodes by Bellardinelli.  Obviously some of the later DD’s by Dave Gibbons which featured the Mekon couldn’t be included; but I think it still leaves quite a number of stories and pages.

On the plus side, the drawback to those 2000AD DD stories was that they had no connection whatsoever with the original Hampson DD universe and thus could be read as space stories in their own right. Also, I remember they were popular when they first appeared – although never a “number one” story.

When I talked to Rebellion, they could see where I was coming from, but I doubt they’ll do anything because it’s uncharted publishing territory and there may be all kinds of drawbacks I haven’t anticipated.  And it wouldnt be much fun for the art editor either, ploughing through all those pages and deleting the name ‘Dan’ etc.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention it in case anyone felt it would work for them, or they can see a better solution.  If so, I’ll be sure to pass your comments onto Rebellion.  I guess if there was enough interest they might be persuaded to go for it.

Personally, I’d love to see some of those amazing spreads by Bellardinelli again – especially  London of the Future  where the city has been greened, there are animals grazing near Big Ben  and teleport stations have replaced the London Underground.