Saturday, June 02, 2007

TPO: the final cover revealed!

TPO is being printed in Malta as you read this - grud, they may have even finished printing it by now - and should be available to buy from all good thrill merchants this month [that's June 2007, for anyone reading this blog in the future - hello, Future People!]. Seems like a long, long time since Alan Barnes asked me toward the end of 2001 whether I'd be interested in writing a few articles about the history of 2000 AD.

Fast forward to August 2006 and I submitted the mnauscript for the TPO book: 120,000 words of thrills, spills, gossip and backstage shenanigans. Another jump forward in time and you reach May 2007, as I laboured for 30 hours to index the proof pages. And now here we are in June 2007, with the big book about to burst forth on the world. Here's the blurb about it from the 2000 AD website:
By David Bishop
Thirty Years of Thrill-Power!
For over three decades one British comic has defined a generation: 2000 AD. From humble and rocky beginings to its current position as the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, Thrill-Power Overload charts the incredible history of this ground-breaking weekly. With exclusive interviews, hundreds of illustrations and rarely-seen artwork, former 2000 AD editor David Bishop guides the reader through three decades of action, adventure, excitement and the occasional editorial nightmare! Told by the people who were there, this is the definitive history of the comic that launched a thousand talents.
Large-format hardback
256 pages
Includes bonus comic strip and comprehensive index

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

TPO - order page now up!

After disappearing from the website for several months, THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD has reappeared. You can't pre-order it from yet, but you can sign up to be notified once the book becomes available for pre-order. Ignore the stated publication date of February 2008 - this is wrong. Way wrong. Wronger than Mad Jack McWrong of the Clan McWrong, as Blackadder would once have said.

The TPO will be published during Spring 2007. The plan was to get the book out during February this year, to coincide with 2000 AD's 30th anniversary. Alas, designing the tome has proven to be a massive task and editor Jon Oliver has opted to get it right than meet some arbitrary anniversary date. April 2007 is looking a more realistic publication date at this point. Keep your fingers crossed for it! British readers can pre-order their copy from .

In other news, I've book flights and a hotel room for this year's Bristol International Comic Festival. It's happening May 12-13 at the British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall and at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Bristol, England. I haven't been to a big comics event for seven years, but felt it was time to get off my butt and go out pimping the TPO book. Hopefully I'll see you there.

What else? Oh yeah. Visit my everyday blog and you can read 28 Days of 2000 AD. to mark the 30th anniversary of the Galaxy's greatest comic I've been running excerpts from the hundred-plus interviews I did with dozens of creators as research for TPO. There's a new excerpt on Vicious Imagery every day during February. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

TPO: first review up on

An early review of the TPO book has been posted on by S. E. Croft-Perkins [a.k.a. Logan from the Dredd fanzine Class of 79]: I've been lucky enough to read a proof of David's TPO book and can highly recommend it to any one who has ever read the Galaxy's Greatest Comic. The book is around 40,000 words longer than the original articles that appeared in the Judge Dredd Megazine which in themselves came in at around 80,000 words so far more information than fans of 2000 AD have seen before. From inside information from creators to interviews and comments made by many of the people involved in the gestation, birth and growing pains of 2000 AD through its formative years right up to its 30th Anniversary. If at any time you've been touched by the hand of Tharg or are fans of many of today's best known creators then Thrill Power Overload is a book for you. Nice - thanks for that, Logan!

I love the listing for the TPO book - at the top if you order and pay for the book now, it will usually be delivered in 2-4 weeks. Lower down it says the tome isn't published until February 20008! Well, neither of these statements is accurate. The book is due out February 2007, so there's still about 14 weeks to go. Can't wait!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

TPO tome now available for pre-order

Well, the Thrill-Power Overload book just got a step closer to publication. Online retailer has uploaded pre-publications details for the tome and is now taking pre-orders for it. I don't know precisely how accurate some of the specifics are, Amazon can be a tad off the mark occasionally. I suspect the cover image used to illustrate the book may be a placeholder and not the final version, but it's a start. Here's the text featured in the Amazon listing.
Synopsis: For 30 years, 2000 AD has been one of the most influential Science Fiction comics in the world. Home to such respected characters as Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and Rogue Trooper, its influence on the world of comic books as a whole is incalculable. Now, former 2000 AD editor David Bishop explores the history of this legendary comic in a comprehensive and fully illustrated book.

Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Rebellion (15 Feb 2007)
Language English
ISBN: 1905437226

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Free at last! Free at last!

Well, it's done. I have officially delivered the manuscript for THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD. Must admit, I pine for the days when I used to print out two copies of my latest tome and get a black cab across London to the publisher's office to hand in the book. Pressing SEND doesn't have quite the same quality of triumph and majesty, but such is life. The manuscript came in at 119,557 words after some cutting and polishing, so bang on for my 120,000 target. Many thanks are due to Alan Barnes and Steve Holland who read through the first draft and offered no end of helpful suggestions, corrections and notes. That's all I've been doing for the last three days, turning my 122,000 word draft into the finished manuscript.

of course, how finished it is remains to be seen. Editor Jonathan Oliver has to read the damned thing now and offer his comments. I'm still vaguely hopeful one or two people will still get back to me with their thoughts and recollections about certain events, such as Fleetway Film and Television. It's not the end of the world if they don't, but it would give the extra sheen of authority to the endeavour. the script-writing team of Dows and Clayton were last to sneak in, sending me their comments about Bison and Synnamon with about two hours to spare.

Not sure how often I'll be updating this blog from now on - certainly not most days as has been the case for the past month. I've got other projects on which I need to focus, so TPO will be a Somebody Else's Problem for the most part. But I will pop back in here every now and then, to chart the book's progress from manuscript to publication. In the meantime, below is the dedication I've suggested for the book.
This book is dedicated to the millions
of 2000 AD readers who have enjoyed the
comic since 1977 - without them, it would
not exist; and to the memory of letterer
Tom Frame – rest in peace, Tom.

Monday, August 28, 2006

They think it's all over...

...and they'd nearly be right. I have just typed two words so beloved by authors everywhere: THE END. Yes, TPO is finished, at least the first draft is. I'm still waiting on a handful of people to get back to me. If their input arrives in time, I'll cheerfully dive back into the manuscript to include the most cogent comments. If it doesn't, I won't lay awake at night weeping into my pillow about the missing piece in my big, fat book about the history of 2000 AD.

Of course, there's a few things I'd liked to have secured. Never managed to get in touch with Mark Millar, despite the fact we live less than fifty miles apart. Didn't manage to persuade Richard Burton or Alan McKenzie to go on the record. And no doubt there will be many more slips betwixt computer and published tome, but overall I'm remarkably pleased and proud of TPO the book as it stands. Now there's just the small matter of printing out all 122,356 words, sub-editing them and incorporating changes. Meanwhile, here's your extract for today.
A week after Leatherjack’s debut, another new series with a lengthy development history finally saw print. Williams had scripted early episodes of Breathing Space years earlier, but artist changes caused a lengthy delay in the strip’s gestation. ‘I fancied doing a noirish murder mystery in the Dredd universe,’ the writer recalls, ‘and Luna-1 seemed a great setting, like a western frontier town. I wanted to write a standalone - no sequel, no attempting to set up a longstanding 2000 AD character. Unfortunately, it was hugely delayed. Pete Doherty did a gorgeous job on the initial episode, but couldn’t draw any more. Eventually Laurence Campbell took over and, again, made it look absolutely lovely, but that took a while to sort out. There’s a lot of things I love about Breathing Space – its mood, its narrative structure, the whole look of the series. I was being quite experimental with panel layouts. On the downside, it’s very difficult to do a satisfying whodunit in 45 pages when you only have a small cast. That’s something I discovered after the event.’

The long delay in preparing Breathing Space for publication meant it was soon followed by another Williams’ series, The Ten-Seconders, illustrated by Mark Harrison. A post-apocalyptic tale about a handful of humans fighting superhuman oppressors, to some it read like a metaphor for US interventionism. But Williams says the allegorical inspiration came from something much closer to home for 2000 AD. ‘The theme of The Ten-Seconders was the American comics market versus a more British, 2000 AD sensibility. This small, struggling group of rather acerbic, violent individuals were fighting a war against a global superhero epidemic. So there were lots of quite parochial British references from the resistance … contrasted with these big, over-dramatic, bombastic superhero archetypes. In series two we’ll be throwing a group of Vertigo-style characters into the mix as a third party. There’ll be lots of fighting, gunfire and explosions too, of course.’ Caballistics Inc illustrator Dom Reardon is taking over as artist on The Ten-Seconders in 2007. ‘Dom’s pages look beautiful, but they won’t be appearing anytime soon,’ the writer says.

The success of Caballistics Inc’s drip-feed approach to storytelling was used as a rough template for Harry Kipling (Deceased), a new character introduced by Spurrier and Boo Cook in February 2006. ‘It started with Boo and me decided we have a mutual appreciation of all things not quite normal,’ the writer recalls. ‘We were tossing about some ideas and kept coming back to a quirky central character killing Big Strange Monsters, as seen through the eyes of a more down-to-earth companion. At some stage we went from monsters to gods. A lot of stuff all just slotted into place in response to questions we asked ourselves: we want Harry to fight gods? Why would he do that? We got a fully-formed universe with its own squiffy logic and fucked-up laws of physics. By running the series in short squirts, we’re letting the stories and the characters do their thing without rushing to let the readers know everything up front. They can just bloody wait.’

Friday, August 25, 2006

Who says politics is boring?

Hmm, I was probably optimistic in expecting to finish the raw first draft of TPO today. I've been ploughing my way through the post-Diggle era, but have only gotten as far as spring 2004. There's still plenty of new Thrills and old school revivals to be covered yet. Plus I'm still waiting on responses from a few creators to my questions - Ian Edginton has promised me a fistful of facts and thoughts, for example, and he's been a key contributor to 2000 AD over the past four years. So I'm not finished yet, but the end is in sight. Target wordcount remains at 120,000, but the running total is now up to 115,372. Here's your extract of the day...
Diggle returned to the weekly twice in 2003 as a writer. He shared script duties with Wagner on the Dredd/Aliens crossover Incubus, before flying solo on Snow/Tiger, a heady mixture of high-octane action and post 9/11 geopolitics illustrated by Andy Clarke. ‘Snow/Tiger actually started out as a pitch for Vertigo,’ Diggle admits. ‘I wanted to write something that felt very current, right up to the edge of the present. We were living in strange and dangerous times, and I wanted to capture that in an action story. When Vertigo turned it down for being “too mainstream”, I just filed the serial numbers off and re-tooled it for 2000AD. I’d originally planned it to be 88 pages in US format, a mixture of paranoid politics and extreme violence - so I just took out the politics and left in the extreme violence. Hey, it’s 2000AD! It was never meant to be anything more than a bit of dumb fun, to be honest, and I suppose it succeeded in that.’
The political content stirred up a hornet’s nest of argument on 2000 AD’s letters page. ‘The fact the story pissed people off on both sides of the political spectrum suggests I probably pitched it about right,’ Diggle believes. ‘One reader got really wound up, claiming the story must be anti-American because villain was American, apparently without noticing that the world-saving hero was American too. People just see what they want to, I guess. Looking back, it’s all a bit corny and clichéd, and the characters are horribly one-dimensional. But there’s a part of me that always tries to see both sides of an argument, and to defend points of view that I don’t necessarily agree with, and I think that came across to a degree.’ Any plans for more Snow/Tiger stories were put aside when Diggle signed an exclusive contract with DC Comics.