Thursday, August 03, 2006

Burb, baby, burn: How Inferno left 2000 AD charred

Spent the day trying to fit together the pieces of the puzzle regarding a 2000 AD strip called Inferno. There was one incidence of ultra-violence too many in the future sports story, and the fallout from that saw ersatz editor Nick Landau removed from the title. I've got quotes from many of the key players, including: managing editor Bob Bartholomew, who blew the whistle; editor Kelvin Gosnell, who was away on holiday when the stomm hit the fan; art editor Kevin O'Neill; and Landau himself. I've also been promised some answers from Roy Preston [2000 AD's sub-editor at the time] and Colin Wyatt [then art assistant on the comic], so hopefully they shed some more light on what happened. Anyway, here's an extract from the work in progress - what follows may well change before TPO goes to print. Contains swearing, by the way...
Trying to determine exactly what happened next is problematic at best, due to conflicting memories and the passage of time. Landau believes management censorship cost him his job on 2000 AD. ‘You could demolish a robot and get away with that. Strips like Flesh were pretty close to the knuckle. The one that used to come under the most scrutiny was Inferno – that was heavily censored. I ended up getting transferred to Battle because of that story. The situation frustrated me at the time because I ended up standing alone in the firing line. Both the editor and managing editor approved pages before they went to press, I was only the chief sub-editor.’

Bartholomew believes Gosnell was responsible for 2000 AD’s troubles. ‘Time and time again he went over the top with an excess of violence by IPC standards. Kelvin paid a nominal lip service to my position, consulting me – telling me – about certain writers and artists, but he got short shrift when he actually complained to Sanders about my “interference”.’

Gosnell angrily denies any suggestions he was culpable for what happened with Inferno. ‘I did not “approve” the offending strip because I was on fucking holiday! Landau was running the comic when Inferno was in 2000 AD, I had no control over it.’

Wordcount target: 120,000. Today's wordcount: 24, 490.


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