Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hanging with Halo Jones

Spent a lot of today writing about The Ballad of Halo Jones, one of 2000 AD's most acclaimed series. Started with Alan Moore and Ian Gibson designing the characters and concepts for book one, and am about to launch into the making of the third and final Halo Jones tale. As a consequence, the TPO story moved through 1984 and 1985 - eventful years by anyone's standards. For today's extract, I've chosen Alan Grant talking about the aborted Judge Dredd mega-epic, City of the Damned. As you're about to see, the writer is no great fan of artist Kim Raymond. Kim, if by some freak mischance you're reading this, look away now. Everybody else, prepare for harsh language...
City of the Damned suffered an ailment common to mega-epics, using four different artists to keep the strip going. Steve Dillon launched the story but Ron Smith, Gibson and Kim Raymond had to be brought in to meet deadline pressures. Grant is still angry about the last of those artist ‘Fuck! Fuck! We tried and tried to stop Kim Raymond ever doing Dredd again. We called up every fucking week to complain about it. Some really poor artists have done Dredd and Kim Raymond did the worst Dredds of all. It stank! I’ve seen other Kim Raymond art and it wasn’t bad, but it was like he missed the point of Dredd – maybe he was trying to rush it out. Ugly art.’

The third and final adaptation of a Stainless Steel Rat novel began in Prog 393, giving Rogue Trooper a brief respite. When the future warrior returned in Prog 401, his bio-chipped brothers in arms got new bodies. But a deadly virus destroys their nervous systems, forcing them back onto bio-chips. Rogue was forced to start a new quest, this time searching for a cure to the virus. Finley-Day was joined by artist Ortiz, but the glory days had past for Rogue. ‘We couldn’t bring ourselves to kill him,’ MacManus admits. ‘So he stumbled on.’ Rogue’s troubles were fast becoming a metaphor for the comic in which he appeared. Several of 2000 AD’s established series were coming to the end of their natural lives, just as the talent drain to American comics was becoming an ever more pressing problem. Then there was the issue of creators’ rights, something about which IPC and its management refused to budge.

Wordcount target: 120,000. Today's wordcount: 52,761.


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