Monday, August 21, 2006

Typing about myself in the third person

TPO has now reached the section where I spend a lot of time writing about myself in the third person. It's somewhat disconcerting to type Bishop says this and Bishop did that, but there's no other, more elegant solution I can find. Marcus Hearn did a fascinating series of articles about the history of Doctor Who Magazine recently and encountered the same issue. He would lapse into first person for sequences involving himself, something I found most irritating at the time.

I've decided it's better to keep the prose style of TPO consistent throughout, even if it means typing about myself in the third person. That David Bishop, he's such a flipping blabbermouth, too! Anyway, your extract for the day lurks below. The end is in sight for this draft, I hope to get it nailed down by the end of the week. Target wordcount: 120,000. Current total: 96,116.
Sinister Dexter had transferred into 2000 AD earlier that month for a short run of stories. Bishop admits he was not a fan of the strip initially and did not plan to bring it back. ‘At first glance it seemed like a cheap knock-off of Pulp Fiction. I was ready to retire Sinister Dexter permanently. But another strip due to start in Prog 990 went late, so I called Dan and asked him for another five episodes.’ By the time these finished, Sinister Dexter had begun gaining some traction in the weekly reader popularity poll. ‘It was second or third favourite in the comic by the end of run. The readers thought it was good and I was started to enjoy it too. I asked Dan for a full-length series.’

The 2000 AD team found itself also looking after the Megazine in April when freelance editor Tomlinson was axed by Fleetway. ‘When Jon Davidge left and the new regime took over, they were inexplicably hostile to freelancers,’ he says. ‘I was costing them a great deal more than someone already on staff, so perhaps it wasn’t too surprising. With hindsight it was a good time to go.’ The Megazine began reprinting large chunks of the Dredd epic Necropolis to save money. This drastic step was designed to ensure the title would still be published in 1997. The strategy succeeded, but the Megazine was badly wounded by the choice and needed years to recover.

Eco-warrior witch Finn returned in Prog 991 for Season of the Witch, a new story by Mills, Skinner and Paul Staples. The series was subsequently dropped from the comic’s stable of returning characters. ‘Finn was quite popular with a section of the readership, but I felt the strip was in danger of duplicating the appeal of Sláine,’ Bishop explains. ‘I asked Pat to concentrate on the latter instead. Bringing Finn to an end created room for the new series and characters that other creators had in development.’ The new editor was not worked with Mills before but was well aware of the writer’s reputation as a strong willed, charismatic creator. ‘There seemed to be only two ways of working with Pat – confrontation or caving in to him. When editorial teams angered Pat, they were liable to get an earful down the phone from him. He called it a pre-emptive strike. In the office it was known as a Mills bomb. I decided it would be easier to restrict him to a single strip in the comic, and Sláine was by far the most popular of his creations.’

2 Comments:

Blogger Pete Ashton said...

I'm curious as to how you get quotes from yourself. Do you sit down with a mic and have a conversation?

"So Dave, what happened here?"
"Well Dave, the thing is..."

Or do you send yourself emails?

I'm kinda serious here - it must be hard keeping the two voices separate and distinct.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Al Iguana said...

hideously late and probably inappropriate, but Slaine and Finn are the two strips I have the fondest memories of, and would still read today (a Finn collection is well overdue, as is Third World War). Unlike Dredd and his ilk, who started to bore the pants off me after prog 200....

2:46 AM  

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