Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Whole lotta love

Today I have mostly been writing about the latter days of the 1990s. I was editor of 2000 AD at the time and it was a fractious, frequently unhappy period in the comic's history. Happily, it survived being turned into a cash cow by Egmont and would be bought by computer game developer Rebellion in the year 2000, but we didn't know that at the time. I can't tell you how strange it is reliving these events with the benefit of hindsight, but at least I'm familiar with the material!

New material is being added to TPO all the time. I interviewed artist John Ridgway by telephone yesterday afternoon, and he had some illuminating things to say about working on Luke Kirby and Junker. Art editor Colin Wyatt recently sent me answers to questions about his time on the comic, from early 1978 until the summer of 1980. Relevant quotes and facts from both interviews have now been worked into the existing narrative. The end is in sight for TPO. My target wordcount is 120,000. As of this moment, the draft manuscript has swollen to a mighty 103,296 words - not long to go now. Here's your extract for the day - a bit shorter than usual, but you can't have everything, can you...
In July the last of the strips commissioned before Bishop’s arrival finally saw print. I Was a Teenage Tax Consultant was a creator-owned comedy by Wagner and Gibson that had been in development since the early 1990s. It featured a rebellious youth who becomes dependable and staid after being bitten by a rabid accountant. ‘It’s fun to take an old cliché and give it a new twist,’ Wagner says. ‘It took so long to see print, because nobody else thought it was as funny as I did.’

Gibson believes the story went off half-cocked. ‘John had been toying with the idea for so long, I think it had gone stale on him. He’s much better when he does Dredd style stories, but he wanted to do a more romantic story. By the time it ran, it didn’t work anymore – it never had any steam. It was kicking around for a long time.’ The deadline was exacerbated by Gibson taking four months to deliver the artwork for each six-page episode. I Was a Teenage Tax Consultant was in preparation so long, the comic had changed size by the time the strip was ready.

The editorial team was forced to put a border above each page to make the art fit. In the late 1970s, Gibson had a reputation for being incredibly fast and reliable. ‘David Bishop can vouchsafe that as being a total lie,’ the artist says. ‘When I worked for him, I stretched deadlines as far as possible – seeing how far I could go before he would snap!’


Post a Comment

<< Home