Monday, July 31, 2006

A more productive day...

Got another 3000 words done today, and progressed the 2000 AD story up to the advent of killer polar bear Shako in Prog 20. Fresh material arrived from current 2000 AD writers Simon Spurrier and Rob Williams, who kindly answered my questions about their work for the comic. Both sent material to the comic while I was editor and both got rejected, only breaking in to the title after I'd left the Nerve Centre. Considering the quality of work they're now producing, that probably doesn't reflect well on me - but both were generous enough to concede flaws in the stories that submitted during my time. Happily, my successor Andy Diggle did recognise their talent, so it turned out alright in the end. Right, here is today's extract from the work in progress...
Mills resigned as editor in the spring of 1977, satisfied he had launched another hit for IPC. ‘I was bored of being at war with such a sad bunch of losers who wished we’d drop down dead. Frankly, I’ve had enough.’ Gosnell became editor and Landau soon joined him as chief sub-editor. Gosnell inherited the job of getting each issue approved by Sanders.

‘He had to see every page before it went to press to make sure it wasn’t too violent. Didn’t matter how many robots we killed or blew up, as was happening in Dredd by this time. But Sanders used to do a body count every bloody week on Invasion. I’d be called down on press day with the artwork in front of me. He would count the corpses and complain about how many there were. “Too many, dear boy, too many. Can’t we get rid of this chap being blown in two by a shotgun at close range? Let’s try to get the body count down to under 90 next week, shall we?” It was like horse-trading corpses every week, completely bizarre.’

Wordcount target: 120,000. Current wordcount: 13,764.

Friday, July 28, 2006

End of week one - slow progress thus far

Friday afternoon and time to call it a day. Can't say I've made anywhere near as much progres as I'd have liked, but am hopeful things will pick up next week [and that the weather cools down a little]. Here's your Extract of the Day from the work in progress:
It was common for IPC comics to have a fictional character as their editor, providing a voice for the title to communicate with its readers. O’Neill says the creation of 2000 AD’s editor, Tharg the Mighty, was a convoluted process: ‘It was one of those pow-wows in the office. Pat and Kelvin sat opposite each other and I saw behind a partition, directly behind Kelvin’s desk.

'They had these ranting conversations, lots of swearing and cursing. The people from Buster always complained, somebody leaned over and asked them to mind their language. Pat and Kelvin had a poisonous, venomous hatred of cosy editorial chats seen in the likes of Valiant, that sort of kindly Uncle Editor stuff. They wanted to do the opposite of that, an irreverent sort of editor figure.’

Target wordcount: 120,000. Current wordcount: 10,421.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Heat stifling, progress slow

Still on the first chapter of TPO, deep in the heart of 2000 AD's lengthy gestation during 1976. Here's an extract from what I wrote yesterday:-
Movies like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno were filling cinemas in the 1970s, featuring Hollywood stars in scenes of apocalyptic peril and providing Mills with the inspiration for another putative strip.

‘Death Bug was a disaster style story – very popular at that time in movies. There was no reason why the format, focussing on a group of identifiable victims, shouldn’t have worked, but it requires more effort from the artist. It would have needed a Joe Colquohoun (the artist on Mills’ classic First World War series Charley’s War in BPW) to make the concept work.

In this case the art was awful, so I didn’t proceed with Death Bug.’ Another outcast was Planet of the Damned, about a portal in the Bermuda Triangle that transported unfortunate travellers to another, barbaric world. That subsequently saw print, in Starlord, a new science fiction launched in 1978, slyly credited to R. E. Wright.

Current wordcount: 4599. Target wordcount: 120,000.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Welcome to the TPO blog

THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD is a book detailing the life and times of legendary British comic 2000 AD. It is being published in February 2007, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Galaxy's Great Comic. This blog will chart the writing of that book and its progress towards publication, hopefully acting as a nexus point for the project.

THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD [TPO for short] is a real labour of love. It began life in 2002 as a series of articles commissioned by Alan Barnes to coincide with 2000 AD’s silver anniversary. What seemed a simple project soon grew into a massive narrative, trying to discern the facts from conflicting memories and opinions gleaned from dozens of interviews. Originally planned as a dozen features, TPO became sixteen articles and more than 80,000 words. The articles drew acclaim from Megazine readers and reviewers, even if they angered some of those involved in the events detailed.

The book version will revise, massively expand and update those articles. It reveals 2000 AD’s secret history, as told through the words and recollections of those involved: writers, artists, editorial staff and publishers. It details the comic’s troubled genesis, how the weekly was almost cancelled twice within three years of launch and the various editorial teams’ frequent battles against management interference and censorship. The book offers a unique insight into Britain’s most acclaimed comic, as seen by those who were there.

Current wordcount: 2830. Wordcount target: 120,000.