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SPACE WARP 1 DO NOT ADJUST YOUR REALITY

SPACE WARP 1 DO NOT ADJUST YOUR REALITY

My ideal line-up for SPACE WARP One is six out of the following seven stories:
Agent Impossible, Jurassic Man, Hellbreaker, Futants, Xecutioners, SF1, Slayer. Plus a Future Schlock bonus story.
To give you a better idea of what Space Warp is all about and what I’m looking for – here’s the title page of JURASSIC MAN by Simon Hodgkiss-Rogers:

SPACE WARP IS COMING

SPACE WARP IS COMING

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to create a comic like 2000AD, now is your chance to find out. To experience the highs, the lows, the creative jamming with artists, the excitement of breakthroughs and the disappointments when things go wrong. Then the satisfaction of solving those problems, getting the art right, the stories right, the thrill of seeing amazing new artwork, and the knowledge that we are facilitating great new talent who, otherwise, might be stuck in some boring job. And finally, the thrill of viewing the finished awesome comic.

FUTURE TOPICS

FUTURE TOPICS

I’m taking a three-week break now, but there are a number of topics I hope to cover when I come back, or in a future collected edition of Storyteller. I feel they are important, so I can’t resist giving a few pointers on each of them just now.

COMICS FOR THE 8-14 AGE GROUP

COMICS FOR THE 8-14 AGE GROUP

I can still remember the exact moment on 2000AD when I knew I would have to change my writing style and adapt for an older, vocal fan market that Tharg was increasingly favoring, rather than the core comic audience. It was on Sláine: The King and it’s probably one of the reasons why that story is particularly popular with fans today. Yet I felt uneasy at the change of direction and where the comic was going. But the alternative was that I would have been slowly phased out, as were other writers from that era who were increasingly seen as ‘old school’ and not cool enough for fans.

VILLAINS: Part two

VILLAINS: Part two

I do think there is a case for knowing your villain personally or at least carefully researching him. An obvious villain was/is Aleister Crowley. But great writers have beaten us to him. He appears as Mocata in Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out. And Oliver Haddo in The Magician by Somerset Maughan. And doubtless many more novels beside. But he does feature in Requiem as Black Sabbat and I think Olivier, has depicted him beautifully. I read a lot of Crowley’s life and writings to characterise him, focussing especially on his relationship with Leah Hirsig, the ‘Ape of Thoth’.

THE BLOOD LUST BISHOP

THE BLOOD LUST BISHOP

Bishop Winnington-Ingram is far worse than any of the villains I featured in Charley’s War. Here’s part of his sermon in Westminster Abbey in 1915:

‘To save the freedom of the world, to save Liberty’s own self, to save the honour of women and the innocence of children […] everyone that loves freedom and honour, […] are banded in a great crusade – we cannot deny it – to kill Germans. To kill them, not for the sake of killing but to save the world; to kill the good as well as the bad, to kill the young men as well as the old’

GIRLS COMICS: Part two

GIRLS COMICS: Part two

‘How to’ books invariably tell you the principles of writing and then assure you that if you follow them, publishing doors will open for you. They won’t. How to actually sell your work is invariably neglected, so new writers have to figure it out for themselves and all too often they get it horribly wrong because they don’t really understand the current state of the market and how it works.

GIRLS COMICS: Part one

GIRLS COMICS: Part one

Girls’ comics are tremendously important: they were hugely successful and are fondly remembered today so I really should write down what they were all about. Writing them was a craft and sometimes even an art – usually learnt by trial and error – and I guess I’m concerned (and certainly my muse is) that the somewhat specialised knowledge of how they were produced could be lost.

VILLAINS: Part one

VILLAINS: Part one

What kind of villains are you interested in and where do you find them? In 2000AD, the greatest villains are undoubtedly Judge Death and Torquemada. Creating a dark version of a hero, like Dredd, is definitely a good way to go. Not only Judge Death but also Rico Dredd came from flipping a hero over to his dark side. In a similar way Blue Eyes and Grim Reaper are dark versions of my hero American Reaper, who appeared in the Judge Dredd Megazine.

EDITING

EDITING

Of all the forms of writing and editing, comics are often the toughest. At first glance, this sounds most unlikely, given their downmarket origins and their often low standard, but it’s absolutely true. The reason is twofold. Firstly, there are considerable restrictions of space. In British comics particularly, weekly episodes often featured over two, three or six pages. Six-page, self-contained stories are still commonplace. For a story to make sense, to be paced correctly, and to appeal to the reader sufficiently for him or her to buy the next episode means it must have an excellent and tight structure.

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