Film Intervjuer Tegneserier

Mannen som skapte 2000 AD

I dag kan du lese fem sider om den klassiske britiske science fiction-tegneserien Judge Dredd i D2, med intervjuer med skaperen John Wagner og blodfan Geoff Barrow fra Portishead. Hans uoffisielle soundtrack anbefales sterkt.

Her en aldri så liten bonus, director’s cut-versjonen av mitt intervju med Pat Mills, mannen som skapte antologien 2000 AD, navnet «Judge Dread» og som skrev den klassiske Dredd-sagaen «The Cursed Earth».

Filmen Dredd har norgespremiere fredag 28. september. Les også om Mills-seriene Charley’s War og Sláine. Og sjekk for all del ut io9s liste over de 11 essensielle Dredd-historiene her.

PAT MILLS (foto: Michael Molcher).

ØH: Looking back, the end of the 70’s is today seen as a golden age for science fiction, but the planning of 2000 AD was not an easy ride? Do you feel you accomplished your goal, even though your planning was met with little support?

PM: Yes, it was very tough creating 2000AD, but worthwhile, it has a lasting legacy. Although I think we’ve lost the original target audience (8-12 years old), which I regret.

ØH: Was having a ultra violent man, on the right side of the law, as a hero, a sort of answer to the criticism of violent comics of the day?

PM: It was more a satire on violence. And also a response to the readers’ desire for ever more violent, tough heroes.

Aller første nummer av 2000 AD, fra februar 1977. Judge Dredd debuterte i nummer to.

ØH: When did you feel that Judge Dredd transformed into something different than the future Dirty Harry?

PM: Right from the beginning. The first episode he appears in has strong science fiction and satirical elements, for example the villain is abandoned on Devil’s Island, a traffic island from which he can never escáape because of the vehicles constantly surrounding it.

ØH: Carlos Ezquerra’s artwork transformed Dredd in a way neither you nor John Wagner originally planned for, making him more futuristic and extreme. In what way do you think this influenced the writing and the character’s development?

PM: Without a doubt.  In fact, if you look at the original Mega-City by Carlos,  it is far more futuristic than the Mega-City we see today. Buildings are taller and more organic.  I imagine he must have been very influenced by Gaudí.

«The Cursed Earth» er den største og viktigste Dredd-historien skrevet av Pat Mills.

ØH: Who is the real protagonist in Judge Dredd, is it Dredd or Mega-City One? And is Dredd really a hero or a villain? Or both?

PM: Hmm…, I think today the city is the main character and Dredd is a hero, but with a kind of question mark over his heroism. When it began, arguably Dredd was more the main character and also more of a Hero, albeit with a strong humour theme). I think that’s more my personal favorite, (e.g. «The Cursed Earth»), but both versions work.

ØH: 2000 AD is often mentioned as the punk rock of comics?

PM: I think it has its roots before punk rock.  John and I were very influenced by underground comics and also by Warren comics (Weird and Eerie) and films like Death Race 2000 and Rollerball. But these would have all struck a chord with the movements that followed.

ØH: What do you feel are the most daring and defining Dredd tales and characters, when it comes to political subtext and messages? I am thinking of publishing «The Apocalypse War» during the Cold War and the stories about the democratic movement in Mega-City One?

PM: That was after my time on Dredd, but I gather they’re  excellent stories. The early stories I was connected with obviously defined much of the character.  Although not directly political, they were certainly subversive.

Surrounding a cop like Dredd with humorous characters, for instance,  satirises that fascist imagery. This is not something every reader feels comfortable with. But then there were some readers who thought Torquemada was right to cleanse aliens!

ØH: How important has it been to have John Wagner contributing so many stories since the beginning?

PM: John didn’t write the printed Dredds  for the first eight weeks. For various reasons we had to write them ourselves. But when John came in with the Robot Rebellion – around issue ten or eleven – he completely established the character, and it’s gone from strength to strength since.

Det norske Dommer Dredd-bladet – en viktig grunn til at jeg beholdt tegneserieinteressen gjennom 1980-årene.

ØH: Why do you think the character really hasn’t caught on outside of Britain?

PM: Good question. I think there is a downside to Dredd, but fans in the UK are so emphatic in how they want Dredd to be that they ignore the downside. In Europe – and perhaps the US in the past – that downside is immediately apparent to readers. This is why Sláine has been hugely popular in Europe, but not Dredd.

It’s not something anyone really wants to look at or talk about, it’s an uncomfortable truth that is usually ignored, so your question is an interesting one.

It’s partly because he’s not a classic Hero – in that he’s not always heroic –  it’s also because the stories often lack an album structure like Sláine – and of course many European countries don’t get the idea of a supposedly fascist character being a hero.

If you want to appeal to a European/US market, you have to write and draw with them in mind. I did this with Sláine, and that’s why it works in Europe.

I gather IDW are producing Dredd for the US, and I’m sure they’ll work hard at getting it right.

Pat Mills’ «The Cursed Earth»-saga er oversatt til norsk. Han sørget for at dinosaurene fra sin egen serie Flesh dukket opp i Dredds verden.

ØH: What did the 2000 AD writers and artists bring to American comics, and what kind of indirect consequences has the spirit of 2000 AD had on pop culture in general today?

PM: The Brits brought that irreverent way of looking at life to US comics which were rather conservative. Thus Marshal Law – by myself and Kevin O’Neill – is wildly subversive. It’s being reprinted in the spring by DC Comics as a collected edition.

The spirit of 2000 AD has definitely affected many people in the media who grew up reading the comic. Directors like Duncan Jones (Moon)  and actors like  Simon Pegg.

ØH: Did the first Dredd movie have any repercussions, good or bad, for the comic? Do you have faith in the new one?

PM: I think the first film probably had a negative effect. We probably lost some sales, although I have no figures to prove this. But I believe the Tank Girl film had a negative effect on Deadline. I’ve only seen the trailer of the new Dredd film, and I can see the actor is very well cast. Much better than Sylvester Stallone. That has to be good for the comic.

ØH: Will we see the end of Judge Dredd some time? Will 2000 AD still be here in 10, 20 or 30 years time?

PM: Dan Dare lasted from 1950, and is still around in one form or another some 62 years later. So why not Dredd and 2000 AD?  Some of the  other characters  I think will also survive.

Bonus: Denne lista fikk ikke plass i D2.

2000 AD er mer enn Judge Dredd. Disse konkurrerer om en plass på pallen i popularitetstoppen:

Strontium Dog
Etter flere atomkriger har antallet mutanter økt i befolkningen, og dusørjeger er blant den diskriminerte minoritetens få yrkesvalg. Johnny Alpha er den mest kjente. Skapt av John Wagner og Carlos Ezquerra i 1978.

ABC Warriors
Fremtidens kriger blir så skitne og voldelige at vi lar roboter gjøre jobben for oss. Skapt av Pat Mills med flere i 1979.

Nemesis the Warlock
Menneskene har kolonisert store deler av verdensrommet, og bedriver etnisk rensing blant romvesenene. Det eneste som står i veien for folkemordet er den ildsprutende demonen Nemesis. Skapt av Pat Mills og Kevin O’Neill i 1980.

Rogue Trooper
En genetisk modifisert og klonet elitesoldat, som står i spissen for en ødeleggende borgerkrig på romkolonien Nu-Earth. Skapt av Gerry Finley-Day og Dave Gibbons i 1981.

En sverdsvingende barbar, inspirert av keltiske myter og gudinnedyrkelse. Skapt av Pat Mills og Angela Kincaid i 1983.

The Ballad of Halo Jones
En science fiction-såpeopera som skulle unngå de klassiske 2000 AD-klisjeene om karer, pistoler og gørr. Skapt av Alan Moore og Ian Gibson i 1984.

2000 ADs første superhelt handler mer om generasjonsforskjeller og popkultur enn om spektakulære slåsskamper. «Hva om Morrissey hadde vært en superhelt?» Skapt av Grant Morrison og Steve Yeowell i 1987.

Devlin Waugh
Spinoffserie fra Judge Dredd, om en homoseksuell, flamboyant eksorsist i Vatikanets tjeneste. Skapt av John Smith og Sean Philips i 1992.

Nikolai Dante
Det ble aldri noen russisk revolusjon, isteden har Keiser-Russland full kontroll over Jorden i det 27. århundret. Deres eneste problem er cyberbanditten Nikolai Dante, etterkommer av Romanov-dynastiet. Skapt av Robbie Morrison og Simon Fraser i 1997.

Dessuten: Anderson: PSI Division, Robo-Hunter, Ro-Busters, Bad Company, Button Man, Chopper, Flesh, Sinister Dexter og Future Shocks.

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