It’s the secret history of the greatest comic of the 1960s that you’ve never heard of… and you’ll end up wondering if it’s a true story or gloriously put together hoax. But it’s also a Kickstarter success story, a time-capsule of one of the most exciting and fertile periods in comics, and an entirely new departure for 2000AD.
Goldtiger, presented by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, is being published by 2000AD in the UK in March 2016 – and, ‘rescued’ by 2000AD for publication, it is the first time the publisher has published a new work not previously serialised in the publisher’s weekly and monthly anthologies.
Begun as a Kickstarter campaign, this love-letter to the British newspaper adventure strips of the 20th Century is a fascinating and full-bloodied mix of Modesty Blaise and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay, described on the crowd funding site’s appeal page as “the iconic 60s comic strip that never was… until now!”Adams and the (then anonymous) Broxton (lurking behind the name James Hodgkins) launched the Kickstarter in early 2013, and the description of the project and its original creators Antonio Barreti and Louis Shaeffer is a glorious (and very funny) account of how they had uncovered what they claimed was the touching story of the creators behind the 1960s most surprising secret agents, accompanied by sample strips, promotional art and more that instantly enthralled enough people to want to back it. The project looked absolutely terrific – with beautiful art – and easily achieved its £12,000 target (and then some). But in June 2015 the pair announced the project had secured a publishing deal, and in the past fews days (in part down to the automated way ISBN filing, Amazon announcements and the like happen these days), the news site Bleeding Cool picked up on the fact that 2000AD was the publisher involved – before a proper announcement could be made to either the projects’s original backers or a proper press release could be issued.
Here’s what Guy told backers when the story broke thanks to some robots and a keen eye at Bleeding Cool:
2000AD, of course, have clearly happily joined in with the fun that Guy and Jimmy kicked off, and have revealed the book will collect together an archive of ‘behind the scenes’ material of the strip that never was – letters, scripts, interviews, sketches – all documenting the creation of the strip and the outlandish lives of its creators and their unbelievable brush with 2000AD. Here’s their sale pitch…
As some of you may have seen. The listing info for the Goldtiger went live on Amazon yesterday. This wasn’t planned by either our publishing partners (Rebellion) or ourselves. The agreed plan was that we’d get to tell you guys first then, very shortly after, a general press release would go out. Best laid plans of mice and tigers…
This sort of thing can happen as some of you may know, the convoluted data web of info between publishers, distributors and Amazon is a nightmare and publishing information has to be submitted many months in advance (though is intended to stay ‘in house’ and not be public). When we spotted the Amazon info (which was placeholder info at best) had gone live we nudged Rebellion and they sprang into action to get it pulled (which it now has been).
In the meantime Bleeding Cool spotted it and… ran a news post about it!
So that was that, the cat can no longer even see the bag, let alone be said to live in it.
So, yes, we’ve partnered with Rebellion. As some of you may know I’ve worked with them extensively with my novels as well as my various 2000AD series so they were an obvious publisher to speak to when the proverbial hit the spinning air thing. We discussed various ideas with them and mutually came up with a plan to expand the book to include some extra material pulling Barreti’s (frustrated) attempts to revive Goldtiger for 2000AD into the mix. Because… well, once you discover he tried to do that of course you’d want to include it. So, the book you were expecting plus a bit more, basically.
Jimmy and I have been discussing how to ensure backers get something above and beyond the trade edition, as is your right, and we’ll announce details about that as they pull together. Rest assured we intend to look after you just as you have looked after us throughout this protracted nonsense. In the meantime, while both we and Rebellion would rather it had been announced another way, let’s concentrate on the good news: Goldtiger is on the way and it’s bigger than ever.
Love and thanks to you all as always, this has been a right old journey but see that? Just over there? That’s the finish line that is.
*Pops champagne cork*
About bloody time!”
Of all the 1960s newspaper strips, one of the most discussed has to be Antonio Barreti and Louis Shaeffer’s Goldtiger, Uncollected until today, this astonishing book lifts the lid on comics’ most unsung creation and also reveals its incredible connection to British comics icon and the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, 2000AD!
“Working with Shaeffer, a writer entrenched in the world of crime and sci-fi pulp magazines, Barreti produced the first serial in its entirety. Deemed too sensational – not least because both of its main characters were openly homosexual – the strip was cancelled, but even Barreti’s mental breakdown didn’t hold him back, he continued to write Goldtiger and later mysteriously vanished.
“Using extensive restoration techniques and after many years of scouring the archives, Goldtiger is ready to be presented again, complete from the very beginning and starting with their debut adventure The Poseidon Complex.
“Goldtiger is everything I ever wanted in a comic strip” says Jimmy Broxton. “A ‘heady cocktail of derring do, daring outfits and even more daring sexuality’.
“The chance to represent this lost 60s classic to a new and hopefully eager audience represents a dream come true, a dream ‘peppered with bullets, bra straps and brutal bravado’.
“Perfect reading for a lazy, sunny afternoon then, or a wet and windy one, this is England after all.”
“This extraordinary secret history is something that we had to see revealed. 2000AD’s history of bestselling archive collections, from The Daily Dredds to our Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files series is about to take the most unexpected new turn with Goldtiger.” Ben Smith, Head of Rebellion Publishing.
“Few creators could fail to recognise parts of themselves in Barreti and Schaeffer,” says Guy Adams, “one is the prolific hack, desperate to pay the bills and the other a principled artist, determined to kick against the pricks and get his story told, whether or not anyone’s willing to hear it.”
Not entirely fictional, and never entirely sober, Jimmy Broxton has been creating comics in various forms for as long as he can remember (at leat a fortnight then). When not teaming up with his partner in crime Guy, he works on various original graphic novel projects that he hopes will reach the light of day before too long, or before closing time, whichever comes sooner.
Guy Adams, who would appear to be the driving force behind this terrific-looking project, has made so many things up he’s at risk of becoming fictional himself. He’s the author of the Clown Service series, the Heaven’s Gate trilogy and the Deadbeat books. So, that’s weird spy novels, weird westerns and weird crime thrillers.
Perhaps, gentle reader, he’s a bit weird. His current project is a frankly ill advisedly epic series of YA novellas called The Change. He also writes comics: “Ulysses Sweet: Maniac for Hire”, “Rogue Trooper” and “Voodoo Planet” for 2000AD and The Engine for Madefire.
Whatever the truth behind the origins of Goldtiger – and to be honest, Guy’s sale pitch is so convincing, and it could be a real strip – but the news that 2000AD is looking beyond its own titles and beginning to spread its wings into new comics publishing is very welcome. Perhaps they’ve been looking carefully at Titan Comics increasingly confident expansion, as well as building on the hard-won success for their 2000AD-related titles on both sides of the Atlantic?
Whatever the case – exciting times!
• Goldtiger: The Poseidon Complex is scheduled to launch on an unsuspecting world on 10th march 2016. Hoax? Reality? A heady mix of the two? Only you can decide…