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2000AD Expands New Publishing Program With “Scarlet Traces” Deal

Scarlet Traces

In a move indicating further expansion beyond its own well-established and much-loved titles, 2000AD has announced it has acquired the rights to Scarlet Traces by Ian Edginton and Matt “D’Israeli” Brooker.

2000AD has secured the global rights for the series, its sequel The Great Game, and its prequel – the pair’s adaptation of HG Well’s The War of the Worlds – and will reprint them in new editions.

To the delight of fans of the series, 2000AD has also announced that Edginton and D’Israeli will be working on new stories in the series, an inventive Steampunk sequel to Wells’ all-time classic by two of comics’ greatest talents.

The acquisition comes hot on the heels of 2000AD‘s announcement that it would be publishing another comics project, Goldtiger by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton next year – their first project publishing comics work not originally published in any 2000AD-related title.

Scarlet Traces took science fiction’s first great novel and merged it with a dose of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Wyndham and Nigel Kneale, D’Israeli’s awe-inspiring world-building with Edginton’s deft grasp of characterisation and trademark ‘pipe and slippers gothic’ style producing a comic that is at once tremendously thrilling and humbly grounded.

Originally published online before being serialised in Judge Dredd Megazine in 2002, one of the title’s creator-owned projects, it takes place ten years after the abortive Martian invasion of Earth and, thanks to reverse engineering the alien technology littering its countryside after the war, Britain now dominates the world economically and politically.

But all is not well in this alternate Britain. Women’s bodies – all drained of blood – are being washed up on the banks of the River Thames. Major Robert Autumn DSO emerges from comfortable retirement with his trusty manservant Colour Sergeant Arthur Currie to hunt down the culprits – but what they find will shake their world to its very core.

The Great Game was published by Dark Horse Comics in 2006 and is set 30 years later, when the increasingly autocratic British government has launched a counter-invasion of Mars. But aristocratic young photojournalist Charlotte Hemming discovers that the war is not going well for old Blighty…

“’Is Scarlet Traces going to be reprinted?’ and ‘Is there going to be another series?’ are the two questions we’re always asked when we do signings and conventions,” says Ian Edginton, a regular writer for 2000AD. “It pleases me no end to say that I can now give hearty ‘yes!’ to both.

“We’ve viewed a great many options over the years with regards reprints and new series and eventually, we both came to the same conclusion that the best place, the most natural fit, would be at Rebellion. We have created a substantial body of work for them and always been happy with the way we’ve been treated.

“I always envisioned that there would be more Scarlet Traces stories to tell and now we can begin in earnest.”

Scarlet Traces began its life in print at the Judge Dredd Megazine in 2002,” says Matt Brooker, “so in many ways this feels like coming home. 

“Ian and I have always had an excellent relationship with 2000AD, who have backed us in doing some of our best work.

“It’s always tough to let your offspring go, but we trust Rebellion to do a great job both in publishing and promoting Scarlet Traces, and we’ve every confidence it will thrive in its new home.”

Ben Smith, Head of Book and Comics Publishing at Rebellion Publishing, said: “Ian Edginton and D’Israeli are two of the most significant creators to emerge in British comics over the last twenty years. Scarlet Traces was a standout series that we have long admired.

“When Ian and Matt were looking for a new home for the collected series I knew that Rebellion had an opportunity to not only produce a new edition that would do this material full justice, but that by bringing the series in-house to 2000AD, we would be able to continue the saga and have the creators tell the full story they have always wanted to and see it run for years to come.”

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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