For the first time in four decades, legendary sci-fi action comic 2000AD is to publish an issue with an all-female creative line-up, including work by award-winner Tillie Walden, Tula Lotay, and Alex De Campi – and that’s not the only good news from Rebellion when it comes to new projects.
On sale 20 June, the 48-page 2000AD Sci-Fi Special will have an all-female roster of writers, artists, colourists and letterers, with covers from Tula Lotay (Supreme: Blue Rose, Bodies) and newcomer Emily Zeinner, and all-new stories by Alex De Campi (Twisted Romance, No Mercy), Maura McHugh (Witchfinder, The Nail), Tillie Walden (On A Sunbeam, The End of Summer), Katy Rex (Jade Street Protection Services), Laura Bailey (winner of last year’s Thought Bubble Future Shocks pitch session) and many more.
A unique venture in the history of Britain’s biggest comic, most of the creators will be working on the galaxy of 2000AD characters for the very first time, including Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Psi-Judge Anderson and DeMarco, P.I..
2000AD editor Matt Smith said: “I’m especially excited to welcome a group of new creators to 2000AD, most of whom are making their debuts at the House of Tharg. This year’s historic Sci-Fi Special is going to be packed with unique voices and amazing talent.”
A Mixed Reaction?
Reaction, as ever to the news, has been mixed in a time when editorial choices are under close scrutiny from diverse (and often opposing) voices. Editor Helen McCarthy prompted debate on Twitter last night, after 2000AD tweeted out Hollywood Reporter‘s exclusive announcement about the project.
“What would be really special is for 2000AD to be the first comic with 50/50 male and female staff working together on every issue,” she suggested. “That would be futuristic. That would be revolutionary.
“Celebrating the female gender sounds like another version of putting women on a pedestal, or a high shelf, or anywhere that keeps them from underfoot,” she continued. “Why not just employ them regularly, no celebration needed?”
“They’re working on it,” countered Alex di Campi, one of the creators working on the Special. “I normally am not thrilled about special all female issues as it’s a form of othering, but knowing the people at 2000AD, they are making a real effort to bring more women on as regular contributors.
“Witness me on Dredd in the Megazine. They didn’t start me out like “oh, do you want to do Anderson?”, nope, it was straight up here’s Joe, and for your second arc you can have the Dark Judges. I think they’re looking at this issue as a way of kickstarting bringing on / introducing a lot of female contributors who will stay for the longer term.
“And I’ll emphasise that Tharg’s door was always open to me, it just took me 10 years to walk through it because of my stupid schedule.”
Personally, I don’t see an issue with great creators working on this Special. 2000AD has always been about diverse voices in terms of creators who have worked on it and this project reflects that. It’s bizarre to me that there is such a hang up about women working in comics from some quarters, but perhaps I was lucky working with so many great female editors at Marvel UK (Sheila Cranna, Louise Cassell, Helen Stone, Jenny O’Connor and many more) and simply never thought anything of it from my first days in the comics industry. Talent will out.
Second Scream and Misty Special Announced
And talking of new opportunities for diverse voices, the Sci-Fi Special is just one of three 2000AD specials being published this year, available from all good newsagents, comic book stores, and online. Plenty of room for even more creators to come on board Rebellion’s growing list of publications!
In August, a forgotten generation of British superheroes are set to take flight in a brand new special from the team behind The Treasury of British Comics. Following Rebellion Publishing’s acquisition of the Egmont Fleetway archive of classic British comics from the 1970s and 1980s, it will include home-grown superheroes that show the best of British, including The Leopard from Lime Street and Thunderbolt from Buster, Steel Commando from Thunder, and Blake Edmonds from “Death Wish” in Speed.
And following its sell-out success last year, the Scream & Misty Special will return in October, with more stories inspired by two of the spookiest comics ever. Scream! was a popular short-lived horror anthology while Misty was an innovative girls’ horror comic, both from the 1980s, whose former readerships made the 2017 Halloween Special a massive success.
It introduced a new generation of comic book readers to characters such as homicidal caretaker computer Max in “The Thirteenth Floor”, the German World War One flying ace “Black Max” and his giant bats, and the sinister tower blocks of “The Sentinels”, and the 2018 special will continue to delve into the incredible, out-of-this-world-and-the-next characters from the heyday of British horror comics.