In 1973, 20-year-old Steve MacManus joined Fleetway Publications in London as a sub-editor on one of the UK’s top adventure titles, Valiant. Within six years, he would rise to become editor of the company’s most celebrated weekly, 2000AD, shepherding it through its first ‘Golden Age’ as he commissioned numerous hit series such as “The Ballad of Halo Jones”, “Sláine”, “Bad Company”, “Rogue Trooper”, and “Nemesis the Warlock”, ensuring its place as the most influential comic Britain has ever produced.
While 2000AD’s creator, Pat Mills, set the tone and direction for the legendary title, for many MacManus remains the multi-award-winning SF anthology’s definitive editor.
Now, in the warm and witty memoir, The Mighty One: My Life Inside The Nerve Centre, MacManus lifts the lid on the fiercely creative environment that was British comics in the 1970s and ‘80s.
From the hugely successful launch of Battle to the controversial censoring of Action, from the brief life of Starlord to the stellar rise of 2000AD and Judge Dredd, he details the personalities at play and the corporate politics and deadline battles he and others engaged in on a daily basis.
With keen insight, he also reveals how, against all odds. 2000AD defined comics for a generation and became a global phenomenon – one that would spearhead a revolution in the graphic arts that is still felt today.
“It was when I began to come across people on the Internet warmly remembering their weekly comics of the 1970s,” says MacManus of the book’s origins. “I realised I had had a ringside seat at the creation and development of many of those pioneering titles, so I sat down to see if I could turn my memories into something equally enjoyable.
“I also hoped my recollections would enhance the general appreciation of British comics publishing at the time. It was fantastic to be reminded of all the inimitable creators whose combined talents made 2000AD the galaxy’s greatest comic – week in week out. I reread every Prog from One up to 500 and that was a cathartic experience for sure. But I made it, Marg! Top of the Progs! “
Ben Smith, head of books and comic books at Rebellion Publishing, said: “When Steve MacManus got in touch to say he had written a memoir I practically bit his hand off to get hold of it, such is the respect he is held in by myself and everyone at 2000 AD. That he was capable of writing such an engaging and funny autobiography did not surprise me. What did was his fresh insight into a definitive time in British comics history and the enthralling inside story of the era that marked the foundation of modern comics.”
• On 8th September 2016, 2000AD is publishing both a special signed hardback edition (limited to 200 copies) for £20 – available only from its online shop – or a standard paperback edition for £9.99, available from all good book shops and Amazon.
• You can pre-order either edition direct from shop.2000adonline.com from Wednesday 27th January 2016
• The Mighty One: My Life Inside the Nerve Centre – Paperback
• Steve MacManus can be found lurking on Twitter @Mac_1
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.