Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From art droid John Higgins

2000AD 1234 Cover

Name: John Higgins

Blog or web site: 

Currently working on:

My on going project is Razorjack, created originally in 1999 and self publishing the first issue. Subsequently went with Com.x for a further two comic books culminating in the collected edition in 2009, and it continues to grow. We now have 3 prose novels, a musical suite and an art book, check website for all the new work.

That is my personal labour of creative love, but the project I am involved in at the moment with DC Comics that is an exciting roller coaster ride, that is taking me to even new creative highs, is DC’s Before Watchmen, I am working with Len Wein on “Curse of the Crimson Corsair.”

First memory of 2000AD?

I had just left art college and had come to London to look for SF Book cover illustration freelance work, I was in WH Smiths Euston Station, generally browsing amongst the books.
For me, SF illustration was the future (excuse the pun) – the SF book cover that kick started my mission to work in SF illustration was The Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, painted by Bruce Pennington – he was a prolific book cover artist at that time.

Going past the SF section, I looked down from the high shelf nudie mag’s and saw in the juvenile section an SF cover, can’t remember the issue, might have been within the first 10 issues, looked inside and saw a gang of SF barbarians charging out of the frame on mutant/alien steeds. I got the same shot of “wow” as I did seeing that Pennington cover and I decided then my mission now was to do a comic strip in 2000AD, alongside SF book covers.

Judge Dredd by John Higgins

Favourite Character or Story?
Favourite Character is and always will be Judge Dredd. for story it is a toss up between Mick McMahon’s Angel Gang or Brian Bolland’s first Judge Death story, or maybe the Block Wars or it could be… so many others!

What do you like most about the 2000AD?

Its consistency, using the best new writers and artists, and still creating new interesting characters.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?

Continued consistency, a winning formula in my book.

If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you’d like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?

I learnt early on at 2000AD how important it is to create a team and a team spirit. So the first 2000AD Christmas party in Kings Reach Tower was very important, I was no one of any note at that time, still not sure how I got in. It was an ad hoc drink initiated by Brian Lewis. Brian was a brilliant artist, you should check out his stuff if you don’t know him.  
(Artists seem to be the “drinkers” in comics as far as I can tell, except for Garth Ennis, who learnt from Steve Dillon, who learnt from Tom Frame!) 

When I got there around 18.00 all the day staff had left except for Kelvin Gosnell, the first editor, Brian Lewis, Mick McMahon, me and Gary Leach. I’m a bit blurry on others who might have been there, maybe Alan Grant.

I remember Brian was the one to buy and bring most of the drink (to a successful magazine run by one of the biggest and richest publishing companies in the world! I suppose 2000AD hadn’t proven it self at that stage).

The lesson I learnt was how important it was do these type of gatherings.  You can just be a cipher on a company’s pay sheet if no one looks out for freelancers. if they don’t do it, you have to.

• This post is one in a series of tributes to 2000AD to mark its 35th birthday on 26th February 2012. More about 2000AD at www.2000adonline.com 

2000AD © Rebellion

Categories: 2000AD, British Comics

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