Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From creator and fan Owen Watts

Name: Owen Watts

Blog or web site: crazyfoxmachine.blogspot.com

Currently working on:

I’m a small press artist and editor currently putting together the second issue of my psychedelic Doctor Who comic anthology Dr WTF?! that features a whole host of familiar (and unfamiliar) small pressers including a cover this year from a bonafide 2000AD legend!

I’ve drawn a strip for an upcoming issue for the 2000AD fanzine Zarjaz which features the old stoney-faced mug of law and I’m also working on a comic with steampunk chap-hopper Professor Elemental!

First memory of 2000AD?

I started with the Dandy and Sonic the Comic and then… I became a Marvel freak, I’ll admit it. I used to read Panini’s Marvel Heroes Reborn reprint comic almost exclusively – drawn to the appealing anthology format (each issue had Hulk, Fantastic Four and Iron Man). It was cancelled in November 2000 and I was gutted. The other Panini Marvel titles just didn’t draw me in (one character per issue – pffff) – and then as if by magic Prog 1218 appeared.

I was 13. It had Ezquerra on Dredd, Flint on Deadlock, Fraser on Dante, MacNeil on Vanguard and Wilson on Rain Dogs. Five artists who are still my favourites. Five different stories every issue in radically different styles – each completely different universes each telling completely different stories. Then – Necronauts, D’Israeli Future Shocks, Kevin Walker, John Burns, Arthur Ranson, the logo!

I was utterly totally smitten and I’ve accepted no substitute ever since.

Favourite Character or Story?

It would be easier to name the few stories I don’t like! Briefly though –  Ian Edginton can do no wrong with me – the very fact that he’s knitting all of his stories into one glorious continuity cake is just amazing. Leviathan, for example,  is one of the most captivating and atmospheric stories ever printed in 2000AD. I recommend everyone get the graphic novel. Bryan Talbot did a story called Memento in Prog 2002 that just knocked me for six.

In terms of on-going characters I’ve always loved Nikolai Dante – the constant back-and-forth between two radically different but consistently amazing artists (Fraser and Burns – at least since 2000 anyway) is phenomenal and some parts of the narrative have packed such an emotional punch it’s been inconceivable.

The real testament of Dredd is that there’s still room in his world and his character for progression – from smart one offs to sprawling epics – Dredd is still captivating and even if it goes on for another 35 years I’m certain there’ll still be more to tell without his universe becoming tired and convoluted like those of the mainstream American comics.

 Also – in terms of a single graphic novel – Alan Moore’s Time Twisters is one of the greatest single collected editions of anything. Ever.

What do you like most about 2000AD?

The community. The variety. The personality. No other comic comes close, it’s completely unique. In terms of community: I couldn’t recommend the forums at 2000adonline higher – without them my anthology would be empty and every convention I go to would be a parade of terrifyingly unfamiliar faces.

Quick Plug: For this most 35th of Februaries, the forum’s art competition and story competition are combining to become a collaboration spectacular – that should hopefully be chock-a-block with wonderfully heartfelt tributes to the glorious prog!

Come and take a look (or take part) and see what creativity the forum is capable of!

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?
The Megazine used to do a wonderful feature called “Small Press” that highlighted … well, the small press. 2000AD is fantastic with new creators – although especially over the last two years a lot of the Future Shocks (and similiar “tryout” strips) are being drawn by established artists and written by only two or three different writers – so it would be nice to see more of the outright nutters and weirdos from our humble small press scene get a bit more exposure in the prog in some form.

My subscriber copy arrived on my mat this morning with an absolutely breathtaking cover from relative newey Tiernen Trevallion – Flint is on Dredd, Fraser on Dante, Ezquerra on Strontium Dog and Trevallion on Absalom. I feel as excited as I did twelve years ago – and as I understand it, even if this had been my 35th year with it, I would still feel the same as I did when I first gingerly flicked through it in my local newsagent… excited!

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

2000AD © Rebellion

Categories: 2000AD, British Comics

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