Name: Paul H Birch
Currently working on:
Hardware. Once upon a time there was a little stripzine that caused quite a stir and that will be coming back, bigger and way badder than ever before. How so? Well, if you saw the video at 2011 B.C. that gave some clues. Robotic mayhem & heroic disasters, vampiric victories & forbidden lusts, sci-fi double-dealings & eclectic slice-of-life twists in the tale… And oh so very much more guaranteed, all to be revealed in due course.
First memory of 2000AD?:
My brother bought an early issue from the newsagents over the road from where we lived. He’d been into Action and I could see that it was similar but with a sci-fi slant.
Favourite Character or Story?
I started picking it up myself in the late 1980s-early 90s, the new UK comic art superstars were moving on heading for DC and elsewhere, and while some might declare it became a less anarchic beast the contents throughout felt more editorially well-balanced and if anything the tone had matured to just the right pitch where, if not being subversive its writers were certainly trying to create debate in their predominantly young readers at the same time as doing a bang-up job of entertaining them. So, to me, it was more about the comic as an entity itself rather than the individual strips.
Ron Smith gave a balanced, more homogenised look to Judge Dredd, and as John Wagner and Alan Grant got ever more inventive, politically active and downright outraged by the burgeoning society they saw around them, Smith’s visual take had Dredd playing the straight man to perfection. And that stood out.
Whereas, about the same time something like Mike McMahon’s art on Pat Mills’s Slaine had the potential to revolutionise comic strip storytelling in ways that appeared not to fully be appreciated at the time and abandoned thereafter: as if derived from the fundamentals of DC Thomson superstar Dudley Watkins having been spiked with acid and shown far too many European comics than could be soaked up in one trip; the resultant work was dense, dynamic, intense and seemed to be heading towards the direction of a Liberatore for kids. Beyond brilliant.
What do you like most about the 2000AD?
That it is weekly, and so remains traditionally British.
What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?
I guess I’d just like to see it. My local newsagent used to sell a few copies, but its visible presence on the shelves tends to be lacking in my neighbourhood.
2000AD © Rebellion
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.