The countdown has begun to this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October (13th – 15th). We continue our “Kendal Calling” interviews with a chat with comics writer Peter Milligan, who’s working on several projects, including a new Dan Dare series for Titan Comics.
Audacious, brilliant and insanely imaginative just about sums Peter MIlligan up. One-time Entertainment Weekly’s “man of the year” Peter Milligan was at the forefront of the revolution in comics which were created for a more sophisticated, adult audience.
Shade the Changing Man for Vertigo offered a skewered look at American culture, while Enigma, Face and Rogan Gosh pushed the boundaries of what comic books could do. The hugely-popular X-Statix was a radical reworking of the X-Man paradigm that led to controversy when Milligan tried to recruit the late Diana Prince of Wales into his celebrity-obsessed bunch of heroes; described by Kevin Smith (CLERKS etc) as “the most well-observed scholarly analysis of media-manipulation filtered through a pop-culture lens ever committed to the page”.
While the Princess Diana controversy raged, Milligan was perhaps the most hated man in Britain – at least among Daily Mail readers.
Milligan was the longest-running writer of the cult horror comic Hellblazer, and his take on Human Target inspired the TV series. His latest works include the critical hit Britannia, about an Ancient Roman detective, and a retelling of The Mummy for Hammer Films and Titan Comics.
Peter has also written several screenplays and two films have been produced: Pilgrim, starring Ray Liotta and An Angel for May, starring Tom Wilkinson. He is currently working on other film and non-comic book projects.
Black Crown editor Shelly Bond has proclaimed that “Peter Milligan is one of the most talented writers in the history of the written word. One of comics’ original provocateurs, Milligan is quietly crafting a new monthly series that’s worthy of your consideration. In other words: He. Cannot. Be. Stopped.”
downthetubes: What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Peter Milligan: First up, I’m writing a new monthly series for IDW, for Shelly Bond’s very exciting Black Crown line. I’m also working for Titan Comics, on Dan Dare. Also, I will be continuing my occasional series of mini-series Britannia, for Valiant. That’s really all I can talk about right now.
downthetubes: Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Peter: That’s incredibly hard to say. Different comics mean different things to me. Really proud of what Enigma was and stood for. Some of Shade was some of my best work. And then there’s the work I did with Brendan in the Milligan and McCarthy years.
I must say, I feel that Kid Lobotomy, in its own strange, twisted but strangely moving way, will soon sit right up there among my all time favourite, greatly helped by the art work of Tess Fowler, who’s an incredible young talent.
downthetubes: How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Peter: Ernest Hemingway said that a writer should always try to end the day knowing what he’s going to be writing the next morning. I find that a useful rule to try to live and work by. Which means there are usually no plans other than to get up and write.
downthetubes: What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Peter: The collaboration with other people.
downthetubes: And the worst?
Peter: Obvious joke: the collaboration with other people.
downthetubes: What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Peter: Other work. Or test match cricket.
downthetubes: Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Peter: It’s probably easier to get publisher. Whether it’s any easier to get published and get paid for it I couldn’t say.
downthetubes: Have you ever been to the Lake District before and if so what did you think of it? If you haven’t, what are you expecting?
Peter: I’ve never been I suppose I’ve always been a bit put off by the crowds that are supposed to be there. Looking forward to coming to this convention, though.
downthetubes: How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Peter: I think sometimes the chance to get out, meet other creators and fans, and talk about themselves, something which most comic creators never tire of.
downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Peter: God. I don’t know. Expect to be disappointed?
downthetubes: What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Peter: My favourite comic is the one inside my head that I haven’t written yet, and is therefore beyond the reach of the ordinary comic reader.
downthetubes: Peter, thank you for your time and we look forward to catching up with you in Kendal.
• Both Dan Dare from Titan Comics and the Black Crown series Kid Lobotomy from IDW launch this October and will be on sale in all good comic shops
Book Your Festival Tickets Now!
• Book your tickets for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival here. This year’s events programme includes live draws, masterclasses, interactive talks and a chance to get up close to the best comic creators in the world!
PETER MILLIGAN ONLINE
• Find Peter Milligan titles on amazon.co.uk – using this link helps support downthetubes, thank you
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.