To celebrate the imminent release of Dan Dare: The 2000 AD Years Volume One, Michael Molcher talks to Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons about 2000AD‘s reboot of the British character, which began in the first Prog in 1977 in a new Thrillcast from Rebellion.
Pat discusses the battles getting the strip right and Massimo Bellardineli‘s staggering artwork, while Dave reveals how his childhood love for Dare filtered into his work on the series.
Pat reveals that one reason for including Dan Dare, which Michael calls a “pipe and slippers” character, was because the powers that be seemed determined to put the kibosh on 2000AD from the start. Dan Dare, Pat argued, would automatically boost sales – and he was right, because it certainly helped sales in its first three months, and the reinvention of the character wasn’t the result of interest in Star Wars at the time (Pat reveals the release of the film actually saw a reduction in in 2000AD‘s sales).
Pat feels that, like the regeneration of Doctor Who on television, any reinvention of Dan Dare is a formidable task but it can be done. He feels that spaceship stories are actually hard to do and need a certain type of artists to create the right mood and tone. He initially took a NASA-oriented, hard science approach to Dare’s new look, but decided it would only appeal to SF fans (SF purists weren’t high on Pat’s agenda in terms of target audience) and not the “kid on the street”. He re-thought the whole approach, the final format very much shaped by pages shaped by Massimo Belardinelli who drew some pages on spec that, he argues, “looked good on blog paper!”
The look worked for Pat and said the response was positive from readers (and had a huge influence on one reader, Garth Ennis, for one) and Pat’s delighted that the organo-technical look worked and that Belardinelli’s work is finally being recognised
“It’s a shame it’s taken so long,” he says. “That’s why I think this collection, which is the first time what many would regard as Belardinelli’s finest work, is finally seeing the light of day.”
There’s a lot more in the podcast about the series reboot for that will fascinate both “old school” and 2000AD fans alike, so pin back your ears and have a listen!
• Listen to The 2000 AD Thrill-Cast (28th October 2015) right here or follow the links below
• iTunes: www.2000ADonline.com/thrillcast
• Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/2000-ad
• Podomatic: http://2000adthrillcast.podomatic.com/
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.