Pageturners – How to write iconic stories, a guide to writing successful comic stories, is just out now from Pat Mills, creator and first editor of 2000AD, and includes background on the origins of The Meep, the villainous alien seen in Doctor Who – The Star Beast at the weekend.
Co-created with artist Dave Gibbons for Doctor Who Weekly, now Doctor Who Magazine, The Meep originally appeared in Issues 19 – 26 of the comic, published in 1980. That story was the basis for the first BBC 60th anniversary special starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, screened on Saturday, and has most recently been republished in the Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Anthology from Panini, published earlier this month.
Pageturners – How to write iconic stories is available on Amazon as a paperback and e-book, a guide that tackles the challenges, the pitfalls and the tricks of the comic trade, based on Pat’s own experiences over several decades, writing comics for various publishers, in the UK, US and the continent.
Pat says the book explores “the times I got it right and – just as important – the times I got it wrong.”
“My strongest examples are to be found in my involvement in Doctor Who – comics, audio plays and television – which is why the last section of Pageturners is all about my writing adventures in the amazing worlds of the Time Lord.
“It concludes with what I see as one of my greatest successes: The Star Beast. Everything you want to know about The Meep, you will find within. What inspired me to create it. How it brought something new to Doctor Who comic strips by challenging science fiction stereotypes.
“And its triumphant return – on television, leading the new season on Doctor Who!”
Pat is effusive in his praise of the first Fourteenth Special, writing that he was “genuinely thrilled” by it.
“My compliments to Russell [T. Davies], the cast, and the production team,” he writes on his Iconoblast blog. “And I have zero criticisms. Because it succeeds so well in its primary objective, which I assume is to introduce Doctor Who to a new generation and re-ignite interest in the series for existing fans.”
Pageturners also explores the benefits of working with an artist when creating comic characters, such as Claudia Vampire Knight, his introduction to script writing Doctor Who from Christopher Bidmead (Pat’s story, “The Song of the Space Whale”, sadly went unmade as TV story, although it was later adapted as an audio adventure, “The Song of Megaptera” by Big Finish), how to plan a story synopses, making sure you use exposition wisely without over writing, advice on working with editors (of all kinds), creating characters – heroes, heroines and villains – and that’s just for starters.
I’m looking forward to taking a deeper dive into its pages soon.
For Doctor Who fans, Pageturners also features an exclusive account of the day Star Beast artist Dave Gibbons and Pat spent in the Bad Wolf studios, seeing the amazing new interiors of the TARDIS and on location where the final scenes of Star Beast were being filmed.
“We met all the stars including the Doctor, his companion and the Meep,” says Pat.
Pat Mills is known as The Godfather of British comics. His most famous creations are probably “Charley’s War“, for Battle, and 2000AD, featuring Judge Dredd. Loved for his fast-paced action, compelling villains and flawed heroes, he always delivers a subversive punch and thought-provoking ideas in his comics, novels and non-fiction. He’s currently working on Space Warp comic
• Pageturners – How to write iconic stories from the creator of 2000AD: Doctor Who and the Star Beast Exclusive is available now as a paperback and digital edition from AmazonUK
More About The Meep
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.