Hello, I’m The Emperor, one of the first three people to receive a physical Krill Tro Thargo from the Mighty Tharg himself “for services to thrill-power”. So the downthetubes team have drafted me in to provide some context to developments at the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, as well as monitoring projects the droids may get up to elsewhere, the small press activity that spins off from the 2000AD forums and pretty much anything else of interest that catches my eye.
The current big blip on the thrill-radar is the fact that a seller on eBay has put up some impressive pieces of Rogue Trooper history for sale. The image above is an early concept design with a slightly Neanderthal look to the features by Dave Gibbons that has the seeds of the eventual design present, just under a thick layer of armour.
These aren’t totally unknown, having being revealed in a feature on the series’ creation in the 1983 2000AD Annual for which the original layouts survive…
However, the seller does have another intriguing document, the original pitch…
So we’ll go over to them for a description of the contents:
This is the original typed submission page sent to 2000AD to ‘sell’ the “FUTURE WAR” story called “Hero”, no, it’s “Sergeant Sig…”, “The Killin…”, I mean “Rogue Trooper”. Actually, lots of names for the series were suggested on this page, and most long since forgotten (really, check the Rogue Trooper volumes – they’ve no idea!), as well as secrets about his background that were either abandoned, or never explored.
In order to possibly keep these secrets secret for another 30 years, never to be revealed in any 2000AD history book, the details on this page have been redacted in that way popular with Governments, and will only be revealed to the bidder when they recieve [sic] it …
All of which adds up to a nice slice of 2000AD history, but buying the lot could prove expensive. Hopefully, a fan will pick it up and preserve it for posterity, but with Dave Gibbons’ name attached to it and a Rogue Trooper film in development it could easily disappear into an anonymous collectors hoard (it may even get split up, which would be a pity). We will keep an eye on this and see if we can find out what happens to it.
UPDATE, 25th March 2020: These artworks are now owned by long-time 2000AD reader and collector David Rees, who has posted them on ComicArtFans here
“I’ve loved this image since I first saw it in the 1983 2000AD Annual,” he writes. “The early versions of Rogue Trooper appear quite different from the character as we know him now, but a lot of the core elements were in place from very early on. Looking at an early typed pitch for the series, it’s interesting to see how many ideas were considered before things were distilled down to the final version of Rogue. Anyway, a prime slice of 2000AD history for a classic character.
“I’ve added the early stage concept text as an additional image; Dave Gibbons has now confirmed he wrote this. A lovely addition to the concept art and a rare insight into the character development process.”
• Check out David Rees’ ComicArtFans Galleries here
• Check out Rogue Trooper books on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
2020 updates to this article with much thanks to David Rees and Richard J Rundle
Rogue Trooper is © Rebellion Publishing Ltd
Categories: 2000AD, Auctions, British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News
If Andrew Graham-Dixon can organize a campaign to raise millions to buy Titians ‘for the nation’, surely he’d fork out a hundred notes to allow the public access to a slice of indigenous art history.
I picked up both the inked concept art (that was published in the 1983 Annual) and the story pitch… Consider them preserved for the nation! There’s a lot more of Dave Gibbons’ Rogue design / concept art out there, so this being split up is no big deal, really. I’ll post scans of the text and the artwork on the 2000ADonline forum when they arrive; important pieces, not just to me, and they need to be shared.
It’s only taken me eight years, but I’ve finally updated the post to highlight your purchase, David! Thanks so much for sharing