Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Zarjaz 07: The Pat Mills Special
Zarjaz 07 cover art by Dave Kendall.
Launching in May 2009, Zarjaz 07 is a first for us, in that we are devoting the entire issue to the works of one man. Mr Pat Mills.
As part of the run-up to the launch of this epic issue, I, your humble assembly droid contacted Pat with a few questions.
Bolt-01: For long time readers of 2000ad, you are regarded as being the reason the comic existed, given how long the comic has lasted, do you feel a sense of pride at this?
Pat Mills: Yes, of course. Coupled with a sense of RELIEF that the many, many attempts by editorial neo-cons to destroy the comic from its conception in the ‘70s onwards failed. Equally, the failed attempts to turn it into something else... Deadline, Loaded, Vertigo etc. Usually by people who didn't really believe in 2000AD or wanted to use it as a launch pad to go elsewhere. If you like Vertigo, you buy Vertigo, not 2000AD.
In recent years, the comic is very much 2000AD once again, the various threats to its identity have faded away, and I think that makes all of us who care passionately about the comic feel great.
Bolt-01: The recent crop of new 'Pat Mills' strips in 2000ad, along with the ongoing reprint treatment of your older works, has generated a lot of interest in the small press community to work with these characters, yet for reasons I'm not going into here this wasn't officially permissible- Is there a reason you would like to share about what has changed your mind?
Pat Mills: I think because the threats I've mentioned above have receded. There's a great deal more trust, respect and appreciation on every side which means I can relax a little. So it's no longer a problem for me. Some eight or so years back that certainly wasn't the case - in what I call The Dark Ages - and I could feel a real itch between my shoulder blades. You've only got to look at how Gerry Finley-Day - who actually is the (unsung) founder of modern British comics via Tammy (not me) - has sometimes been written about, with a lack of respect, and erased from the picture, to know it's not paranoia on my part.
Bolt-01: Are there any characters of yours that you would like to see adapted for small press?
Pat Mills: Hmm... Any where the writer and artist really are committed to saying something cool about the character. Defoe has a large universe of characters - there might be some aspect that could be explored that I haven't focussed on much. That could be fun!
So far creators for this issue include Al Nolan, Mike Carroll, Nick Dyer, Richmond Clements, Mark Woodland, Andrew White, BMB, Bolt-01 and more. Being prepared for this issue are strips featuring Slaine and the ABC Warriors, though who knows what can happen in future…
Slaine character study by Nick Dyer.
Happy Shrapnel by Mike Carroll & Bolt-01 (Work in progress)
For more updates as time passes remember to visit The Quaequam Blog
Remember- It’s not called ZARJAZ for nothing.