In those early stages of my time at The Nerve Centre, we had inherited a large back catalogue of scripts and artwork. Fortunately, most of the art was monochrome, which obviously takes less time to produce, so the editorial team was committed to something like three months' worth of work that had been commissioned by the previous editor, Steve MacManus.
Most of the material was a good basis to build on. Grant Morrison had been a frequent writer ofTharg's Future Shocks during the last year or so of Steve Mac's tenure. His first full-length series for 2000AD was the revisionist superhero story Zenith. With character designs by Brendan McCarthy and clean line art by Steve Yeowell, Zenith was to have a major impact on the title and comics in general.
Another writer who'd been nurtured by Steve Mac was John Smith. John's work was characterised by an especially gruesome view of the world, and while I thought John's writing was perhaps better suited to the horror genre than the science fiction one, he brought a grown-up, Cronenberg's eye view to 2000AD.
The third great writer to arrive on the scene via Steve Mac's efforts was Peter Milligan. Pete's work had been appearing in Battle and other IPC titles, but it was in 2000AD
he was to make his mark. A contemporary and founder member of the Hanwell Massive, which also included Brendan and Jim McCarthy, Brett Ewins
and Shakey Kane, Pete's first full series for 2000AD
was The Dead
. Knowing Mr Milligan's affinity for real literature, the title is likely an reference to the James Joyce novel, but there's where the resemblence ends.
The other new 2000AD
writer to emerge at this time was, um, Alan McKenzie. Like all the other writers, I'd started with Future Shocks
even before I'd joined the editorial staff of the comic, my first appearing in Prog 517. Several more short scripts followed then I chanced to team up with a new artist, Simon Harrison, of a Future Shock
that featured an annoying alien kid called Bradley. Reader response to the character was so strong that editor Richard Burton asked for some more Bradley stories. But in the meantime I had another idea for a multi-part story. Universal Soldier