Since 1977, the British weekly comic magazine 2000 AD is one of the most successful and influential comic anthologies. Home to iconic titles such as Judge Dredd, Sláine, Button Man, Zenith and many more. Legendary names in the comics industry from Alan Moore to Jock had their work published in the magazine. CBNAH caught up with Michael Molcher, PR Coordinator for 2000 AD, to chat about the busy summer con season, Dredd, 30th anniversary of Sláine and more.
CBNAH: First off, how was SDCC and all of the different cons that 2000 AD attended during this summer?
Michael Molcher: It was, as always, both great fun and utterly exhausting! It’s quite difficult to convey the mania of Comic Con to anyone who’s not been there but it involves a LOT of hard work selling books followed by a LOT of hard socializing afterwards! At all of the conventions this year – Chicago’s C2E2, San Diego, London Super Comic Con – the response has always been fantastic and it’s great to have direct contact with a whole new generation of 2000 AD readers.
CBNAH: This summer it was announced that IDW is planning an ongoing series on Rogue Trooper. For people who are unfamiliar with the title what can you tell us the about it and what's the partnership with IDW like?
MM: Rogue Trooper is the story of a genetically-modified super soldier who is the sole survivor of a battlefield massacre on a planet utterly ravaged by war. As well as being the ultimate ‘future war’ character it’s got loads of inventive and surprising details, all of which have made it one of the most popular characters in 2000 AD history. Where the new series is going to go we’ve can’t say, but hopefully it will introduce this classic character in a brand new way. Working with IDW is great because not only is their enthusiasm for the world of 2000 AD infectious, but it is also bringing in new reader who’ve never before considered reading 2000 AD. The Dredd titles have been selling really well so it’s a partnership that’s reaping benefits for us all.
CBNAH: How well has the annual subscription for 2000 AD performed outside of the UK?
MM: What’s really changed things has been the subscription options on the iPad – some people are put off by shipping charges from the UK so to not only get the weekly issues cheaper than print but also to get them the same day they go on sale in the UK is great and has revolutionized the way our readers connect with us.
CBNAH: Where do you see digital comics in the next few years?
MM: Bigger. Better. Easier. That about covers it!
CBNAH: What can you tell us about the limited edition Zenith hardcover?
MM: Well, it sold out within 48 hours and thanks to some swift work from our printers we recently announced that it will be shipping out to customers earlier than expected, so they should get their copies in October instead of December! The reaction to the book was great and it was really pleasing to see the series talked about so positively after all these years.
CBNAH: This year is the 30th anniversary of Sláine and with Simon Bisley returning to the strip for a special one-off episode. Will there be anything else planned for the 30th anniversary?
MM: The special ‘Book of Scars’ collection will be a very fitting tribute to 30 years of Sláine – not only will it contain the special story written by Pat Mills that featured the return of Bisley alongside Mick McMahon and Glenn Fabry, but it will also follow the model of last year’s popular ‘The Art of Judge Dredd’ book where we show off the best covers from Sláine and creators and fans, including a few you might be expect, give their thoughts and memories of the past three decades.
CBNAH: Any past titles from the last thirty-five years, that have floated under the radar that our readers should check out?
MM: Definitely the two Kingdom collections and Shakara – both stone cold modern classics. Kingdom is genetically-modified dogs fighting giant insects in a post-apocalyptic future, written by Warhammer 40k star author Dan Abnett, and Shakara is insane space opera comics about the embodiment of a dead race’s vengeance slicing its way through their enemies, with the most incredible artwork from Henry Flint! Check them both out, they’re truly great comics!
CBNAH: In the Judge Dredd: Closet storyline hinted that Dredd could be gay. Will we see any fallout or any references from this story appearing in future Dredd tales?
MM: Well, as those who read Closet will know, Rob Williams’ script was cunningly done to leave Dredd’s sexuality a mystery – and that’s undoubtedly where it will be left for the future.
CBNAH: This summer 2000 AD release the official petition for a sequel to 'Dredd'. Was there any internal discussion within the company to do a Kickstarter project for the sequel?
MM: No, the company behind the first film, DNA Films, have the sole rights to any future movie projects with the character and we’re not a party to their discussions. They’ve already ruled out Kickstarter – especially as it has never raised the kind of money needed to fully fund a film!
CBNAH: If you could get a movie vignette added into the 'Dredd' sequel, which 2000 AD title would be the most likely?
MM: The mind boggles ;)
CBNAH: What can our readers expect from 2000 AD in 2014?
MM: More of the same kind of pulse-pounding weekly comics that we’ve been producing for 36 years! Probably the biggest thing we can talk about is Judge Dredd: Dark Justice, which is the return of Judge Death and the Dark Judges. Written by Dredd co-creator John Wagner and painted by Greg Staples, this really isn’t a story you want to miss!