Time flies. It’s been five years since the second series of The Ten-Seconders, which is hard to believe. I always intended to bring it back, I just didn’t get around to it until now. But it’s here, starting in 2000AD #1839, with Edmund Bagwell (Cradlegrave) on art, which is just a perfect choice. Look:
The first book of The Ten-Seconders had the fairly obvious theme of playing on the idea of American superheroes vs British comics. That’s who the resistance against the overwhelming force of the Gods was meant to be – this small acerbic band of 2000AD against the might of Marvel & DC, effectively. Series two then brought in some Vertigo characters, joining the ‘market’, making things darker and more psychadelic. Series three was always intended to be Kirby-esque Celestial-style cosmic gods.
Incidentally, you can buy the first two series’ combined in one graphic novel – American Dream. Great cover by Cliff Robinson here:
And here’s an easy link to buy it from Amazon, should the desire take you to get up-to-speed before reading series three: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ten-Seconders-American-Dream/dp/1781080666
The impetus to bring it back came, funnily enough, from the 2000AD panel at the Kapow convention last year. The first question from the crowd was ‘when’s The Ten-Seconders coming back?’ I said I always planned to do series three one day and we’d see. Matt Smith, 2000AD’s editor, asked if I was interested, and off we went. Laurence Campbell, who knew I was planning big cosmic visuals, suggested Edmund Bagwell, who plainly has a deep Kirby love. His work on Indigo Prime showed that. I’d loved Edmund’s work on Cradlegrave before that too – one of the best things 2000AD has published in recent years, I think (amazing script by John Smith too. Well worth buying the GN of that one. It’s a nasty, intimate spot of urban 21st century British horror). I asked Matt Smith if Edmund might be interested in drawing The Ten-Seconders and, fortunately, he was.
That’s such a key point in getting comics right – knowing who your artist is and playing to their strengths. If you’re writing big cosmic sci-fi you need an artist who loves that type of material. When you do work-for-hire often you’re not told who your artist is – editorial chooses. As a result you can find yourself in a style mismatch. and the end result suffers. With Ten-Seconders series three – ‘Godsend’ – I felt confident that visually it would work. The script called for hundred foot tall gods, a spaceship that could consume the Earth and world-altering imagery. Edmund does that incredible well. Like I say, you can easily spot his Kirby love. His colours are wonderful too.
So, VERY quick recap. In order to get rid of the superhero ‘Gods’ that have taken over and ruined the Earth, Malloy – one of the British resistence, who only last ten-seconds if they meet a god, typically – has activated a homing signal that The Fathers of the Gods will follow. They come looking to discipline their errant children. But in bringing The Fathers to Earth, has Malloy traded one set of horrors for something far worse?*
*Answer – yes.
Also, some people have asked for more examples of scripts. So here’s part one of the new Ten-Seconders series, in PDF form.