<Deep intake of breath for long title> THE GRIEVOUS JOURNEY OF ICHABOD AZREAL (AND THE DEAD LEFT IN HIS WAKE) comes to a close in today’s 2000AD 1910. Three series’ of western that went supernatural, theological, metaphysical, time-travell-y and, in the end, very meta indeed – with panel borders acting as barriers between characters, Mike Dowling drawing me into the strip as the author (that was his idea, and, for the record, I think he’s made the author look a LOT more like Halloween-era speccy Donald Pleasance than I’m comfortable with), the unreliable narrator being played to extremes. You can’t knock Ichabod for ambition, certainly. Mike’s done a wonderful job with this final third series, which we took to some pretty interesting places, I think. I’ve enjoyed working with him and we’re onto something new and exciting together that I can’t talk about just yet.
Ichabod ending is kind of perfect timing for 2000AD to announce that it’s to be collected as a six-issue monthly US format series, starting in February next year. #1 comes with a Simon Davis cover, a Lee Garbett alternate cover and Dom Reardon’s (occasionally coloured by Peter Doherty) interiors. Dom and I created Ichabod together and it’s been a while since I’ve looked at the original series, but running through the advance PDF of the US version I was taken aback but just how good Ichabod looks. We use spot colour in the series to differentiate between the living world (colour) and the world of the dead (B&W). It’s very effective, especially when you have Dom’s fantastic sparcity of black mixed with Pete’s sympathetic colours.
Looking at those pages made me recall the intent behind the initial series. Everyone wants taut, snappy titles and captions in modern comics, I thought it’d be fun to have a verbose approach instead – in terms of title and the unreliable narration. I’d read and loved Daniel Woodrell’s Woe To Live On and kind of hijacked that voice for the narrator, and I liked the idea that the narration may say one thing while he tells us Ichabod’s tale, but the visuals can say something else entirely.
Anyway, it’s a western with demons and angels and it’s fun and goes in unexpected directions. And it looks very pretty.
THE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR from Vertigo gets its GN collection just in time for Christmas (Dec 23rd release, says Amazon). Nothing says Santa like an alternate take on World War 2 with enormous action set-pieces and a subversive take on class structure. It’s Downtown Abbey meets the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan. The only people with super-powers in the world are royalty. Simon Coleby bringing widescreen comics back. Here’s the cover and a handy Amazon link:
February DC solicits included BATMAN 66 #20, by me and Ruben Procopio, who’s superb, comes from an animation background and has that rather Bruce Timm feel. Love what he’s done on this. The Joker’s decided that if he can’t beat the Dynamic Duo at crime he’ll beat them at crime fighting instead and has become – Jokerman! It’s loads of fun, and Mike Allread’s done the cover.
2000AD’s Christmas Prog is out in a few weeks, and features the return of Mega City One’s favourite undercover smell factory, Dirty Frank, drawn with utter brilliance by D’israeli, thankfully. I couldn’t imagine anyone else drawing Frank. D’israeli’s made him his own. It was a little intimidating to go back to Frank after a while away – we’ve only seen him in a brief Sensitive Klegg cameo since Trifecta. But here he’s back, catching up with an old Wally Squad friend called Nicky Narco (all is not what it seems with that surname) and scratching at the surface of the after-effects of Trifecta and what its revelations meant for Frank. Oh, and Cross Dress Trev might be back too. Cross Dress Trev. He is all woman.
Frank can’t sleep. I love Frank. He’s my useless, verbal diarrhoea-struck spirit animal.
DOCTOR WHO: THE 11TH DOCTOR is continuing and being a silly amount of fun, with me and Al Ewing alternating issues, pretty much, throughout our 15-issue first season. #6 is due 24th Decemner, I’m told, it’s by me and Si Fraser and I’ll write more about that at the time. It’s the most ambitious single issue I’ve ever written, I’m pretty sure, and I’ll admit to being a little nervous about how it’s going to go down. Time travel with a difference. Wimey Timey rather than Timey Wimey. You’ll see what I mean.
Two covers that should give you some clues that we’re twisting your melon a bit with this one:
Finally, people ask me to post scripts from time to time, and Dredd ones seem to be the most popular – Henry Flint and I are working on a sequel to Dredd: Titan at the moment by the way – but here’s PDFs of the two-part Sensitive Klegg story from earlier in the year. Admittedly, young artists might find it slightly difficult to draw a Chris Weston Mega City One, but learn from the good ones, eh?