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2000 AD => General => : norton canes 22 November, 2016, 11:07:03 AM

: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: norton canes 22 November, 2016, 11:07:03 AM
You are Pat Mills.

You’ve just seen 30 episodes of your latest project - the tale of Celtic warrior Slaine - published in 2000AD, to massive critical approval from the magazine’s readers. They loved the painstakingly researched Celtic references, from the stories, inspired by genuine mythology, to the grittily authentic portrayal of life in prehistoric Britain. You’ve had one superb artist and one breathtakingly magnificent artist realise your vision, both capturing perfectly the characters, clothes and landscapes of the age.

You are on a roll, and it’s time to script the next instalments.

So what do you do? You jettison practically all traces of Celtic authenticity and instead give the story all the trappings of a Cthulhu-esque pseudo-SF novel, with time-travelling aliens materialising from ‘inner space’, armed with skin-liquidising sonic weapons and ‘leyser’ beams. Any remaining sorcerous elements are given a sci-fi twist. Basically, you remove everything that made the earlier episodes of the series great.

Later you will put most of these elements back. So the question is – what were you thinking?
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: I, Cosh 22 November, 2016, 11:14:38 AM
I've no idea what Pat was thinking but I was eleven and I was thinking: "Holy shit! I wouldn't have believed it was possible for this series to get even more awesome than it already was if I wasn't holding it in my hands right now." and "Where has this Fabry guy come from? He's outrageously good at drawing."
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: mejustnow 22 November, 2016, 11:21:26 AM
What Cosh said.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: CalHab 22 November, 2016, 11:50:10 AM
I doubt even Pat Mills knows what Pat Mills is thinking at any given moment.

He's maddeningly inconsistent but when he's on form he's the greatest.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Steven Denton 22 November, 2016, 11:56:40 AM
IIRC it was a sort of censorship issue. The axe and sword play was considered too bloody and violent so they moved to guns and monsters.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: SIP 22 November, 2016, 12:06:49 PM
I loved Time Killer, easily my favourite direction for Slaine. Fabry's work is phenomenal and I'd never read anything like it in comics before.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Frank 22 November, 2016, 12:16:09 PM
I've no idea what Pat was thinking but I was eleven and I was thinking: "Holy shit! I wouldn't have believed it was possible for this series to get even more awesome than it already was if I wasn't holding it in my hands right now." and "Where has this Fabry guy come from? He's outrageously good at drawing."

Ditto. I'd add that Mills tailors his work to his artists' interests and that Sláine contained sci-fi elements from the first page (http://i.imgur.com/zU2y0j9.png).

We might just as well ask why Mills created his most commercially successful work ever - The Horned God - then immediately decided to kill the character and take him off on travels through time*, abandoning the supporting cast and storylines that made the Bisley book a hit.

Mills seems like the kind of writer who's enthused more by ideas than characters or dialogue, and whenever a new idea occurs to him he just wants to pursue that. Rather than creating a new strip, Mills turns the one he's working on into the one he wants to write**.



* Every Mills character ends up on desultory travels through time - I have a feeling that even Bill Savage (the least sci-fi character imaginable) is about to cross paths with the ABC Warriors and Torquemada in the time wastes.

** See Nemesis turning into an eighties student politics drama and Defoe morphing into Marshal Law last time out
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Bad City Blue 22 November, 2016, 03:02:39 PM
I liked Time Killer. The last Slaine was poo
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Dandontdare 22 November, 2016, 04:27:51 PM
The art was great but I still shudder to remember the Leyser guns. Not Mr Mills' finest hour
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Dark Jimbo 22 November, 2016, 04:48:34 PM
The art was great but I still shudder to remember the Leyser guns. Not Mr Mills' finest hour

As mentioned above though, the Leyser guns were forced on him by editorial because they were worried about all the graphic slicing and chopping with swords and axes.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: sheridan 22 November, 2016, 08:36:06 PM
* Every Mills character ends up on desultory travels through time - I have a feeling that even Bill Savage (the least sci-fi character imaginable) is about to cross paths with the ABC Warriors and Torquemada in the time wastes.
Explains the Thousand Year Stare (though it'll take more than a thousand years for the Savage Earth to turn in to Termight).
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: WhizzBang 22 November, 2016, 09:14:20 PM
For me, Time Killer was where Slaine took off and became a proper 2000ad classic.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: TordelBack 22 November, 2016, 10:55:07 PM
I didn't care for Time Killer one bit at the time, Slaine being my favourite story, but I've grown to love it. As Frank says, the time travel shenanigans are right there on the first page of the Angie Kincaid-drawn first episode, and having Slaine interrupt his physical journey home to head off at right angles and place his story and entire era as one small element of a vast science-fictional cosmology was inspired.

Incidentally, talking about the Warrior's Dawn era being set in a prehistoric/mythical Britain is way off: aside from a few moments in flashbacks, Slaine doesn't set foot in continental Europe, never mind Britain, until Dragonheist. All the early stories are set on the floor of the Atlantic, and  most of the flashback stories, Slaine the King, and almost all of Horned God are set on the floor of the Irish Sea. Slaine has always been fantasy on a vastly more ambitious scale than its barbarian wanderer trappings suggested.

Still hate those bloody leyser guns though.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Jim_Campbell 22 November, 2016, 11:39:48 PM
Sadly unconnected to one of the few tracks I actually liked from the Goth/Dance crossover era… Timekiller (https://youtu.be/rY9eSzB-KbU). :-)
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: maryanddavid 23 November, 2016, 12:08:52 AM
I've no idea what Pat was thinking but I was eleven and I was thinking: "Holy shit! I wouldn't have believed it was possible for this series to get even more awesome than it already was if I wasn't holding it in my hands right now." and "Where has this Fabry guy come from? He's outrageously good at drawing."

Pretty much the same.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Colin YNWA 23 November, 2016, 06:52:33 AM
I didn't care for Time Killer one bit at the time, Slaine being my favourite story, but I've grown to love it....

Still hate those bloody leyser guns though.

I'm pretty much the opposite, apparent from the last bit, leyser guns - PAH!

 I recall loving it at the time but not really getting on with it now. Don't think its aged well at all. That said I'm looking forward to re-reading it in the none to distant future to re-evaluate that opinion.

Tomb of Terror I'm looking forward to a LOT less mind!
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Magnetica 23 November, 2016, 07:16:14 AM
This is the sort of thread I love.

To recap:

Question: Time Killer was a misstep, discuss.

Answer: no it wasn't (mostly).

So for 16 year old me, yes it was great. It took the strip to a whole new level - Cythrons, The Guldig, Elfric, El Worlds - just amazing stuff.

As per another thread on "art versus story", what really catapulted it into the stratosphere for me was Glenn Fabry's art. (And David Pugh was a more than able stand for weeks when Fabry wasn't doing it).

I did re-read it all a couple of years ago, and have to say, yeah still love it.

But, but, but yes even 16 year old me thought those leyser guns were a bit rubbish.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: I, Cosh 23 November, 2016, 09:43:04 AM
I didn't care for Time Killer one bit at the time, Slaine being my favourite story, but I've grown to love it....

Still hate those bloody leyser guns though.
I'm pretty much the opposite, apparent from the last bit, leyser guns - PAH!
I expected better from you two. Leyser guns is a pun worthy of Sinister/Dexter.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: TordelBack 23 November, 2016, 09:58:12 AM
It's a fine pun, even a brilliant one, and Mills integrates the concept well into what he has already established (shortly before completely forgetting about it forever).  But still: ugh!
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: norton canes 23 November, 2016, 11:31:18 AM
Thanks for all the replies

I can see that Time Killer was generally pretty well received, though there were a few voices of dissent  :)

I’m on a prog slog at the moment which has taken in the original Slaine episodes and now moves on to the new sequence. When I originally read the stories (aged 16) I didn’t register the difference in styles; but having gone through them in a matter of weeks, the change was quite a shock.  I suppose the thing is that if Slaine had started with Time Killer, I would have been knocked out. It’s only that having the chance to see the more, shall we say ‘pastoral’ version, that I realised what the new incarnation of the strip missed.

Yes of course, it’s great fun, and the art work of David Pugh and especially Glen Fabry (although he hasn’t quite found his mojo yet) is mightily impressive. I stopped getting 2000AD around prog 640, so would only have caught the opening instalments of The Horned God and wasn’t aware of the direction the strip subsequently took. I guess on balance, it’s a good thing that Pat Mills tried a few different approaches over its run.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: sheridan 23 November, 2016, 12:58:36 PM
I like it enough now, though I really loved Dragonheist, so was disappointed that we didn't get any more Massimo dragons in Time Killer. 
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: sheridan 23 November, 2016, 01:01:31 PM
Incidentally, talking about the Warrior's Dawn era being set in a prehistoric/mythical Britain is way off: aside from a few moments in flashbacks, Slaine doesn't set foot in continental Europe, never mind Britain, until Dragonheist. All the early stories are set on the floor of the Atlantic, and  most of the flashback stories, Slaine the King, and almost all of Horned God are set on the floor of the Irish Sea. Slaine has always been fantasy on a vastly more ambitious scale than its barbarian wanderer trappings suggested.
I'm not sure he even set foot in mainland Britain at all - when he headed back home on a sky chariot it was going over Lyonesse.  Oh, apart from the dragon story, which took place on the Gower peninsula (or did it - there is mention of Coed Adrian, a submerged forest).
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: AlexF 23 November, 2016, 01:17:02 PM
To some extent, my big brother, and consequently I, came into 2000AD as rabid 'Fighting Fantasy Gamebook' fans. So Tomb of Terror, my first encounter with Slaine, was absolutely my favourite thing ever at the time. I'd probably say this and Time Killer - basically one long epic - are still my all time favourite version of Slaine.
But it's funny to read this whole 80-episode saga as a sort of minor Sci-Fi diversion on Slaine's way back home to become king of his tribe.

Fabry is kind of obviously the better artist, but David Pugh was the one who realised and drew the best Guledig, who remains comics' top gooey-blob type villain of all time. So Pugh's tops in my book! Fabry wins many points for his depiction of n-th dimensional being Grimnismal warping out of the page.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: TordelBack 23 November, 2016, 01:21:10 PM
I'm not sure he even set foot in mainland Britain at all - when he headed back home on a sky chariot it was going over Lyonesse.  Oh, apart from the dragon story, which took place on the Gower peninsula (or did it - there is mention of Coed Adrian, a submerged forest).

Dragonheist, you mean?  ;)

Prior to the Time Travel stories, Slaine's only substantial adventures in mainkand Europe, Britain or Ireland are Dragonheist and the opening chapters of Time Killer (Wales) and Spoils of Annwn (Glastonbury). This is part of the genius of early Slaine, in my oft-trotted-out opinion, that it takes place in a time that is not a time, and a place that is not a place: a proper proto-European fantasy world, not just Cu Chulainn slotted into Conan, of vice versa, as it often seems to be represented. 
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Magnetica 23 November, 2016, 02:36:43 PM
Fabry is kind of obviously the better artist, but David Pugh was the one who realised and drew the best Guledig, who remains comics' top gooey-blob type villain of all time. So Pugh's tops in my book! Fabry wins many points for his depiction of n-th dimensional being Grimnismal warping out of the page.

I never tire of saying how much I love Glenn Fabry's Slaine, but you know what, I actually agree with you with regard to Pugh's depiction of the Guledig.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: RaggedMan 23 November, 2016, 05:17:40 PM
I'm intrigued by Frank's idea that Pat mutates his ongoing strips to reflect his current concerns rather than creating a new work.
Maybe it's to trial new directions?
Council Estate Nemesis tests Third World War Book 2, Time Killer tests Dice Man?

To my 9 year old self the new direction was a bit of a whiplash moment, especially since Slaine had been gone so long - a year is eternity at that age. I wasn't keen on the leysers then but there was so much other good stuff in there, Elric, liquefying horns etc that it kept me on board, despite feeling like a completely different comic to Sky Chariots and Dragon Heist.
The thing I disliked then that I still dislike was the rule of three shenanigans with the light-els and dev-els which just felt... silly. 

On my Slaine reread about a year ago it struck me as a really clever move. Up until this point there's a clear arc of return home, conquer tribe, become High-King and die... This neat sidestep opens up the whole of time and space to Slaine and allows the story to continue before the reader gets anywhere near the Horned God.

On the Fabry versus Pugh debate, if you'd asked me I would have praised Fabry above all, but on my reread I was struck that all of the images that had stayed with me in the intervening years were by Pugh...


: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: jannerboyuk 23 November, 2016, 09:38:50 PM
Loving the love for Pugh :) im another slaine fan who loves time killer!
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: glassstanley 24 November, 2016, 11:21:33 AM
No other artist has quite captured Elric like Pugh. The half-page reveal where we see his 3rd eye for the first time has him oozing 'sexual predator'. His Time Worm is also a wonder - slimier than Dave Gibbons' giant worm created for Dan Dare a few years earlier. His Gulag is a fantastic creation - Pat Mills clearly steered him towards Conquering Armies for the architecture.

It's a shame that Pugh, like SMS on ABC Warriors, seems to have been overshadowed by the storytelling partners future success.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: sheridan 26 November, 2016, 11:03:16 AM
While I like Fabry and Bisley's art as much as the next Squaxx, I wouldn't mind seeing Pugh and SMS back in the prog...
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: Ancient Otter 26 November, 2016, 10:57:02 PM
Wasn't it Bryan Talbot who introduced Pat Mills to Fabry's artwork?

I was four years old when read I the first part of Time Killer in The Best of 2000AD Monthly No. 33 back in June 1988 - the first time I can clearly remember reading 2000AD, so a big life-changing moment!
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: TordelBack 27 November, 2016, 12:16:59 PM
I was four years old when read I the first part of Time Killer in The Best of 2000AD Monthly No. 33 back in June 1988 - the first time I can clearly remember reading 2000AD, so a big life-changing moment!

You'll see Fabry's El Women in a whole new light when you eventually reach puberty, inappropriately prefixed Otter!
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: norton canes 28 November, 2016, 12:26:37 PM
Just to follow up my OP... I'm a few issues into Time Killer now (last night's instalment heralded the introduction of the Guledig) and I've settled into the series' style a bit more. I do like the lengthy exposition from Myrddin on the nature of good and evil and how it's controlled and exploited by extra-dimensional beings; and none of that comes at the expense of the story, which moves along nicely thanks to the integration of Slaine's journey with Murdach through the netherworld. And yes the El-women are very striking.
: Re: Slaine - TIME KILLER
: sheridan 28 November, 2016, 12:32:22 PM
I was four years old when read I the first part of Time Killer in The Best of 2000AD Monthly No. 33 back in June 1988 - the first time I can clearly remember reading 2000AD, so a big life-changing moment!

You'll see Fabry's El Women in a whole new light when you eventually reach puberty, inappropriately prefixed Otter!

And a new new light when you see the same in the Book of Scars ;)