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Author Topic: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem  (Read 10762 times)

Colin YNWA

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Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« on: 19 August, 2020, 07:15:15 AM »
Well he's done it before but in his latest blog post Pat Mills confirms that he's moving away from 2000ad

https://www.millsverse.com/who-dares-whinges/

Many have looked at the signs and seen this coming for a while but his is the first time (I believe) he's confirmed it publically himself. There's much to digest here.

We all owe Uncle Pat so much.

His work is historically so strong and important, but is his current work going to be missed (I'll miss some, not others).

Is this the right time for this to happen, if not the best way? Are both parties ready for something different and new?

Its a real shame that after the latest Slaine - one assumes - though who knows what else is lined up already - that's all we'll get from Pat from for a while at least. There's stories that have been running for a while that deserve to be wrapped up if they are done.

Mind all that said I think we've been here before and is this a case of just being patient until a solution is found. Doesn't feel like it now, but who knows.

Anyway thanks for all the great work Pat Mills, good luck with Spacewarp (oh for a physical release!) and fingers crossed you are Tharg will meet again.

broodblik

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #1 on: 19 August, 2020, 07:39:04 AM »
I have always enjoyed his work but off late it is almost like he has run out of ideas. Everything feels like  a rehash from previous series, same themes, same story-lines but nothing new.

I bought Spacewarp, but do not expect something different from his work he did the prog. I will be honest and I did not enjoy it at all (I will still give it another go with phase 2). Still looking forward to the new Slaine saga. All the Slaine stories I have enjoyed even The Brutania Chronicles.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Robin Low

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #2 on: 19 August, 2020, 08:24:44 AM »
I was a massive fan of Mills back in the day, but for me it with went wrong after the Black Hole Mission, after The Horned God.

In more recentish times, I enjoyed the Clint Langley Slaine. Most surprisingly (to me) the series I have most enjoyed is Savage - I prefer stories about characters with something odd about them, but Bill Savage was just a very angry man. I will miss that series a lot.

Regards,

Robin

CalHab

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #3 on: 19 August, 2020, 08:34:36 AM »
If that's correct, and Pat Mills has done his last work for 2000AD, then its a sad way for someone so vital to its history to leave.

Tjm86

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #4 on: 19 August, 2020, 08:51:38 AM »
Quote
Nothing’s changed since that memo. In fact, in some respects, the situation is worse today.

Reading the article it is a little difficult to work out what his issue is at present.  He's citing a memo from, what 30 years ago?  Yet claiming that the issues still prevail.  Is he suggesting that Rebellion are continuing some of these practices?

Then there is another comment:

Quote
A comic for readers of ALL ages, rather than adults.

I wonder if this is where some of the issues lie?  I mean, I get the point on one level.  A lot of us have been reading tooth for decades.  Some of us are even facing retirement.  Then again it feels like a bit of a swipe.

There is a lot in that blog post that raises questions about what he is saying. 

Leigh S

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #5 on: 19 August, 2020, 09:55:07 AM »
As is usual, I find myself agreeing with Pat's general stance, but scratching my head at some of the conclusions - as with many conspiracy theories, the best way to break through that thinking is to realise that "it isn't all about you".

The idea Steve MacManus sent the memo to Pat to create a "fall guy" seems ludicrous even before you know anything about Steve's attempts to try andd push for these rights? Couldnt he have just been trying to get Pat to see there was an opportunity to make some headway?  Would they really need a "fall guy" to have come up with the idea that once one person got copyright, they'd all want it? I mean, it's not rocket science.  Let Alan get his, then push for yours - like the Terra Meks, set a precedent, but this time make it stick as the norm.

Despite that frustration with some of Pat's conclusions, Sanders really does not come across well there - no one was asking for advances for their work were they?  Just money at the other end from reprints etc. It strikes me as odd Pat didnt take Sanders up on his offer of "if any contributors can show me what they want" by explaining the European model to him? 

Sanders is surprisingly unprofessional with his swipes at Alan Grant and (Robin?) Smith as well as Alan Moore, who he explicitly asks to be shown this memo calling him a whinger (again it will be interesting to read his book to get his side).

But he does seem open (albeit begrudgingly) to some sort of deal (hence Crisis a short time after this?).  At this stage, it looks like they have won the argument, if not the war.  Moore walked away (I wonder why he didnt go to see Sanders) Wagner took his pile of merch in and Pat did what?  He is right about Divide and Conquer, but you can't help but feel that the door was starting to inch open from that memo.  That said, Toxic hardly dispelled Sanders idea that creators would be at each others throats if they tried to do things their own way. What if Moore, Wagner and Mills had got together and confronted Sanders en masse instead?  Maybe Toxic (or a version thereof) could have been published via IPC and maybe still around today

On the broader point of Pat walking away from 2000AD, that is a very sad day. Unlike some on the board, I still find much to love in modern Pat and with Wagner in mostly retirement, it was still his work that primarily links me to my love of the comic and interest in any given prog (a Defoe, Savage or Slaine lifting my enjoyment and reminding me why I love the comic in the first place)

If Pat can make Space Warp work for himself and the other creators, all power (I'll pick it up when it is physical) - given Wagner found self publishing Rok a bit of a roller coaster, I find it hard to see SW being more of a draw, but maybe it IS a football thing making Rok a hard sell!
« Last Edit: 19 August, 2020, 09:57:38 AM by Leigh S »

IndigoPrime

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #6 on: 19 August, 2020, 09:55:58 AM »
There’s a lot to unpack. Personally, I’ve not really enjoyed much by Mills for a long time. Savage is mostly pretty good, but has some terrible character moments. Too much of his work is dripping in Ickeian conspiracy theory. And strips like ABC Warriors are like the background to a children’s cartoon, looping and looping before your eyes. He’ll argue the lack of ownership is why the ABC Warriors have got back together a million times; that doesn’t seem to stop, say, Dan Abnett constantly trying new things.

Sláine is more of an odd one. I couldn’t give a toss about anything after Horned God, up until Books of Invasions arrived. That felt like a real return to form in all the right ways, but then it all went off the boil again in the follow-up, with its ALL-CAPS SHOUTY NONSENSE. The lack of wrap-up for Savage will be a pity, mind. Still, it’s not like other 2000 AD stories haven’t just stopped, and perhaps Savage’s war was never really designed to end.

As for everything else, I do get where Mills is coming from. I work in publishing. I have sold on rights, in a manner that was writer-hostile, to pay bills. It’s shit when you’re exploited. But. I also did that fully knowing the business proposition being made, and it’s just the standard in the industry. WFH is standard in British and US comics too. There are outliers, but complaining that you’ve had to give away your rights seems like an odd one. If that’s a problem, why stick with 2000 AD until now? Why now pen something for Image? Or why not approach 2000 AD with the idea for a creator-owned series, of which there are several?

That memo, I think, gets to the heart of this, in that publishers do a lot of the legwork. So if you ditch that business model, the creator is left having to market their property, and deal with a slew of logistics. Mills is doing that now with Spacewarp, of course, and I hope he finds that to his liking. But this comes with much greater risk—not least in the current COVID era.

I have a lot of respect for Mills’s work in creating 2000 AD. Without him, the comic wouldn’t exist. He was a key figure in shaking up the industry, and providing a foundation that also helped revolutionise US comics. (Although I also do feel his story sometimes overshadows others who were also instrumental in the success of the Prog and beyond.) I’m less keen on airing dirty laundry, and the conflation of past and present; all those little digs at Rebellion and upset about payments from the partwork (stuff like that never pays well), and so on.

It’ll be interesting to see what Matt Smith does. John Smith’s properties were dished out, to varying degrees of success. To my mind, Aleš Kot’s Devlin Waugh is the only one so far that really gets the voice of the original. (Kek-W’s Indigo Prime came close.) But it’d be a brave editor that gave someone else Savage, Sláine, or ABC Warriors, given that they have been almost entirely written by one person since the very beginning.

Finally, on the notion of creating a comic for all ages, rather than adults: that’s a fair point regarding 2000 AD. But then there’s a reason 2000 AD still exists: it grew with its core market. Given the current state of the newsstand, I think it’s naïve to think 2000 AD would definitely still be here if it hadn’t shifted, _especially_ given the lurch towards lad mag bollocks it made years back, severing its link with children’s comics. A reversion then would probably have killed the comic. But it also feels ironic that Mills seems pissed off about the all-ages thing when Rebellion’s doing Regened and bringing back old IP for comics that are seemingly aimed at a Phoenix-age audience.

Then again, it also somewhat feels like Spacewarp is a place for Mills do just do whatever he wants, in the manner he wants to (including some fairly problematic language regarding inclusivity). Still, all power to him for putting his money where his mouth is. It’s a brave move. But if he has now set fire to his old house, he can’t act surprised should he later need to return and all he finds are ashes.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #7 on: 19 August, 2020, 10:01:35 AM »
no one was asking for advances for their work were they?
I don’t think Sanders was even against that, reading that memo. He’s just saying the markets aren’t the same—and he at the time was right. Things are of course more muddled now. And, yes, did Mills return with a plan? If not, why not?

Quote
I find it hard to see SW being more of a draw
I suspect Mills has a market here with people who wish 2000 AD looked and read like it did in 1977. That’s where he’s going with this, to some extent, with an attempt to then have parents rope in kids. And there surely is a gap in the market. As much as I love The Phoenix, it is very safe and quite middle-class in nature. There’s no grit. That’s fair enough—that’s the comics tone, pitch and voice. But it does leave a space for something else. The question is how big that space happens to be and whether it can be successfully exploited, not least with a publication that’s unproven, that has an unknown frequency (we already hear how frustrated kids are that the next Cor/Buster won’t rock up ‘next month’), and that is ultimately written by a single writer.

Robin Low

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #8 on: 19 August, 2020, 10:16:20 AM »
Quote
Nothing’s changed since that memo. In fact, in some respects, the situation is worse today.

Reading the article it is a little difficult to work out what his issue is at present.  He's citing a memo from, what 30 years ago?  Yet claiming that the issues still prevail.  Is he suggesting that Rebellion are continuing some of these practices?

Thing is, it doesn't seem to have stopped him writing a great deal for 2000AD. His American work seems to have been mostly co-authored and dates from the 90s, while his last work on Requiem Vampire Knight (any good?) was around 2011/12. I assume other companies weren't offering what he wanted, either. Or he wasn't offering them what they wanted to publish. Or, given his tendency to air his grievances in public, other publishers weren't prepared to take a risk on him.

Regards,

Robin

Leigh S

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #9 on: 19 August, 2020, 10:18:35 AM »
I suspect Mills has a market here with people who wish 2000 AD looked and read like it did in 1977. That’s where he’s going with this, to some extent, with an attempt to then have parents rope in kids. And there surely is a gap in the market. As much as I love The Phoenix, it is very safe and quite middle-class in nature. There’s no grit. That’s fair enough—that’s the comics tone, pitch and voice. But it does leave a space for something else. The question is how big that space happens to be and whether it can be successfully exploited, not least with a publication that’s unproven, that has an unknown frequency (we already hear how frustrated kids are that the next Cor/Buster won’t rock up ‘next month’), and that is ultimately written by a single writer.

I think the single writer may not be so much a problem as the "linked universe" concept of the comic itself making it very much "Pat's thing"  - You couldn't just parachute Rok of the Reds or another of John's "book of ideas" characters into Space Warp as far as I can tell?  You could get another writer writing their own story, but how tied into the "Warp" concept would any given tale neeed to be?   It hardly makes SW a good model in that regard, but as you say, I think Pat is just doing his own thing and again, all power to him for that. 

The frequency though, that could be the killer.  You'd need 1000s of readers to make it viable on say a monthly basis - The Rok KS got 350 or so backers? Even with double that, you are making a four figure sum before costs.  How do you grow your audience without advertising, getting product into shops etc?

broodblik

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #10 on: 19 August, 2020, 10:29:31 AM »
How many of these models Pat applied to Spacewarp is still active and for how long a period? I get it that we want the creators to get their fair share. Creating a model that is sustainable, profitable and the published material is on a regular base is the problem. One of the annoying parts for me about the model like Spacewarp is that I must wait an extended time for the next issue. By the time the next issue is released I forgot about it.

The next issue I can see with his model is that just imagine your most popular title one of the creators wants more and do not want his creation to be published anymore. What will AD be without Dredd?
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

broodblik

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #11 on: 19 August, 2020, 10:36:51 AM »
We also must be realistically as well; eventually Pat or any creator will either move on to something different or retire. This was bound to happen.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

judgeurko

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #12 on: 19 August, 2020, 10:59:14 AM »
I haven't felt that Uncle Pat's heart has really been in it for some time now and this is due to rights. Rebellion have kept 2000AD going but it is true that the old model of denying creators the rights has not changed. Why would a creator work their socks off if they are not going to have ownership. If you write a novel you have ownership not the publisher. It stinks that this practice still exists in comics. & I agree 2000AD is a comic for middle aged white men. They have given up trying to attract new young readers apart from half-arsed attempts at regen issues which appear infrequently & must confuse young readers who buy them only to find that the very next issue is completely different with, as will be the case with the next regen, a return to stories that are part way through! Good luck to Pat in his future endeavours. I wonder if we will see Slaine killed off? Would anyone dare to take on the character?

Richard

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #13 on: 19 August, 2020, 11:04:03 AM »
Quote
Why would a creator work their socks off if they are not going to have ownership

Except that they all have, including Pat, for 43 years.

Quote
Requiem Vampire Knight (any good?)

It's absolutely brilliant, but unfinished.
« Last Edit: 19 August, 2020, 11:06:14 AM by Richard »

Will Cooling

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Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« Reply #14 on: 19 August, 2020, 11:07:39 AM »
I do wonder whether the recent spate of assigning new creators to legacy characters has undermined Pat's relationship with Rebellion. It's always been something he's been nervous about, back to the old days when he would be anti-fanzine because he thought it was a training ground for his replacement, and seeing how brutally John Smith was treated must have raised hackles.
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