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Author Topic: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters  (Read 43188 times)

Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #90 on: 23 July, 2018, 07:52:38 PM »

San Dimas Comic Convention report from this forum's own Blackmocco:

As always, 2000AD’s got a plum location in the hall; you can’t miss it. I did notice much less attention and space to sculpts and replicas. The books were front and center. The Dredd standee was getting some good traffic as was Rebellion’s video game display. Overall, the booth looked happy and healthy. Staff were enthusiastic and helpful. Good to see.

My nerd boner cranked to Thrill-Power overload once I saw the upcoming Strontium Dog board game display though. Didn’t know the game would sport so many characters from every tier of Johnny’s saga. Beautiful sculpts that capture the strip perfectly. Exquisite paint-jobs too. Not even sure I’ll play the game but for these figures, it’ll be an essential purchase in the future.

I stumbled upon the 3A booth. Smaller than previous years and much less merch on display, although they had plenty behind the counter, including the 1/6 scale Dredd. Kinda hard to resist when it’s Ashley Wood himself flogging it to you. An impressive forty seconds later and the wallet’s open.

Good chat with Wood. We’re both huge Kevin O’Neill and Nemesis fans. If you’re ever wondering why there’s never any original Nemesis art for sale, well, blame Ashley Wood. Sounds like he has vast swathes of it. Probably under armed guard.

Never met Simon Bisley before. Pretty excited. Not just because he’s a beast of an artist; a top-of-the-food-chain planet-crushing mish-mash of Frazetta, Klimt and Sienkiewicz, but also because – if the many second-hand tales are to be believed – he’s pretty much the living human manifestation of his own art.

I get to the room too early. There’s another panel going on. A nice but boring gentleman is talking about the time his house burned down, he lost everything, then bought some paper and pens and made a graphic novel about it. The woman beside me starts crying. I can feel my brain shrivel, like an orange left on the side of the freeway.

There’s a loud sigh in front of me. Bisley’s also arrived too early. He wears the expression of a lion introduced to a toddler’s birthday party. He looks around, sees my expression, and offers a fist bump in solidarity. His phone starts ringing; naturally, the ring tone is an emergency klaxon. He lopes off, leaving me with the nice but boring man talking about his next book, “Mom’s Cancer”.

The panel’s fun. Molcher’s doing his best to give it some structure but it’s Bisley’s show. Ignoring the questions, interrupting his own answers, simultaneously confident and modest. Every bit the rock’n’roll superstar artist. Not interested in deconstructing his own processes. He knows what he can do, he doesn’t want to talk about the hows and the whys.

Good retrospective of his career. Was floored to hear him admit he’d never painted a thing before his work on Sláine. Fabry’s inked work freaked him out and he didn’t want to try match it so he figured he’d just paint his version instead!

Great hearing his take on the ABC Warriors as biomechanical rather than clunky metal men. Wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for his reunion with Pat Mills and the Warriors, by the way; sounds like he’s got a full plate.

It being a 2000AD panel, didn’t get to talk as much about his brilliant run on Hellblazer. My favourite work he’s done since Horned God and he acknowledged he’s worked hard on his storytelling skills and restraint rather than just punching the reader in the balls with money shots. Great stuff. Very entertaining. Shook the mighty hand once it ended and then went for a sandwich and beer with him.




Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #91 on: 23 July, 2018, 08:34:33 PM »

Buried the lead on the 3A segment. Sad tidings:

The news isn’t great if you’re holding out for more 3A 2000AD stuff though. Doesn’t sound like the sales are there to justify more and these are expensive products to make. That’s a shame, particularly as (Ashley Wood is) talking about an array of prototypes he has at home, including a 1/6 scale Hammerstein based on McMahon’s art and Johnny Alpha. Let’s not even talk about Nemesis and Torquemada. The molten tears will fry my computer.

Here's some pictures to make up for it. Those IKEA shelving units in full, hosting a colour primer reprinting Zenith, Halo Jones and Nemesis, plus what sharper minds than my own identify as ashcan editions showcasing Patrick Goddard's career-high art on the Sniper Elite adaptation:





* Better quality images, because forum compression:
https://i.imgur.com/BfeDGrq.png?1
https://i.imgur.com/zsAaUy8.png?4

Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #92 on: 06 August, 2018, 07:44:16 PM »

Colin MacNeil, Megacast episode five, April 27th 2011

The technique I use on Insurrection is a very old way I discovered to make patterns in paint. I found some paintings I did in school, which while not exactly the same in terms of technique, are essentially the same style - lots of curves upon curves on top of splotches of colour. Looking at that and looking at my Insurrection work, it’s essentially the same thing.

My father kept the first painting I did, around 1970 or ‘71, when I was four or five. I used a mixture of house paints and Humbrol paints from my brother’s model aircraft, and applied this paint to a page in the back of father’s old technical drawing book. It’s a head and shoulders shot of a lifeguard on top of a horse; the kind you see in London, trotting up and down the Mall in his red tunic and plumed helmet. I can see the whole blobbiness is there.

My father kept a lot of my old drawings, which I discovered years later. Like all kids, I went through a dinosaur phase. There are two biro drawings of Triceratops and a Tyrannosaur in biro, where the Triceratops is sticking his horn into the belly of the T-Rex, and there’s red splodges of blood. I must have seen 1 Million Years B.C or something, and this was my version of it.

There are other ones that must have been from when I was at Sunday school, of Jesus walking on the waves, with the disciples on the boat. They’re all supposed to be scared and he’s raising his hand. In crayon. I still draw in crayons at conventions.

I like the intensity you can get with those crayons. I have to thank Matt Brooker (D'Israeli) for daring me to draw with them at a convention in Aberdeen, because sketching at cons with pens left me with a hand like a claw. But with the crayons you’re drawing with your whole arm, so it’s less tiring.

When I was nine years old, my parents took me to the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam, and I saw a painting called The Nightwatch. I spent five minutes staring at the painting up close. It’s a huge painting, and to a child of that age it was enormous. That’s the kind of thing that’s in my head these days, rather than any contemporary artist.

A lot of my interest in sci-fi comes from Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and the Golden Age of sci-fi, so when 2000ad came along it pulled me in. I always enjoyed the war comics, but this was sci-fi - like the stuff you read in books, but you didn’t have to imagine what the robots looked like. I would have loved to work on The Stainless Steel Rat with Harry Harrison.

I suppose the first artist who caught my attention was Mick McMahon, then Carlos Ezquerra and Cam Kennedy. Those were the primary things in my head when I started to draw.



When I left school, I went to Gray’s School Of Art in Aberdeen. I’d been top in the year for Graphics, and my career at that point was going to be industrial design; working out how cornflakes packets work. I had huge arguments with my tutor, so much so that I got kicked off the course.

I left and got a job with the local council as a labourer. I went back to see my old art teacher, whose brother knew Cam Kennedy very well. Cam said to send him some pictures, and I got some letters and phone calls where he gave me advice. Eventually, he told me to send some samples to 2000ad; he even phoned to tell Tharg to look out for them.

They asked me to do a trial script, which was a Future Shock. They only told me to do a couple of pages, but I did the whole story. Steve MacManus saw them and two weeks later I got Grant Morrison’s script for Ulysses Sweet: Maniac For Hire, in the post.

My favourite stories I’ve worked on for 2000ad, in no particular order, are Shimura: Outcast, Fiends On The Eastern Front, Strontium Dog: The Final Solution, America, and Chopper: The Song Of The Surfer.

I prefer to do something I have some kind of connection to. That’s when my best work comes out - when I have a connection to the character. Something like Chopper: Song Of The Surfer; I was in my last year at art college, so that was my first job in the real world. Just being young, with all these expectations but knowing all about pain.

As the story went on, I was able to empathise with many of the characters. Maybe that’s why, 25 years later I can look back at it and say ‘I don’t like those drawings, but for the time it was quite interesting’ I was trying lots of new things, as were many people at that time.

I had a lot of empathy with Chopper, in the same way I did with Bennet Beeny in America and Shimura in Outcast - which I didn’t really have in the other Shimura story I did, which didn’t work. Strontium Dog was tougher; that was a whole other kettle of fish. That was almost hard - not physically hard, but emotionally. But that helped draw more out of me and produce better work.

Shimura, for me, is the perfect strip, because me and Robbie Morrison were sharing a flat together at the time. He was writing at one end of the studio and I was drawing at the other. So whenever there was a fight scene, we could work it out by having a play fight.

It’s just so self contained; I like the details, and the lettering is the best I’ve seen on any comic ever. John Beeston did it as a favour, and it’s just brilliant. One page stands out; it’s a full page image of No-Dachi, the demon, holding a skull. It’s one of the few pages I’ve kept for myself.

A few pages of Final Solution stand out, too. When I took over there was a new page inserted, of Middenface McNulty writing a letter to Durham Red. The first page of the third episode I did, with Johnny Alpha being born in a rad storm and his father holding him up, really stands out. I didn’t keep that one, though.

I was a little bit miffed when John and Carlos brought Johnny Alpha back. I was like, ‘what’? I killed him and Chopper and they brought them both back! It was an incredibly brave thing they did, killing him. At the time, I was shocked, but Carlos didn’t want to do it and Simon Harrison didn’t either.

I really, really, really liked Johnny Alpha as a kid, so I thought ‘if your hero is going to die, it might as well be by your hand’. It’s a great honour. I don’t know if I could stand watching Carlos do it, because that really would be the end, somehow. I think that’s one of the few things I drew in silence. I usually had the TV or radio on, but I couldn’t even stand that. The emotion of it got to me.

When I started America, I had no idea it would become a classic. I thought it was just another Dredd story. I didn’t know the twist, that Bennet Beeny had his brain transplanted into America’s body. In the first pages of the script it said she had light scarring across her head, and I thought ‘that’s odd’, but I just drew it.

So I got involved in it in the same way as someone reading it. It was fascinating and I loved getting all the background detail into the art, but the reason it works so well is because the episode where the truth is revealed was a huge surprise to me, so you have that sense of discovery coming through for me the same as it was for the reader.

John Wagner is easy to work with because he doesn’t assume the artist is a complete idiot. Panel one will be MEGACITY ONE: NIGHT; panel two: DREDD; panel three: DREDD ON BIKE, and that’s all it says. I enjoy the simplicity of that, and if he’s writing for me he knows I know what I’m doing. Sometimes I’ll chop a panel in two, but I don’t think he minds when I do that. It doesn’t happen very often.

You don’t need to describe Dredd, the bike, or even what Dredd represents. A lot of the joy of Judge Dredd is working out what to do in the backgrounds and having fun with imagery. You don’t want to get bogged down in panel descriptions and angles.

I’ve never worked with Pat Mills, but I’d like to. Apparently, he puts a lot of information up front, so he doesn’t have to refer to it again, which I think is a very good way of working. You don’t have to clutter up the script, because you have this mini-Bible on the first page, so you’re not blinded by information and you can concentrate on the story.


I worked on two issues of Savage Sword Of Conan with Roy Thomas in the mid-nineties, and he would provide scene descriptions then write final dialogue once he’d seen the finished artwork. It was quite liberating, because once your head gets into that space, you can just do page after page after page. It all flows beautifully and you have a great time. It’s very creative.

The first episode of that, I did thirty-five pages in one month, as well ten fully painted pages, three black and white covers, and one fully painted cover - all in thirty days. That was the most productive month of my career. I didn’t sleep a great deal, maybe five or six hours a day. I’d work for fifteen hours, go to the pub, then fall into bed. I was single at that time, so I could be anti-social. I’d like to work on Conan again.

I turned down Star Wars: Dark Empire. Cam Kennedy had done the first three issues and for some reason wasn’t going to do the last three episodes. They offered it to me, and were going to pay me quite well to do it. I looked at the scripts they sent me and was really excited by them, but thought I wouldn’t really be able to do it justice.

I was such a Star Wars fan as a kid, but there would have been too much of a clash between Cam’s style and my style. After a few really crap episodes, I might have got the hang of it, but you would still have those crap episodes. So I turned it down.

I liked the idea that I was still a fan; that this was more than just work. I don’t regret it at all; Cam Kennedy came back in and did a wonderful job, and I went on to do other great things. I’d probably be able to do it justice now.

I’d worked with Dan Abnett before Insurrection, on the Games Workshop comic that came out a few years ago, and a one issue Legends Of The Dark Knight. That was all I ever did for DC, although I did a few bits of work for their Paradox Press imprint - things like The Big Book Of Weirdos.

I’d been working on Dredd for a while before Insurrection and I wanted to do something different, maybe a war story. Tharg had asked Abnett whether he had an idea for a future war story, and we met by coincidence at a convention in Reading. We swapped ideas by phone and email, and Tharg gave us the go ahead from there.

Sometimes things take a long time to coalesce - there was about six or seven months between getting Dan’s first script and me finishing off bits and pieces I had to complete. Between me starting the first episode and it coming out was maybe another six to eight months. I was getting an episode done every month and a half, which was a little longer than I’d planned.

With the gorillas, it was such a simple idea. I just thought, with Don Uggie in Megacity One, what would you do with gorillas? They’d work in factories, but what if you gave them guns? There’ll be another series of Insurrection, but it will probably be the last. Some things don’t have to go on forever; their time has passed.

When we started the second series of Insurrection, Dan asked me what sort of things I wanted to draw. I sent him some drawings I did of some big spider robots and he wrote them into the story. We had a chat before the first series and I sent him some sketches of the sabretooth robots, gorillas with guns, and mutants, some of which never made it into the series.

Insurrection is drawn on Bristol board. HB pencil for sketching, a reasonable quality brush, drops of Windsor & Newton Indian ink, and lots of thin washes of ink blobbed everywhere. I use those correction pens you get for marking out big white areas and the borders around the panels.

You know those tiny gel pens you get; they’re usually in peach or potato flavour. You can get them in white, and I use them for thin white lines and points of light. I also use a white pencil to go over and fade areas, and a wee drop of white acrylic paint to bring out highlights. And all that goes into a single page of Insurrection.

I can do a single black and white page per day, but the longest I’ve spent on a page using this technique was over a week. Which is great if you’re getting paid squillions per page, but I’m not. It’s not very good for my bank balance, so I’m trying to rationalise why the hell I’m doing this.

It takes a long time to do that dimpling technique. I roughly pencil out the page as I would with black line, then I’ll work out the final detail as I paint. That pitted look on the armour is the same technique you see on the clouds, skin and everything else. I put on a thin wash of ink, then constantly dab at it.

In the same way as pointilism, it doesn’t make sense close up, but the further away you get from the page, it blends into a harmonious pattern.

I like different kinds of paper for different kinds of things. Insurrection only works on cartridge paper, but Tour Of Duty is done on very thin layout paper. It’s only really meant for graphic designers to try out an idea, then rip that page off and try another one. You can see one page through another, so you can try things out, see what works, and build something up line by line if you want.

I like the quality of that paper, especially when it’s still attached to the pad. You get a little bounce, as opposed to the hard surface of a desk. It works really well with the felt tips I use for line work, and I’ve been experimenting more and more with going straight into ink without bothering with pencils, and seeing where the drawing ends up.

I really love that surface, so instead of going onto posh paper and tensing up, I just think ‘it’s cheap paper- if it all goes wrong you can just tear it off and fling it in the bin’. It’s just very comfortable and helps me not to take up time getting finicky with things. I think my drawing has evolved in the three years I’ve been using that thin, cheap paper, so it’s less stressful and gets me the results I want.

I used to listen to TV while I worked. I would have Star Trek on in the background and I know it so well it was like having a friend for company, but that came off Freeview and I started watching DVDs instead. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched the special edition of Lord Of The Rings. I’ve watched all of the new Battlestar Galactica and I’m halfway through Farscape, which I found at the back of a bookshelf.

I used to try to watch things that were relevant to the stories I was working on. When I was drawing Fiends On The Eastern Front, I had lots of war movies on; Stalingrad was great for accurate details of uniforms. I watched lots of Starship Troopers, The Sands Of Iwo Jima and Band of Brothers when I was doing Insurrection.

I first saw the Stallone Judge Dredd movie in Leicester Square. 2000ad had organised a block booking, so it was like a convention without fans. Everyone thought it was going to be great. The city scape and block war were okay, maybe not quite the way I’d have done it - then he opened his mouth, and I was like ‘what the fuck is going on here’?

When we came out, everyone was saying it was great. Somebody asked me and I told them I thought it was shit. I got some very funny looks at the time for that comment, but I was proven right. Although it’s a shit Dredd movie, it’s a fantastic little sci-fi movie. It has nothing to say, and the acting’ isn’t great, but it’s quite entertaining.

I don’t know about the new movie. I did look at one of the threads about the new movie. The first pictures of the bike had just been published, and I thought ‘mmm’?  I saw the pick-up trucks with MC1 painted on the side; maybe it would work as something set in the early days of the city, when the judge system was first formed.

I’m going to be doing a creator-owned comic about the last days of the battle of the Somme, told from the perspective of my grandfather. He hardly spoke about the war, so I’ve been doing some research on it. I want to release it on the anniversary of the battle. It’s a very long project, so it’s my magnum opus. It will be between 50-100 pages.

There’s another side project that might be out sooner, which is about the time my grandfather won his first military medal, for going out into no man’s land and dragging the wounded back behind the lines. I had this thought of a loosely connected series about military medals. Someone from from the USA could do a story about the bronze star, set on D-day, for example.

I’m doing Strange & Darke, which is an offshoot of the last series of Devlin Waugh. It’s written by John Smith, so it’s going to be fascinating. There’s probably going to be lots of supernatural sex. I’ve only read the first few episodes, so I don’t really quite know what’s going to happen, I’m looking forward to that, because it looks like I’ll be painting it. That will be the first painted strip work I’ve done since Vile Bodies. I’ve tried little bits of computer colouring myself, but I usually leave that to other people.

I’d like to write something for 2000ad. I couldn’t do anything someone else has done, like Dredd or Rogue Trooper, but I could probably do something new. There’s one story I would love to have read as a kid; we’ll have to see what Tharg says. You know how you have Savage and Invasion, and the tie-in to ABC Warriors and Dredd - you’d have this character who goes from the beaches of Felixstowe all the way to Megacity One, a veteran of all these wars.

I’m probably getting to choose more now the type of story I work on, and I like to work on stories that are more than the sum of their parts. Which is why I’ve never been inclined towards American superhero comics. I just don’t get it. Whereas 2000ad was always commenting on the way we are now, asking questions about the world around us. I haven’t looked at any comics, other than 2000ad and the Megazine, since 1999.

I have one box of comics; I sold the rest after our house got flooded. I stacked them on a pallet about six feet tall in the basement and I couldn’t be bothered carrying them all upstairs. I thought ‘now’s the time’ and got rid of all my 2000ads, Action and graphic novels.

I’d always kept anything I appeared in, from my first professional work in 2000ad progs 508-509, but the only one I have left now is 2000ad prog 121, where I had a drawing published in Tharg’s Nerve Centre.







sheridan

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #93 on: 06 August, 2018, 11:32:24 PM »
Good retrospective of his career. Was floored to hear him admit he’d never painted a thing before his work on Sláine

Well, there's a few painted covers - plus I remember seeing a Tshirt with a Monad-like creature and a metal magazine logo on it around the time of ABC Warriors...

broodblik

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #94 on: 07 August, 2018, 04:47:12 AM »

Colin MacNeil, Megacast episode five, April 27th 2011

Thanks for this Frank, long read but well worth it
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TordelBack

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #95 on: 07 August, 2018, 09:57:55 AM »

Colin MacNeil, Megacast episode five, April 27th 2011
Thanks for this Frank, long read but well worth it

Indeed,  good stuff.  Incredible that his first published work was Ulysses Sweet, a short largely saved by its clear humorous art: there's talent for you!

It's one of my more flogged hobby-horses, but I think the vast scale of Colin's contribution to 2000ad and the Meg has yet to be fully recognised - so many styles,  so many definitive stories, so many pages!
« Last Edit: 07 August, 2018, 10:02:49 AM by TordelBack »

Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #96 on: 07 August, 2018, 02:38:09 PM »



From Mike McCann's great piece urging North Americans to buy the 2018 SciFi Special.

Mike goes on to say that The Dark Horse published Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens sold about 1700 copies via the direct market in 2017.

January 2018's Judge Dredd: Blessed Earth # 8 sold nearly 3000 copies; the debut issue of that series sold 4700. In February 2016, IDW's Judge Dredd # 16 sold almost 6500 issues, while the Mega City Two and Classics series sold 5700 and 2588, respectively.

In May of this year, Judge Dredd: Under Siege # 1 sold 5343 copies, and a reprint of Judge Dredd: Mega City Zero # 1 under IDW's Greatest Hits banner sold just over 2000 copies. In April, we actually saw a 2000 AD published comic breach the top 500, Judge Dredd: Furies One Shot.


Thanks to Dave Heeley and his 1977-2000ad group for the link.



Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #97 on: 08 August, 2018, 06:46:25 PM »

Colin Jarman & Peter Acton's Judge Dredd: The Mega-History, released just before the 1995 Judge Dredd movie, contains the obviously false claim that Carlos Ezquerra based his original sketches of the character on Sylvester Stallone.

Ezquerra confirms that's balls: 'The idea that was Stallone started after the Judge Dredd film as a way to support it. Frankestein was how John visualized him, l didn't see that film until several years later, and Clint Eastwood was far more human than Dredd'.



Greg M.

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #98 on: 08 August, 2018, 07:03:02 PM »
Frankestein was how John visualized him

As in Death Race 2000. Which does feature Stallone, of course, just not as Frankenstein (he's David Carradine.)

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #99 on: 08 August, 2018, 07:15:41 PM »

As in Death Race 2000. Which does feature Stallone, of course, just not as Frankenstein (he's David Carradine.)

Stallone is David Carradine? Blimey… he’s a more versatile actor than people give him credit for.
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Greg M.

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #100 on: 08 August, 2018, 07:22:53 PM »
Didn't word that very well, did I? Oh well, no cause for embarrassment, it's not like I'm an English teacher or anything.

Oh wait...

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #101 on: 08 August, 2018, 08:40:55 PM »
Didn't word that very well, did I? Oh well, no cause for embarrassment, it's not like I'm an English teacher or anything.

Oh wait...

:-)
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Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #102 on: 19 August, 2018, 09:54:32 AM »

John Freeman's updated his UK print sales database: HERE. Freeman promises a full analysis of the latest figures in a few days, but you can read his excellent general overview of the industry on Downthetubes.net

As always, no figures for 2000ad or the Megazine; all we have to go on are anecdotal reports like The Guardian's 15,000 figure from 2013 and chat on social media earlier this year that subscriber numbers were up.

That conforms to the general trend of increased sales*, which Freeman attributes to an uptick in subscriptions. Maybe Netflix has reshaped our brains, making the subscription model for entertainment more acceptable.


* Small increases, after a long period of general decline

Proudhuff

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #103 on: 20 August, 2018, 12:39:01 PM »
Thanks Colin and Frank for that piece, very interesting
DDT did a job on me

tonyf33

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #104 on: 21 August, 2018, 09:04:28 AM »
Thrill Power Overload (very slightly) quoted the AKA Tapes featuring 2000AD, a zine produced in 1983 which exposed a number of 2000AD secrets while they were fresh in the mind.  On ebay it was going for £40+ but it's been reprinted and can be purchased in print or pdf here.  It's a gossip fest!  https://comicscene.tictail.com/