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Summary

As 2000AD and Judge Dredd celebrate their 40th birthday in 2017, Pat Mills at last writes the definitive history of the Galaxy's Greatest Comic and the turbulent, extraordinary and exciting events that shaped it.

The story begins in a garden shed in Scotland sometime in 1971...Pat Mills is the creator of 2000AD and one of the comic's top writers. He is also the creator of Action, co-creator of Battle, Misty, Marshal Law, Requiem Vampire Knight, Charley's War (described as 'the greatest British comic strip ever created') and the black comedy text novel Serial Killer.

'Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!' is the infamous slogan of Torquemada, the comic's favourite villain. It once appeared on the Berlin Wall, and symbolises the subversive nature of 2000AD that changed so many readers' lives and influenced generations of film directors, actors, rock bands, novelists and even school headmasters. Everything you've always wanted to know about Judge Dredd, Slaine, Nemesis, ABC Warriors, Flesh, Bill Savage and more, is in this book. Plus the writers and artists who created them and the real-life people and events they drew on for inspiration.

The scandals, the back-stabbing and the shocking story that was regarded as 'too sensitive' to ever see the light of day is finally told. Pat relates the dark story of the maths teacher who inspired his version of Judge Dredd, the creators' angry battles with the censors and each other, why certain writers, stories and even readers have been banished from the comic, a step-by-step account of how Judge Dredd was created, and how to write or draw for 2000AD today. There are new insights on the 2000AD creators' invasion of American comics, their failed French invasion, the Judge Dredd films, the forthcoming Judge Dredd TV series, other possible films featuring 2000AD heroes, the unusual secret of the comic's current success, the tough challenges it faces today, and its exciting future.

From the hilarious origins when Judge Dredd writer-creator John Wagner and Pat began their careers writing together in a garden shed by paraffin lamp, to the tragic stories of legendary comic artists who have passed, and the challenges as 2000AD fought for survival against The Suits determined to destroy it, this is a unique, personal, and passionate account by the man who made 2000AD happen. Funny, sad, angry, defiant, and outrageous: it's the comic book memoir of the year.

©2017 Pat Mills / Millsverse (P)2017 Spokenworld Audio & Ladbroke Audio Ltd

Critic reviews

"This is a great reading of an engrossing book. After 50yrs of creating and writing for comics Pat Mills finally tells his side of the story." (Rehan Mirza)
"Revealing the truly unfair way creators are treated in the archaic British comic book industry I'm sure there are a lot of people behind the scenes who will wish this tome was never released. Well done Pat!" (Ceiron Bounds)
"Clearly a must-have for any fan of 2000AD and Judge Dredd, this is also an essential listen for anyone with an interest in the process of producing magazines and comics. It's also a nostalgia-inducing remembrance of an explosion within the British comics scene from the man who was right in the thick of it. 9/10." (Nick Joy, Scifi Bulletin)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Thrillpower Reading

I'll say from the start, I'm a fan of 2000AD and I'm a fan of Pat Mills, he IS the Godfather of British Comics, that said, I would have enjoyed this book without knowing either

If you've seen Future Shock! The documentary about 2000AD, you'll know some of the things being referenced, but this puts a lot more meat on the bones... and then adds some more bones. It's not just a history of 2000AD, it's a commentary on British Comics and is stuffed with so many things I never knew, (like the US is only the 3rd biggest market for comics). It explains how comics work, how stories are developed, how writers and artists cooperate and then how things can go wrong.

But is does all this with a mixture of Pat Mills' famous tirades, as well as humour and genuinely emotional moments

If you like 2000AD, or comics, or just publishing, writing and the process of story telling in general, I can't recommend it enough

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A really interesting listen

I've read so many of his comics but never thought about the man behind them. Very interesting history of 2000ad and the writer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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2000AD meets Alan Partridge

An interesting and enjoyable secret history of the development of the 2000AD comic... but I can't quite shake the feeling that I'm listening to one of the Alan Partridge biographical audiobooks!

Mills certainly deserves his place in British comics history, I like some of his work and I was already familiar (at least in passing) with many of his complaints about the treatment of creators by various comic companies (a view that I have some sympathies with) and difficulties with assorted editors so was interested to hear his side of the argument. Nevertheless, at points he borders on ranting and his voice, verbal mannerisms and phrasing (including his weird 'even now it makes me laugh ha ha ha ha' asides) put me in mind of the Alan Partridge's pseudo autobiographical works (or at least Steve Coogan's performance on the audiobook adaptions).

Overall I enjoyed it, found the creative process he describes interesting and some of the anecdotes both enlightening and / or shocking but I would take some of the more bizarre opinions and borderline gossip with a pinch of salt. His performance is OK and at least reasonably easy to listen (I would say 3.5/5 but there is no option for that). Overall, worth a listen for fans of his work, fans of 2000AD and for fans of unintentionalal Alan Partridge impersonators - 'Back of the net!'

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Be Left!

What disappointed you about Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!?

A self indulgent left wing moan about how the establishment treated the author.

What was most disappointing about Pat Mills’s story?

He seemed happy when 'the old guard' were let go but seemed to moan when 'the new talent' didn't get the recognition - if you were against the establishment then it was disgraceful you didn't get work and were treated like all the rest but if you were the establishment they he was happy to watch them loose their jobs.

Any additional comments?

I like 2000ad and Judge Dredd - but did not grow up caring who drew or wrote it - I cared about the story and this book basically left me feeling that it was all crap because the artist / writers didn't get the recognition they deserved.

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Be pure

I really enjoyed it as it gave me an iSight in how 2000ad was run.the poor staff at the company all that aside I enjoyed the comic. If you loved 2000 ad you’ll enjoy this book👍

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A good insight into the world of comic creation

Like most readers (listeners?) of this book, I was a loyal Squaxx Dek Thargo for many years - until it became rubbish in the nineties (again, probably like most others), and my sister read Misty, so this was a no-brainer when it came to listening.

It really is fascinating, and even though I knew a bit about Mills, I never realised just how involved he was in other comics during the seventies and eighties, nor some of the practices that carry on to this day (apparently).

The book is read by Mills himself. This is a good thing, because normally when a narrator expresses emotion, they're doing it as they interpret the words. Not in this case - you can really tell that Mills still feels passionately about things that happened over 40 years ago.

The most overriding factor to be gleaned from the book is that Mills is resentful and bitter. No matter how he tries to disguise it (and sometimes he doesn't) but bitterness just oozes out of the loudspeakers as he describes his experiences in the UK comics field, and compares them to international markets

Here's a drinking game: Every time Mills says 'the right thing to do', 'royalties', 'the late great', and 'Charley's War' take a shot. You'll be unconscious before you're two thirds of the way through the book.

So, yeah - a really good listen, but only if you're into UK comics, and have a bit of background knowledge already.

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    4 out of 5 stars

A fascinating look at the beginnings of the 2000AD

Anyone who grew up reading the 2000AD comic in the 70's/80's will find this book a fascinating insight into the beginnings of the world's greatest comic. Pat Mills gives a frank and detailed description of the UK's comics industry, how comics and the character and stories are created and developed and on how the developers, artists and writers are treated and rewarded, often poorly, for their efforts and the lack of ownership that they can have over what they create.
As well as covering the characters who originally appeared in those early issues Pat also covers many later ones too and the various spin-off comics that were to later appear but would either be merge with the 2000AD or fall by the wayside, and the reasons behind why this would happen. As a young reader from the first Prog these are things that I and many of my peers would have been totally unaware of and at times while listening to Pat’s narration I did feel that maybe I had taken for granted all the effort that was made on my behalf to bring me my weekly input of thrill power.
Pat also goes on to cover more recent developments including the Dredd films and proposed TV show and the reprints and merchandising. However he does return often to very important subject of royalties and how those involved with a character’s creation and development are often disregarded. So much so that I think his later chapters could have been called ‘What gets my goat.’
Overall I think that this is a great book and being narrated by the author he gives you the emphasis on his own words in the way he wanted which would be impossible to get from anyone else. Even if you had bought the printed book, which I have, I would highly recommend you buying the audio version as well.

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Just epic

wonderful narrative on 2000ad and the industry. mills provides a captivating insight into the birth, undeath and reainimation of 2000ad. could not stop.listening

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  • Gary
  • Maidstone, United Kingdom
  • 08-10-17

Awesome History of 2000AD That Pulls No Punches!

I loved every minute of this book and listened to it avidly over a couple of days. It’s Pat Mills’ autobiography/history of 2000AD/polemic/political manifesto/guide for aspiring writers and artists. It’s really difficult to reduce this book to being any one thing. It was very much like sitting in the pub listening to him (and I mean that in a most complimentary way). Mills reads the book himself which really adds to the experience of the book.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s fabulous and certainly one of the best “history of” I’ve read or listened to. I came away with a real sense of how working in the British comics industry is like and how passionately Mills is about comics and their power to impact on society. Often, he wanders into great anecdotes which are really enjoyable. He’s very critical - though never personally abusive - about people he’s worked with and not afraid to call people out about injustices he believes they have carried out or gone along with. I would imagine if you were working at 2000AD you would know exactly who he talks about when he declines to give names.

Most importantly he repeatedly talks about the poor treatment of artists and writers by comics publishers in Britain and, if nothing else, this book makes a great case that the publishers need to rectify their neglect. This is really a matter of paying creators decently.

If you’re a general comics fan or even someone who used to read 2000AD as a kid, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this. Bravo, Mr Mills. Loved it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Read & Listen

Lots here for fans of 2000AD and comics in general. Funny, informative and very subversive .. in a good way. Mills narrates his words very well and conveys his frustration at the skewed comics system in the UK too. Made me feel like picking up a placard and hitting the streets myself, despite being retired. Highly recommended.

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  • Hermgerm
  • 09-08-18

Required listening for any 2000 AD fan and, indeed, any human being in general

I have always been a fan of Pat Mills' writing, his fecund imagination, and his admirable candor. This book, far from tooting his own horn, shows a humble yet unrepentant Mills, who can rightfully be credited as not only the most important person in British comics today, but also a damn decent human being, with morals and business practices the rest of us should aspire to. He writes with flair, and delivers a brilliant vocal performance with an even and relaxed tone. I highly recommend this one.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-12-17

Eye opening!

genuinely uncomfortable in places, kinda puts you off quoting the day job... but a fascinating journey for any fan of the galaxy greatest comic!