Being Ignited..

Yesterday evening I was lucky enough to attend the inaugral Ignite Bristol at the Polish Club in Clifton. It was a brilliant event and I’d like to thank the organisers for putting together such a great evening in such a fun, unique venue.

It was a terrifyingly professional set-up with proper cameras and lighting not to mention a proper mic and stand that made the whole thing look suspiciously like a stage for stand-up comedy!

All the speakers I saw were amazing (I unfortunately missed the final three due to some logistical problems) but I was particularly impressed with Rachael Kiddeys talk on Homeless Archaeology which was a brilliant topic presented by a very charasmatic speaker (I soon brought the audience down to earth as I followed her talk..), Simon Webb and his talk about bizarre patents (and also for his gold jacket!) and Margaret Bowling about Rowing the Atlantic (I get a nosebleed leaving Gloucester Rd so this was just insanely brave to me).

I also came away determined to learn more about Deki.org.uk which is a Bristol based micro-loans website very similar to Kiva.org which I have been using for a couple of years now. Also it was suggested (by more than one person!) that I should learn more about the idea of building with beer crates!

My talk went OK I think – I was very nervous but managed to ad-lib a bit and still stick to my timings. The audience was less geeky than I expected and I was worried it might have been the wrong kind of talk for the crowd but a few people seemed to like it and I’m glad I gave it a go.

Stefan kindly did a bit of DIY videoing of my talk so the vid is embedded below with the slides as well – you can’t see the slides I am referring to in the video but I am sure the proper videos that were done on the evening will capture the full @jukesie experience🙂

The following reflects what I had planned to say but ad libs and time meant the actual presentation was a little different..

1. Evening – I’m going to talk a little bit about 2000AD comics and the characters and creators that had an impact on me and many others during its heyday in the 80s – it almost certainly suffers from rose tinted specs as I look back..

2. This talk was partially inspired by an article by Garth Ennis on the Bleeding Cool blog called ‘When 2000AD Was the Future’ – Garth is an acclaimed comic writer himself and was the creator of Preacher which was one of the best series of the 90s if not all time…this character is ‘Arseface’ and he is one of the heroes!

3. Another inspiration was a series of BBC4 documentaries that traced the history of comics in the UK called Comics Brittania – can’t say I am a regular viewer of Beeb4 but these shows were well made and treated the subject with unexpected level of respect

4. 2000AD was first published in 1979 for the princely sum of 8p – it was an attempt to cash in on the craze for sci-fi related movies and TV shows at the time – 2000ad was picked as a title as noone believed the comic would last more than a couple of years and that seemed futuristic enough..

5. An important thing to remember about 2000AD is that it predates the rise of the ‘graphic novel’ and grown up comics for the most part and was available in every newsagent, corner shop and WH Smith in the country – this wasn’t confined to specialist comic book stores it was available to everyone – and it was aimed ay KIDS

6. The most famous character is obviously Judge Dredd – pretty much a cultural icon these days despite the fact the character is a brutal, pseudo-facist cop who has performed genocide on at least 1 occasion in the pages of the comic!

7. Of course there is the little matter of Judge Dredd the movie – the travesty that Sly Stallone inflicted on the world. Thankfully a new movie is in production with some of the comic creators involved so hopefully this can finally be ignored and forgotten..

8. Judge Anderson is a character that sprang from a side-kick role in Dredd to have her own strip. She is a character that the creators put through the ringer – her best friend/lover committing suicide, the reveal she had been abused as a child and being involved in an act of genocide…no wonder she became a bit of a hippy in later years..

9. These characters were created by John Wagner, one of the original founders of 2000AD and a prolific writer and editor. He was already a popular writer before 2000AD but his dislike of the superhero genre has meant he has limited success elsewhere. That said he did write the original source material for the movie ‘History of Violence’…

10. Halo Jones is a tale of girl power a decade before the Spice Girls mimed a note or Joss Whedon had written a word of Buffy. It is a powerful space-opera even today as it follows one womans journey through a universe where she just tries to get by and in doing so has amazing adventures..it also features a character called Jukes – the luckiest person in the world..

11. It was written by the Godfather of comics Alan Moore – in the last 30 years noone has been as influential on the development of comics as Moore – Miracleman, From Hell, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentleman are all classic books (if terrible films!) He changed the tone of comics forever – though he now regrets that!

12. Despite the dominance of the genre 2000AD never really went in for superheroes – that is until Zenith appeared on the scene. A particularly British take on things it included Lovecraftian monsters, psychedelic hippies, drunk Welshman, alternate realities and an acid house obsessed robot called Archie..

13. Zenith was written by Grant Morrison who went on to be one of the major creative forces in the comics field in the 90s – his work on the Invisibles, Doom Patrol, Animal Man and we3 was groundbreaking and he has since taken is unique point of view into the mainstream by writing All Star Superman, Batman and Robin and various other DC books. He is also a bit mental and practices ‘chaos magic’..

14. Chopper is a character that I will forever have a fondness for despite him never really being ‘A’ list. Starting off as the Midnight Surfer who tagged Megacity just for something to do and ending as a martyr with a stop along the way for some Aboriginal mythology it was a great set of stories..

15. Slaine was/is kind of the Celtic Conan – a hero barbarian steeped in Irish legend. The stories were always well researched with many elements of the stories have strong roots in traditional Irish tales. His popular reached a peak when drawn by Simon ‘Biz’ Bisley – whose unique, larger than life painted art work took the strip to a new level..

16. The ABC Warriors have been mainstays of 2000AD one way of another since the very early days – they have spanned several titles including Dredd, Ro-Busters, Nemesis the Warlock as well as their own tales. I’ll be honest I’m a sucker for future war stories with killer robots – I mean who isn’t!

17. The creator of Slaine & ABC Warriors was Pat Mills – another of the founders of 2000AD and a legend in the UK industry. He created a huge amount of characters in his decades in the business but my favourite are two very different stories – Charleys War – an amazing portrayal of the 1st World War and Marshall Law a brutally funny mickey take out of the superhero genre..

18. another author who got his start on 2000ad was King of the Goths Neil Gaiman..although he only published a couple of strips they were his first paid work and his style and topics owes alot of an education reading 2000AD. I think Death: The High Cost of Living was his best work personally…but Sandman is the most famous..

19. If the 80s were 2000ads heyday then much of the 90s were the Dark Ages…an editorial revolving door, a talent drain to the US and a chopping and changing of ownership all contributed to a loss of form – thankfully Rebellion stepped in during the early ‘noughties and have gone a long way to returning things to their former glories..apparently

20. ok this is my cheat slide in case I am running a bit over – but thanks for listening – I’ll be at the bar enjoying the rest of this evenings talks if anyone wants to chat comic geekery – cheers!