June 24, 2009

The cover of this weeks 2000AD shows a group of Ro-Busters breaching Fortress Britannia.

If this means nothing to you, suffice to say that the Ro-Busters are a group of decommissioned war robots who sometimes take part in whacky adventures, and Fortress Britannia is Britain after a thinly disguised Russian invasion.   The significant thing is that the Ro-Busters are invading another character’s strip, that of Bill Savage.

It’s an oft noted comment that there is something very appealing about crossovers, particularly in Science Fiction.  Tharg (2000AD’s alien editor) himself notes this in this week’s editorial.  Pat Mills, the writer of Ro-Busters and Savage, the strip the robots are invading, has used the crossover to good effect over the years.  Part of his success, I think, is the disparity between the stories he joins:  putting the swords and scorcery of Nemesis together with the robots of the ABC warriors, or joining the Dinosaurs of Flesh with the 22nd century adventures of Judge Dredd.

Crossovers are everywhere, from the brief glimpse of the Cafe Obi Wan in Indiana Jones 2, to the first Ringworld book by Larry Niven where the artefact of the title was built by characters that didn’t even appear in that novel, but in completely seperate novella.  They are common in music, too, with themes from one piece turning up in another, a device much favoured by so called classical composers.

There seems to be something very satisfying about the crossover.  If I knew what it was I doubt I’d be any richer, but maybe I’d be better informed.


Pat Mills

May 12, 2009

I’ve included this entry in the Interviews category to make up for the fact that I forgot to mention Pat Mills…

Let me explain.  Interviews usually include a question along the lines of “Who are your biggest influences”, but it wasn’t until I was reading this weeks 2000AD I realised I hadn’t been mentioning one of my biggest: Pat Mills.  Now, its not within the scope of this blog to write biographies (its scope is Robots and Accordions, as I’ve mentioned before), so follow the link if you want to know more about him, but I’m including this entry to make up for Mills’s omission from recent interviews.

So why Pat Mills?  Well, his stories Robusters, ABC Warriors and Metalzoic all featured robots and were an undeniable influence on me, but there is more to it than that.

I grew up on three great comics writers, Alan Moore, John Wagner and Pat Mills.  Mills was always my favourite:  for the breadth of his imagination (Nemesis book 4 is surely the birth of Steampunk), his attention to detail (the research that went into Slaine spawned many imitators), but mostly for his depth of character.  Fitting real characters into SF or Fantasy settings can be a challenge, Mills manages it better than the others, to my mind.

I could go on, in fact I think I will  in another entry some time, but for the moment, here are some recommendations:

Marshall Law

Charley’s War

Nemesis Book 1