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Pat Mills

Pat Mills

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Pat Mills, nicknamed 'the godfather of British comics', is a comics
Comics
Comics denotes a hybrid medium having verbal side of its vocabulary tightly tied to its visual side in order to convey narrative or information only, the latter in case of non-fiction comics, seeking synergy by using both visual and verbal side in...

 writer and editor who, along with John Wagner
John Wagner
John Wagner is a comics writer who was born in Pennsylvania in 1949 and moved to Scotland as a boy. Alongside Pat Mills, Wagner was responsible for revitalising British boys' comics in the 1970s, and has continued to be a leading light in British comics ever since.He is best known for his work on...

, revitalised British boys comics in the 1970s, and has remained a leading light in British comics ever since.

His comics are notable for their violence and anti-authoritarianism. He is best known for creating 2000 AD
2000 AD (comic)
2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-oriented comic. As a comics anthology it serialises a number of separate stories each issue and was first published by IPC Magazines in 1977, the first issue dated 26 February. IPC then shifted the title to its Fleetway comics subsidiary which was sold...

and playing a major part in the development of Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd
Judge Joseph Dredd is a comics character whose strip in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD is the magazine's longest running . Dredd is an American law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner...

.

Biography


Mills started his career as a sub-editor for D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd
D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd
D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd, is a publishing company based in Dundee, Scotland, best known for producing The Dundee Courier, The Evening Telegraph, The Sunday Post, Oor Wullie, The Broons, The Beano, The Dandy and Commando comics...

, where he met Wagner. In 1971 both left to go freelance, and were soon writing scripts for IPC
IPC Media
IPC Media , a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Inc., is a consumer magazine and digital publisher in the United Kingdom, with a large portfolio selling over 350 million copies each year.- Origins :...

's girls' and humour comics. After D.C. Thomson launched Warlord, a successful war-themed weekly, Mills was asked in 1975 to develop a rival title for IPC. Based in the girls' comics department to avoid the attention of the staff of the boys' department, Mills, along with Wagner and Gerry Finley-Day
Gerry Finley-Day
Gerry Finley-Day was a prolific British comics writer from the 1960s to the 1980s, best known as the creator of Rogue Trooper.He started out at D. C. Thomson & Co., before becoming the editor of IPC's girls' title Tammy in 1971, for which he wrote strips such as "Ella on Easy Street" and "The Camp...

, worked in secret to create Battle Picture Weekly
Battle Picture Weekly
Battle Picture Weekly, at various time also known as Battle Action Force, Battle and Battle with Storm Force, was a British war comic published by IPC Magazines from 8 March 1975 to 23 January 1988, when it merged with Eagle...

. Battles stories were more violent and its characters more working class than IPC's traditional fare, and it was an immediate hit. Having made the comic ready for launch, Mills resigned as editor. He would later write the celebrated First World War series Charley's War
Charley's War
Charley's War was British comic strip written by Pat Mills and drawn by Joe Colquhoun. It was originally published in Battle Picture Weekly from January 1979 to October 1985-Publishing history:...

, drawn by Joe Colquhoun
Joe Colquhoun
Joe Colquhoun was a British comics artist best known for his work on Charley's War in Battle Picture Weekly. He was also the first artist to draw Roy of the Rovers.-Biography:...

, for the title.

After launching
Battle, Mills began developing a new boys' title, Action, launched in 1976. Actions mix of violence and anti-authoritarianism proved controversial and the title lasted less than two years before being withdrawn in the face of media protests. It was briefly revived in neutered form before being merged into Battle.

His next creation was the science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

-themed weekly 2000 AD, launched in 1977. As with Battle and Action he developed most of the early series before handing them over to other writers. He took over the development of Judge Dredd when creator John Wagner temporarily walked out, and wrote many of the early stories, establishing the character and his world, before Wagner returned.

In 1978 IPC launched Starlord
Starlord
Starlord was a short-lived weekly British science fiction comic published by IPC in 1978 as a sister title to 2000 AD, which had been launched the previous year in anticipation of a science fiction boom surrounding Star Wars....

, a short-lived companion title for 2000 AD. Mills contributed Ro-Busters
Ro-Busters
Ro-Busters is a British comic story that formed part of the original line-up of Starlord. Similar in premise to that of the Thunderbirds television series, it was created by writer Pat Mills and was drawn by Carlos Pino and Ian Kennedy initially, before Starlord's merger with 2000 AD...

, a series about a robot disaster squad, which moved to 2000 AD when Starlord was cancelled. Ro-Busters was the beginning of a mini-universe of interrelated stories Mills was to create for 2000 AD, including ABC Warriors
ABC Warriors
ABC Warriors is a long-running 2000 AD comic strip written by Pat Mills, which first appeared in prog 119 in 1979 and continues to run today. Art for the opening episodes was by Kevin O'Neill, Mike McMahon, Brett Ewins, and Brendan McCarthy - who between them designed the original seven members of...

and Nemesis the Warlock
Nemesis the Warlock
Nemesis the Warlock is a story created by writer Pat Mills and artist Kevin O'Neill which appeared in the pages of the weekly comics anthology 2000 AD. The title character, a fire-breathing demonic alien, fights against the fanatical Torquemada, Grand Master of the Terran Empire in Earth's distant...

. Artist Kevin O'Neill
Kevin O'Neill (comics)
Kevin O'Neill is an English comic book illustrator best known as the co-creator of Nemesis the Warlock, Marshal Law , and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen .-Early career:...

 was involved in the creation of all three. Nemesis in particular, featuring a morally ambiguous alien hero fighting a despotic human empire, allowed Mills to work out his feelings towards religion and imperialism. Another strand of his 2000 AD work was Sláine
Sláine (comics)
Sláine is a comic hero from the pages of 2000 AD - one of Britain's most popular comic books.Sláine is a barbarian fantasy adventure series based on Celtic myths and stories which first appeared in 1983, written by Pat Mills and initially drawn by his then wife, Angela Kincaid. Most of the early...

, a barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 based on Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure...

 and neo-paganism, which he co-created with his then wife Angela Kincaid
Angela Kincaid
Angela Kincaid, formerly known by her married name of Angela Mills, is a children's book illustrator best known for The Butterfly Children series of picture books. With her then husband, Pat Mills, she created the Celtic comics character Sláine for 2000 AD.-External links:*...

 (with whom he also created the children's series of books, The Butterfly Children
The Butterfly Children
The Butterfly Children is the title of a series of children's books created by husband and wife team, Pat and Angela Mills. The books were published during the 1990s by Peter Haddock Ltd. In 1990, a musical based on the characters was staged featuring songs written by Martin Lee, Paul Curtis and...

).

Mills also had a hand in IPC's line of Horror comics aimed at girls such as Chiller.

He has had little success in American comics, with the exception of Marshal Law, a savage superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 satire published by Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

' Epic
Epic Comics
Epic Comics was a creator-owned imprint of Marvel Comics started in 1982, lasting through the mid-1990s, and being briefly revived on a small scale in the mid-2000s.- Origins :...

 imprint in the late 1980s, drawn by O'Neill.

In 1986 he edited the short-lived comic Dice Man, which featured characters from 2000 AD. He wrote nearly every story.

In 1988 he was involved in the launch of Crisis, a politically aware 2000 AD spin-off aimed at older readers. For it he wrote Third World War, drawn initially by Carlos Ezquerra
Carlos Ezquerra
Carlos Sanchez Ezquerra , who has also worked under the alias L. John Silver, is a Spanish comics artist who works mainly in British comics and currently lives in Andorra...

, a polemical critique of global capitalism and the ways it exploits the developing world. The title lasted until 1991 and launched the careers of talents such as Garth Ennis
Garth Ennis
Garth Ennis is a Northern Irish comics writer, best known for the Vertigo series Preacher with artist Steve Dillon and his successful nine-year run on Marvel Comics' Punisher franchise...

, John Smith
John Smith (comics)
John Smith is a British comics writer best known for his work on 2000 AD and Crisis.Smith's work is characterised by intricate, sometimes obscure plots and an interest in taboos and the occult, told in an elliptic, fractured narrative style reminiscent of Iain Sinclair or the cut-up technique of...

 and Sean Phillips
Sean Phillips
Sean Phillips is a British comic book artist.He is best known in the American comic book industry for his work on DC Comics' Sleeper, WildC.A.T.s, Batman and Hellblazer.-Career:...

.

In 1991 Mills launched Toxic!
Toxic!
Toxic! was a British weekly comic book published by Apocalypse Ltd. A total of 31 issues were published from March 28-October 24, 1991.-History:...

, an independent colour newsstand weekly comic with a violent, anarchic tone, perhaps as a reaction against the politically worthy Crisis, and a creator-owned
Creator ownership
Creator ownership is an arrangement in which the creator or creators of a work of fiction retain full ownership of the material, regardless of whether it is self-published or by a corporate publisher. In some fields of publishing, such as fiction writing, creator ownership is a standard arrangement...

 ideal. Many of the stories were created by Mills and co-writer Tony Skinner
Tony Skinner
Tony Skinner is a British comic book writer who collaborated with comics legend Pat Mills in the 1990s. Together they worked on scripts for ABC Warriors, Finn and Flesh for 2000AD and Sex Warrior, The Fear Teachers, Psycho Killer and Accident Man for Toxic!.-Bibliography:*Accident Man :** "Accident...

, including Accident Man
Accident Man
Accident Man is a character from the defunct monthly UK comic Toxic! written by the comic writer Pat Mills in the early 1990s.-Plot:The story centered around the life of Mike Fallon, a high-class hitman. Fallon was known for making his murders look like accidents, often going to extravagant lengths...

, an assassin who makes his hits look like accidents. Toxic! lasted less than a year, but gave a start to talents such as Duke Mighten and Martin Emond
Martin Emond
Martin Emond , also known under the pseudonyms "Martin Fuckin Emond", "Martyfuck", "Martywood", "Mickey Martin" and "MFE", was a New Zealand cartoon illustrator and painter....

.

In 1995, he broke in the French market, one of his life's goals, with Sha, created with French artist Olivier Ledroit
Olivier Ledroit
Olivier Ledroit is a French comic book artist, perhaps best known for his work on the Black Moon Chronicles series. He has also worked on art designs in the Might and Magic franchise....

.

He continues to write Sláine, Bill Savage
Bill Savage
Bill Savage is a fictional character in 2000 AD. He first appeared in the story Invasion! in progs 1-51. He is a resistance fighter in the Free European Army against the Volgans, who invaded and conquered Britain in 1999 during the Eight Hour War...

, Black Siddha and ABC Warriors for 2000 AD, and also the Franco-Belgian comic
Franco-Belgian comics
Franco-Belgian comics are comics that are created in Belgium and France. These countries have a long tradition in comics and comic books, where they are known as BDs, an abbreviation of bande dessinée in French and stripverhalen in Dutch...

 Requiem Vampire Knight
Requiem Chevalier Vampire
Requiem Chevalier Vampire is a Franco-British comic, published by Nickel Editions. It is translated in English and published by Heavy Metal in the USA...

, with art by Olivier Ledroit
Olivier Ledroit
Olivier Ledroit is a French comic book artist, perhaps best known for his work on the Black Moon Chronicles series. He has also worked on art designs in the Might and Magic franchise....

 and its spin-off Claudia Chevalier Vampire, with art by Franck Tacito.

Two new series, Greysuit, a super-powered government agent drawn by John Higgins
John Higgins (comics)
John Higgins is an English comic book artist and writer. He did significant work for 2000 AD, and he has frequently worked with writer Alan Moore, most notably as colourist for Watchmen.-Biography:...

, and Defoe
Defoe (comics)
Titus Defoe is a comics character in an eponymous story published in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD. He was created by writer Pat Mills and artist Leigh Gallagher and first appeared in Prog 1540....

, a 17th century zombie hunter drawn by Leigh Gallagher, began in 2000 AD prog 1540.

Mills has formed Repeat Offenders with artist Clint Langley
Clint Langley
Clint Langley is a British comic book artist best known for his work on series with Pat Mills at 2000 AD and as the cover artist for Marvel Comics' Guardians of the Galaxy....

 and Jeremy Davis "to develop graphic novel concepts with big-screen potential" and the first project is a graphic novel called American Reaper
American Reaper
American Reaper is a science fiction comic strip written by Pat Mills and illustrated by Clint Langley. It is being serialised in the Judge Dredd Megazine , and has been optioned for a film by Xingu Films, for which Mills wrote the screenplay.The story is set in New York in the year 2062...

, serialised in the Judge Dredd Megazine
Judge Dredd Megazine
Judge Dredd: The Megazine is a monthly British comic magazine, launched in October 1990. It is a sister publication to 2000 AD. Its name is a play on words, formed from "magazine" and Dredd's locale Mega-City One.-Content:...

(#316-ongoing as of October 2011). It has been optioned by Trudie Styler
Trudie Styler
Trudie Styler is an English actress and producer. She is the second wife of the musician Sting.-Life and career:Styler was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England. She attended North Bromsgrove High School, where one of her teachers was Clifford T. Ward...

's Xingu Films and Mills has written the screenplay.

He has also written two Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

audio plays
Radio drama
Radio drama is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance, broadcast on radio or published on audio media, such as tape or CD. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story...

, "Dead London
Dead London
Dead London is an audio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. This audio drama was produced by Big Finish Productions.-Cast:*The Doctor — Paul McGann*Lucie Miller — Sheridan Smith...

" (2008) and "The Scapegoat
The Scapegoat (Doctor Who audio)
The Scapegoat is an audio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. This audio drama was produced by Big Finish Productions.-Plot:...

" (2009) for Big Finish Productions
Big Finish Productions
Big Finish Productions is a British company that produces books and audio plays based, primarily, on cult British science fiction properties...

, featuring the Eighth Doctor
Eighth Doctor
The Eighth Doctor is the eighth incarnation of the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He was portrayed by Paul McGann...

 and Lucie Miller
Lucie Miller
Lucie Miller is a character in a series of audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions for BBC7 based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who...

. The first audio play was released as the first part of the second season of the Eighth Doctor Adventures and the second as part of the third season.

In 2011 the University of Liverpool
University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is a teaching and research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities and the N8 Group for research collaboration. Founded in 1881 , it is also one of the six original "red brick" civic...

 made him a visiting professor in the School of Arts.

Interviews