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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wake up, it's 2006

There's a bit of argy-bargy going on at the moment about British comics' venerable organ, 2000AD, offering to publish first-time contributors without paying them anything.

There are a whole bunch of reasons why this stinks, the main one being that if you're good enough to publish, you ought to be good enough to get paid. I do my fair share of work for free, but I keep the rights to the work when I do that so I can exploit the material at a later date if I want to -- in this instance, there's no sign that this will be the case. Rebellion, the owners of 2000AD, are really only in the comics business in order to develop intellectual properties for their computer games line. There are no shortage of young cartoonists who will willingly agree to these terms, unfortunately; the grizzly cynic inside me thinks this is just the thin end of a very long wedge.

Anyway, here's something I did for the Judge Dredd Megazine in 1991, a pinup for a strip I drew called The Straitjacket Fits, which I take a perverse pride in telling people was, according to reader votes, the least popular strip they ever ran.

Even so, I was paid for it.

(Update: About five minutes after writing this, I was informed that cartoonists will, indeed, retain their rights to the work. Very glad to hear it. My righteous indignation and I will be in the bar if you want us.)


  1. Roger,

    It may have been one of the least popular 2000AD strips, but for me it was pure genius. Your story (did you write as well as illustrate?) was starkly original compared to everything else at the time. I remember I was art college at the time and it made me realise all the Bizley clones around me were on a road to nowhere (well okay, Bizley cloning did make some people a lot of money!). The Straitjacket Fits and Hewligan's Haircut were standout strips for me and I was so pleased to discover The Hotel Fred a few years back.

    Oh, and I also happen to know the Kingsleys (if only a little) through my involvement in video games. I honestly do think that Jason (at least) is a true 2000AD fan and has the publication's best interests at heart. (Although the IP is of course handy!).


  2. Thanks for the good words about Fits... the writer was David Bishop, now writing Judge Dredd novels I believe.

    I have no idea who the Kingsleys are, I'm afraid -- I'm well out of the loop on 2000AD these days, haven't looked at it in years since all the artwork started looking the same, all that painted shit. No idea what it looks like now or who's running it.

    Given that the cartoonists will own the rights to their material after all, I have to say that (eating humble pie here) this may be the most interesting thing to happen to the magazine creatively in at least a decade.

  3. I thought so, too: better that these pages be opened up as a shop window for new talent, than just running six pages of reprints. In this case, there really seems to be a fine line between cynicism (Rebellion are obviously trying to cut costs) and opportunity.


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About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Eisner and Harvey Award-winning cartoonist responsible for The Muppet Show Comic Book, Thor the Mighty Avenger, Snarked! and Fred the Clown. Would like to save the world through comics.