Pat Mills

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Pat Mills, nicknamed 'the godfather of British comics'[1], is a comics writer and editor who, along with John Wagner, 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 and playing a major part in the development of Judge Dredd.

Contents

Biography

He started his career as a sub-editor for D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd, where he met Wagner. In 1971 both left to go freelance, and were soon writing scripts for IPC'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, worked in secret to create Battle Picture Weekly. Battle's 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, drawn by Joe Colquhoun, for the title.

After launching Battle, Mills began developing a new boys' title, Action, launched in 1976. Action's mix of violence and anti-authoritarianism proved controversial and the title lasted less than two years before being withdrawn in the face of media protests.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-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, a short-lived companion title for 2000 AD. Mills contributed Ro-Busters, 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 and Nemesis the Warlock. Artist Kevin O'Neill 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, a barbarian fantasy based on Celtic mythology and neo-paganism, which he co-created with his then wife Angela Kincaid (with whom he also created the children's series of books, The Butterfly Children).

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