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Monday, April 08, 2024

Pageturners review and Pat Mills interview

Pageturners – How to write iconic stories   

Pat Mills (@PatMillsComics)   

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)   

I have been a fan of Pat Mills’ comic creations for many years – from the iconic 2000AD itself writing characters Judge Dredd, Nemesis The Warlock and Slaine The Horned God – plus more recently Dr Who 'Starbeast' he is rightly venerated as one of the all-time greats.   

So when I saw that he’d written a guide to writing successful comic stories, I had to check it out. 

And oh man, Pageturners is an absolute goldmine of honest, excellent information and advice – I’d go so far as to say that it is a ‘must read’ for anyone even remotely thinking about creating comic!   

“In classical times the Muses are worshipped as the Triple Goddess. In modern times, a muse is defined as a person or supernatural force that provides artistic inspiration.  I would describe her as a supernatural force because she often acts independently in a way that cannot be explained by scientists. Because they are so threatened by the irrational, they will dismiss the idea of her as fanciful nonsense.” 

Mills is a big believer in Muses – and the way he explains the way they work, prompt and interact with writers and creators, I think I’m in agreement (and will be actively courting mine!)… 

There is so much good stuff here, from actual scripts reproduced with his notes and thinking process behind them, through to how to best submit work and to who.  

There are invaluable tips for what to expect from or ask for when working with artists, editors and writers, the whole of the comic-making process is explored and laid bare.   I’ve never read such a frank, useful and open account, Mills writes this as part journal – recounting his exploits from as far back as his school days where an evil teacher became his nemesis. 

I will be referring back to this book as I venture forward with my comic creation and already feel energised and inspired by what Mills was able to achieve and how honest he is about what didn’t work out for him.   If you write or make comics, you should stop reading this and order Pageturners right now (here’s a handy link:   PAGETURNERS   )   

I had the joy of getting to ask Pat some Q’s and here is what he said (it's fair to say he's NOT a fan of the Catholic Church :)) :   

Matt: If you were granted the powers of a master magic wielder who or what would be your nemesis? 


Patt: Undoubtedly the Catholic Church. Without getting too esoteric here, I think my life purpose has always been to ‘challenge’ them. So they had to harm me in order to see them as the adversary, my nemesis 

 This is likely to inform other answers 



Matt: What is the scariest thing you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 


Patt: Something Wicked This Way Comes - book and film - by Ray Bradbury. It’s childhood challenged by absolute evil 



Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 


Patt: A parade of people who should be in Hell. So lots of Catholic Bishops and Popes. And hypocrites and establishment mass murderers. 

 I feature the parade in Requiem 12 in a huge treble page spread so that’s very much on my mind. These people need to be identified and scorned 



Matt: You are blessed with a supernatural power - what does that look like for you? 


Patt: It would be writing - I regard my abilities as a gift of the Muse (the triple Goddess) and I have to do what she orders, as described in my Pageturners 




Matt: Who or what inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 


Patt: The enemy: the Catholic Church. In particular Catholic Knights. It’s not just Torquemada in Nemesis, you’ll see the Knights turn up in many of my stories. 


Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 



Patt: One of the various Catholic school teachers I came up against as a kid 



Matt: What is the meaning of life? 



Patt: To recognise your life mission and fulfil it 





Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 


Patt: Seeing Buffy St Marie live on my birthday 



Matt: If you could create a sidekick familiar – what would it be able to do for you? 



Patt: Back my intuition and confirm I’m going in the right direction 



Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 


Patt: I got some of the bastards. I wish I could have nailed them all. 


Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Essential Reading for all writers, especially comic creators!

INFO: Pat Mills is known as The Godfather of British comics. His most famous creations are probably Charley’s War and 2000AD, featuring Judge Dredd. Loved for his fast-paced action, compelling villains and flawed heroes, he always delivers a subversive punch and thought-provoking ideas in his comics, novels and non-fiction. Pat’s currently working on an exciting new comic: Space Warp. 
Read more of his stuff at: www.millsverse.com

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