INTERVIEW: Peter Milligan and Rufus Dayglo on Bad Company

Writer and artist behind new Bad Company series

9 months ago

After the stunning events of Bad Company: First Casualties, we’re returning to the baddest of the bad, with a new Bad Company series beginning in the bumper Christmas issue of 2000 AD - Prog 2061.

Bad Company: Terrorists takes this latest motley crew of misfits on a search for evidence to prove to the world that things aren’t as they seemed.

Richard Bruton sat down with writer Peter Milligan and artist Rufus Dayglo to chat all things Bad Company.

When we left Bad Company at the end of First Casualties, their lives had pretty much been turned upside down and there were questions aplenty over just what the hell they’d been fighting for (and against) all these years. The new series, Bad Company: Terrorists, implies heavily that the Company is now on the wrong side of the law once more and will be fighting not only the Krool but their own masters. Can you give us a quick idea of what we’ve got to look forward to with this new series?

Peter Milligan: In some ways this can be seen as a sequel or part two to First Casualties. In FC Danny Franks and Bad Company failed to convince the world about the true reasons for the Ararat war. Here they attempt to get some proof, and this will entail them travelling through a grim, dangerous, and sometimes surreal world city in search of a mad ex-Ararat Colonel who might hold the key to their problem. Against them is a determine world security leader who has his own reasons for destroying Bad Company and getting to the Colonel first.

Rufus Dayglo: Bad Company - Terrorists follows on from the end of the First Casualties series with Bad Co. on the run! Terrorists explores how the justifications for war is sold to us by governments…. And the return of an old friend!

Are we sticking with the core characters left following First Casualties or will we see new characters introduced?

RD: At the end of First Casualties, we assembled a new Bad Company, with Golgotha Joe (their imaginary friend, who can split and multiply himself), and Malarkey, their erstwhile Doctor/therapist. Another familiar face will turn up too!

PM: We’ll also meet up with an old favorite character from the original storyline. This will have a big effect on Danny.

Bad Company has always taken a long, honest look at warfare, never shying away from its horrors and always avoiding any glorification. In First Casualties, you took the series into unexpected territory, dealing with issues of survivor guilt, PTSD, and difficulties with returning to life in peacetime. You also explored the questions of modern warfare, whether conflict is ever justified, and how the victims of war are often treated as mere pawns in a greater political game by the masters in charge. What issues are you going to be exploring in this new series of Bad Company?

PM: Before I wrote the last series – First Casualties – I’d told myself I’d only write more Bad Company if I felt I had something new to say. That was true with First Casualities, taking if you like a post Iraq/Weapons of Mass Destruction look at the Ararat War. The same holds true with Bad Company: Terrorists, Bad Company are on the wrong side of the law and we explore the very contemporary debate about the need for freedom versus the need for security. The overriding theme of the story continues to be the search for truth in a world that’s still traumatized by the horrors of the Ararat war.

RD: We are now living in a new Cold War, where world war is being played out in proxy wars… just as it was in Korea and Vietnam (amongst others.) We want to explore how having been painted as war heroes by the powers that be, they can equally be turned back into monsters. This is what 2000 AD does best, combining sci-fi, politics, and satire.

Peter, Over the long history of the strip, the three main creators involved have been yourself, the late Brett Ewins, and Jim McCarthy providing his atmospheric inks and stunning blacks over Brett’s innovative and unique pencils. Will Jim be joining you once more?

PM: Jim did a great job on First Casualties but for strictly practical reasons Rufus is taking care of both the pencilling and inking for this mission. I still feel there is some continuity with the art, as Rufus had a close relationship with Brett and really gets the story.

RD: I will be inking my own work this time, and we are joined by our friend Dominic Regan to do colouring. Dom and I worked on Counterfeit Girl last year with Peter for 2000 AD. I always loved the colour Bad Company story from the 2000 AD annual back in the '80s, so Peter, Dom and I have gone full out creating a new psychotropic Bad Company series!

Bad Company will forever be remembered for the stunningly original artwork of Brett Ewins. His loss back in 2015 was felt throughout the industry. Rufus, I know you and Brett were close. When thinking of returning to Bad Company with First Casualties, and this new series, was it important to all involved to feel that Brett, although not able to contribute artwork, was in some way still connected to the series?

RD: It’s hugely important to me. Brett’s work was hugely influential to me. It is so much fun carrying on this series. Brett was thrilled we were doing Bad Company again, and I hope he would be happy with what we are doing. Before we started First Casualties, I talked to Brett a lot about Bad Company. He wanted his characters to continue. We wanted it to feel fresh this time, and with the addition of Dominic Regan, I think we have added a whole new dimension to the series.

In First Casualties, the character of Golgotha Joe, a troubled soul with a good heart, bore a strong resemblance to Brett. It was a heart warming touch, presumably from Rufus?

RD: Golgotha Joe is a full member of Bad Company, and sees a lot of action in the new series! I designed him to look like Brett, as I thought he would like to be there, in the thick of it. I even gave him crepe soled boots, as Brett loved his brothel creepers.

PM: I know that Rufus based Joe on Brett. I think this is great, and reveals how much Brett meant to Rufus. Of course it means that if I ever kill Joe off it’ll break Rufus’ heart and he’ll probably send hit men after me!