Buy a print copy of Judge Anderson: Bigger Than Biggs novella

Author Danie Ware talks about her new Judge Anderson prose novella - available now as a limited edition print edition or ebook

5 months ago

It’s Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson’s second year on the streets as a full-Eagle Judge and trouble is never far away in Judge Anderson: Bigger Than Biggs!

In the latest novella from Rebellion Publishing and 2000 AD, author Danie Ware tells a story of Anderson is on secondment to another division and struggling to deal with the overwhelming nature of her psi-abilities. She finds herself drawn into the mystery of Eee-Zee Rest, where there’s trouble on the rise in a charity housing block, and something deep down in the basement. Something bad..

Bigger Than Biggs is available as an ebook from Amazon and Rebellion Publishing or special, limited edition print novella, only available from the 2000 AD webshop.

Ware splits her time between writing, working for Forbidden Planet in London co-ordinating their events and all things social media, and taking care of Cadet Judge Ware. Her work include, the Ecko series (out now from Titan Books), the urban fairy story, Children of Artifice (Fox Spirit Books), and Sisters of Battle for the Black Library. She talked to the 2000 AD blog about her new novella...

Danie, tell us about Bigger Than Biggs...

Danie Ware: In this story, we see Anderson out on secondment, where she and her assigned partner are chasing down perps for the local Sector Chief – just a clean-up. But Anderson soon comes across flickers of post-traumatic stress in the thoughts of some of the gangs, hints of something going down in the charity blocks called Eee-Zee Rest. Allied with the local bikers, she goes after the Eee-Zee rest Boss, a man called Reginald Biggs, an ex-sportsman and someone the publicused to know very well.

But Biggs has changed. And there’s something in the darkness of Eee-Zee Rest that’s definitely not a charity…

Over the years, Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson has become not just a fan-favourite, but an icon as well. What do you think it is that makes Anderson so special?

DW: Anderson is human and fallible, in a way that Dredd is not. Don’t get me wrong, we all love Joe Dredd – but you can’t relate to him, it’s like trying to relate to a wall. Exploring Anderson’s character meant understanding that she still has touches of compassion and humanity; she cares about people, she has friends. She messes up occasionally. And, as well as all that, she has a truly fearsome skill – being able to read minds, haven’t we all wanted to do that at some point? To know what someone is thinking? It makes her hard to write for (she’s got Kryptonite syndrome, you have to disable or curtail her major ability before you can construct a narrative, or there’s no tension) – but it also makes her absolutely fascinating. Plus, she’s gorgeous and she kicks butt. What’s not to like?

When it comes to Anderson, she’s a character with a huge amount of history, so going back to her second year on the streets of MC-1 was, presumably, both daunting and involved a huge amount of familiarising yourself with her history?

DW: Fortunately, she’s a familiar and iconic figure – if you’re involved in British comics culture in any way, you know 2000 AD, you know Dredd, you know Anderson, and you have a pretty good idea of where to start. I have Bolland’s original Debbie Harry image over my desk, dug out as part of FP’s archive. So it was more a case of working out where the story fit in her timeline, and then doing the reading. Alec Worley’s Year One novellas were obviously critical, and it also made sense to read onwards – the classic Death stories and Shamballa, for example, just so I could get the character right.

You’re already a published author, but this is you’re first (as far as I’m aware) work for the worlds of 2000 AD. Are you already a fan? What does it mean to you to get that first 2000 AD work out there?

DW: Honestly, I hadn’t read 2000 AD in years, though it’s around me all the time – but it’s one of those moments that would leave the younger me suitably breathless. It’s feeling of finally getting to play with the Big Toys!

What’s your story? Just how did you make your way into both writing and into 2000 AD writing?

DW: I’ve always written – from as young as I can remember. During my twenties, I wrote - most of it dreadful – and then I stopped when I moved to London in 2000 as my life just took a different turn. I started writing again in 2007/2008, going back to the old stuff, and it sort of took off from there. The 2000 AD opportunity came about thanks to a recommendation by a friend – and I feel very fortunate to have had my name put forwards!

Any plans for submitting to work in comics, for 2000 AD or elsewhere, or are you sticking with the prose right now?

DW: I’m a prose writer, and writing comics is a subtly different skill. In a comic, everything is implication – the panels are statements, and the story happens between them, if you like. Getting that right is (to me anyway) a lot harder than just spieling words. The only other format I’ve considered is the audio drama (as I have more of background/education that fits), but that’s a way off yet!

I had to smile, when diving into the novella, about the obvious enjoyment you had name-dropping, as many have before, when coming up with names for the Blocks and areas of MC-1. With you, it was the Jim Bob Morrison Expressway... I’d be guessing you’re a little bit of a Carter USM/ Jim Bob fan then? (Excellent band and solo artist dear readers – go look them/him up).

DW: Big BIG Carter fan! The two albums ’30 Something’ and ‘101 Damnations’ were the soundtrack to all the CyberPunk that we played in our younger years, and the story is very much my homage to those old days – the technology, the weapons, the characters, the feel, the background. The Biggs character himself was a part of that early gaming – and originally based on 2000 AD, funny how these things go in circles.

Specifically, the story is my take on, and love of, the track ‘Sheriff Fatman’, Biggs’s signature tune. Were such things not so heinously complicated, I would have loved to have the lyrics in the front of the book, but navigating that stuff’s a minefield… so I settled for some of the themes from the song, and for a few choice phrases in the story itself.

If you know the track, you may spot them…

We’ve already touched upon your 2000 AD experiences, but if you haven’t already – when did you first come across the comic?

DW: I wasn’t allowed to read 2000 AD as a kid – I had to settle for Whizzer and Chips and (sigh) Bunty. As I got older, I pinched graphic novels from my brother-from-another-mother Alan Oliver, which was where I finally encountered Dredd, and Joe Pineapples, and Sláine, and the ABC Warriors, and fell in love with all the glorious, brightly violent wonder that is 2000 AD. In the office, faintly obviously, it’s around us all time!

Finally, what have we to look forward to after Bigger Than Biggs? Any plans to write more of the deep and interesting history of MC-1’s premier Psi-Judge?

DW: At the moment, I’m writing Sisters of Battle for the Black Library, but who knows… there may yet be more Anderson in the future!