FCBD INTERVIEW: editor Keith Richardson talks 2000 AD Regened!
Free Comic Book Day is THIS SATURDAY!
5 months ago
This year's Free Comic Book Day is nearly upon us!
On May 5th, you can head into your local comic shop and pick up comics for FREE and walk out with them. And then the shop will call the police and you'll have to answer questions from your local bobby. Avoid that by walking into your comic shop and look for the very special FREE COMIC BOOK DAY comics. They're all free and police wont be involved.
The very, very special 2000 AD Free Comic Book Day comic this year is something different. We could have given you all the usual brilliance from the script and art Droids, full of fabulous characters from the pages of the Galaxy's Greatest Comic. But no, instead, we've turned the whole thing over to Tharg's little nephew, Joko-Jargo. And he's come up with the fabulously fun, amazingly all-ages friendly, thrill-power receptor zapping 2000 AD REGENED!
(Ok, Joko-Jargo had help. Which is why Richard Bruton sat down with REGENED editor Keith Richardson for a chat on all things FCBD...)
Let's start off with one about the genesis of this most ambitious 2000 AD FCBD offering yet. Where did the idea for 2000 AD REGENED come from? (And no, Joko-Jargo is not allowed as an answer!) Was it something that editorial had been thinking about for a time?
Keith Richardson: REGENED was my idea. I have edited all of our FCBD progs to date, which has inevitably led to me attending many FCBD signings over the years. One thing that has stood out for me, is the amount of children I see going along to stores on FCBD to see what is on offer. Okay, some may be getting dragged along by their parents, but the majority look happy, ecstatic even, to be there. It’s a beautiful thing to behold and quite invigorating for a grumpy old fart like me. Comics can and do still appeal to youngsters and I think that a lot of publishers are aware of that and are starting to act on it. As clichéd as it is, children ARE the future and in order to thrive and survive as an industry we need to catch the interest of more youngsters.
I imagine that the idea for an all-ages 2000 AD title has been suggested at various times through the years. Why now? Why for FCBD?
KR: Let’s face it – getting youngsters to pick up a regular copy of 2000 AD is a tougher than tough task. If we put REGENED out on the newsstand it just wouldn’t find its’ target audience, certainly not without an enormous amount of marketing spend. What we have with FCBD is a captive audience. Retailers go out of their way to push and promote the titles for younger readers as they understand the importance of bringing in a new generation of fans just as much as we do.
And the time is right for us to do this now as we have built up a solid back catalogue of collections that are child-friendly (remember 2000 AD was once a comic for kids), tremendous fun and despite having been originally published years ago, feel fresh and contemporary today. Don’t believe me? then check out D.R. & Quinch, Robo-Hunter, early Dredd and A.B.C. Warriors, Ro-Busters, Flesh….the list goes on!
Over in the USA right now the only way for readers to get the weekly 2000 AD is through a monthly 4-Prog pack. This means the only chance for them to pick up a single issue is with special one offs, including the FCBD REGENED issue. Would you agree that this FCBD 2000 AD is really important in raising visibility over there?
KR: I think that it is of paramount importance. It shows both the retailers and the fans that you are making an effort and not just phoning it in.
When it came to deciding on the strips to include and the writers/artists to join in... what were your criteria/ideas? Did you have people pitch, or did you reach out to the creators involved?
KR: I tend to approach creators I like and more importantly who I think are right for the title. I also like to mix it up and have a few newbies in there alongside 2000 AD stalwarts. Of the former, most of the writers are asked to pitch first. And as a rule of thumb, I believe that any anthology worth its weight in salt, needs to have some Henry Flint in it.
The design of 2000 AD REGENED is completely different to your normal 2000 AD, specifically catering for that all-ages tag. It has a very modern, on point look, catering specifically to a younger market, the colours pop, editorial layouts are totally different, everything works just so. Who was responsible for fixing the design concepts?
KR: Our design team, led by Sam Gretton, came up with the ‘new’ look. It’s different enough but still familiar enough for our regular readers.
The one thing that is missing, unless I'm missing it somewhere (which is more than likely!) is the cover artist. Who was behind the cover?
KR: The cover was illustrated and coloured by the fantastic Nuno Plati. You can see more of his work at nunoplati.tumblr.com