2000 AD Prog 2170 is out now – the first of a quartet of spectacular 2000 AD Regened all-ages 48-page issues for the year!

Regened brings you classic 2000 AD characters reimagined for a younger audience alongside all-new strips, all done by some of the Galaxy’s greatest creators. So, strap in, get ready for Thrill-Power for all. It’s time for the younger Earthlets to get Regened…

(2000 AD Prog 2170 – cover by Mark Sexton)

After debuting in the 2019 Regened issue, Finder & Keeper, from Leah Moore, John Reppion, and artist Davide Tinto, are back for more ghostbusting adventures.

One half of the Morre/Reppion team was under a mountain of work, but Richard Bruton chatted to co-writer John Reppion and artist Davide Tinto.

(Finder & Keeper – the first adventure – from Prog 2130, Regened 2019)

Back in 2000 AD Prog 2130 we met Meera Hundal and Eliot Hunter as they set about a bit of community clean-up in a big old house, with the attic and cellar full of all sorts of creepy things. Meera found herself some supernatural specs, Spectral Vision Goggles, so that she could see demons and nasties, while Eliot discovered the journal of Professor AJ Mortimer from 1892, full of all sorts of interesting details into the spooky goings-on and details of a spectral capturing apparatus.

Oh yes, it’s ghostbusting time…

(Finder & Keeper – Ghostbusting in their first adventure – from Prog 2130, Regened 2019)

So, John, Davide, what can we expect from the pair of young ghostbusters this time round?

John Reppion: Just a couple of ghost-hunting kids skulking round a graveyard looking for spooks, really. Which, as Meera does point out, is kind of stupid because no-one ever dies in graveyards, but they do find something.

Davide Tinto: What to expect in this new adventure? It will be decidedly less urban. The two protagonists will be dealing with a monstrous ghost guardian of their city cemetery. The interesting thing this time, in my humble opinion, concerns how strangely radio technology can affect the ethereal plane where Ghosts live (so to speak). This will give the plot a new twist that I hope will affect subsequent F&K stories.

Last time we spoke about Finder and Keeper, you knew that the artist was going to be Davide, whose work you loved, but you hadn’t seen any finished pages. Now you have, what did you think?

JR: Leah and I both loved Davide’s artwork on the first F&K story, which really did pack a lot in as it was setting everything up. Hopefully, we’ve given him a bit more breathing space on this one, and we know he’s going to do a fantastic job.

Davide, your style seems perfect for all ages work and you’ve done great things with your work on Spider-Man amongst other strips. How did you approach the style of Finder & Keeper? Any particular changes needed to get a bit more spooky stuff in there?

DT: Regarding the style of drawing that I have adopted for F&K, I can only say that I have entrusted myself to a direction more suitable for a horror film. I also thought about the static shots you see in the Resident Evil games which were very suggestive and functional to drag viewers to sudden unpleasant surprises and also to some horror cartoons for children such as the old Ghostbusters, which was a Horror product but designed for an audience of Children. These elements, combined with a slightly more ‘teen’ style of drawing than the one I usually use, have allowed me to find a perfect balance to narrate the plot of Meera and Eliot.

In some ways, the other teams in Regened have it easier, taking existing strips and adapting them to an all-ages vibe. You have it harder I think, as there’s none of that familiarity, none of the existing readers to play to. Thoughts?

JR: We had more of a task ‘setting up’ the characters and the world than we would have with established ones, I suppose. Then again, there’s no baggage attached to the title, so we can’t get anything wrong. 2000 AD has been around for so long that a lot of people have very fixed ideas about how a character and their world should be. The Regened issues do (or can) reset that stuff to some extent, but I think it’s nice coming in with a ‘clean slate’ and starting something new too.

We’ve talked before about writing for all-ages, with both Finder & Keeper and your Conspiracy of Ravens graphic novel with Sally Jane Thompson being great examples of how to get kids properly scared without going too far.

What sorts of things might we see in Finder & Keeper that will put a little shiver down the kids’ spines?

JR: Well, I can’t really give too much away about what Meera and Eliot come across lurking in the graveyard in this story, but I hope it gives kids that thrill they get when you’re exploring some of the weirder little corners of their neighbourhoods. I spent so much of my childhood climbing about in parks, woods, and strange, overgrown and forgotten places where, even though you’re in the middle of a city, you can feel the magic in a very real sense.

And what is it about writing all-ages material that’s so much fun for you?

JR: Having three kids ourselves, most of the stuff we end up reading these days is All Ages. Although that’s more the case for prose rather than comics. Leah reads the kids Diana Wynne Jones, I’ve been through all the Famous Fives a few times, and we’re in the middle of Narnia at the moment. There’s so much magic and wonder in those books and their worlds, and increasingly we just seem to gravitate towards trying to put some of that into our own work. Kid-friendly books don’t have to be childish. The best of them make adult readers remember how amazing it was to be a kid. 

This is the second Finder & Keeper, what are the plans for more?

JR: Yes! A third F&K is coming later this year in the very next Regened issue.

So far, we’ve seen Cadet Dredd, Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper, DR & Quinch and more in Regened so far. What classic bit of 2000 AD would you like to see given the all-ages Regened treatment?

JR: Ro-Busters could work! Maybe a young Nemesis the Warlock? Hmm, probably not that actually.

DT: Very interesting… Can I say that I would like to see them all! Trying to reinvigorate Classic Stories with drawing styles more suited to our time is something that Marvel and DC is already doing and is doing quite well, and for those 2000 AD classics, I’d love to do that with Regened for 2000 AD.

Finally, with Regened being all about getting younger readers into comics, how about your own experiences of discovering both comics and 2000 AD?

JR: I didn’t really discover 2000 AD until I was about 13 or so and I convinced myself I’d ‘grown out of’ comics when I was about 15 up until I was in my early 20s, so I didn’t really give it much of a chance the first time round, I’m afraid. Apart from the Beano and loads of old annuals though, some of the first comics I ever read and became obsessed with were knackered copies of Vulcan, Valiant, and Fantastic & Terrific which I bought second hand from a market stall. So, I’d read and love classic British strips like Steel Claw, Mytek the Mighty, and Janus Stark before even got into my Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phase in the early to mid-nineties.

DT: I’ve known 2000 AD for a long time now and had hoped to work for them one day. So, when I got the call, I was very happy. 2000 AD is the comic that shows the excellence of the English comics market and I feel honoured for this experience and I hope it will last much longer.

With Regened, we’re obviously looking to attracting younger readers to the Prog, keeping it fresh and alive for the future. And it looks like the concept’s a success, with the 2019 Regened Prog the best-selling issue of the year. What are your thoughts on bringing new readers into comics in general and 2000 AD in particular?

JR: Comics seem to be on the up again with the younger generation just as happy reading graphic novels as they are prose, and crucially with schools seeming to have embraced comics in a way I don’t think they had previously. I think an all-ages 2000 AD is a brilliant thing for kids, and I’m confident the success of the first Regened will be repeated.

DT: Well, first of all, I’m very happy that the Regened Prog 2019 was the best-selling issue of that year. It’s proof that many new readers have come to 2000 AD. I think that when your products are high quality you can almost say that they sell themselves, but I think it’s safe to say that the comics industry still has a very long life.

And as for Regened this year, I would say that with 2020 we can break the record of 2019 don’t you think?!

You’ll be able to get hold of the first 2000 AD Regened of 2019 with 2000 AD Prog 2170, is on sale from newsagents, comic book stores, and online now. Future Regened Progs will be Prog 2183, Prog 2196, and Prog 2206.

And you can catch up with the first episode of Finder & Keeper with Prog 2130, the 2019 Regened Prog.