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INTERVIEW: Future Shock with Tillie Walden

Just as having Dredd in everything 2000 AD related is a must, there’s always space to find a Future Shock as well – and the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special is most definitely no exception.

It’s also a great chance to get fabulous new talent into the pages of 2000 AD. And there’s no more phenomenal talent than Tillie Walden.

Since her debut graphic novel, The End Of Summer (2015), she’s had four more graphic novels published: I Love This Part (2015), A City Inside (2016) and the coming-of-age memoir, Spinning, in 2017.

Richard Bruton caught up with the talented young artist as she was waiting for a flight out from Bogota Book Festival. Very tired, she still found the time to chat about the future, about shocks, and about working at 2000 AD for the first time…

Tillie, for those who don’t already know your incredible body of work, can you give us an introduction to who you are and what you do?

Tillie Walden: Sure! My name is Tillie Walden, I’m a cartoonist from Austin, TX and I currently live in Los Angeles. I’m a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, and I’ve published four graphic novels as well as a webcomic. My fifth book comes out this fall.

Your first graphic novel, The End Of Summer, was published right here in the UK first by Avery Hill Publishing in 2015. How did that come about?

TW: It was! I had to go to England to get my start. Ricky Miller, who is half of Avery Hill Publishing, found my work on Twitter. We’ve traced it back to thinking that it was Mike Medaglia, possibly, who retweeted one of my tweets, and that’s how Ricky saw my work. He sent me an email after looking at my website, and the rest is history.

To be “discovered” so young, still in High School, could have been a stumbling block for many. Now, at the wise old age of 21, how do you think you handled the accolades at such a young age?

TW: I don’t how I handle it, really. I try to be as grateful as possible while also keeping a lot of boundaries around myself to keep myself sane. I suppose if I had thought of the accolades as some sort of pressure it might have made me stumble more, but I never felt like that way, thankfully. It’s funny to think of how I felt about all this just a few years ago, at 19. I remember feeling so confused about it all. The attention made me want to curl up and hide.

Your four graphic novels span genres so effortlessly. From the high fantasy of The End Of Summer, through the often claustraphobic tale of two young girls in I Love This Part, to the exploration of aging in A City Inside, and finally the highly personal memoir of your years skating in Spinning, you seem perfectly at home in so many genres. Do you have a particular favourite style, genre, or is it simply however the latest idea takes hold?

TW: It’s really about the latest idea. Or about how I’m feeling/what’s going on in my life in that moment. My genre choices are always a reflection of that moment in time. I do particularly enjoy doing things not based in reality, I love an excuse to just make shit up. I think it also helps that I’ve never worried much about the genre jumping. I just tell myself that no matter what kind of story I’m telling, it’s still a story by me. So it will naturally find a way to fit with my other work. It’s all from my heart, so even if the setting is wildly different, I think the stories will always connect with one another.

Your latest project, On A Sunbeam, debuted as a webcomic, and will be adapted into a graphic novel for later release. Why the decision at this stage to release it online initially?

TW: I’m impatient. I wanted to make On a Sunbeam and have it immediately out in the world, and webcomics are very immediate. Also, they’re free. I loved that I could finally offer something to all my followers without asking for their money. It felt very liberating. Webcomics have an accessibility that breaks down a lot of barriers, and can reach a lot more people. People who can’t find their way into the traditional publishing space have this option where no one can turn them down, it’s wonderful.

Going back to Spinning, what made you switch from the ice to the comic page?

TW: Haha, because comics are fun and ice skating SUCKS. Just kidding. But not really. I’ve always liked intense things, doing things that demand a lot from me. And I got that in skating, but ultimately that world really wasn’t for me. And comics were perfect for me because they are ridiculously demanding but I can do it without being cold or having to wear makeup and be judged.

Onto this latest UK work, can you give us a quick idea what the Future Shock in the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special is about?

TW: Hmm, it’s about a postal worker. And possibly a monster. That’s all I will say.

As an American, how aware of 2000 AD were you growing up? Did you know anything of the ideas behind Future Shocks before getting this latest gig?

TW: I had never heard of it! But I also didn’t know what Batman was for a long time either, so I was very cut off from comics in general. I knew about it from Ricky Miller, of Avery Hill Publishing. He has schooled me on all the cool UK comics and culture and he was who I first heard about it from.

What research/reading did you do for your Future Shock before setting about writing and drawing it? Did you spend time going back over the classics, or did you just dive into it?

TW: I just dove right in. Logistically, I had no time to do anything but that. I was working on this comic while I was in the middle of moving to Los Angeles, and starting a new graphic novel, so I just had to jump in and pray for the best.

I can’t imagine shifting gears to write the Future Shock was necessarily a problem for you, as your work includes many shorter tales as well as your graphic novel length works, but were there any unique challenges in writing your Future Shock?

TW: I had to sort of remind myself how to do a short comic, since I’ve been so engrossed in long form for a while. But it wasn’t too hard, it’s just a different kind of focus.

After this first appearance in 2000 AD, would you possibly think of creating something new for 2000 AD in the future?

TW: If I’m being honest, I can’t imagine any more drawing than what I’m already handling right now. I’m working on two graphic novels simultaneously and I’ll think about cool characters some other day. I’m lame, I know. But in the future, sure!

You might have seen some of the reactions (good and bad) online to the idea of an all-female Sci-Fi Special…

TW: Lol, people are very stupid. Oh no, the ladies are making comics together! Their periods are going to sync up! Haha, ok, but in all seriousness. I think it’s great, and it’s about time, for a leading sci-fi comic like 2000 AD to bring in more female creatives. I get a little sick of the labels, being in the all womens issue, being on the all womens comic panel, etc. It’s as if we can’t be taken completely seriously without some sort of ‘special lady’ label attached to it. But, it’s a good opportunity, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

The 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special is out in the UK on 20 June and out in North America in July. Pre-order a copy now from the 2000 AD webshop…

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INTERVIEW: Alex De Campi and Sam Beck on Rogue Trooper

Born in the Souther gene labs, and thrown into battle as a G.I., Genetic Infantryman, Rogue Trooper has long been a fan favourite character for readers of 2000 AD. Now, along with Canadian artist Sam Beck, and after bringing chaos and devastation to the movieworld of Dredd in The Dead World over in the Megazine, Alex De Campi brings her unique vision to one of 2000 AD‘s greatest sons.

What can we expect from this latest adventure of Rogue Trooper in the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special? Richard Bruton asks the questions…

The last time we saw Rogue Trooper in the pages of 2000 AD was Prog 2050 where Paul Robinson and Leonardo Manco brought him back once more, along with the idea of his hunt for the Traitor General. Is this latest Rogue tale a continuation of that one-off, or something all of its own?

ADC: It’s another one-off, set during the original hunt for the Traitor General. In terms of approach, my story is mainly told from the perspective of the troops Rogue and his pals meet, with Rogue as this sort of avatar of hope/victory for them, but you know, the Army always fucks you in the end.

What approach did you take when coming to Rogue?

ADC: Rogue is a perfect character, in the way that Judge Dredd is. They can exist forever, and there’s always something new to do with them, because they’re vehicles to tell specific kinds of stories. For Judge Dredd, it’s crime/urban stories. For Rogue, it’s war stories. I don’t think you need to try to mess with the character — I mean, sure, you need to understand them, and why they are great tragic heroes, but forcing them to have arcs or trying to be the writer who leaves a big tally mark on their history by changing their status quo? I just don’t think it’s necessary. I love war stories. Grew up on ’em. Read a ton since. And the chance to write a Hurtgen Forest (WWII)/Michelin Plantation (Vietnam) story with Rogue? Oh hell yeah.

Did you look back to the classic tales and spin out a tale of the lone cowboy?

ADC: I mainlined like 800 pages of classic Rogue before writing this eight-pager. Overkill? Possibly. Regrets? Zero.

Are we going to be seeing a return of all the old faves, including Rogue’s companions; Helm, Bagman, and Gunnar?

ADC: It’s not a Rogue story without Helm, Bagman and Gunnar. Yes, they all play important roles in this story.

Did you pitch for Rogue, or was it something editorial asked if you would like to take on?

ADC: I asked for Rogue, specifically. Rogue has always been one of my favourites of all my years reading 2000 AD. And since by the time the summer special comes out, I’ll have had three Dredd stories in the Megazine, I felt like pitching Dredd would have been taking a chance away from someone else. Hell, I’m only the second woman to write Dredd after Emma Beeby, and this way, we can let in a third to Dredd Club. It was even more tactical than that, to be honest. I think there are a lot of casual fans or keyboard clowns worried we birds are somehow going to soften up the joint (note: these people clearly aren’t acquainted the amount of casual hyper-violence in my work). And I don’t know what everyone else is doing for the Sci-Fi Special, we haven’t compared notes or anything. So I just wanted to write an old-school, violent noir of a war story with Rogue — first, because I love stories like that, seriously, this is my wheelhouse — and second, because I wanted to stick two fingers up to all the whiners with the rejected future shock pitches who are mad that *girls* are getting a free pass at their faves. I mean, like I haven’t been writing comics professionally for 10 years or anything.

Alex, seeing as your last 2000 AD work, the incredible Dredd movieverse tale Dead World, gave us a very definitive end to that tale, can you reassure us that you’re not planning on doing something similarly final with Rogue Trooper?

ADC: Oh no! Fret not. I’m leaving Rogue open and available for more writers to carry on with (also because I want to write more Rogue stories!). Again, I don’t have to be That Writer, who leaves a permanent mark on Rogue. If I do, I want it to be because of a great story, not because of a cheap trick like offing him.

As for Dead World, we were asked to have a definitive ending by Tharg. It was planned as the last movieverse story and Tharg wanted it to go out with a bang. Initial suggestions were even more permanent, as it were, but I chose that specific ending because honestly it’s the worst thing that can happen to Dredd. We have a moment where Judge Fear puts Dredd in what he THINKS is Dredd’s worst nightmare, but it isn’t really. The way we end the book is.

Your recent Image series, Twisted Romance, was a wonderful example of how the writer can adjust style and tone for the artist involved. As I understand it, you didn’t know that Sam was your Rogue Trooper artist when writing. How does this affect your creative process, if at all?

ADC: Some comics you work in strong collaboration with the artist; some you just script and hope. It works out either way, to be honest. Because Rogue is such a known quantity with such a rich visual history, I was more writing to Rogue than I was writing to Sam’s art style, just as Sam will no doubt be drawing to the established world of Rogue than carving out something new. I think I do good scripts either way. I’ve written entire original graphic novels without an artist attached. Both ways of working are fun. But think of it this way: whereas if Sam and I were doing a collab on a new story, I would have spent a shit-ton of time learning Sam’s style, what she’s strong at, what she tends to avoid, how many panels per page she is comfortable with, et cetera, with this story I spent my research time immersing myself in Gerry Finley-Day and Alan Moore classic Rogue, and weeping over the glory of the line art. Chris Weston’s a friend, and someday I’m going to drag him into doing a short Rogue run with me… once he’s done his current work with Rob.

Sam, as a Canadian artist, what experience of 2000 AD have you had?

Sam Beck: Not a whole lot beyond Judge Dredd, which is a shame, because after being approached to do the art for the Rogue Trooper story I did some reading and there are a lot of really fun stories. I hope as a Canadian artist I can help introduce 2000 AD’s character to readers in North America.

Did you have any awareness of Rogue Trooper and his rich artistic history before coming onboard for this tale?

SB: I didn’t, but thankfully Rogue Trooper‘s history meant there was a lot of really good source material to read and research before beginning to draw anything. Rogue Trooper was a really unique challenge for me, and I like a challenge. So I’ve done my research, and I hope that my art brings something new and exciting to the table.

The Sci-Fi Special this year has received an awful lot of attention, good and bad, for featuring an all-female assembly of creative talent. What are your opinions on this as an all-women special?

ADC: Normally I’m against the ghettoization of women in comics. It’s not healthy to present us as something separate and new, when to be honest we’ve been there since the very beginning (Ramona Fradon gets held up as one of the first, but really she was a second generation — a lot of the 1930s strips were created / drawn by women). I refuse to participate in Women in Comics panels, because after the immortal words of Neko Case, I’m not a woman in comics, I’m a writer in comics, don’t Peggy Olsen me, MFers.

But! But, saying that, I really feel Tharg is making a genuine effort to jumpstart a lot more female involvement in 2000 AD. And it’s not like they’re just picking random chicks off the street — we’re all longstanding professionals with really stellar track records. And 2000 AD has always been open to women. Tharg’s been at me for a good decade to get my shit together and pitch. But here’s the funny thing: if you’re a member of an under-represented group of any kind, and you don’t see people who are like you working at a company, you sorta don’t prioritise pitching that company. So a lack of diversity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy unless the company jumpstarts a serious commitment to it, like 2000 AD is doing now.

The Sci-Fi Special is going to do a lot of cool things. As noted, I was already three Dredd stories in when asked to be a part of the Special so I’m not really a new entry into the hit parade. But a lot of others are. The Special is going to bring a lot of other women in to what will hopefully be a longstanding relationship with 2000 AD. That will encourage even more female creators in future, because they can look at the book and say, oh, we’re welcome here. And it’ll encourage female readers, too, to start or renew their relationship with the Prog or the Meg. And we can do all this without softening things up. We don’t want that. That’s not anybody’s ambition. We wanna write mushy shit, we can do that just fine on our own, we don’t need to do it with Dredd.

And comics works via small circles of people who know and trust each other. So you get some new blood in, they start reaching out to their friends or saying ‘Hey Tharg, can so-and-so draw this?” or “This writer is amazing, you should look at them”, and soon enough, you get a lot of really exciting voices and visions adding to the book. Not that the existing talent isn’t great — because holy shit, it really is, I mean how can anyone doubt, with that Williams/Weston Judge Dredd: Fit For Purpose running in the Prog — but everything needs to keep evolving to best survive.

And this is ultimately what the Summer Special is: a declaration of strength.

SB: The short answer is it’s good, and I’m happy for the opportunity. The long answer is, you should introduce diversity and new-talent at anytime without having to create a special publication for it. But the all-female special is a big statement and it’s going to garner attention, which is never a bad thing.

The 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special is out in the UK on 20 June and out in North America in July. Pre-order a copy now from the 2000 AD webshop…

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INTERVIEW: Maura McHugh and Emma Vieceli talk Judge Anderson

Next month, 2000 AD‘s Sci-Fi Special blazes onto shelves with an incredible line-up of talent 

On sale 20 June in the UK and 11 July in North America, the 48-page special will have an all-female roster of writers, artists, colourists and letterers, with covers from Tula Lotay (Supreme: Blue RoseBodies) and newcomer Emily Zeinner, and all-new stories by Alex De Campi (Twisted RomanceNo Mercy), Laura Bailey (Future Shocks), Katy Rex (Charmed, Doctor Who), Leah Moore (Red Sonja, Storm Warning), and newcomer Olivia Hicks, with art from Xulia Vicente (Anna Dédalus, Llampuga, Llampega!), Sam Beck (Songs for the Dead, Cadmus), Abigail Bulmer (Storm Warning, Grey Area), and Dani (Judge Anderson, Fiends of the Eastern Front). It will also include a Future Shock by award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden and a stunning Judge Anderson poster by artist Marguerite Sauvage (DC Comics Bombshells, Shade the Changing Girl).

Within its pages will be the return of Cassandra Anderson, courtesy of writer Maura McHugh (Witchfinder, Jennifer Wilde) and artist Emma Vieceli (Breaks, Young Avengers).

Richard Bruton chatted to Maura and Emma about their take on 2000 AD‘s finest female Psi-Judge…

In the new 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special, you have the pleasure of bringing us a tale of the greatest of the Justice Department’s Psi-Judges, the incredible Cassandra Anderson. Can you give the readers a quick idea of what the tale is all about?

Maura McHugh: The story is called ‘SPA Day’ and is about a treatment that Anderson is ordered to undertake by PSI Div… which doesn’t go as expected!

We’re used to seeing Anderson in the pages of 2000 AD, and over the past few years, the presence of some very strong female characters, good and bad, in the Justice Department has been most welcome. But what is it about Anderson that makes her such a perennial favourite?

MM: Anderson is a fascinating mix of someone with excellent physical ability, a deep sense of justice, but also a high degree of compassion. The latter part is often hammered out, ignored, or stunted in Street Judges, but most of the PSIs have to be both Judges and sensitive. One of Anderson’s coping mechanisms is her wry sense of humour, which provides moments of levity during some rather grim business. She’s been all around the universe, but her drive to help people keeps her in Mega-City One despite the terrible things she has witnessed. She has doubts, and has suffered awful losses, yet she strives to do the right thing in every situation. She’s a very relatable, complex character, and Alan Grant has written so many memorable stories for her.

Maura, you’re a celebrated writer of prose, comics, plays, and screenplays. Why has it taken so long for your name to appear in the pages of 2000 AD?

MM: Writing for 2000 AD has been on my ‘to do’ list for a long time. I had pitched a story to Matt before, and it was turned down – c’est la guerre, it happens to everyone. For this special Matt contacted me, I pitched him three ideas, and we settled on the one that – thankfully – we both liked the best.

Similarly, Emma, you’ve been working in Brit comics for many years now. Your previous work includes Manga Shakespeare titles for SelfMadeHero, Dragon Heir through Sweatdrop Studios, the adaptation of the Vampire Academy book series, and your self-published Breaks comic amongst many more. What does getting into the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special mean to you?

Emma Vieceli: I’m so chuffed to be doing this and it’s great working with Maura. I’ve long wanted to dive into the world of 2000 AD so am happy that an opportunity like this came up. Getting to start with two kick-ass women like Maura McHugh and Cassandra Anderson is a pretty great way to dip my toe into the murky waters of Mega-City One.

What does the all-women creators 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special mean to you?

MM: Doing a special edition with women contributors is a smart way to introduce a new cadre of talented creators to the 2000 AD universe. Hopefully we’ll see more women writing/drawing/colouring regular features for the comic… because they produce strong and entertaining work. Plus, the special might encourage a new audience to pick up the comic, and stay with it. After all, there are many fantastic characters and storylines in 2000 AD. I’ve been impressed with the quality of the work that is being produced on such a regular basis (with a special shout-out to Dan Abnett and Phil Winslade on Lawless). I must tip my hat to the astonishing Annie Parkhouse and Ellie de Ville who have been consistently brilliant in 2000 AD, doing one of the most underrated jobs in comics: lettering. As a writer I’m always indebted to letterers who seamlessly keep the text visible but not too prominent, and enhance it where necessary. At its best it’s an invisible job, which contributes to why letterers are so overlooked. Annie and Ellie are great at their job, and that’s why they are employed to do it.  

What were your first experiences of 2000 AD? Any particular favourite characters that you’d love to work on in the future?

MM: I read 2000 AD as a kid because it was one of the few comics I could get readily in a small town in Ireland. I was a geeky girl at a time when that wasn’t cool at all, and 2000 AD was one of my regular joys. It probably did a lot to cement my love of comics. I adored Judge Anderson. Having the opportunity to write even a short story for her has truly been a bucket list job. 

As unlikely as these are to happen, the two that spring to mind immediately are Halo Jones and Sláine. Halo is such an intriguing, unusual character who doesn’t have a superpower but just wants ‘out’ – and gets to see the universe. Sláine is Irish, and I love writing mythological stories.

Of course I’d be ecstatic to write more Anderson! And who wouldn’t want to write the Dark Judges? Finally… I always loved the proto-cyberpunk ideas behind M.A.C.H.1. I’d have a blast re-working that series.

What do we have to look forward to from you?

MM: As is usual with me I’m working across a variety of media: I’m writing dialogue for the indie Jennifer Wilde game, which is based on the comic that I wrote. I’ve a couple of short film projects knocking around in various stages of development. I’m constantly writing prose short stories, and I’m working on a collection of them. And there are more comics in the offing too. Plus, a novel. This year should see the release of the stop-motion animated short film that’s based on my short story Bone Mother. Stop-motion is a time-consuming process, so it’s been a lengthy project. I can’t wait to see it.

The 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special is out on 20th June from all good newsagents and comic book stores, as well as digitally from 2000 AD‘s webshop and apps…

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2000AD Covers Uncovered – Beach Dredd

It’s holiday time, which can mean only one thing, the mighty one is spoiling us with with the zarjaz 2000AD Summer Special! The special features five brand new stories for you to read at your leisure by the chem-pools of Gran Vesusia or while floating in zero G beaches of Sedna. The special sports a gloriously sunny cover by scrotnig Art Droid Ryan Brown, who has certainly delivered the goods!

I asked Ryan to tell me about this glorious cover, he said “Tharg wanted an image on the cover of us looking up at Dredd on a beach. I had to keep the angle shallow so we could see the sand and the sea. My rough (which I deleted, d’oh!) had the coloured bucket and spade but Tharg thought it should be gray. However, I fought to keep them brightly coloured as it makes a nice contrast with dredd as hes very monochrome. I loved the colours, which I based on this photograph...”

That woman in the white top shouldn’t have had the chilli…

I thought the colours were a nice connection to the comic covers of old. In my covers, I like to have some dramatic lighting and this beach scene was a great opportunity for that. I really want to get my teeth into an action cover in the future, something with some dynamic poses and stuff!

Hmmmm, Ryan needn’t worry too much about action covers, here are some of his awesome images of old, starting with a titantic tussle at the dump that is Pete Wells Block!

Death’s ventriloqist act needed some work…

Or how about this super cool cover of Prog 1929?


There are many, many more examples of Ryan’s amazing work on his brand new website, which you can find at .

Back to the Summer Special cover, here’s how it looks at your local Thrill Merchant…

“There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Joseph, dear Joseph!”

Ryan adds “Also, I wanted Dredd holding an icecream which was dripping onto the sand but that was going to far, ha ha ha!”

HUGE thanks to Ryan for sending the images and text. Be sure to check out his brand new site at for loads of awesome images!