PrintE-mail Written by Kieron Moore

Fast approaching its fortieth anniversary, 2000 AD is an iconic part of the British comics industry and has launched the careers of many incredible writers. But unlike writing for the screen, which has been dissected over and over, the work of these comics writers is relatively unstudied. The 2000 AD Script Book aims to remedy that, reprinting instalments from various recent strips alongside their original scripts.

This approach allows for much insight into the creative processes behind the works of many popular writers, from longstanding 2000 AD legends like John Wagner and Pat Mills to the stars of today like Al Ewing and Robbie Morrison. It’s particularly interesting – perhaps more so than reading film scripts – because the comics industry has no set format or style, and so each script varies from the next.

Some, like Wagner and Mills, are very terse, providing the minimal information needed to tell the story and allowing the artist to work out the details and layout. Others are more prescriptive, going into detail with character descriptions and panel compositions. And others are more conversational and jokey – Simon Spurrier’s script for Lobster Random is a delight to read, conveying the anarchic tone of the story even in his directions.

This variety teaches an important lesson that a comics script is a conversation with the artist, all part of a collaboration to make the final work as good as possible; studying all the styles involved will help budding writers find their own style – and reassure them that they’re not doing it ‘wrong’!

As well as enthusiastic writers, this book is also a great read for 2000 AD fans to dip in and out of, in order to learn more about how their favorite series came to be. The fifteen comics covered are all from the past two or three years, so anyone wanting to see scripts from classic Alan Moore or Grant Morrison comics, for example, will be disappointed, but there’s nevertheless a great range of characters covered – from Judge Dredd to Sláine via Durham Red, Bad Company, Brass Sun, and much more.

Readers interested in the art of comics who aren’t long-time 2000 AD readers may be a little confused by some, as, for example, the Shakara instalment gives us Part Five of a rather complex story without much in the way of context, but several others are Part Ones or single-instalment stories, so shouldn’t provide that problem.

The 2000 AD Script Book is a fascinating insight into the galaxy’s greatest comic, a source of inspiration for anyone wanting to get cracking on their own scripts, and a fantastically presented reprint of some excellent strips. Gaze into the scripts of Dredd!


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