British comics are fantastic!
They’re exciting, inventive, action-packed, heartfelt, heroic and great value for money. They have a unique style you will not find in comics anywhere else in the world. They are faster-paced than Manga. They are on the side of the underdog –not the boss, like American superhero comics. They’re a lot cooler, with brilliant artists encouraged to draw in their own unique styles.
And they’re aimed at ordinary readers of all ages.
They were fantastic.
Because most of them have since withered and died.
Let’s leave aside why they died for another time. It’s a long story.
Enter SPACEWARP. For Today’s Readers.
SPACEWARP ticks the checklist of ingredients of a British comic, because that was my job. I created a series of comics that outsold every other comic on the newsstand.
So I got to know (the hard way) exactly what readers wanted. Not because I had any special insight, but because I listened carefully to them. Especially when they wrote in and told me if one of the stories was ‘crap’. And why.
SPACEWARP is not aimed at adult, elitist or nostalgia readers, but the ordinary reader that publishers stopped listening to a long time ago.
Readers like my original 2000AD readers, who bought my creation every week.
All 200,000 of them.
But unlike 2000AD, where the creators had no choice but to sell all their rights, SPACEWARP stories are CREATOR-OWNED and all creators share equally in its financial success. And control the destiny of their creations.
That’s why our standard is so high.
So in one case, we had to tear the SPACEWARP artwork away from an artist because he wanted to redraw an action hero for the fourth time because he wasn’t quite happy with the earlier versions. It was already brilliant by his third version!
This is simply not possible – or it would be insane – when you sell all your rights. Whether it’s acknowledged or not, everything then becomes about money. How to cut corners. How to drop standards – just a little. How quickly you can ‘knock out’ a story to pay the bills. Because any future royalties are token, unfair or, all too often, non-existent.
Memorably, one ‘all rights’ writer became so fast at ‘knocking stories out’ (like a machine) he actually beat this indefensible system and became rich. He famously boasted, ‘I make more money than the British prime minister.’ (This was before Tony Blair, of course.)
But on SPACEWARP quality comes first, second and third. Making money comes fourth.
Because we’re doing this to produce a comic that can finally be what readers and creators have always wanted British comics to be: a true labour of love.
There’s a second reason for SPACEWARP.
We now live in a Science-Fiction world.
It’s no longer Tomorrow’s World. The Future’s finally arrived and you don’t need me to tell you that it’s not all good.
The times we find ourselves are in need of a new Science-Fiction comic to dramatise these new challenges.
It needs new action heroes.
New high concept stories and realities.
Ongoing serials with heroes who will interact with each other in a unique SPACEWARP UNIVERSE.
Heroes who fight against today’s injustices, and who defeat the new bad guys, against all the odds. And love, laugh and cry along the way.
Not told across endless pages or volumes.
That’s not the British comic way. Instead, complete reads in one single comic book:
SPACEWARP PHASE 1
So British comics can be fantastic again.
Pat Mills June 2020
Pat Mills created the sci-fi anthology comic 2000AD. He developed and wrote Judge Dredd, as well as Doctor Who audio plays and comics, Dan Dare, and series for Marvel and DC Comics. His Marshal Law is a scathing attack on the cult of superheroes. His Charley’s War is widely seen as the greatest British comic of all time.
When I’m not sleeping I draw. Comics are shifting mercury to the fixed elements of the finer arts and the bar to entry is set low enough for me. I started by drawing my own comics then moved on to contributing microcosmic worlds to small press titles such Violent!, Zarjaz and FutureQuake.