The last project I was involved with before being handed ZARJAZ; STAK was conceived by Ed Berridge as a ROGUE TROOPER Fanzine in a similar style to Dogbreath. The first (and only issue) boasted a cover by PJ HOLDEN (Who has supplied us with a cover for a future ZARJAZ also) and was largely a collection of strips from around the internet and specifically the 2000adOnline website as it was back then (or BARNEY as it is now)

A limited run of the title was completed and launcehed at the second BICS Event in October 2007. The comic is now totally out of print and there are no plans for more. The ‘TALES OF THE GI’ strip in Zarjaz began it’s print life here.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to post some of the strips that featured in STAK, so remember to check back on Fridays for ZARJAZ fun.

FQ12: Cover Rough

When I asked Declan Shalvey to draw the cover for the new issue, he choice to provide us with a piece reflecting on THE DISCOVERY by Kieran Murphy and Paul Carter. The above was his first rough of this, and promised to be a cracking image. However, deadlines and paying gigs meant that Dec wasn’t able to complete his original idea. Luckily for us he had the image that became the cover already to hand.

Newsie stuff!

I wasn’t expecting the Zarjaz news to really get beyond the 2000ad message board area, so I was well chuffed to find these:

The Forbidden Planet Blog The lovely Joe Gordon who is definately one of the good guys in my book, as is John Freeman who wrote on Down the Tubes about us!

One of the upshots from that is that I have had an email from an un-named Pro artist wanting to contribute!

my thanks to all.

Hi-Ex 02. Trip report.

I make no secret of stuff I like- Comics, Pies, Diet cola, Disney amonst some of them. One of the more recent ones is Hi-Ex! The comic convention organised in part by my compadre in many things Richmond Clements and Vicky Stonebridge.

I thought last years event was good. This years was better. Why? Well I suppose it comes down to people. This convention is still small enough that I think it possible for almost everyone to know everyone else there, which I can’t say about Bristol or Brum.

Two of the funniest lads I’ve ever met, Colin and Sean. I expect both of these lads to be comic creators of the future, and I honestly believe that they could talk the devil into setting himself on fire. And they were just two of the wonderful children walking around, from the adorable Judge rose (who doesn’t realise that her Dad is in fact, EVIL) to little Shayera, dressed as Wonder Woman.

It was a blast to be able to catch up with a lot of comics folks who do not normally attend conventions, seeing as the majority of them are waaay down in the depths of England. The apre con drinking in the Ramada was a highlight, with the opportunity to talk to folks who I’d only been able to wave at in the day.

Heh, pic of me being Judged by Minty. Great fun.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with the amazing Al Davison, and discover that he’s got a wicked sense of humour, for someone with a voluntarily limited digestive pallette 🙂

There are too many folks I should thank for their kind words about the comics, and I hope to be able to thank them properly when time allows, but for now I just really want to say that I’m already looking forward to next year and Hi-Ex 3!

Zarjaz 07: The Pat Mills Special

Zarjaz 07 cover art by Dave Kendall.

Launching in May 2009, Zarjaz 07 is a first for us, in that we are devoting the entire issue to the works of one man. Mr Pat Mills.

As part of the run-up to the launch of this epic issue, I, your humble assembly droid contacted Pat with a few questions.

Bolt-01: For long time readers of 2000ad, you are regarded as being the reason the comic existed, given how long the comic has lasted, do you feel a sense of pride at this?

Pat Mills: Yes, of course. Coupled with a sense of RELIEF that the many, many attempts by editorial neo-cons to destroy the comic from its conception in the ‘70s onwards failed. Equally, the failed attempts to turn it into something else… Deadline, Loaded, Vertigo etc. Usually by people who didn’t really believe in 2000AD or wanted to use it as a launch pad to go elsewhere. If you like Vertigo, you buy Vertigo, not 2000AD.

In recent years, the comic is very much 2000AD once again, the various threats to its identity have faded away, and I think that makes all of us who care passionately about the comic feel great.

Bolt-01: The recent crop of new ‘Pat Mills’ strips in 2000ad, along with the ongoing reprint treatment of your older works, has generated a lot of interest in the small press community to work with these characters, yet for reasons I’m not going into here this wasn’t officially permissible- Is there a reason you would like to share about what has changed your mind?

Pat Mills: I think because the threats I’ve mentioned above have receded. There’s a great deal more trust, respect and appreciation on every side which means I can relax a little. So it’s no longer a problem for me. Some eight or so years back that certainly wasn’t the case – in what I call The Dark Ages – and I could feel a real itch between my shoulder blades. You’ve only got to look at how Gerry Finley-Day – who actually is the (unsung) founder of modern British comics via Tammy (not me) – has sometimes been written about, with a lack of respect, and erased from the picture, to know it’s not paranoia on my part.

Bolt-01: Are there any characters of yours that you would like to see adapted for small press?

Pat Mills: Hmm… Any where the writer and artist really are committed to saying something cool about the character. Defoe has a large universe of characters – there might be some aspect that could be explored that I haven’t focussed on much. That could be fun!

So far creators for this issue include Al Nolan, Mike Carroll, Nick Dyer, Richmond Clements, Mark Woodland, Andrew White, BMB, Bolt-01 and more. Being prepared for this issue are strips featuring Slaine and the ABC Warriors, though who knows what can happen in future…

Slaine character study by Nick Dyer.

Happy Shrapnel by Mike Carroll & Bolt-01 (Work in progress)

For more updates as time passes remember to visit The Quaequam Blog

Remember- It’s not called ZARJAZ for nothing.