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Comics Interview

Pat Mills talks his 'inFamous 2' comics

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Lindsay Lohan in inFamous 2
British comics legend Pat Mills is one of the most respected names in the industry. As a founder of 2000 AD, Mills created a host of popular characters including the ABC Warriors, Nemesis the Warlock and Sláine.

Digital Spy caught up with Mills to discuss his most recent project, a series of strips inspired by the inFamous 2 video game. Written with the infamous Howard Marks, the comics insert modern celebrities into the alternate, super-powered reality of inFamous 2.

How did you become involved in the inFamous 2 project?
"I've always written pretty dark and satirical strips, so they reckoned I'd be the right guy to write these cartoons about celebs entering the inFamous 2 world."

Where did the idea to insert celebrities into the inFamous world come from?
"I think that came from the advertising agencies handling the inFamous 2 promotion. It's a fun idea! The artists really bring out the celebs' characters - check the body language of Lindsay Lohan as rendered by Fay Dalton. It's wonderfully dysfunctional!"

What is your opinion of the modern 'cult of celebrity'?
"I guess it's always been there, but it does seem worse than ever now. It's a kind of real life soap opera which is why it wouldn't be entertaining if they were all behaving well. It's probably supplementing Coronation Street, EastEnders, etc for a lot of people. That would be fair enough if the plots were a bit more interesting and sordid - but they're pretty vacuous... or at least the information that's made public. Now the reality - with the super injunctions lifted - is probably much wilder. Why do we need it? I suppose if our lives are a bit s**t, it's possibly a relief to see others going through it. Or to escape into fantasy. Why is it so huge now? Maybe because there's no more choice in politics - just Conservative or Conservative Light, e.g. New Labour - not much religion - because they've been discredited of late - and the news media is a bad joke, with very little genuine critical reporting. So all that's left is a superficial, dumbed down void which celebs fill perfectly. Personally, there are better alternatives - like curling up with a good book or a good woman."

Did the characters require much research?
"They're all out there on the web. And if I couldn't find anything, I could always buy one of the myriad of magazines about them. Thankfully it never came to that."

What was it like to collaborate with Howard Marks?
"Lot of fun working him into the stories. Especially as I'd recently watched his amazing film bio."

Why do you think it is that you have largely resisted the lure of the major US comics publishers?
"Well, most of my peers went west to the States. I went south to France. The French market is actually bigger than the US market and their graphic novels are really beautiful, large-sized, fully painted and not about superheroes. I've been writing Requiem: Vampire Knight for the last decade for France - rather than something like Green Lantern. Not a tough choice! Although my superhero hunter and hater Marshal Law (co-created with Kevin O'Neill) has just been bought by DC Comics, so all those cape-kicking adventures will shortly be reprinted by DC as a series of graphic novels."

Have you had any involvement in the new Judge Dredd movie?
"Not on this one. The previous Dredd was based on my story about his clone brother Rico. [I] don't know what the new Dredd movie story is about."

What are your thoughts on the upcoming DC relaunch?
"I understand it involves a major shift towards digital comics which is excellent news. The inFamous 2 strips are just the first of a number of digital comic projects I'm currently involved in, including digital girls' comics. While 2000 AD went from strength to strength, mainstream girls' comics - which were originally a bigger market, different to Manga - disappeared off the map. I've just been doing some reader research which confirms the girls' comic market is still potentially there, so [I] hope to be back in business there soon via digital, which is an appealing market for a new generation who are progressively deserting paper. Writing and editing girls' comics was my background before I started 2000 AD."

What other projects have you got coming up?
"American Reaper - a Philip K Dick-style future cop who hunts down identity thieves guilty of illegal identity transplants - illustrated by Clint Langley will be out later this year in the 2000 AD Megazine, and then as a graphic novel and digital comic. It's been optioned by Xingu Films (Moon, A Guide to Recognising Your Saints) and a director has been assigned, so it's looking good."

The inFamous 2 strips can be viewed at www.infamousthefame.com.

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