Sunday, November 04, 2007

History of the future.

It's only slightly distracting that Gerry Finley-Day looks like Lou Carpenter out of Neighbours.

He's at the ICA for an ultra-rare public appearance with Pat Mills as part of Paul Gravett's Comica festival, to talk about their work on comics, and in particular on Tammy. In an ironic reflection of what various sources have claimed about their relationship when Pat was editor and Gerry writer for 2000ad, Gerry is filled with marvellous stories but has some trouble getting to the point, while Pat seems to spend a lot of time telling us what Gerry thinks. They're clearly revelling in the chance to talk about Tammy though - Pat is adamant that those early 70s girls' comics were an important part of the history of the medium in Britain whose significance is yet to be fully appreciated, and it's a wonderful privilege to be able to hear these two grand old men of British comics trade stories and reflections. Gerry joined the T.A. at one point, essentially for reference purposes. Now that's commitment. Halfway through, a man sidles in through the door and sits down next to me, it's Kevin O'Neill. I struggle to maintain a dignified composure and not jump up and down shouting "YOU'RE KEVIN O'NEILL!" or anything embarrassing like that. I succeed, just. When I was about 12 and sure my future was as a comics artist, Kevin was the artist I wanted to be like more than anyone.

He's up at the front for the second half of the talk, and it's an equal pleasure to hear him and Pat talk about the early days of 2000ad, the struggles with management, the strip by Ken Reid they almost got for 2000ad (the greatest lost strip in British comics, according to O'Neill), how Action got away with it and eventually didn't, and the fact that, astonishingly, Mills and the estate of Joe Colquhoun still aren't getting any payment for reprints of Charley's War.

3 comments:

Cheerful One said...

Kevin O'Neill was wearing a really nice shirt, too...

petemaskreplica said...

Stylish people, these artist types ;)

Cheerful One said...

I thought you'd appreciate the intellectual input :)