Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"[Jim] Alexander (the writer) says Pandora was a painful experience. ‘John Hicklenton (the artist) took quite a while to draw it, I think he was very late. I wrote a few montage pages because I knew John would do that well – I was trying to mould it towards his style. But when we got the pages back… I spoke to David Bishop (the editor) at a convention. He said Pandora was going to divide opinion anyway, so I might as well go for a more Vertigo approach. I rewrote it on the basis of the art and went completely doolally – John Smith on steroids! It was quite a crazy time. I thought somebody out there might like it. The first episode got left alone but after that it was quite heavily edited and rewritten. By the end it was a complete and utter dog’s breakfast. Pandora was the death knell for my Megazine career – it put a noose round my neck.’

Bishop, however, has a confession to make regarding Pandora. ‘I never read Jim’s scripts before sending them to John Hicklenton, which is an unforgivable lapse of judgement for any editor. I commissioned the story but I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to even read the scripts. When John delivered the final episode, I sat down and tried to make sense of his art alongside what Jim had written. That was when I realised what a mistake I had made. The scripts got hacked about in an attempt to rescue the situation, but that probably made matters worse. John later told me the only way he’d been able to finish Pandora was by consuming a lot of acid. I don’t know if he was serious about that, but it would go some way to explaining what got published!’"

Extracts from ‘15 Years, Creep!’ Part 4. Charting the history of Judge Dredd Megazine. Appearing in Judge Dredd Megazine No. 239 (out now).

Pandora was published in 1995 and without doubt is the nadir of my writing career. By gum, though, it makes good copy. Just for the record it was a five-part series running for 41 pages. David Bishop, I presume, read the synopsis before commissioning and signed off every invoice I submitted for payment. The art arrived in his office periodically over a two-year period. Fair play to John Hicklenton. There is a lot of mad fantastic stuff in there. Mind you I think the Bishop is trying to be a little…’cute’ here. But it was such a longggg time ago...

"But if I ever get the chance to go back to my Megazine stories, Pandora would be the one. She had so much potential, that first series didn’t do her justice."

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