Paul Goodwin Chats Future Shock!

Future-ShockThis month marked the release of Future Shock The Story of 2000AD on DVD having been on the festival circuit for the last year.

Future Shock! tells the story of 2000 AD: the UK Science-Fiction Comic that changed the face of the comics industry. First published in 1977, it was violent, anti-authoritarian, blackly funny and above all, idiosyncratically BRITISH. Future Shock! Offers a comprehensive overview of the Magazine’s History: a warts and all look at the various highs and lows, a peek inside the creative process of some of it’s most famous creators, and a funny, moving and passionate chronicle of how a band of talented eccentrics came together to create a visionary and extraordinary comic that is still a game-changer 39 years on.

Featuring Karl Urban (Dredd), Neil Gaiman (The Sandman), Pat Mills (ABS Warriors, Slaine) and Dave Gibbons (The Watchmen).

We recently caught up with director, Paul Goodwin to chat about the making of the film and what is in store in the future of 2000AD.

  1. What was it about the story of 2000AD that interested in?

I grew up reading 2000AD and it had a huge impact on my tiny mind, those crazy characters and the stunning images have always always stayed with me, and that’s the same for Sean, Helen, Nick, Jim (our producers & execs) and pretty much everyone involved with the film.

We were considering potential projects to work on we realised that no-one had covered the history of the ‘Galaxy’s Greatest Comic’ before.  We also thought that if we heard someone else made it we’d be bursting to see it too!

  1. How did people react when you told them you wanted to tell the history of 2000AD – were those working on 2000AD at the time easy to get involved with the film?

Generally the majority of people we approached to be involved were really cool and happy to speak to us, mainly through a shared love of 2000AD itself!  Future Shock is an independent production, but of course we met up with Jason and Matt at Rebellion very early on, letting them know what our plans were and basically asking permission to use the artwork. We were actually pretty nervous, but they were super cool and more than happy for us to use any images we wished. To be honest it would have been VERY difficult without their blessing.

  1. What were you surprised to learn during the making of the documentary?judge-dredd-2000ad-1280jpg-57cf1a_1280w

The most shocking thing for me were the stories of how badly the original art was treated.  As Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland and Kevin O’Neill told us, beautiful huge pages of art that had been toiled over for hours were often used to soak up floods and left for people to leave their muddy boots on!  Of course lots of the rare art from that era is hugely sought after on the collector market today.  It was a classic case of the ‘money men’ treating the creatives like shit, and having no respect for the art at all. Horrible story.

  1. Who is your favourite character from 2000AD?

Tough one!  Of course Judge Dredd was my gateway drug haha!  And considering there is so much more Dredd than any of the other strips it’s difficult to ignore him. Dredd aside, every time I think about this I change my mind!  Today it’s DR & Quinch.  S’right!

  1. FUTURE SHOCK has played at festivals around the world – what has been the reaction to the film?

It’s been an amazing experience to enjoy it on the big screen at the festivals we’ve been invited to.  The reaction has been mind-blowing, we really couldn’t have hoped for better!  We actually  had a preview screening at the BFI a while back that was very cool, as many of the hardcore 2000AD readers were able to watch it for the first time.  These are the people that have supported the comic for nearly 40 years and it was very important to us all that they enjoyed it, and they told us they loved it. It was a special night for all of us involved.

  1. What is your earliest memory of reading comics from 2000AD and did you think anyone ever thought the influence the stories would have on pop culture throughout the world?

I remember thinking “Why does this Judge guy have such enormous feet!”.  When I started collecting 2000AD it was the mid-80’s and so my experience of that period was watching all ‘our’ favourite creators (Moore, Gibbons, Bolland, Morrisson, Gaiman, Milligan etc.) heading of the the big shiny world of American Comics and smashing things up over there working at Vertigo.  We were very proud of those guys as they started to shape not just American comics, but then over the years I would feel that dark tone that can be traced back to 2000AD seeping out into storytelling in mainstream culture.  So to be honest the answer is yes, I did see the influence and that particular story was one of the major reasons we wanted to make this film, to hold up 2000AD and recognise that influence, pay it the overdue respect it deserves.

  1. How did you plan to tell the whole history of 2000AD in the length of this documentary?

It was always going to be an epic task..!  We interviewed 42 people and there is so much great footage that we had to leave out..!  After we had about 2/3 of the interviews in the can, we realised that a classic ‘rise, fall and rise again’ structure was beginning to take shape.  We knew the comic had difficulties in the 90’s (I was also following it through that period myself) and had regained its footing since the Rebellion takeover in 2000.  We wanted to investigate what had actually happened, how close did it come to cancellation etc?  Then we used the strips themselves to focus on specific issues along the way, for example we discuss the character Johnny Alpha and the Strontium Dog strip – Lauren Beukes spoke to us about reading that strip in South Africa under apartheid, and how the subtext of racism in the strip had such a huge impact on her at that time. And so through examining the characters we were able to explore some of the deeper related issues.

  1. Was there anyone that wasn’t interested in taking part in the film?

IMG_7395Yes, there were a handful of people who, for various reasons, were sadly not able to take part.  It’s a shame that Alan Moore declined an interview as I dearly would have liked to talk to him about that period of his career, unfortunately he politely declined.  There were also a couple of my personal favourite creators who we weren’t able to schedule, but there came a point where we had to draw a line and finish – there have been so many contributors we could have gone on making this film for years and years!

  1. What does the future hold for 2000AD?

2000AD has been going from strength to strength in the last few years, and that shows in the quality of the writing and artwork today.  It has stabilised and thrived under the guidance of Rebellion, it’s stopped pretending that it’s something it’s not and looks to have a very bright future in my opinion.

  1. What is next for you?

There are a few very cool bits and bobs in the pipeline at various stages of development right now, I’m very excited and looking forward to announcing news in the new year!

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