The latest issue of Zarjaz! is out now and features Zenith/Invasion! by David Frankum and I. This is what to look for in all good comic shops:
The strip is my debut in Zarjaz! which is the leading 2000AD fanzine and hails from the formidable Futurequake stable. The idea for Zenith/Invasion! really stemmed from my love of Zenith by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, the first run of which emerged at the height of my love of 2000AD in the late 80s and which was, and remains, my favourite ever 2000AD strip.
I re-read the whole series recently and it was as good as ever. Indeed, it seemed to me that there's quite a lot more potential in the characters and situations that was left untapped over the four "phases" of the original run. My mind turned to speculating on what a Phase V would look like and Zenith/Invasion! basically represents my idea for a prologue to Phase V. Well, sort of. This being intended for publication in a fanzine rather than 2000AD itself I didn't have to introduce the setup from scratch and I could go to town with what I believe in Doctor Who circles is called "fan wank" (eg. references to obscure characters and/or peripheral events). Therefore, for example, when reading Zenith/Invasion! it's probably handy to know that in this universe the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Berlin in 1944 whilst a punch-up between British superhero Maxi-Man and Nazi supervillain Masterman was under way.
So, what of Invasion! then? Well, that strip was from the 70s, which was slightly before my time. Although I was aware of it and loved the concept, it was only relatively recently that I read the whole thing (there's a great Rebellion trade). So when I was developing my Zenith story and I realised I needed an adversary who were like the Invasion-era Volgans and I needed them to be active at more or less the turn of the millenium it didn't take me long to decide I would actually use the Volgans, circa 1999. After that I brought myself up to date with the alternative history that Pat Mills created as backstory to Savage and fortunately this segued really nicely with what we know about Zenith's version of Britain. Also, Zenith is set in a multi-verse (something else I loved) featuring reimagined versions of many classic British comic characters (most notably Robot Archie) so an alternative version of the Volgan invasion of Britain does not seem at all out of place.
Once I had all the ideas in place the script was pretty easy to write and I was delighted when Zarjaz editors Bolt-01 and Richmond Clements accepted it. They then asked David Frankum to take on art duties. I wasn't aware of David's work at the time but when I checked out his online portfolio I could see he was a great choice. I'm a massive fan of Steve Yeowell's clear, crisp style and you could see immediately that David would be able to capture this feeling, whilst at the same time retaining his own unique and supremely engaging style. Sure enough, David has done a wonderful job and I am totally delighted with the way the strip has turned out!
For David's own view of the genesis of Zenith/Invasion! please click here.
To see what the Forbidden Planet blog has to say about it, take a look at this.
Most importantly, to buy Zarjaz #12 you need to visit the Futurequake shop. Do it Now!