UTF EXCLUSIVE interview with 2000AD editor Matt Smith

Published weekly, each issue of 2000 AD has a range of comics and stories, covering genres from science fiction to high fantasy, with anything and everything in between. Most notably, it’s the home of JUDGE DREDD. Yet this isn’t the only high quality title to be found in its pages. From NIKOLAI DANTE to ABC WARRIORS, 2000 AD manages to bring a range of high quality art and story telling each week.

We’ve recently had the opportunity to talk to Matt Smith, the editor at 2000 AD. With such an opportunity, we asked Matt about all that goes behind the scenes over at 2000 AD.


UTF: For the uninitiated, how would you define 2000 AD?

Matt: A fast-moving, satirical, irreverent British SF action anthology comic, responsible for launching some of the biggest writers and artists in the industry.

UTF: What are the generic influences for 2000 AD? Whilst there is certainly a focus on science fiction, there have been the occasional fantasy story and other genres too.

Matt: 2000 AD is mainly an SF comic, but there’s quite a bit of horror in there too, some steampunk, some contemporary thrillers. Its remit is a lot wider now than when it started, it publishes a wider variety of strips – but basically action is at the core of all of them.

UTF: What is the process for creating each individual title, is it all in-house or is a lot of from outside Rebellion?

Matt:Most stories are pitched by the freelance creators. Very few characters have been created in-house. A writer will send me an outline for a series, it will be knocked into shape, and then an artist will come on board to start designing characters.

UTF: Judge Dredd appears in every issue. For a while, Nikolai Dante was also a common feature. Are there are plans to introduce another long running title anytime soon?

Matt: No plans for a character with the semi-permanent presence of Dredd or Dante at the moment.

UTF: Besides Judge Dredd, there have occasionally been a few stories that share the same universe. Is there a creative decision to control this property, or are writers given certain freedoms to shape Mega City One?

Matt: Other writers that work on Dredd have a certain amount of freedom to shape the city and the Dredd universe, but nothing too continuity-breaking without the approval of Dredd co-creator John Wagner, who generally has a hand in the future and direction of the strip.

UTF: On a similar note, how much freedom are the individual teams given over their titles?

Matt: A fair bit, as long as nothing is done to the detriment of 2000 AD.

UTF: What would you say are some of the more unique titles to come out of 2000 AD?

Matt: Nemesis the Warlock is probably one of the strangest strips – an alien freedom fighter, taking a fascist Earth led by the reincarnation of Tomas de Torquemada in a universe where aliens are persecuted. More recently, Shakara – the embodiment of a murdered alien race, taking revenge on those responsible for the death of its people – is equally bizarre.

UTF: Judge Dredd has gone on to be quite famous, with its own titles and now two movies. Are there any other plans for any other titles, such as a Nikolai Dante movie?

Matt: There is interest in a few properties – an option has been taken out on Rogue Trooper – but no concrete plans that can be revealed yet. Possibly the next one 2000 AD-related that will go before cameras will be John Wagner and Arthur Ranson’s Button Man, which was published in the comic, though the rights rest with the creators.

UTF: Judge Dredd is known for happening in “real time”, he ages every year. Does this mean we’ll see a time when he’s too old, or maybe even die? Is there a set end in sight?

Matt: There’s no end in sight just yet. With rejuve treatments they’ll keep Dredd on the streets for plenty more years to come.

UTF: What would you say are the key factors a given title/story needs to be featured in 2000 AD?

Matt: An exciting story. Individual, interesting characters. A fast-moving plot that grabs the reader.

UTF: Besides the likes of Dante and Dredd, some titles return more often than others. Is this a decision decided by public popularity, or through other means?

Matt: Sometimes a story is quietly dropped if it’s had less than a stellar reception after a couple of series. Sometimes the creative team might require more time. There are all sorts of factors that depend on how long a series takes to see print.

So there you go; a quick insight into the processes behind 2000 AD. Published by Rebellion comics, 2000 AD comes out every week, and you can find reviews here at UTF.