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Alan Grant (born 1949) is a Scottishmarker comic book writer known for writing Judge Dredd in 2000 AD as well as various Batman titles during the late 1980s and early 1990s

Biography

Early career

Alan Grant first entered the comics industry in 1967 when he became an editor for D.C. Thomson before moving to Londonmarker from Dundeemarker in 1970 to work for IPC on various romance magazines.

After going back to college and having a series of jobs, Grant found himself back in Dundee and living on Social Security. He then met John Wagner, another former D.C. Thompson editor, who was helping put together a new science fiction comic for IPC, 2000 A.D., and was unable to complete his other work. Wagner asked Grant if he could help him write the Tarzan comic he was working on; so began the Wagner/Grant writing partnership.

2000AD

Wagner asked Grant to write a strip for Starlord, a 2000AD spin off, which eventually got Grant noticed within IPC. On a trip to Londonmarker, Grant was introduced to Kelvin Gosnell, then editor of 2000AD, who offered Grant an editorial position on the comic. One of Grant's first jobs was to oversee the merger of 2000AD and Tornado, an unsuccessful boys adventure comic. Grant also featured as a character in the comic in the form of ALN-1, Tharg's Scottish Robot assistant. Grant found himself in conflict with IPC and resigned to become a freelance writer, writing the occasional issue of Future Shock and Blackhawk.

Grant then formed his partnership with Wagner after the pair lived and worked together; the pair eventually co-wrote Judge Dredd. They would work on other popular strips for the comic, including Robo-Hunter and Strontium Dog using the pseudonym T.B. Grover. Grant also worked on other people's stories, changing and adding dialogue, most notably Harry Twenty on the High Rock, written by Gerry Finley-Day.

Judge Dredd would be Grant's main concern for much of the 1980s. Grant and Wagner had developed the strip into the most popular in 2000AD as well as creating lengthy epic storylines such as The Apocalypse War.

Grant also wrote for other IPC comics such as the revamped Eagle.

American work in the 1980s

By the late 1980s, Grant and Wagner were about to move into the American comic market. Their first title was a 12-issue miniseries called Outcasts for DC Comics. Although it wasn't a success, it paved the way for the pair to write Batman stories in Detective Comics from issue 583, largely with Norm Breyfogle on art duties across the various Batman titles Grant moved to. After a dozen issues, Wagner left Grant as sole writer. Grant was one of the main Batman writers until the late 1990s. He has long stated that Wagner left after five issues because the title did not sell well enough to give them royalties, and that Wagner's name was kept in the credits for the remaining seven issues because Grant was afraid DC would fire him. BATMAN: Alan Grant & Norm Breyfogle Speak Out, January 6, 2007

The pair also created a four issue series for Epic Comics called The Last American. This series, as well as the Chopper storyline in Judge Dredd, is blamed for the breakup of the Wagner/Grant partnership. The pair split strips, with Wagner keeping Judge Dredd and Grant keeping Strontium Dog and Judge Anderson. Grant and Wagner continue to work together on special projects such as the Batman/Judge Dredd crossover Judgement on Gotham.

During the late 1980s, Grant experienced a philosophical transformation and declared himself an anarchist. The creation of the supervillain Anarky was initially intended as a vehicle for exploring his political opinions through the comic medium. In the following years, he would continue to utilize the character in a similar fashion as his philosophy evolved.

1990s

Grant's projects at the start of this decade included writing Detective Comics and Strontium Dog, but two projects in particular are especially notable. The first is The Bogie Man, a series co-written by Wagner which was the pair's first venture into independent publishing. The second is Lobo, a character created by Keith Giffen as a supporting character in The Omega Men.

Lobo gained his own four issue mini series in 1990 which was drawn by Simon Bisley. This was a parody of the 'dark, gritty' comics of the time and proved hugely popular. After several other miniseries (all written by Grant, sometimes with Giffen as co-writer), Lobo received his own ongoing series. Grant was also writing L.E.G.I.O.N. (a Legion of Super-Heroes spin-off) and The Demon (a revival of Jack Kirby's character) for DC Comics. Grant also wrote the first issues of the new Batman title, Shadow of the Bat, which also saw him create three new characters, Jeremiah Arkham, Mr. Zsasz and Amygdala. This story arc, Batman: The Last Arkham, was later accompanied by his role as one of the main writers during the Knightfall crossover.

Grant was also part of the creative team for the short-lived weekly title Toxic! and was a consultant on the Judge Dredd Megazine. Due to the sheer volume of work he was doing, Grant let a new generation of writers try their hand on strips like Judge Dredd and Robo-Hunter. This often proved to be unsuccessful, however, and Grant found himself again writing for 2000AD.

In the mid 90's, Grant underwent a second philosophical transformation, declaring himself a follower of Neo-Tech, a philosophy created by Frank R. Wallace. When he was given the opportunity to create an Anarky mini-series, he redesigned the character accordingly. Following the success of the series, he was hired to create an ongoing monthly series for the character. Initially hesitant, he was persuaded to do so by series illustrator, Anarky co-creator, and personal friend, Norm Breyfogle. Named after the protagonist, Anarky was mired by what Grant felt was constant editorial interference, became a critical and financial failure, and was canceled after eight issues. Although he dislikes the 1999 series, he considers the original Anarky mini-series to be among his "career highlights."

By the end of the decade Grant had written for virtually every American publisher of comic books, including DC, Marvel and Dark Horse.

2000s

Grant had become involved with writing scripts for animation as well as his comic work, notably working on Action Man cartoons as well as original anime. He remains the main writer for Judge Anderson and Robo-hunter and has teamed up with Wagner for a new Bogie Man story for the Judge Dredd Megazine. He has also formed his own publishing company, Bad Press Ltd, which released the humour title Shit the Dog, written by Grant and drawn by Simon Bisley.

He is one of the few professional comics writers to contribute to fanzines such as FutureQuake. He provided scripts for the now defunct Scottish underground comic "Nortern Lightz". Along with his wife Sue, he organised the annual Moniaivemarker Comics Festivals.

Grant has written two comic-based novels, The Stone King, (2001) featuring Batman and the Justice League of America, and Last Sons, (2006) featuring Superman, Martian Manhunter and Lobo. Since 1998, Alan has written scripts for Renga Media and now is writing the screenplay for Dominator X.

He has also written Kidnapped, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Robert Louis Stevenson, with art by Cam Kennedy, published by Waverley Books. It is part of a project revolving around Edinburghmarker being the first UNESCOmarker City of Literature in 2007 and various editions will be produced some of which will be handed out for free. A version with text adapted for reluctant readers will be published simultaneously by Barrington Stoke, and a Scots language translation by Matthew Fitt called Kidnappit is published by Itchy Coo. If things go well more adaptations may be in the works, although a sequel project based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was commissioned due to the relatively high profile and warm reception of the Kidnapped adaptation. It is being promoted as part of the One Book - One Edinburgh 2008 campaign.

In November 2008, Grant's Bad Press released the comics anthology, Wasted. A mixture of drug-themed humour and anarchic cartoon action stories, mostly, but not all, written by Grant. Wasted featured art by many comic artists from the UK underground and mainstream art scene. These included well-known industry figures like Frank Quitely, Jamie Grant, Jon Haward, and Mark Stafford. The comic also showcased many underground artists like Zander, Colin Barr, Tiberius Macgregor, Alan Kerr, and Curt Sibling. Wasted was seen as the heir to the previous Northern Lightz comics, but gained mixed reviews upon release.

Grant has also set-up his own comics publishing company Berserker Comics, the first title was The Dead: Kingdom of Flies with another, Church of Hell, due in 2009. Both have Simon Bisley on art duties. He is also a part of Renegade Arts Entertainment which, with Berserker Comics, is co-publishing Channel Evil, a four-issue mini-series with art by Shane Oakley.

Bibliography

Alan Grant has written many comics of various publishing houses, mostly expressing science fiction themes. Much of his work for the Judge Dredd comic series was informed by his political leanings. Select writings also acted as vehicles for his personal meditations on philosophy, including the 1997 and 1999 Anarky series. He has also written scripts for television and film, and two novels for DC Comics.

Notes

  1. Holy Penis Collapsor Batman! DC Publishes The First Zonpower Comic Book!?!?!. gocomics.com. Accessed February 18, 1998
  2. Batman: Alan Grant & Norm Breyfogle Speak Out, by Daniel Best. (2006) Ohdannyboy.blogspot.com Accessed February 10, 2007.
  3. Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature: Projects
  4. Kidnappit product page on Itchy-Coo website
  5. Comic Book Resources - Comic Book News, Reviews and Commentary - Updated Daily!
  6. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at One Book - One Edinburgh 2008
  7. Wasted homepage
  8. The Dead issue #1 at Berserker Comics
  9. The Dead interview, Comic Monsters.com, May 21, 2008
  10. Church of Hell at Berserker Comics
  11. Alan Grant at Renegade Arts Entertainment
  12. Channel Evil at Renegade Arts Entertainment
  13. Alan Grant Talks CHANNEL EVIL, Comic Monsters, January 15, 2009


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