Alan Grant (b. 1949) joined DC Thomson as a sub-editor in 1967, where he made the acquaintance of his future co-writer, John Wagner, but lost the job after being jailed for two months for possession of LSD. On his release he applied for a job at IPC in London, starting out on an part-work called Birds of the World, before transferring to romantic photo-strip magazine Honey. Having written romantic stories for DC Thomson, he supplemented his income by selling stories to Honey on a freelance basis.
After a time out of the publishing industry, he was asked by Wagner, who was busy developing 2000 AD and couldn't meet all his writing commitments, to take over writing a Tarzan comic for him. He did so, and, again at Wagner's suggestion, sold some scripts to IPC's science fiction comic Starlord in 1978. On a trip to London he was introduced to 2000 AD editor Kelvin Gosnell, who hired him as a sub-editor, replacing Steve MacManus who had been promoted to chief sub-editor.
He was offered a promotion as chief sub-editor on a new title, Tornado, but turned it down, feeling Tornado was a step backwards and 2000 AD had greater potential. He made a bet with publisher John Sanders that Tornado would be cancelled in six months, and Sanders had to pay up. MacManus was on holiday and it fell to Grant to oversee its merger into 2000 AD. He took over writing one of the strips carried over, "Blackhawk", initially with Gosnell, relocating the Roman slave-turned-centurion to an alien gladiatorial arena. He kept an eye out for new talent, and bought Alan Moore's first script for the comic.
After a number of disputes with management, Grant resigned and went freelance. For a time he shared a house with Wagner, and when the latter again fell behind on his writing commitments, he and Grant formed a writing partnership that would dominate IPC's boys' adventure titles until 1988. During that period, any strip that appeared under his or Wagner's name (or one of Wagner's pseudonyms, like John Howard or T. B. Grover), was written by the pair - to simplfy the paperwork, the one who typed up the script got the cheque and took the credit. Some scripts were credited to "Grant/Grover" to balance the books. At the instance of IPC management, to disguise how many strips they were writing, they also worked under a number of pseudonyms, like F. Martin Candor, Ian Holland and Keith Law.
For 2000 AD they wrote "Judge Dredd", "Strontium Dog", "Robo-Hunter", "Anderson, Psi Division" and "Ace Trucking Co."; for Eagle they wrote "Computer Warrior", "Manix", "Joe Soap", "The House of Daemon" and "Doomlord"; for Scream! they wrote "The Thirteenth Floor"; and for Roy of the Rovers they wrote "Dan Harker's War".
They also made the move into American comics, co-writing the 12-part series Outcasts, drawn by cam Kennedy, for DC in 1987, and following it up with a run of Batman stories in Detective Comics. For Marvel's Epic imprint they created The Last American, a bleak post-apocalyptic miniseries drawn by Mike McMahon. Writing The Last American, and the ending of the Judge Dredd story "Oz", broke their regular writing partnership, and they split their assignments between them, Wagner continuing to write Dredd and its spin-off "Chopper", Grant writing Strontium Dog, Anderson and Detective Comics, becoming one of DC's most prominent Batman writers into the late 1990s. He also wrote The Demon, and co-wrote Lobo with Keith Giffen, and L.E.G.I.O.N. with Barry Kitson, for DC.
He continued to co-write with Wagner on an occasional basis, including on The Bogie Man, a farce set in Glasgow starring a Scottish escaped mental patient who thinks he's Humphrey Bogart. It first appeared as a four-part miniseries from Scottish publisher Fat Man Press in 1989, drawn by former 2000 AD art editor Robin Smith. Grant and Wagner were consulting editors on a new title, the Judge Dredd Megazine, in 1990, and Grant wrote a number of stories for the title, including "Dredd" and "Anderson". He also wrote "Makabre", as well as two Bogie Man stories, for Pat Mills' anarchic colour weekly Toxic! in 1991.
In 1991 he and Wagner wrote the Batman-Judge Dredd team-up graphic novel Judgement on Gotham, with painted art by Simon Bisley. It was a hit, and led to further Batman-Dredd team-ups. He formed Bad Press to publish Shit the Dog, co-written with Wagner and drawn by Bisley, in 1997, and contributed to Scottish stoner magazine Northern Lightz, writing "Buck Roachers", drawn by Frank Quitely, "Tales of the Buddha", drawn by Jon Haward, and "The Dopranos", drawn by Jim Devlin. After Northern Lightz closed, he and Jamie Grant launched the similarly-themed Wasted.
In 2007 he and artist Cam Kennedy published a comics adapatation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Kidnapped to tie in with Edinburgh being UNESCO City of Literature that year. A follow-up adapting The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde followed in 2008. Beginning in 2008, he wrote horror comics The Dead: Kingdom of Flies, drawn by Simon Bisley, and Church of Hell, for Belfast-based publisher Berserker Comics, and Channel Evil, drawn by Shane Oakley, for Renegade Arts Entertainment. He continues to write "Anderson, Psi Division" and occasional "Judge Dredd" stories for 2000 AD and the Megazine.
References[edit | edit source]
- Alan Grant interview by 2000AD Review, 2004
- David Bishop, "Interrogation: Alan Grant", Judge Dredd Megazine 266-268, January-March 2008