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16 December 2017

Pat Mills new novel out now!

Just in time to alleviate the boredom of Christmas comes the fantastic news that Pat Mills' new novel in the 'Read Em and Weep' series is now out (as an e-book) and out as a paperback in about a week or so
As Pat himself says...

Cover illustration by Alex Ronald, who also did the cover image for Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!
Thanks for all your interest and support for the series, in particular the beta and advanced review readers. All your comments, criticisms and suggestions were invaluable and we’ve taken many of them on board.
It was hugely enjoyable writing GOODNIGHT, JOHN-BOY. We’d love to have got it out a few weeks ago, in good time for Christmas. Sorry about the delay, which is down to the editing process, plus I needed to write a FREE extra ‘long short story’ to accompany it: RELIEVING MR MAFEKING. This will be available to download shortly. More on that soon!
The Geek Detective, as I call our central character, Dave Maudling, never fails to surprise and entertain me and I hope he entertains you, too. I think it’s because he represents astonishing, politically-incorrect and usually hidden truths about the world of comics in the 1970s, that it would be impossible to reveal, even in an outspoken non-fiction book like my ‘Secret History of 2000AD and Judge Dredd’. Through Dave, we revisit the creation of war, adventure, science fiction ands girls comics that dominated the newsstands, each one selling 200,000 copies weekly and more. Comics like Blitzkrieg, Aaagh!, Space Warp, and Raven; inspired by Battle, Action, 2000AD and Misty. And let’s not forget the horribly unfunny “humour” comic Laarf! starring Dirty Barry, inspired by … well, I’d better not say!
Read Em And Weep began life as a proposed TV sitcom written by Kevin O’Neill and myself, which was greenlit by BBC producer Gareth Edwards. As he was the producer of the excellent sitcom Spaced, you can understand why he liked it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get it past his boss, who turned it down because it was ‘too niche’ and possibly high budget. Then the head of comedy at Radio 4 turned down it because she thought it was very funny, but ‘too visual for radio’. We got similar enthusiastic but, ultimately, thumbs down reactions from various TV production companies we tried.
But the more we worked on the series, rewriting scenes to suit various producers’ requirements, the more fascinated Kevin and I became with the world and, especially, the central character of Dave. Turning our scripts into this series of novels has turned out to be the ideal solution. I realised this the moment I began novelizing and adding to our original scripts, because I didn’t have to make any of the usual compromises, notably on length and censorship. Both Kevin and I both found ourselves adding endless new ideas for the novels. In Kevin’s case, notably new thoughts on the Caning Commando, who may well have been inspired by his headmaster!
Now scenes can be fully played out and characters fully explored and defined without the restrictions of a thirty-minute sitcom. The liquorice pipe, for instance, which is Dave’s trademark was mentioned in our sitcom, but we didn’t really major on it. Now we do. The same with the authentic modesty panels that were fitted to the front of female journalists desks (to keep lecherous editors at bay). Graham Linehan, Father Ted co-creator, who kindly read our original scripts, said we didn’t make enough of them in the sitcom. He was absolutely right. Thanks, Graham! I have certainly made full use of the modesty panels now, but not quite in the way anyone might imagine… More on the making of Read Em And Weep another time.
Meanwhile, I hope you go for it and enjoy ‘a sitcom that never was, but should have been’, with the possibility, if you’re hooked by our Geek Detective, of ‘binge-reading’ his adventures over Christmas. And Lisa and I are going to try to take our minds off the exciting thought of producing Book 3, the Grim Reader, in the New Year, by finding something to binge-watch ourselves over Christmas. Possibly the Detectorists. Every other black comedy from Curb Your Enthusiasm to League of Gentlemen I’ve already watched, many times over! I’m so glad there’s new series coming out on both of them. They were amongst the many sources of inspiration for our own comedy, but the weird world of comics in the 1970s was always Kevin and my primary inspiration. It wasn’t Life on Mars, it was Life in another Galaxy! Check us out and see if you agree.
Have a great holiday.
All the best
P.s. Here's the link again to Goodnight, John-boy on Amazon.

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