Rebellion has made the acquisition of the year - literally - with the purchase of the sci-fi action comic 2000AD from publisher Egmont International.
The Oxford-based software developer will assume creative control of the magazine's content (all other publishing and distribution will continue to be carried out by Fleetway), while looking to maximise the potential of the many
characters and storylines which the franchise has created (in both commercial and creative terms). There will be no interruption to publication.
2000AD occupies an unequalled position in the world of science fiction, having been published for more than 23 years. During this time, the comic has introduced a number of the genre's most popular characters (Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Slaine, Rogue Trooper, Nemesis and many more) as well as launching the careers of some of the UK's most successful comic writers and artists, including Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.
The first issue of 2000AD ('Prog 1' to use the comic's own terminology) hit the streets on February 28th 1977, for the down-to-earth price of 8p (or 17 Galactic Groats on Mercury) and featured a number of characters and stories which went on to enjoy huge popularity, including M.A.C.H. 1, Flesh and Invasion. It was not until Issue 2, however, that the publication's most enduring and notorious icon, Judge Dredd, first appeared. At the height of it's popularity, the comic (which
has just published its 1,200th issue) sold more than 120,000 copies per week.
"I am only too happy to confess that I have been an avid 2000AD reader since Prog 1," says Rebellion's Chief Executive Officer, Jason Kingsley. "However, that doesn't mean that this deal was done for sentimental reasons. 2000AD is not
only a goldmine of intellectual properties, it is also a hugely enjoyable read. We are looking forward to helping this top quality publication to achieve it's fullest potential."
Rebellion's acquisition of 2000AD will allow the team full use of more than 700 characters and series, not only in computer games, but also in films, as action figures, in collectable card games and in any other suitable merchandising
vehicle. Also, it is possible that some of Rebellion's own characters and storylines - beginning with the forthcoming Gunlok (to be released by Virgin Interactive later this year) - will make it into the pages of 2000AD.
In addition to its new owners, 2000AD also has a new Editor, Andy Diggle, who adds: "This is a very exciting time to be taking over the editorship of 2000AD, with a new look and a new owner. There is so much untapped potential within our universe of characters that the sky's the limit in terms of licensing and branding. But my first priority will always be the comic itself: sci-fi and fantasy action with skewed black humour, bizarre imagination and attitude. The best of the old and the best of the new."
"As fans of the galaxy's greatest comic, we will do everything within our powers to make sure that 2000AD reaches its widest possible audience on Earth before we expand into other galaxies - ridding the Universe of all thrill-sucker infestations along the way, of course," says Kingsley.
Prog 1200 of 2000AD is on sale now.