Writer Peter Milligan is returning to 2000 AD after being away for 13 years in order to pay tribute to his friend, Brett Ewins. Ewins’ sudden death last month shocked the industry; his influence far extended past 2000 AD as he co-founded Deadline magazine in 1989 and his mentoring of some of the biggest talents in comics today. He was just 59-years old when he passed away.
Milligan is returning to a series he co-created with Ewins and Jim McCarthy in 1986; the dark, war-torn world of Bad Company, saying he hoped it would be “a fitting tribute to a man without whom Bad Company would never have been what it was”.
The new Bad Company story, First Casualties, will debut in 2000 AD Prog 1950, on sale September 30 with pencils by Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl) and inks by Jim McCarthy (The Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel). If Rogue Trooper was 2000 AD’s World War Two, Bad Company was its Vietnam War – a senseless, brutal, and dizzying conflict inspired by Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now.
This is Milligan’s first story with 2000 AD since 2002.
“Since I began writing my new Bad Company story, anyone who’s connected with 2000 AD has probably heard the sad news of the death of Brett Ewins, penciller and vital component of the original Bad Company team. Brett was a great artist and a great friend and this story has become something of a homage to his memory.”
Bad Company even has an intriguing plotline for a story that seems like it will grab hold and not let go.
In humanity’s war with a vicious alien species known as the Krool on the planet Ararat, when his own unit is destroyed a young soldier called Danny Franks is recruited by a band of renegades known as Bad Company. This collection of freaks and maniacs is led by Kano, a taciturn Frankenstein’s Monster-like soldier who keeps a secret in a little box that he refuses to show anyone else. The naive Franks must not only survive the re-animated dead human soldiers, human/alien hybrids, and other monstrosities thrown at them by the Krool but also the insanity and instability of his own comrades as they plunge deeper and deeper into the “Krool heart” of the conflict as the clock ticks down for the future of the human race – but his fate was to become not only as addicted to the war as Kano, but to become the collective mind of the Krool themselves.
2000 AD editor Matt Smith is excited to see Milligan return to the company after a 13 year absense and in such a great way. While he will be bringing the memory of Ewin into his work, it is a new chapter in the story of Kano and Company. In 2016, it will mark 30 years since the first episode of Bad Company was published in Prog 500.