Best of the Year: David Bishop’s picks
Today’s guest for the latest picks for our annual Best of the Year posts is a man who spent part of his professional comics career with green skin and eating plastic cups as he filled in for the Mighty Tharg editing 2000 AD (as well as putting together the 30th anniversary history of 2000 AD, Thrill Power Overload – much recommended); of course I’m talking about David Bishop. He’s still active in comics, also writing for television now and, as we mentioned a few months back, he’s also one of the people behind the new postgrad course in genre writing at Edinburgh’s Napier University which includes modules in writing for science fiction and comics. Over to David to see what tickled his fancy during 2009:
FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
David: Kick-Ass by Mark Millar – best MM project I’ve ever read.
Lilly MacKenzie by Simon Fraser – cracking web comic that makes clever use of the medium’s limitations, turning them into a virtue.
Cradlegrave by John Smith and Ed Bagwell [serialised in 2000AD] – comic serial of the year, utterly ****ing brilliant.
FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
David: The City & The City by China Mieville – stunning fusion of genres in a gripping yarn.
Get Her Off the Pitch by Lynne Truss – female journo’s account of entering male-dominated world of sports journalism.
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi – graphic novel by Persepolis creator, been out a while – I picked it up by chance and loved every page.
FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
David: The Street – heartfelt, sometimes heart-rending, often hilarious.
Torchwood – mini-series screened over five nights, totally compelling storytelling.
Friday Night Lights – buried on an ITV digital channel, this is one of the best dramas anywhere. Glorious.
FPI: How did 2009 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?
David: I’ve been focusing on writing for TV drama since the end of 2007, and that started to pay off this year. Got my first script commission from the BBC, was among the finalists for the highly regarded Red Planet Prize [run by Life On Mars co-creator Tony Jordan] and had a short film script in the finals of an international screenwriting contest too.
Haven’t done much comics work as a consequence, but I’m still writing for the Phantom, with stories published in Sweden, Norway, Italy, Australia and several other countries this year. Plus my big history of 2000AD, Thrill Power Overload, sold out the hardback first edition and was re-issued in a dinky new paperback edition.
Got to write for the Daleks in a Doctor Who audio drama, Enemy of the Daleks, available via download or on CD from Big Finish Productions. Also wrote a Judge Dredd talking book for Big Finish, called Stranger Than Truth.
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2010?
My first ever TV drama will be broadcast on BBC1 in February, an episode of the medical series Doctors. Everything else is covered by non-disclosure agreements or still awaiting decisions.
FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?
David: I’m a part-time lecturer on a new creative writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University, where the focus is on popular genres [like science fiction, fantasy and crime] and commercial storytelling media [screenwriting, computer games, graphic novels]. Our first cohort won’t graduate until autumn 2010, but there’s some talented writers in there who’ll make a name for themselves in the years to come…
FPI: And one final, special question – since its not only the end of the year approaching but also the end of the decade, is there any comics work you’d especially pick out as one of the best you’ve read this decade?
David: Cradlegrave in 2000AD – blindingly good.