Hunted: Arthur Wyatt interviewed
Friday 12th August 2011
"The Samizdat Squad writer talks about his first Tharg’s 3riller"This week’s 2000 AD Prog 1746 marks the opening episode of Wolves, the third and final of the first batch of Tharg’s new 3rillers.
Set in a dystopian future, ‘Wolves’ teams up 2000 AD veterans Arthur Wyatt and Steve Yeowell, to tell a tale of enhanced soldiers fighting against insurgent forces in war-torn Europe.
To find out more about the story, and how a 3riller compares to a Future Shock, 2000ADonline.com’s Ed Kaye caught up with writer Arthur Wyatt...
2000 AD: Your 3riller is called Wolves’ what can you tell us about the story?
AW: It's about a young man fighting, perhaps not too willingly, for the American ‘stabilisation forces’ against insurgents in a future Europe where all government and society has collapsed. Which sounds a bit political. They're equipped with robotic exoskeletons that let people move and fight at super speed, which gives them a huge advantage on the battlefield, but not without some cost to their wearers, and things are about to go horrible wrong...
2000 AD: What was your inspiration for the tale?
AW: The seed of the story has been kicking around in my head for a while. During the Bush years there were a lot of Neoconservative types who would opine on the eventual collapse of Europe due to waves of immigration and inability to embrace sufficiently insane right wing politics. This was always presented with a sort of crocodile tear regret, which was barely masking a gleeful anticipation of the prospect – if France et al didn’t embrace the various US invasions then this was what they deserved. Then there was a guy called Thomas Barnett who had these theories about how the world could be divided into the “core” – stable Western democracies that could cut it – and the gap – everybody else, and the danger of “the gap” engulfing the world born on a wave of Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism (which is of course quite distinct from Western terrorism and fundamentalism).
So anyway, I took that neocon wet dream/fear and sort of ran with it, but told the story from the point of view of someone they would utterly despise, and added robots. And that idea rattled around my head in various forms until now.
2000 AD: Your artist for this story is Steve Yeowell? How would you describe Steve’s art on the story?
AW: It’s great! Really dynamic, and managing to give the story the gritty real world edge it requires, referencing the wars and weapons of today, whilst blending in the more sci-fi elements.
And it’s great to be working with someone whose work helped shape and inspire me, as Zoids really helped draw me into comics and Zenith was the first thing that really showed me that superheroes could be worthwhile.
You can still see some of that Zoids stuff out there on the internet if you hunt for it – it’s early work from both Morrison and Yeowell, but it’s giant killer robots fighting apocalyptic battles, so worth tracking down.
2000 AD: How did the 3riller came to be? Was it something hatched up by Matt Smith (Tharg’s chief editorial minion)?
AW: I believe they are Matt's conception, an attempt to do something a little different from the standard Future Shock, with a little space to breathe and build a world with a little depth to it whilst still being a short self contained story with beginning, middle and end.
2000 AD: You’ve written a number of Future Shocks and Terror Tales over the years. How did you approach the three-part format differently from how you would typically approach the done-in-one format?
AW: The extra length means that you have room to try something a little different which wouldn’t necessarily fit into the 5 pages of a Future Shock - I like to think that Wolves is going to be something a little special, maybe even slightly controversial, and as a five pager all of that would have been compressed out of it - on the other hand it's not a story that I really think would benefit being stretched out over 9 parts.
The other thing that I think is cool is that everyone who has taken a swing at it has taken a radically different interpretation of the brief, so you've got a SF conspiracy story with a bit of a wacky comedy edge to it, a supernatural crime thriller and my war story, all very different. The only real similarities are that they are all three parts and we've all chosen to do them in first person, though I think Alec Worley may be using a flashback based structure in a similar way to me.
Wolves begins in 2000 AD Prog 1746, available now from all good newsagents in the UK, and will be available in North America as part of the July 2011 pack, which should be available from Diamond Distribution in August.
Friday 12th August 2011