Friday, 23 December 2011


Art copyright REBELLION, poem copyright ME*

For many years, visitors to various 2000 A.D. fan sites (and even the official one) researching the works of writer GORDON RENNIE, would have seen the name of one story attributed to him that wasn't his.  Upon discovering this, I decided to own up and take the blame, thereby removing the blot on his otherwise sterling reputation.

Yes, dear reader, 'twas I who penned this particular episode of THARG'S FUTURE SHOCKS, entitled SLEIGHBELLS In The SKY.  Frankly, I thought the lettering was a bit too big, the colouring too dark, and some slight editorial revision detracted from the consistency of the meter, but otherwise it was a nice-enough little Christmas filler.

The cover doubled as the 2000 A.D. Christmas card that year, sent from the office of THARG The MIGHTY to all contributors.  I still have mine tucked away, in case it ever becomes valuable.  Watch out for me on the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW in about 30 years.

*In case you're wondering, I never submitted an invoice for the 'script', so consequently was never paid for it.  That means IPC/FLEETWAY, EGMONT, or REBELLION never acquired the copyright for it.


There's a wee story behind this poem, so in case any of you are interested, here it is.  One day back in the late '70s or early '80s I was browsing through some old Reader's Digest mags stored up in the loft and happened to read an article by someone lamenting the loss of magic from their adult Christmases in comparison to those of their youth.  It struck me as being a good theme for a poem one day (when I could be bothered), but I never got around to writing it until, weeks or months later, one of my pals 'phoned me and said he was writing a poem, but was stuck on how to end it - could I assist?  Sure, I said.

He popped along and showed me what he'd done.  The last verse was incomplete, lacking either two or three lines to draw things to a close.  I therefore made a few suggestions, including the title, and he was delighted, incorporating my contributions into his poem, and off he eventually went, pleased with the result.  However, his meter wasn't exactly perfect in places and his rhyme was a bit forced at times, so I essentially rewrote the poem overnight and made what I considered improvements in those areas.

When I 'phoned him the next day and read him the result, he said "Huh, it's not my poem any more, it's yours!" and I suppose he was right.  My version was inspired more by the Reader's Digest article, but there's no denying that my friend's poem was also an influence.  I typed 'Inspired by lines of verse written by MC' on any copies I made so that he wasn't completely deprived of acknowledgement, but, of course, 2000 A.D. credit boxes don't accommodate more than one name at a time in the space allowed for each contributor, so he didn't get a mention.

I've still got his version somewhere (with my original assistance), and when I find it I'll let you see it so that you can compare their merits.  His first verse is punchier than mine, but unfortunately, his meter isn't consistent, which is why I rewrote it.  Because he'd said it was now my poem, I subsequently made further amendments so it reflected my 'voice' rather than his, but his incarnation will forever belong to him.

And that's the story behind the poem - hope it was of interest.


Emperor said...

Very festive.

Did people really think it was the Rennie? It had your name on it after all.

Kid said...

Perhaps ONE person misread Robson for Rennie and the others copied him. Or they assumed that Robson had been rendered as Rennie by mistake. It's a mystery - but as sure as eggs is eggs...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...