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I’m very fond of the output of artist David Roach. The Welshman has been an on-off contributor to 2000AD since 1988, as well as regularly working as an inker on the strip features in Doctor Who Magazine. I don’t remember him working much recently in the United States, where he regularly turned up at DC and Dark Horse both as a penciler and inker. He comes from a family of academics, and has been developing a parallel career of late as something of a comic book and illustration historian.
Roach regularly uses his Facebook page as an art blog, showcasing artists of all stripes, just as likely to be a fine artist as a comic illustrator, as well as occasionally featuring art from his own collection. This week he has been displaying scans from what he calls “surely the rarest collectible in the comics history.”
“More treasures from the attic. Those hardcore 2000AD fans out there who think they’ve got it all- think again! This essential piece of 2000AD memorabilia is the newsletter of the SSi, issue 16 from 1979, which was put together by Kev O’Neill and Nick Landau. It featured the full story behind the creation of the comic, artists bios, lots of new art and this stunning jam cover. Anyone trying to find a copy- good luck! I’d guess the print run was no more than 50 making it surely the rarest collectible in the comics history.”
It does indeed feature a great cover — Dave Gibbons has drawn himself as Dan Dare; Kev O’Neill draws himself as Ro-Jaws; Brian Bolland draws himself as Tweak and ex-2000AD staffer-turned-Titan Entertainment Group honcho Nick Landau as a Judge; and Mick McMahon draws his own head on the body of Hammerstein. That said, I’m unfamiliar enough with what these men looked like in 1979 — either the McMahon or O’Neill drawings could well be supposed to be Pat Mills. The “burning issues” they’re discussing (the return of original artwork, etc) sound very much like the same hot topic issues you’d see discussed in The Comic Journal around the same time. He later posted scans of Kev O’Neill’s intro to the issue, Landau’s piece on the history of 2000AD, and Bolland’s self-penned profile, complete with another self-portrait. Given Bolland’s noted ability for indiscretion, he’s ironically drawn himself with his mouth sewn shut.