John Smith (comics) : biography
John Smith (born 1967) is a British comics writer best known for his work on 2000 AD and Crisis.
Smith’s work is characterised by intricate, sometimes obscure plots and an interest in taboos and the occult, told in an elliptic, fractured narrative style reminiscent of Iain Sinclair or the cut-up technique of William S. Burroughs. Other notable influences include Michael Moorcock, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alan Moore and Noël Coward.
His best-known character is Devlin Waugh, a flamboyantly gay exorcist, assassin and vampire working for the Vatican of the future, co-created with artist Sean Phillips for the Judge Dredd Megazine.
His earliest work was for D. C. Thomson’s science fiction comic Starblazer in the mid-1980s. He wrote his first script for 2000 AD in 1986 and wrote the political superhero series New Statesmen for Crisis in 1988.
Many of his series for 2000 AD were tied into the same continuity, under the umbrella of Indigo Prime. Indigo Prime was a multi-dimensional organisation that policed reality, recruiting recently dead people as its agents. The climax of the series was Killing Time, in which agents Winwood and Cord pursued a demon that had hitched a ride on a Victorian time machine, one of the legitimate passengers of which turned out to be Jack the Ripper.
Other series for 2000 AD include Revere, a post-apocalyptic occult story with artist Simon Harrison, which was reprinted in its entirety in the 2000 AD Extreme Edition title in February 2007, and Firekind (1993), an anthropological science fiction story involving alien cultures and dragons, illustrated by Paul Marshall. He has also written Rogue Trooper and Judge Dredd.
For DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, he has written a fill-in on Hellblazer, and an eight-part series called Scarab, which started out as a revamp of Doctor Fate.
John has also written a run of Vampirella for Harris Comics.
Examples of John Smith’s cross-referencing of characters throughout his oeuvre include:
- Renegade Indigo Prime agents Fervent and Lobe originally appeared in Tyranny Rex. Although Indigo Prime had only appeared in the Future Shock "A Change of Scenery" at that point, Smith said he always had the Smithiverse in mind: "They were both part of the same tailor-made Universe. That was intended right from the start."
- Characters from Pussyfoot 5 originally appeared in Devlin Waugh.Chubby Behemoth and Lucy Melmoth
in 2000 AD #1150, Pussy Willow in 2000 AD #1160
- The character Mr Cheetl originally appeared in Firekind2000 AD #835 and Mr Vathek, another member of his species the Chadarisq-Khan, appears in Pussyfoot 5.2000 AD #1185
- Two members of Indigo Prime, Dazzler and Creed, appear in Scarab #7, "by that time I was probably just so sick of the thing I thought – ‘Fuck it. I’ll rip off my own story’ – and stuck in ‘Indigo Prime’ as a lazy way out.".
- Winwood and Cord appear in the last few pages of Dead Eyes uploading Danny’s soul into a cloned body after the human race in his place (Reality 377) are killed.2000 AD #1588