Pat Mills writes comics for almost 40 years now.
Born March 7Th 1949 (Ipswich, Suffolk), he began his career in the early seventies as an editor and writer for DC Thomson and soon IPC, working on girl’s and humour comics.
Then, Mills was asked to develop for IPC, war-themed weekly magazine such as Battle Picture Weekly in 1975 (with newly met John Wagner with whom he will later co-create Judge Dredd), and Action Weekly in 1976.
As a writer, his most prominent work at that time was Charley’s War, a First World War strip for Battle, drawn by Joe Colquhoun. Despite IPC’s repeated demands to have a more patriotic and less realistic story, Pat Mills succeeded in depicting real war heroes, in a well documented environment. The strip is still celebrated nowadays for its accuracy, and is currently being published in deluxe format by Titan Books.
In 1977, he was asked again to develop a sci fi magazine, 2000AD, establishing most of the early series and characters before handing them over to the writers (including Judge Dredd, M.A.C.H. 1, Flesh and Invasion!).
In 1978, he developed the short-lived magazine Starlord where he created The Ro-Busters, a robot disaster squad surfing on the Thunderbirds success (a puppet tv show).
Soon, he went back to being a freelance writer again, and had the opportunity to develop his own series (Nemesis The Warlock, or Slaìne, co-created by his former wife Angie Kincaid) and universe. For example, he brought back The Ro-Busters to 2000AD, and soon they became The A.B.C. Warriors, a bunch of robots knights, which had interrelated adventures with Nemesis and the world of Judge Dredd.
For these series, he is more and more associated with a young artist, Kevin O’Neill, who made his drawing debuts under Pat’s wing.
In 1988, he was involved in the creation of a politically engaged magazine called Crisis, where he scripted the Third World War universe, another mini universe, related to other series like Finn or Terrarists for Epic Comics.
After a first attempt in the American comics market with Metalzoic in 1986, Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill gained certain fame in 1987 with their most famous antihero to date, Marshal Law (10 stories from 1987 to 2000).
Marshal Law had sufficient popularity to attract an English editor, Apocalypse Limited, who launched a new magazine, Toxic!, for the prepublishing of its forthcoming stories. Mills was chief editor of Toxic! and during the magazine short existence, has the opportunity to develop numerous new characters (the most appealing being Accident Man, a killer for hire who’s specialized in faking his own victims death as accidents).
The following decade, besides his continuing writings for 2000AD or Marshal Law, he associated his name with beginner writer Tony Skinner for some Marvel Comics works (Ravage and Punisher 2099).
But for a long time now, the attention of Pat Mills was driven towards the comic’s French market, where comic are considered for a much more noble art than in USA or UK, and considering that it would give him the opportunity to be free of any kind of editorial interference. His first direct tryout, apart various translations of his previous works, was Shadowslayer, drawn by the late French artist Eric Larnoy. He made another noticible atempt with Sha, a three part story drawing by Olivier Ledroit, allowing Mills to work out again his feelings towards religion, and his knowledge of sorcery and reincarnation.
His biggest success to date on the French market, is Requiem, Vampire Knight (published in English language by Panini in UK and Heavy Metal in the USA), also drawn by Olivier Ledroit. A spin-off, Claudia with artist Franck Tacito, has followed, as well as other projects for the same French publisher (Nickel Editions).
He currently continues to write Sláine (with Clint Langley), Savage, and A.B.C. Warriors for 2000 AD, as well as Greysuit, Black Siddah and Defoe, a 17th century zombie hunter drawn by Leigh Gallagher.
Outside the comic industry, his works included children books (The Butterfly Children with his former wife), Doctor Who audio plays and some role playing games. He has formed Repeat Offenders with artist Clint Langley and Jeremy Davis "to develop graphic novel concepts with big-screen potential" that could be transformed into filming screenplays.
Most of Mills creations have in common a baroque universe, with explicit violence and sexuality, sometimes with a strong political background and always a lots of humor. His themes usually turn around some of his main obsessions: religion through its most extreme faults (Pat Mills was raised in a catholic school, and didn’t particularly liked the experience), the perennial existence of the soul through the ages and what’s really defines a true hero. So for example, it’s not astonishing to find various incarnation of Torquemada, the great inquisitor, in numerous stories (Nemesis, Sha, The Reedemer) or characters that reincarnates or resurrects through history.
Bellow a Pat Mills zombie drawn by Olivier Ledroit