SCANTASTIC! Colin MacNeil’s brazen attempt to rig 1990 Eagle Awards
Okay, so it was nothing of the sort…
I was always more of a mainstream comic reader than a fanboy, but in 1989 and 1990 I did make the trek up to That There Lunnon for the 2000AD/Judge Dredd Annual signing thingummy organised by Forbidden Planet. It was the first time I’d ever met comic creators! I think it would have been in July, or maybe August. School holidays, definitely. The first time I went up with a couple of school friends, with my dad in tow, but by the next year I was trekking into Town fairly frequently on my own anyway, so I suspect that year’s trip was parent-free.
Anyway, my memories of exactly who was at what signing are somewhat hazy, not helped by the fact that I don’t have all the annuals I got signed (as I sold off some of my collection at the beginning of the recession due to pennilessness, d’oh). I do remember that the 1989 signing (of the annuals cover dated 1990) – at Cafe Mango I think? – was late to start because Simon Bisley was late… But when he did turn up, wow! He was like a rock god! Not that I had any interest in rock gods, but boy was he charismatic. Strange to think that a speccy dude in a mullet entranced me so much, but he did. Suddenly all the heavy metal muscled men and pneumatic warrior women in Sláine: The Horned God (the first volume of which was out as a 2000AD Books full colour TPB at the time) made a lot more sense… Bisley was great – rather tipsy, but good fun. He rattled off a great sketch of Joe Pineapples from the ‘ABC Warriors’ for me, unprompted. After the signing I rushed back to Forbidden Planet on New Oxford Street to get myself a JP badge, which I wore on my school blazer for ages!
Besides The Biz, there was Kev Hopgood, who seemed like a really nice chap, though I just wasn’t a fan of his work (Night/Beyond/Below Zero). Even at the time I felt guilty about not enjoying his stuff. Finally, there was Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell – this was the time of ‘Zenith’ – and the then deputy-Tharg Alan MacKenzie, who I knew as the author of How To Draw And Sell Comic Strips (illustrated by Steve Parkhouse), a book I had on perpetual loan from my local library.
The next year the signers included MacKenzie (again), writers John Smith and Pete Milligan, plus artist Paul Marshall (whose work I really wasn’t very familiar with). The big hitter, though – in the Bisley seat, so to speak – was Colin MacNeil. This was after Chopper: Song Of The Surfer had come out, but possibly before Judge Dredd: America. MacNeil was the antithesis of Bisley – shy, very quiet – but as generous to a humble fan. I think he sketched me a quick Marlon Shakespeare, but I can’t remember where I’ve stashed it. I then seized my moment, whipped out a blank Eagle Awards nomination form, and asked him to put his name in the ‘Favourite Artist’ section, and to sign it. He visibly cringed, but he did it anyway, sport that he was.
And, uh, that’s the story of how COLIN MACNEIL TRIED TO RIG THE 1990 EAGLE AWARDS!
Edited 5 October to correct foolish error