If you're in the United Kingdom and subscribe to the print edition of 2000AD, you've already read the first installment of "The Book of Scars," the opening chapter of the storyline celebrating the 30th anniversary of Slaine, the Celtic hero who was the magazine's first foray into the fantasy genre, and who quickly became one of its key recurring characters. In its time, the strip has teamed writer/creator Pat Mills with some of the most influential artists ever to work for 2000AD, and many are returning to provide sequences of art for this celebratory storyline.
The first part quickly establishes how Slaine is being bounced around through his own timeline, with the strip's current artist ending the six-pager with a tribute to the art of the late Massimo Belardinelli, who worked on many of the character's early arcs. As Slaine lands in key moments from other storylines, the art for those sequences will be handled by the original artists from those eras: Glenn Fabry is returning to draw some "Time Killer"-set pages, Simon Bisley is drawing a return to "The Horned God" period, and the great Mick McMahon is revisiting the "Sky Chariots" adventure.
2000AD has sent along a pair of pages from McMahon's return to the character, for the first time since the run that truly established Slaine as fan favorite, destined to join Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and Rogue Trooper as a cornerstone character for the long-running weekly. McMahon is , of course, possibly the most influential artist ever to work for 2000AD. Judge Dredd may have been designed by Carlos Ezquerra, but the first Dredd strip, "Judge Whitey" in Prog 2, was drawn by McMahon. He went on to regularly draw the character for the next few years, usually splitting his most definitive storylines with Brian Bolland. McMahon is an artist known for constantly changing and refining his style for every assignment he takes, and has done a grand job of returning to the glorious scratchy, cross-hatchy method he was using on Slaine in 1984.
Non-subscribers and readers of 2000AD's digital edition can look forward to finally reading the first installment of "The Book of Scars" on Wednesday, in Prog 1844, available with two covers by current Slaine artists Clint Langley and Simon Davis.