Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan

Infobox Comics creator

imagesize = 150
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nationality = Irish
area = writer
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notable works = "Bad Company"
"Shade, the Changing Man"
awards =

Peter Milligan is an British writer, best known for his comic book, film and television work.


Early career

Milligan started his comic career with short stories for "2000 AD" in the early 1980s. By 1986, Milligan had his first ongoing strip in "2000AD" called "Bad Company", with artists Brett Ewins and Brendan McCarthy. "Bad Company" was a science fiction war story in "2000AD", it was immensely popular and helped Milligan become better known.

Concurrently, Milligan, Ewins and McCarthy had been working on the anthology title, "Strange Days" for Eclipse Comics. "Strange Days" featured three strips, Paradax, "Freakwave" and "Johnny Nemo". Milligan, McCarthy and Ewins produced three issues of this psychedelic comic, it was not a great seller but it picked up a small, loyal readership. The most conventional strip, "Johnny Nemo", had its own series while the more quirky "Paradax" had a two issue series published by Vortex Comics in 1987.

By 1989 Milligan was swapping between more conventional strips such as "Bad Company", while still writing his more surreal efforts in "2000AD", such as "Hewligan's Haircut" with artist Jamie Hewlett. Milligan with artist Jim McCarthy created the Steve Ditko-inspired Bix Barton. This was first run as a black and white strip for it's first outing (Barton's Beasts) the second strip was called Carry On Barton (originally Carry On Snuffing), the strip was very popular and was a precursor of Devlin Waugh and others.

In 1989 he had his first work published by DC Comics. "Skreemer" was a six issue mini series with art by Brett Ewins that was somewhat lost in the midst of the so-called "British Invasion" of American comics of the time. A dark post-apocalyptic gangster story, it did receive critical acclaim but did not sell well. Milligan however was soon to become a regular writer for DC while still working on his more personal comics in the UK in comics such as "2000AD", and its spin off titles "Crisis" and "Revolver".


"Skin" (art by Brendan McCarthy) was the story of a young thalidomide skinhead in 1970s London, and his attempts to deal with his disability and the world in general. The strip was due to feature in "Crisis" in 1990 but the publishers, Fleetway were worried by the controversial subject matter, plus they were concerned with the explicit use of language in the story. The printers refused to print it, blaming the graphic language and controversial subject matter as a reason. The story remained in limbo until eventually being published as a graphic novel by Tundra with little, or no controversy. It remains one of Milligan's most powerful and acclaimed works.

The 1990s

Milligan had started to revamp Steve Ditko's character "Shade, the Changing Man" for DC Comics in 1990. This proved to be his largest break into American comics and came at the end of the first wave of "The British Invasion" of comics. Milligan updated and adapted many of Ditko's concepts, while adding his own ideas to embark upon one of the most bizarre titles published by DC. In 1993, it was one of the first wave of Vertigo titles with issue 33. It was a steady seller but it was cancelled with issue 70. A one-off story for Vertigo's tenth anniversary was published in 2003.

Milligan also succeeded Grant Morrison on "Animal Man" for a six issue run in 1991,Citation | last = Irvine | first = Alex | author-link = Alexander C. Irvine | contribution = Animal Man | editor-last = Dougall | editor-first = Alastair | title = The Vertigo Encyclopedia | pages = 27 | publisher = Dorling Kindersley | place = New York | year = 2008 | ISBN = 0-7566-4122-5 | oclc = 213309015] and became the regular writer of Batman in "Detective Comics" in the same year. It was during one meeting of Batman writers that Milligan came up with the initial idea which led to the "Knightfall" storyline which was to cross over all the Batman family of titles. Milligan however had finished writing "Detective Comics" and was not involved with the crossover.

Milligan also created the highly acclaimed "Enigma", with artist Duncan Fegredo for Vertigo in 1993. In this, Milligan introduced a gay superhero and dealt with his subject manner in his usual surreal way.Citation | last = Irvine | first = Alex | author-link = Alexander C. Irvine | contribution = Enigma | editor-last = Dougall | editor-first = Alastair | title = The Vertigo Encyclopedia | pages = 66 | publisher = Dorling Kindersley | place = New York | year = 2008 | ISBN = 0-7566-4122-5 | oclc = 213309015] Milligan quickly followed this up with "The Extremist" with artist Ted McKeever.Citation | last = Irvine | first = Alex | author-link = Alexander C. Irvine | contribution = The Extremist | editor-last = Dougall | editor-first = Alastair | title = The Vertigo Encyclopedia | pages = 71 | publisher = Dorling Kindersley | place = New York | year = 2008 | ISBN = 0-7566-4122-5 | oclc = 213309015] Both titles dealt with taboo subjects for a mainstream publisher, but were applauded by their handling of these subjects.

Milligan spent the remainder of the decade writing one-off specials such as "Face" and "The Eaters", or mini series like "Egypt" and "Tank Girl" with its creator Jamie Hewlett providing art. Milligan and Brendan McCarthy's psychedelic classic "Rogan Gosh" was reprinted in a collected edition by Vertigo in 1996, after being first serialised six years earlier in "Revolver".

Milligan rounded out the decade by writing a four issue mini series featuring "The Human Target". Proving to be Milligan's most conventional title for DC so far, it was also very popular and brought him to the attention of many who had been unaware of him and his works.

"X-Force" / "X-Statix"

In 2001 Marvel Comics was undergoing a revamp by its new editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and one of his aims was to revamp the X-Men family of titles.Milligan was given "X-Force" to write with issue 116, and right away he removed the Rob Liefeld style superheroics and replaced it with a more satirical tone. Milligan and artist Mike Allred also removed the traditional superhero names and replaced them with names which sounded more like product brand names. Characters such as the Orphan, the Anarchist, U-Go Girl, Phat, Vivisector, Venus Dee Milo, Dead Girl and Doop formed this new team.This was not well received by some fans of the title, and many wanted "their" X-Force back, a comment Milligan would later parody in the pages of the title. These criticisms aside, the title sold well and even received mainstream media coverage both in America and Europe.

Milligan's run was acclaimed for its different take on the super hero genre, however "X-Force" was cancelled with issue 129 so it could become "X-Statix", with Allred still as artist. It was on "X-Statix" that Milligan would once again become controversial when a proposed plotline was to feature a resurrected Princess Diana as a superhero and X-Statix team member.News of this spread to the press, including the British tabloid newspaper "The Daily Mail" who strongly objected to the idea. Eventually the character of Diana was altered, as were the references to the Royal Family but not before the story had been reported around the world.This aside, "X-Statix" was cancelled with issue 26, though several trade paperbacks were released.

Present day work

Milligan's recent film work includes the screenplay for "Pilgrim" (a 2000 movie sometimes shown as "Inferno"), which stars Ray Liotta. He also scripted the 2002 adaptation of the Melvin Burgess novel "An Angel for May".

He was the regular writer on "X-Men" with artist Salvador Larroca in 2005, writing issues #166-187. Milligan returned to "Human Target" with a straight to graphic novel story "Final Cut", after which he wrote all of 21 issues of the ongoing series for Vertigo.In 2006 he wrote a five issue mini series titled "" with artist Nick Dragotta and co-creator Mike Allred for Marvel Comics.

In 2007, Milligan will write a continuing series featuring Infinity, Inc. Max Fiumara is scheduled to do art chores on the book. In July 2007 a Wildstorm series by Milligan started, called "The Programme". It features the revival of a Soviet Cold War superhero. [ DC details for "The Programme" #1] ] Milligan has also been involved in 2007's "Batman" crossover, "", by writing the lead-in "Batman Annual" #26, as well as the parts of the series in the "Robin" monthly title.

Most recently, Milligan penned the script for the BBC interactive animated series "Meta4orce" []


Comics work includes:

*"Tharg's Future Shocks":
** "The Man Who Was Too Clever" (with Brett Ewins, in "2000 AD" #216, 1981)
** "Subterraneans" (with Jose Casanovas, in "2000 AD" #365, 1984)
** "The War with the Slobb" (with Barry Kitson, in "2000 AD" #437, 1985)
** "Prisoner of Conscience" (with Barry Kitson, in "2000 AD" #440, 1985)

*"Strange Days" (3 issues, Eclipse Comics, 1984-1985)

*"Sooner or Later":
** "Sooner or Later" (with Brendan McCarthy, in "2000 AD" #468-499, 1986)
** "Swifty's Return" (with Jamie Hewlett, in "2000 AD" #614-617, 1989)

*"Bad Company" (with Brett Ewins/Jim McCarthy):
** "Bad Company" (in "2000 AD" #500-519, 1986-1987)
** "The Bewilderness" (in "2000 AD" #548-557, 1987-1988)
** "Young Men Marching" (in "2000AD Annual 1989", 1988)
** "The Krool Heart" (in "2000 AD" #576-585, 1988)
** "Simply" (in "2000 AD" #601, 1988)
** "Ararat" (in "2000AD Annual 1990", 1989)
** "Kano" (in "2000 AD" #828-837, 1993)
** "Down Among the Dead Men" (in "2000AD Annual 2001", 2000)
** "Bad Company 2002" (in "2000 AD" prog 2002 and #1273-1277, 2001-2002)

*"Rogue Trooper" (with Jose Ortiz):
** "The Fanatics" (in "2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1986")
** "Nort by Nortwest" (in "2000AD Annual 1987", 1987)

*"The Dead" (with Massimo Belardinelli, in "2000 AD" #510-519, 1987)
*"Freaks" (with John Higgins, in "2000 AD" #542-547, 1987)
*"Judge Anderson": "Dear Diary" (with Eddy Cant, in "2000 AD Annual 1988", 1987)
*"Tribal Memories" (with Tony Wright, in "2000 AD" #585-588, 1988)
*"Skreemer" (with Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon, 6-issue mini-series, 1989, DC Comics, trade paperback, 169 pages, 2002, ISBN 1563899256)

*"Bix Barton" (with Jim McCarthy):
** "Barton's Beasts" (in "2000 AD" #663-668, 1990)
** "The Indigestible Case of the Haunted Full English" (in "2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1990")
** "The Disproportionate Man" (in "2000 AD Winter Special 1990")
** "Carry On Barton" (in "2000 AD" #723-728, 1991)
** "Lovesick World" (in "2000 AD" #737-741, 1991)
** "Bloated Case of the Fatted Keef" (in "2000 AD" #761-766, 1991)
** "The Mouth Thief" (in "2000 AD Yearbook 1993", 1992)
** "The Crying Scotsman" (in "2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1993")
** "Nigel the Napolean of East Finchley" (in "2000 AD" #912-917, 1994)

*"Shadows" (with Richard Elson, in "2000 AD" #672-681, 1990)
*"Rogan Gosh" (in "Revolver" #1-6, 1990)
*"Shade the Changing Man" (70 issues, DC/Vertigo, 1990-1996)
*"Hewligan's Haircut" (with Jamie Hewlett, in "2000 AD" #700-707, 1990)
*"Batman" 452-454, 472, 473 (DC 1990/1991)
*"Judge Dredd": "Judge Planet" (with Shaky Kane, in "Judge Dredd Mega Special 1991")
*"Animal Man" # 27-32 (DC, 1991)
*"Detective Comics" 629-633, 638-640, 643 (DC 1991/1992)
*"Skin" (with Brendan McCarthy, Tundra Publishing, 1992)
*"Enigma" (8 issues, DC/Vertigo, 1993)
*"The Extremist" (4 issues, DC/Vertigo, 1993)
*"Vertigo Voices: Face" (DC/Vertigo, 1995)
*"Tank Girl: The Odyssey" (4 issues, DC/Vertigo, 1995)
*"Girl" (3 issues, DC/Vertigo, 1996)
*"The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix" (with John Paul Leon, 4-issue mini-series, Marvel, 1996)
*"" (Marvel 1996)
*"Elektra" (19 issues, Marvel, 1996-1998)
*"Scarecrow" (one-shot, DC Comics, 1998)
*"The Minx" (8 issues, DC/Vertigo, 1998-1999)
*"The Human Target" (4 issues, DC/Vertigo, 1999)
*"Heartthrobs" #3 Short Story: "Death of a Romantic" (DC/Vertigo 1999)
*"Weird Western Tales" #4 Short Story: "What A Man's Gotta Do" (DC/Vertigo 2001)
*"X-Force / X-Statix" (14 issues of X-Force (# 116-129) & 26 issues of X-Statix, Marvel, 2001-2004)
*"Vertigo Pop! London" (4 issues, DC/Vertigo, 2003)
*"Human Target" (DC, 2003-2005)
*"Toxin" (Marvel, 2005)
*"X-Men" (#166-187, Marvel, 2005-2006)
*"" (Marvel 2006)
*"X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl" (5 issue mini-series, Marvel, 2006)
*"JLA Classified" (DC, 2007-)
*"Infinity, Inc.", (DC Comics, 2007-)
*"The Programme" (with C. P. Smith, Wildstorm, June 2007-)


*"Pilgrim" AKA "Inferno" (2000)
*"An Angel For May" (2002)



*comicbookdb|type=creator|id=1500|title=Peter Milligan
* [ 2000 AD profile]
*imdb name|0589702|Peter Milligan

External links

* [ Peter Milligan: Skreemer to X-Statix] , Sequential Tart, September 2002
* [,2763,984675,00.html Princess Diana, superhero] . "The Guardian", June 25 2003
* [ "Infinity Inc." and Beyond: Talking with Peter Milligan] , Comic Book Resources, March 29, 2007
* [ Peter Milligan Gets with "The Programme"] , Comic Book Resources, July 19, 2007

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