Kelvin Gosnell

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Kelvin Gosnell
Nationality British
Notable works
The Stainless Steel Rat (comics adaptation)

Kelvin Gosnell is a British comics writer and editor. He was involved in the founding of the long-running comic 2000 AD in 1977.

Biography[edit]

Gosnell was working as a sub-editor in IPC's competition department when Pat Mills asked if he would be interested in working on Action where he wrote Dredger and The Suicide Club.[1] It was during this period that he read an article in the Evening Standard on the forthcoming sci-fi films in the late seventies and concluded that a science-fiction comic would complement the other genres the company was publishing. He suggested it to managing editor Jack Le Grand who turned it down, but mentioned it to Mills who suggested Gosnell write his ideas down in a memo,[2] which Mills then passed on to John Sanders, head of the Youth Group in IPC.[3] Sanders recalls Gosnell from those years:

"Gosnell wrote lots of memos and Le Grand stuffed lots of them. I liked talking to Gosnell. He was a better ideas man than he was an editor, and there is always a place for someone like him. Gosnell was enormously noisy, enormously enthusiastic. He was a great guy to have around because he was always bubbling. Good ideas men often create dissent. You have to give them space to do that."[4]

Sanders liked the ideas and passed it over to Mills to develop into a dummy issue to show to the IPC Board. After it was approved Mills brought Gosnell onto the staff in an official capacity as he recalls "I felt I owed Kelvin something for suggesting the idea in the first place, for which he hadn't been paid. I asked for him to be appointed editor designate. His input was valuable on strips like M.A.C.H. 1 and Dan Dare, because of his technical and science fiction knowledge."[5] Kevin O'Neill, who was the art assistant in the early days, recalls the discussion between Mills and Gosnell "They had these ranting conversations, lots of swearing and cursing... Pat and Kelvin had a poisonous, venomous hatred of cosy editorial chats seen in the like of Valiant, that sort of kindly 'Uncle Editor' stuff. They wanted to do the opposite of that, an irreverent sort of editorial figure."[6] Gosnell suggested either "an imperious intelligent alien or a computer" and it was the former that met with the most approval.[6] They then bought a latex Neanderthal mask, added a fake pony tail, a broach (for the Rosette of Sirius) and Gosnell put it on with a grey jump suit with silver stripes to complete the outfit. Tharg's alien slang also largely came from Gosnell based on "invented swearwords from his schooldays."[6]

Pat Mills resigned after the first 16 issues, partly because of the interference from senior management, and handed the reins to Gosnell, Nick Landau moving over from Action to become his chief sub-editor.[7] Gosnell relied more on Landau when he had to oversee the launch of Starlord,[8] and they also oversaw the eventually merger of the title into 2000 AD, which saw Landau swap places with Battle sub-editor Steve MacManus.[9] Gosnell eventually resigned from his editorship over friction with managing editor Bob Bartholomew, during the time of the launch of Tornado, with MacManus being promoted to editor.[7] He would continue to work on the title as a freelance writer.

On the writing front Gosnell is best known for his three adaptations of Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat, illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra and serialized in 1979, 1980 and 1984 in 2000 AD, he also co-wrote the 1977 series of Dan Dare for that weekly comic. Kelvin also worked for the Dutch comic strip weekly Eppo for a number of years, writing Storm, with art by Don Lawrence, and Rud Hart, art by Belgian artist Gilbert DeClerq. A two-page Wonder Woman text story in London Editions Magazines' Super-Heroes Annual for 1983 is also credited to him.

Bibliography[edit]

Comics work includes:

  • The Stainless Steel Rat (with Carlos Ezquerra, tpb, 208 pages, July 2010, ISBN 1-906735-51-4):[11]
    • The Stainless Steel Rat (in 2000 AD #140-151, 1979–1980)
    • The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (in 2000 AD #166-177, 1980)
    • The Stainless Steel Rat for President (in 2000 AD #393-404, 1984–1985)
  • Ro-Jaws' Robo-Tale: "Damian, Child of Tomorrow" (with co-writer Prigmore and art by Mike White, in 2000 AD #147, 1980) [12]
  • Storm (with Don Lawrence, Eppo #27-52, 1980–1981, collected in Storm Volume 4, March 2005, ISBN 90-73508-68-1):
    • "The Legend of Yggdrasil/De Legende van Yggdrasi"
    • "City of the Damned/Stad der Verdoemden"
  • Joe Black (with John Higgins):[13]
    • "Joe Black's Tall Tale!" (in 2000 AD #241, 1981)
    • "The Hume Factor" (in 2000 AD #252, 1982)
    • "Joe Black's Big Bunco" (in 2000 AD #56, 1982)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Thrill Power Overload page 9
  2. ^ dated December 18, 1975
  3. ^ Thrill Power Overload page 9-10
  4. ^ Thrill Power Overload page 10
  5. ^ Thrill Power Overload page 17
  6. ^ a b c Thrill Power Overload page 28
  7. ^ a b Thrill Power Overload page 36
  8. ^ "A brief history of Starlord" from "Watch the stars!" website
  9. ^ Thrill Power Overload page 51
  10. ^ Project Overkill at 2000 AD online
  11. ^ The Stainless Steel Rat at 2000 AD online
  12. ^ Ro-Jaws at 2000 AD online
  13. ^ Joe Black at 2000 AD online

References[edit]

Preceded by
Pat Mills
2000 AD editor
1977–1978
Succeeded by
Steve MacManus