Alan Grant (writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alan Grant
Grant with small-press title FutureQuake.
Born(1949-02-09)9 February 1949
Bristol, England
Died20 July 2022(2022-07-20) (aged 73)
Notable works
AwardsInkpot Award 1992

Alan Grant (9 February 1949 – 20 July 2022) was a British comic book writer known for writing Judge Dredd in 2000 AD as well as various Batman titles from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. He was the co-creator of the characters Anarky, Victor Zsasz, and the Ventriloquist.


Early career and 2000 AD[edit]

Grant first entered the comics industry in 1967 when he became an editor for D.C. Thomson before moving to London from Dundee in 1970 to work for IPC on various romance magazines.[1]

After going back to college and having a series of jobs, Grant found himself back in Dundee and living on Social Security. He then met John Wagner, another former D.C. Thomson editor, who was helping put together a new science fiction comic magazine for IPC, 2000 AD, and was unable to complete his other work. Wagner asked Grant if he could help him write the Tarzan comic he was working on; so began the Wagner/Grant writing partnership.[2]

Wagner asked Grant to write a strip for Starlord, a 2000 AD spin off, which eventually got Grant noticed within IPC. On a trip to London, Grant was introduced to Kelvin Gosnell, then editor of 2000 AD, who offered Grant an editorial position on the comic. One of Grant's first jobs was to oversee the merger of 2000 AD and Tornado, an unsuccessful boys adventure comic magazine. Grant featured as a character in the magazine in the form of ALN-1, Tharg's Scottish Robot assistant. Grant found himself in conflict with IPC and resigned to become a freelance writer, writing the occasional issue of Future Shock and Blackhawk.

Grant then formed his partnership with Wagner after the pair lived and worked together; the pair eventually co-wrote Judge Dredd. They worked on other popular strips for the magazine, including Robo-Hunter and Strontium Dog[2] using the pseudonym T.B. Grover. Grant worked on other people's stories, changing and adding dialogue, most notably Harry Twenty on the High Rock, written by Gerry Finley-Day.

Judge Dredd was Grant's main concern for much of the 1980s. Grant and Wagner had developed the strip into the most popular in 2000 AD as well as creating lengthy epic storylines such as The Apocalypse War.

Grant wrote for other IPC comic magazines such as the revamped Eagle.[3]

American work in the 1980s[edit]

By the late 1980s, Grant and Wagner were about to move into the American comic market. Their first title was the 12-issue Outcasts limited series (Oct. 1987–Sept. 1988) for DC Comics.[4] Although it was not a success, it paved the way for the pair to write Batman stories in Detective Comics from issue 583 (Feb. 1988), largely with Norm Breyfogle on art duties across the various Batman titles.[5] Grant and Wagner introduced the Ventriloquist in their first Batman story[6] and the Ratcatcher in their third.[7] After a dozen issues, Wagner left Grant as sole writer. Grant was one of the main Batman writers until the late 1990s. He stated that Wagner left after five issues because the title did not sell well enough to give them royalties, and that Wagner's name was kept in the credits for the remaining seven issues because Grant was afraid DC would fire him.[8]

The pair created a four issue series for Epic Comics called The Last American.[4] This series, as well as the Chopper storyline in Judge Dredd, was blamed for the breakup of the Wagner/Grant partnership.[2] The pair split strips, with Wagner keeping Judge Dredd and Grant keeping Strontium Dog and Judge Anderson.[9] Grant and Wagner continued to work together on special projects such as the Batman/Judge Dredd crossover Judgement on Gotham.[10]

During the late 1980s, Grant experienced a philosophical transformation and declared himself an anarchist. The creation of the supervillain Anarky was initially intended as a vehicle for exploring his political opinions through the comic medium.[11] In the following years, he continued to utilize the character in a similar fashion as his philosophy evolved into social anarchism.[12]


Video still of Grant at a comics convention in the early 1990s.

Grant's projects at the start of this decade included writing Detective Comics, Strontium Dog, The Bogie Man, a series co-written by Wagner which was the pair's first venture into independent publishing, and Lobo, a character created by Keith Giffen as a supporting character in Omega Men.[13]

Lobo gained his own four-issue miniseries in 1990 which was drawn by Simon Bisley.[14] This was a parody of the 'dark, gritty' comics of the time and proved hugely popular. After several other miniseries (all written by Grant, sometimes with Giffen as co-writer), Lobo received his own ongoing series.[15] In addition, Grant was writing L.E.G.I.O.N. (a Legion of Super-Heroes spin-off) and The Demon (a revival of Jack Kirby's character) for DC Comics.[16] Grant wrote the first issues of the new Batman title, Batman: Shadow of the Bat,[17] which saw him create three new characters, Jeremiah Arkham, Mr. Zsasz,[18] and Amygdala. This story arc, "Batman: The Last Arkham", was later accompanied by his role as one of the main writers during the Knightfall crossover. In 1994, Grant co-wrote the Batman-Spawn: War Devil intercompany crossover with Doug Moench and Chuck Dixon.[19] Other Batman storylines which Grant contributed to include "Contagion",[20] "Legacy",[21] and "Cataclysm".[22]

Grant was part of the creative team for the short-lived weekly title Toxic! and was a consultant on the Judge Dredd Megazine. Due to the sheer volume of work he was doing, Grant let a new generation of writers try their hand on strips like Judge Dredd and Robo-Hunter. This often proved to be unsuccessful, however, and Grant found himself again writing for 2000 AD.

In the mid 1990s, Grant underwent a second philosophical transformation, declaring himself a follower of Neo-Tech, a philosophy created by Frank R. Wallace. When he was given the opportunity to create an Anarky mini-series, he redesigned the character accordingly.[12] Following the success of the series, he was hired to create an ongoing monthly series for the character. Initially hesitant, he was persuaded to do so by series illustrator, Anarky co-creator, and personal friend, Norm Breyfogle. Named after the protagonist, Anarky was mired by what Grant felt was constant editorial interference, became a critical and financial failure, and was canceled after eight issues.[8] Although he disliked the 1999 series, he considered the original Anarky mini-series to be among his "career highlights."[23]

By the end of the decade Grant had written for virtually every American publisher of comic books, including DC, Marvel and Dark Horse.[24]


Grant became involved with writing scripts for animation as well as his comic work, notably working on Action Man cartoons as well as original anime. He remained the main writer for Judge Anderson and Robo-hunter and teamed up with Wagner for a new Bogie Man story for the Judge Dredd Megazine. He formed his own publishing company, Bad Press Ltd, which released the humour title Shit the Dog, written by Grant and drawn by Simon Bisley.

Grant was one of the few professional comics writers to contribute to fanzines such as FutureQuake. He provided scripts for the now defunct Scottish underground comic Northern Lightz. Along with his wife Sue, he organised the annual Moniaive Comics Festival.[25] He wrote two comic-based novels, The Stone King, (2001) featuring Batman and the Justice League of America, and Last Sons, (2006) featuring Superman, Martian Manhunter and Lobo. From 1998, he wrote scripts for Renga Media and later wrote the screenplay for Dominator X.

He wrote Kidnapped, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Robert Louis Stevenson, with art by Cam Kennedy, published by Waverley Books. It was part of a project revolving around Edinburgh being the first UNESCO City of Literature in 2007 and various editions will be produced some of which will be handed out for free.[26] A version with text adapted for reluctant readers will be published simultaneously by Barrington Stoke, and a Scots language translation by Matthew Fitt called Kidnappit was published by Itchy Coo. If things go well more adaptations may be in the works,[27] although a sequel project based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was commissioned due to the relatively high profile and warm reception of the Kidnapped adaptation. It was being promoted as part of the One Book – One Edinburgh 2008 campaign.[28]

In November 2008, Grant's Bad Press released the comics anthology, Wasted. A mixture of drug-themed humour and anarchic cartoon action stories, mostly, but not all, written by Grant. Wasted featured art by many comic artists from the UK underground and mainstream art scene. These included well-known industry figures like Frank Quitely, Jamie Grant, Jon Haward, and Mark Stafford. The comic showcased many underground artists like Zander, Colin Barr, Tiberius Macgregor, Alan Kerr, and Curt Sibling. Wasted was seen as the heir to the previous Northern Lightz comics, but gained mixed reviews upon release.[29]

Grant set up his own comics publishing company Berserker Comics, the first title was The Dead: Kingdom of Flies[30][31] with another, Church of Hell, published in 2009. Both have Simon Bisley on art duties. Grant was a part of Renegade Arts Entertainment which, with Berserker Comics, was co-publishing Channel Evil, a four-issue mini-series with art by Shane Oakley.[32]


In 2013 Grant teamed with Robin Smith to create Scott vs Zombies, commissioned by Edinburgh's Artlink with support from Creative Scotland.[33] In 2012, he completed the award-winning Canadian children's graphic novel The Loxleys and the War of 1812, now in its second edition.[34]

In 2016 Grant and John Wagner created a new comic for BHP Comics. Drawn by Dan Cornwell "Rok of the Reds" tells the story of a dangerous intergalactic outlaw, Rok of Arkadi, who, while on the run, hides on Earth by taking over the body and life of troubled football star Kyle Dixon.[35]

In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grant led a local community project in the village of Moniaive to produce a comic about the virus and the residents' community spirit.[36]


Grant received an Inkpot Award in 1992.[37][38]

Personal life[edit]

Alan Grant was born in Bristol,[39][40] but moved with his family to Newtongrange, Midlothian, at the age of one. He attended Newtongrange Primary School and Dalkeith High School, where he was frequently expelled and reinstated. After leaving school, he worked briefly in a bank.[39] Grant was married to Sue Grant, and had a daughter, Shalla.[41] The Grants lived in Moniaive, Dumfriesshire.[39][42] He died on 20 July 2022,[43] survived by Sue, Shalla and four grandchildren.[44]

According to Grant, his grandmother taught him how to read and write by introducing him to material from DC Thomson, which also served as his introduction to comics.[45]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berridge, Edward (12 January 2005). "Alan Grant Interview by Edward Berridge". Archived from the original on 15 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Diggle, Andy (1997). "Alan Grant Interview by Andy Diggle for Fusion". Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.
  3. ^ Finkelstein, David; McCleery, Alistair (2007). Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, Volume 4: Professionalism and Diversity 1880–2000. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press. p. 381. ISBN 978-0-7486-1829-3.
  4. ^ a b Alan Grant at the Grand Comics Database
  5. ^ Klaehn, Jeffery (December 2009). "Alan Grant on Batman and Beyond". Archived from the original on 16 January 2013.
  6. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, eds. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. In February [1988], the Batman crossed paths with Scarface and the Ventriloquist in Detective Comics #583 by writer John Wagner and Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle.
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, eds. (2014). "1980s". Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 171. ISBN 978-1465424563. Writers John Wagner and Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle introduced the Ratcatcher in this two-part story.
  8. ^ a b Best, Daniel (6 January 2007). "Batman: Alan Grant & Norm Breyfogle Speak Out". 20th Century Danny Boy. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015.
  9. ^ Prescott, Amanda-Rae (21 October 2008). "Interview: Alan Grant on Wasted". Den of Geek. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  10. ^ Pierce, Robin (18 April 2018). "2000 AD DIGEST: BATMAN/DREDD: JUDGMENT ON GOTHAM/VENDETTA ON GOTHAM". Starburst. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  11. ^ Pizzi, Elena (28 August 2011). "Intervista Ad Alan Grant!". Archived from the original on 20 June 2015.
  12. ^ a b Kraft, Gary S. (8 April 1997). "Alan Grant Interview: Famous Comic Book Writer & Zon "Holy Penis Collapsor Batman! DC Publishes The First Zonpower Comic Book!?!?!"". Archived from the original on 18 February 1998.
  13. ^ Sacks, Jason; Dallas, Keith (2018). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1990s. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-60549-084-7.
  14. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 246: "The anti-hero of L.E.G.I.O.N. fame, Lobo nabbed his first miniseries with the help of the offbeat plotting and layout skills of Keith Giffen, aided by scripter Alan Grant and artist Simon Bisley."
  15. ^ Luiz, Lucio (7 March 2005). "Lobo Brasil interview: Alan Grant". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  16. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 247: "Etrigan returned for a new series in July [1990] entitled The Demon, by writer Alan Grant and artist Val Semeiks."
  17. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 253: "Shadow of the Bat lasted ninety-four issues. Handled by the former team on Detective Comics – writer Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle – the first issue was released in both a newsstand and deluxe polybagged format."
  18. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dougall, p. 194: "Shadow of the Bat was writer Alan Grant's newest forum to tell Batman stories on a monthly basis, along with his partner, artists Norm Breyfogle. The pair introduced the new head of Arkham, Jeremiah Arkham, as well as the new villain Mr. Zsasz."
  19. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 267: "Fans were also treated to a companion special entitled writers Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant, and artist Klaus Janson."
  20. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 272: "In the latest crossover to shake up Batman's universe, a manufactured virus nicknamed 'the Clench' was unleashed on the public of Gotham writers Alan Grant, Chuck Dixon, Denny O'Neil, and Doug Moench."
  21. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 274
  22. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 283: "The seventeen-part 'Cataclysm' storyline showed a Gotham City devastated by an earthquake. It was written by Alan Grant, Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Dennis O'Neil, [and others]."
  23. ^ Redington, James (20 September 2005). "The Panel: Why Work In Comics?". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
  24. ^ Finkelstein & McCleery 2007, pp. 381–382.
  25. ^ "A short interview with Alan Grant". 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.
  26. ^ "Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature: Projects". 2007. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013.
  27. ^ Johnston, Rich (6 November 2006). "Lying in the Gutters". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012.
  28. ^ "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at One Book – One Edinburgh 2008". 2008. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  29. ^ Manning, Shaun (6 February 2008). "Elegantly Wasted – Alan Grant talks New Humor Anthology". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  30. ^ "The Dead Comic". 2008. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013.
  31. ^ "The Dead Interview". 21 May 2008. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  32. ^ "Alan Grant Talks Channel Evil". 15 January 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012.
  33. ^ "Scott vs Zombies". Creative Scotland. 2013. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015.
  34. ^ Coyle, Jim (1 February 2013). "War of 1812 brought to life through comic-book family". Toronto Star. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  35. ^ Sims, Chris (6 June 2016). "Grant & Wagner Mix Sci-Fi & Soccer in 'Rok Of The Reds'". ComicsAlliance. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  36. ^ "Coronavirus: Comic book writer chronicles village's virus 'fightback'", by Giancarlo Rinaldi, at the BBC News website, 20 May 2020.
  37. ^ "Inkpot Award". San Diego Comic-Con. 2016. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017.
  38. ^ Brooke, David (21 July 2022). "Comics writer Alan Grant has passed away at age 73". AIPT. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  39. ^ a b c "Alan Grant". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  40. ^ Shapira, Tom (28 July 2022). "Alan Grant, 1949-1922". The Comics Journal. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  41. ^ Barnett, David (31 July 2022). "Alan Grant obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  42. ^ David, Peter (25 December 1998). "Con Voyage to Mexico City". Comics Buyer's Guide #1310. Reprinted at, 24 June 2013.
  43. ^ Ferguson, Brian (21 July 2022). "Alan Grant: Tributes flood in for Scottish comic book writer behind Batman and Judge Dredd stories". The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  44. ^ Obituary in 2000AD #2294, 10 August 2022
  45. ^ "Alan Grant - My Gran got me into comics". YouTube. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2023.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Detective Comics writer
(with John Wagner in 1988)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
L.E.G.I.O.N. writer
(with Keith Giffen in 1989–1990)
(with Barry Kitson in 1990–1992)
Succeeded by
Barry Kitson
Preceded by The Demon writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Batman writer
Succeeded by