Alan Grant, best known for writing Judge Dredd for 2000AD and Batman and Lobo for DC Comics, passed away this morning at the age of 73. His wife, Sue Grant, posted to Facebook “I have no words. Alan died this morning.” A longstanding comic book creator for fifty-five years, and born in 1949, he began working as an editor at D.C. Thomson in Dundee, before moving to IPC in London in 1970 to work on romance comics and magazines. After returning to college – and Dundee – he began working on a new weekly science fiction anthology comic, 2000AD, and began working – and living – with Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner, working on Dredd as well as Robo-Hunter and Strontium Dog. But between them, they established Judge Dredd as one of Britain’s most popular comic book characters through the eighties and nineties, as they then split writing duties, for Grant to focus on Strontium Dog and Judge Anderson strips for 2000AD.
This success saw them picked by American publishers together, working on The Outcasts for DC in the eighties, then moving to the main Batman books with Alan Grant shortly becoming the sole Batman writer, co-creating Batman characters such as Anarky, Victor Zsasz, Ratcatcher and the Ventriloquist. He also wrote The Bogie Man with Wagner, which was turned into a TV show starring Robbie Coltrane. And he worked with Simon Bisley, and Keith Giffen on a minor Omega Men character called Lobo, which became one of his biggest hits. He also wrote the Batman/Judge Dredd crossover with Wagner, and drawn by Bisley, Judgment On Gotham, which also became a million-selling hit.
He also contributed to fanzines such as FutureQuake, write for the drug-focused comic Northern Lightz, organised the annual Moniaive Comics Festival with his wife Sue, and wrote DC Comics novels. After working on Toxic! Magazine, he started his own publisher Bad Press Ltd, which released the humour title Shit the Dog, written by Grant and drawn by Simon Bisley, to UK newsstands, hoping to appeal to those who bought Viz Comic. The imprint would also later see him publish the follow-up to Northern Lights, the drugs comic book Wasted. He set up another comics publishing company with more projects drawn by Simon Bisley and began moving into children’s graphic novels with Scott vs Zombies and The Loxleys and the War of 1812. Most recently, he co-created sports comic sci-i parody Rok Of The Reds from BHP, and later led the village of Moniaive, home to his own comic convention, to produce a comic about the pandemic experience.
Alan Grant was involved at every level in the comic book industry, across continents, but was never too proud to start again, or work on the smallest, least-prominent projects, even when his Batman characters were filling the big and small screens. Funny, mischievous, curious, and always experimenting to try something new, while leaving massive marks across the comics and the communities he worked in. He was a real friend to me and many, and he will be much missed. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and colleagues at this time.