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Alan Grant dies: Tributes pour in for comic book writer, 73

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 22/07/2022 Seren Morris
GettyImages-627653034.jpg © AFP via Getty Images GettyImages-627653034.jpg

Comic book writer Alan Grant has died aged 73. His wife announced his death on Facebook but no cause of death has been shared.

Tributes from across the comic book industry have flooded in online, as they honour one of the most influential comic book writers of all time.

Alan Grant was born in Bristol in 1949 and grew up in Scotland. As a comic book writer, he worked on some of the biggest titles, like Batman and Judge Dredd.

But he was also known for nurturing new talent and is credited with discovering writer Alan Moore when he found his script in an unsolicited submissions pile at 2000 AD.

His writing was influenced by his early experiences. At school, his teachers would beat him for being left-handed, and he was regularly expelled, but as a statement from 2000 AD said, “the injustice of his treatment [gave] him a powerful distaste for authority which saturated his writing.”

He had a “mischievous and wicked sense of humour that was at times scatological and at others soulful,” says 2000 AD’s obituary.

He began working as a trainee journalist at the age of 18, at a Dundee-based publisher and home to the Beano. Grant then moved to London in 1970 to work as a writer and sub-editor, but after writing a strip for the short-lived comic book Starlord, he was offered an editorial position at 2000 AD.

In 1980, he left his job and was left unemployed when another job fell through. But comic book writer John Wagner asked Grant to help him with his work, and the pair became a powerhouse, under the pseudonym T.B. Grover.

2000 AD’s obituary says that “their partnership redefined Judge Dredd, their black humour and wild imaginations forging what many consider to be the strip’s first great ‘golden age.’”

Grant’s writing always maintained a political edge and was always a “fierce and strongly independent thinker.”

He later worked on DC Comics’ Detective Comics and Batman and continued to work for 2000 AD through the 1990s.

Grant continued to write into his last years, despite being ill, and worked on a Judge Anderson story in 2018 and a war story in the Battle Special in 2020.

He and his wife Sue organised a comics festival in their village of Moniaive in Dumfriesshire for years.

Alan Grant died on July 20, 2022.

Tributes to Alan Grant

A statement from 2000 AD said: “His impact on comics and standing in the industry simply cannot be understated. But he was more than just a giant in his field – he was a fascinating man whose sharp wit and boundless warmth touched all those who met him.

“One cannot separate 2000 AD from Alan Grant, his humour, humanity, and intelligence made it what it is, and his talent was integral to its success.

“We are forever poorer without him. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and his friends. Rest well and thank you, Alan.”

Writer Tom King said: “Horribly saddened to hear of the passing of Alan Grant.

Lobo, LEGION, Batman—these books questioned what super hero comics could be and do: they were sharply, cooly cynical and yet oddly—and wonderfully—they contained a powerful, warm undercurrent of hope. Hell of a writer. RIP.”

The Scottish Book Trust said: “We are saddened today to learn of Alan Grant’s passing. As a leading star of Scottish comics – and a great ambassador for them – he will be truly missed.

“Our hearts go out to Alan’s family and friends, and his many, many fans.”

Marvel said: “Marvel is saddened to learn of the passing of Alan Grant, a prolific writer who brought our characters and stories to the page through his unique perspective. Our condolences to his family, friends, and fans everywhere.”

DC Comics said: “Alan Grant will always be remembered as a comic book icon. Today, #SDCC salutes the DC trailblazer with a standing ovation, led by @TomTaylorMade, @TomKingTK, and @Bruno_Redondo_F.”

Writer Brian Cronin said: “For awhile there, DC’s most mainstream Batman titles in the wake of the blockbuster Batman films were just freaky ass books with creative and weird plots every month and I loved it and admired it and Alan Grant was one of the most creatively weird of them all. RIP, Alan.”

Comic artist PJ Holden said: “Terrible to hear of Alan Grant’s passing. An absolute giant of British comics, and a great human being.

“A man whose contribution to comics is immense and I’m sure would’ve deserved something from the honours system but who would have had no hesitation in disdainfully refusing it.”

Comic artist Cully Hamner said: “Very sad to learn that writer Alan Grant has passed away. His Batman work was must-read for young me. RIP, sir, and condolences to his friends, family, and his many fans.”

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