Dandridge the devilish dandy!
Dandridge the devilish dandy!
"Alec Worley and Jon Davis-Hunt speak for the next Days of Thargmas!"
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... 3 Dictators of Zrag, 2 Art Droids and a Mek-Quake chewing on me.

Doctor Spartacus Dandridge is a ghost-tracking detective who tops off evil spirits and poltergeists while aided by his stitched-up assistant, Shelley. In the bumper Prog 2012, out on December 14th, we have a touching tale of Dickens-esque devilry from Alec Worley and Jon Davis-Hunt.

For our next episode in The Twelve Days of Thargmas,’s Ed Kaye spoke to the pair over tea and a heart-warming tot of rum…

2000 AD: What can fans expect from ‘A Christmas Ghost Story?’ Does it follow-up on the conclusion of the last Dandridge mini-series?

Alec: It's a one-off tale that takes place outside the current Dandridge storyline and is hosted by the good doctor in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling or the Cryptkeeper. The tale itself is a vintage ghost story set in the Edwardian era of Dandridge's spookpunk world and it concerns a frightened little boy, his overbearing father and an unwanted Christmas gift.

The story had to be such that it could only have taken place in Dandridge's world, where technology is powered by ectoplasm and captured ghosts are bought and sold. So you'll get to see a little more of how that world works. I'm hoping to explore this more in the next series of Dandridge, which I'm aiming to write next year. I've already got the opening planned out, in which you'll find out what that letter contained. Poor Shelley [see prog 1730].

2000 AD: Jon, as well as Dandridge, you also collaborate with Alec Worley on Age of the Wolf. How do you approach these supernatural thrillers differently from how you would approach a more sci-fi oriented story like Tempest or Judge Dredd?

Jon: Working with Alec is great because he'll tend to do a lot of research for his stories and then send me a whole heap of links to trawl through. One of the great things about Dandridge is the mash-up of the two time periods, the Edwardian era and the 80s, so that provides a lot of inspiration. I tried to litter the last story with as many little Easter eggs as possible. I'd say that is probably the biggest difference, the use of ref. In a sci-fi story, I'll tend to just make up stuff out of my head, whereas with a supernatural story, they tend to exist in an established time-period so it becomes more about investigating the source for inspiration.

2000 AD: What was your favourite thing to write or illustrate on this story?

Jon: One of my favourite panels to illustrate was the surprise that's waiting in the Christmas tree! : )

Alec: I love the tradition of the Christmas ghost story, all those BBC adaptations of writers like Dickens and MR James. Since Dandridge is rooted in that era of British supernatural fiction, he seemed like the ideal host for a yuletide story in the Prog. The D-Hunt art-bot has done an awesome job of evoking that combination of cosiness and menace. Tinsel glinting around the fire like watchful eyes, that sort of thing. Jon's colours are amazingly evocative. He's done a similarly stunning job on the artwork for the ten-parter we've got coming up early next year, Age of the Wolf: She is Legend. Have a zarjaz Christmas, squax, and a gafflebette new year! - WORL*E [script droid no. 5552368]

Prog 2012. £4.50. Out on 14th December in the UK and later this month in North America. Ho ho ho, earthlets!

Michael Molcher

Wednesday 7th December 2011