Mek Memoirs feels ideal as a place to launch the imprint: Kevin O’Neill is a big name (and one providing new art for the project), and Memoirs in particular feels like a lost piece of proto-2000 AD world building, which ties in with 2000 AD’s recent 45th birthday celebrations. Was this something both of you had known about for awhile, or did it come to light while researching potential releases?
While Mek Memoirs wasn’t the title that pushed us into setting up Dark & Golden, as soon as it came up in conversation we knew it would be the right choice to start the line. We had previously only seen photographs of it and heard of the prices that rare copies of it turning up on ebay were fetching. It seemed like something people needed to be able to get hold of.
Part of the idea of Dark & Golden isn’t just nice editions for today, but also getting those books into libraries of record, so that future historians of comics will have access to the work. As you rightly say, Mek Memoirs is an important part of the conversation that has been neglected – our hope is that this will go some way to correct that.
How did O’Neill get involved with all of this?
Kevin has a relationship with Gosh! Comics in London, where Tom also works, and Tom knew that Gosh had planned a celebration of Kev’s work over the year, including a new print
and a new edition of Hibernia’s Cosmic Comics
, so we were able to suggest the reprint of Mek Memoirs
on the back of that. We were surprised and delighted to find out that Kev was not only up for making it happen, but had also retained all the original art (including things never seen before) and would be happy for us to make new scans to present the work better than it had ever been seen before. Kev also created a fantastic new cover for this edition, for which we will be forever grateful.
The new edition of Mek Memoirs is not only a (very) limited edition, but also as the official description has it, “in accordance with the artist’s wishes… presented without staples.” Will future releases follow similar models where they’re as much objet d’art as, well, comics?
We will be looking at each publication on a case-by-case basis. As editors we’ll have ideas about what best serves the work, but the artists will always have input. Some releases might be facsimile editions whereas others might have radically different presentations to their original appearances. We’ll also be looking at providing some kind of contextual material, whether essays or interviews, in order to underline why this work is important.
What is next for Dark & Golden, after this initial release? Can you offer teases for what’s coming up?
At the moment we are just getting final confirmations on our next few titles, but teasing is always nice, so let’s be very cryptic. We’ll hopefully have something coming from an artist that Douglas has work by on his wall, from creators south of Watford and on the road, work that covers the spectrum and comes from other undergrounds. It’s going to be fun.