Monday, January 28, 2008

2000 AD artist battles multiple schlerosis

Iconoclastic British comics artist John Hicklenton has invited cameras into his home for a new documentary, Here's Johnny, to record his battle with multiple schlerosis and to campaign for better treatment for MS sufferers.

A screening of the film will take place at the Dana Centre at the Science Museum in London on 30 January, and Hicklenton will be speaking at the event.

The artist cannot move without a wheelchair and is often confined to his west London home. He talks candidly about his problems in the film, but also with great humour; at times he has relied utterly on that to see him through some very bleak days.

The 40-year-old British comic artist - best known for his brutal, visceral work on 2000 AD characters such as Judge Dredd and Nemesis the Warlock - was told he had multiple sclerosis with a brutality that still stuns him years later.

"The doctor, a locum, just stared at her computer screen," Hicklenton told the Daily Telegraph, "and never once looking at me, said: 'You've got MS. You'll be dead in 12 to 15 years.' Just like that." Her remit, he says, was presumably not to become emotionally engaged.

Now virtually bed-bound, Hicklenton talks candidly about his illness in the documentary made by Animal Monday, and funded by the Channel 4 British Documentary Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. It's due for international release later this year.

"I haven't got MS when you are looking at my pictures," he says in the film. "I haven't got MS when I am drawing them." But in the past month, spasms have affected his arms and the Telegraph reports Hicklenton has found himself making excuses not to get out the drawing board.

Despite this, he remains remarkably upbeat, with strong support of friends and family. "The more intense the disease gets, the more intense my relationships become," he says. "I never feel excluded because people are really sweet and they forget I am ill. My mum has been particularly helpful."

• To book tickets for the free Dana Centre screening of Here's Johnny call 020 7942 4040 (you must reserve a place to attend) or e-mail tickets@danacentre.org.uk

• For a clip of the film or more information, visit www.animalmonday.co.uk or www.danacentre.org.uk. MS Society Helpline: 0800 800 8000

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

John worked for me on several series when I was editor of the Judge Dredd Megazine. He's a cantankerous bugger with an art style like no other. I can only applaud his courage in battling against MS and encourage others to support him any way they can.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

In 2006, Laura Lawes was diagnosed with Multiple Scelrosis and given a life expectancy of one year. Three years later, she was not only living strong, but she gave birth to her first son. It was called "a miracle birth". These miracles are possible today, because of the work organizations, such as yourself, have done. Here, at Disease.com (a website dedicated to disease preventions and treatments) we are inspired by stories such as this, and would like to join you in fighting this cause. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. Lets create more of these miracles; together.If you want more information on that please email me back with the subject line as your URL.