Brought to Book: John A. Short talks about communist comic hero Octobriana

Octobriana: The Underground History - Cover

The more obscure the band in certain areas of music the cooler they are. The underground, crazy named and most importantly obscure horror movies are also considered cool. Right?  So, a character called Octobriana that is out of copyright, and has appeared intermittently over the last five decades in comics and movies. has got to be worth a look, and a new book about this intriguing communist comic character, Octobriana: The Underground History, which also features strips, illustrations and pin ups by creators such as Neil Edwards and Hunt Emersonis well worth a look.

To say that this character has a shady background is an understatement and I got to throw its writer, John A. Short, a few questions about this project and others he might have planned.

Octobriana and the Russian Underground

Tony: What prompted Octobriana: The Underground History as a project?

John: I first produced an Octobriana comic strip about twenty years ago, so you can tell that I’ve been long obsessed with the Russian Devil-Woman. I noticed that there was no one place about her (not even websites) that brought all the information about her together… So I figured that was a gap in the market.

Octobriana: Mtsyry Promo 2

Tony: You have got some outstanding artistic talent on the project. Neil Edwards, Hunt Emerson and Lew Stringer to name but three. How did you go about recruiting them?

John: I first worked with Neil Edwards on a project in the 1990s called Parallel Minds… Hunt Emerson recruited me to write his on-line comic strip “Ardnox High” about five years ago… Lew Stringer I’ve known since the 1980s… Vincent Danks and Gabrielle Noble have drawn strips for me before. I think they all dug the idea of giving their interpretation of such an iconic underground, communist character.

Tony: What plans do you have for the character in the future?

Octobriana battles Putin in The New Amazons
Octobriana battles Putin in The New Amazons

John: Gabby and I are still hoping to get our project about Octobriana teaming up with lots of superheroines from different countries off the ground. The New Amazons‘ has already appeared as a short preview special (available from http://kultcreations.blogspot.com) But we are working on the graphic novel The New Amazons: Costume Drama at the moment. Gabby has the first quarter of the art nearly finished, but she is having to fit it in between better paying jobs.

Tony: Where can I get a copy of  “I Fell in Love with a Russian Devil-Woman”? (a past Octobriana story with a great title).

John: I can only suggest combing comic shops with back-issue sites and eBay and so forth. As I say in the book it’s in a comic called Romantic Tails from an American company called Head Press and came out in 1998.

The original Tomorrow People on the cover of a 1977 issue of Look-In
The original Tomorrow People on the cover of a 1977 issue of Look-In

Tony: Any other projects you have in the pipeline?

John: I’m hard at work on a book about The Tomorrow People, covering the original 1970s TV series as well as the 1990s and twenty-first century revivals. I also hope to do some more issues of my comic about the first ever female vicar action hero Reverend Cross and my revival of the first masked hero in comic books The Clock Strikes!

Thanks John.

John: Thanks for your interest.

• You can grab a copy of Octobriana: The Underground History from Kult Creations, a Bournemouth based small press publisher at www.kultcreations.blogspot.com

• Read my review of Octobriana: An Underground History here

Many thanks for reading.

Antony Esmond

Antony Esmond

Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.

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