Comics International Specials Go On Sale

magazine_ci_stspecial09.jpgTwo Comics International Specials are now on sale in comic shops — but the regular magazine is still in limbo, the next announced as not due until August.

The Star Trek Special celebrates the recent released JJ Abrams’ Star Trek movie reboot, looking back over four decades of the comicbook adventures of the Starship Enterprise. Charting the course of Star Trek comics from the very first 1967 issue from Gold Key all the way to IDW’s latest titles and taking in alternate realities, multiverse crossovers and more, this latest CI one-shot takes you on a warp speed tour through some of the strangest new worlds and civilisations you’ll never see on TV.

Heavily illustrated and showcasing unpublished artwork and more, it features interviews with key Star Trek creators, including British contributors to the Trek mythos – Dan Abnett, Mike Collins and Ian Edginton – as well as creators such as writers Mike W Barr and Diane Duane along with artists Gordon Purcell, David Messina and Scott Tipton. Star Trek fans who aren’t even that interested in comics may be persuaded to pick up the £4.99 Special by the inclusion of interviews with Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in the original Star Trek series and Voyager‘s Doctor, Robert Picardo.

The Magazine is well designed – although perhaps with even more pages, the creator interviews could have been given more space and additional visuals – but this is a mere nitpick. It also includes a feature on the British Star Trek material created for the 1960s title Joe 90: Top Secret and later issues of TV21, material that many US Star Trek fans are unaware of. Definitely one for Trek fans to check out.

magazine_ci_horrorspecial09.jpgAlso out now is Comics International Horror Special, going behind the scenes on some of the goriest and scariest titles in recent months. Designed more like the ‘regular’ Comics International title, it includes interviews with Tim Bradstreet, Alan Grant and other writers and artists responsible for such fear-drenched comics as Stephen King’s The Stand, Age of Desire, Savage, The Dead, Golly and Zombie Cop.

Also featured are Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch (sadly, in what looks like a print error that also seems to have affected the alignment of pages, the interview with Si Spurrier is unexpectedly truncated, simply cut at the bottom of the page, mid-sentence, never to be returned to) Superman and Batman vs Vampires and Werewolves.

The 52-page issue costs just £2.50 ($4.99) and is again on sale in many comic shops.

While it’s great to see these Specials on sale — particularly the Star Trek title, which is an impressive piece of work in terms of interview material and breadth alone — along with these Specials comes the perhaps grim news that the next regular issue of Comics International (#208) is now currently not set to appear until early August. The continued delay is not helping the magazine: even loyal readers who’ve been in touch with downthetubes are in despair over its missing-in-action status.

“I’m a bit miffed at CI’s attitude to be honest to its customers,” said one on the downthetubes forum. “I think it’s really poor – and having ‘re-discovered’ [Diamond trade catalogue] Previews, it has all I need really and can be counted on month after month to be on the shelves

“If Comics International gets back on track properly I may go back to it, or if #208 is a good relevant up to date issue I may pick it up.”

While we’re aware that there have been many behind the scenes problems that have sadly combined, through no fault of those directly involved in the magazine’s production, to sabotage attempts to re-establish a monthly frequency, the future of Comics International still seems far from secure. Let’s hope the naysayers fears are, however, unfounded…

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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