Jim Alexander and Will Pickering’s SF project “Savant” lands in Dark Horse Presents

Savant - Promotional Art

Savant, a comic strip originally published by British small-press publisher Planet Jimbot, is to be serialised from March onwards in multi-Eisner award-winning Dark Horse Presents.

Introducing Lode from the planet Savant, having gone walkabout around the universe, she chooses to chronicle the lives of the dying. As a result seeks out war zones. She is not a harbinger of death; but it is death nevertheless that draws her like a moth to a flame.

Savant - art by Will Pickering and Fin Cramb
Savant – art by Will Pickering and Fin Cramb

Her travels bring her to Hubris, a planet ripped apart by war. There, she is recruited by local government forces to help hunt down a war criminal. It is a journey that will take her to the mouth of madness. The End of Days itself.

Writer Jim Alexander (Metal Hurlant Chronicles), artist Will Pickering (Burke and Hare) and colourist Fin Cramb (Mono) are all Scottish, but it was at the 2012 Kapow comic convention in London where they came together for the first time. Jim Campbell (Scottish name, English by birth) was brought in as letterer and the team was complete.

I’ll confess to my enthusiasm to see this project get wider exposure through Dark Horse Presents, since it was a story first commissioned by me, back in 2010 as a possible story for the short-lived STRIP Magazine with a different art team. To my dismay, the creator-owned project foundered through no fault of those involved on the creative side. Jim went ahead with a new version of the story and the comic was launched by Planet Jimbot at Plan B in Glasgow on October 2013.

In no time at all, Savant garnered some notable small-press reviews. Big Comic Page said, “Yes, it’s a small-press comic, but this is a title that would more than hold its own – excel, even – in any line-up of comic books from any publisher in the world.”

Geek Pride said, “I haven’t felt this gripped by a sci-fi story since the first time I read William Gibson.”

Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson got in touch in 2014 to express an interest in acquiring the strip as a creator-owned series for his company’s flagship book. A six-part series was agreed, 48 pages in total, adapting the first 24 as appeared in the Planet Jimbot book, plus 24 all-new pages to finish the story.

The series is scheduled for Dark Horse Presents #32-37, March through August 2017. The creative team is hopeful of more stories in the future, but for now looking forward to see Savant in print courtesy of a world-class publisher in Dark Horse Comics.

In the meantime, Planet Jimbot is still going strong with award-nominated Wolf Country., also written by Jim, with art by Will Pickering and  covers by Luke Cooper. Issue Seven is due out soon.

• Issues 32 (March) and 33 (April) of Dark Horse Presents are already solicited and can be bought through your local comic shop

Buy Wolf Country through the Planet Jimbot online shop

Dark Horse Presents #32: The Full Line-Up – on sale 15th March 2017

Paul Levitz (Writer), Carla Speed McNeil (Writer/ Artist), Michael Walsh (Writer/ Artist /Cover), Jim Alexander (Writer), Shannon Wheeler (Writer/ Artist), Chad Lambert (Writer), Patrick Alexander (Writer/ Artist), Tim Hamilton (Artist), Will Pickering (Artist) and Apri Kusbiantoro (Artist)

This month’s Dark Horse Presents offering is full of fresh, new stories, featuring Shannon Wheeler’s “Too Much Coffee Man”, Jim Alexander and Will Pickering’s “Savant” and Chad Lambert and Apri Kusbiantoro’s “The Jock”! Plus, a new chapter of Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder: Chase the Lady,” the penultimate chapter of Paul Levitz and Tim Hamilton’s “Brooklyn Blood” and more!

Dark Horse Presents #33: The Full Line-Up – on sale in 19th April 2017

Ron Randall (Writer/ Artist), Carla Speed McNeil (Writer/ Artist), Ryan Browne (Writer/ Artist), Jim Alexander (Writer), Shannon Wheeler (Writer/ Artist/ Cover), Paul Levitz (Writer), Will Pickering (Artist), Fin Cramb (Artist), and Tim Hamilton (Artist)

Mercy St. Clair returns to DHP this month with Ron Randall’s “Trekker: The Volstock Payoff”! Paul Levitz and Tim Hamilton’s “Brooklyn Blood” concludes! Plus, Ryan Browne contributes the hilarious one-shot “There’s a Gorilla on the Cover!” Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder”, Jim Alexander and Will Pickering’s “Savant” and Shannon Wheeler’s “Too Much Coffee Man” round out this issue.

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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