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Exclusive: “Summer Magic” Collection Cover by John Ridgway Revealed 

Summer Magic: The Complete Luke Kirby Journal

We’re honoured to debut the brand new cover for Summer Magic: The Complete Journal of Luke Kirby collection, to be published by Rebellion in May 2017.

This is a brand new cover by initial series artist John Ridgway, with colours provided by Italian colourist Barbara Nosenzo.

A series which trumped JK Rowling’s Harry Potter to the ‘young boy wizard’ trope by a number of years but hasn’t been reprinted in its entirety before, Summer Magic: The Journal of Luke Kirby collects all “The Journal of  Luke Kirby” stories from 2000AD: “Summer Magic” (published in 1988), “The Night Walker” (1992), “Sympathy for the Devil” (1993-4), “Old Straight Track” (1995), and “The Price” (1995).

2000AD Prog 804

The Journal of Luke Kirby - Sample Art

Created by writer Alan McKenzie and artist John Ridgway, “The Journal of Luke Kirby”, later drawn by Steve Parkhouse, this story of a young boy who becomes a powerful wizard was a long-running series in 2000AD, originally intended as a pitch for Eagle around 1987.

Set in the 1960s in an enchanted rural England, it’s a coming-of-age story about power, magic, and family  that’s been described as Cider With Rosie meets Harry Potter via John Wyndham and Alan Garner.

Sent to stay with his Uncle Elias in the countryside in 1962, Luke discovers the man has magical powers. After their housekeeper is killed by a horrific beast, Elias offers to make Luke his apprentice and teach him the magical arts. Luke is the inheritor of a great magical dynasty and, learning first from his uncle and them a tramp called Zeke, Luke begins to harness his extraordinary powers with the potential to be the greatest alchemist of all – but at what price?

From its slow pace to the evocative artwork, “The Journal of Luke Kirby” is a lost gem from the second wave of 2000AD, mired in issues over copyright for several years; the idyllic setting undercut by the new world of magical danger Luke discovers hiding under the surface in a coming-of-age tale that deals with burgeoning maturity, fear, loss, grief, and the ending of innocence.

Art from "Summer Magic" in 2000AD Prog 576, published in May 1988, written by Alan McKenzie, drawn by John Ridgway.

Art from “Summer Magic” in 2000AD Prog 576, published in May 1988, written by Alan McKenzie, drawn by John Ridgway.

John Ridgway’s artwork, moving from black and white to colour, evokes the classic comics of the 1960s while his scratchy, dense style also provides an eerie dissonance befitting the dual world in which Luke now finds himself, while later stories with art by Steve Parkhouse bring a more pop-art aesthetic.

A page from "The Night Walker", the Luke Kirby adventure published in 1992

A page from “The Night Walker”, the Luke Kirby adventure published in 1992

Talking to The Comics Journal in 2011, John said of the story “‘Summer Magic’ was the style of story I had hoped that Hellblazer would be. It was much nearer to the Hammer Films school of horror than the Clive Barker school… While there are elements of horror in the story, the main theme was the boy learning magic against the background of a horror/ mystery.

“The story featured many things I love: creepy trees with twisted roots and branches, rural community (I am not a city-loving person), and likeable characters.”

Summer Magic: The Complete Luke Kirby Journal will be published on 4th May 2017, on sale in all good book shops and comic shops. Pre-order it here on Amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes

• Alan McKenzie Official Web Site

About John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative" who is 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 25 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary, including DEATH'S HEAD II and WARHEADS. At Marvel he wrote strips for THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, THUNDERCATS, DOCTOR WHO and co-created SHADOW RIDERS with Brian Williamson and Ross Dearsley. 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. He has written comics for Marvel UK, Judge Dredd Megazine, Lucky Bag Comic, CGL (an Italian publisher), STRIP Magazine and ROK Comics; and edited some of Titan's British comics collections including Dan Dare and Charley's War. 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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