DC Thomson Media have just launched two new digital comics, on sale now, one drawing on stories from their much-loved Starblazer comic. Both are titles in their new digital archive collection ranges, published on ComiXology and Kindle on the last Wednesday of every month.
Launched in October, the Dundee-based publisher is drawing on its huge archive of comic titles to publish a range of digital collections, a new project that began with Commando Presents… The Warlord Files Volume 1, Heritage Comics Presents #1: Classic Codename: WARLORD – Volume 1, Commando Presents #2: The Fear Files – Volume 1, and the girls comic compilation Spellbound Volume One; and continued with Commando presents… ‘The Weekes’ War’ last month.
Today’s releases delve into the realms of science fiction, with Commando Presents…The Sci-fi Files Volume 1: Soldiers from Space! and Heritage Comics and Starblazer Presents… Starblazer Special Edition.
Commando Presents…The Sci-fi Files Volume 1: Soldiers from Space!, with a cover by Penalva, collects four science fiction comics from a galaxy’s worth of adventure in action-packed black-and-white art. From time travelling troopers to gigantic monster bugs, this otherworldly, out-of-this-world selection of comics is sure to send your imagination into space…
A spaceman comes travelling to World War Two in a classic tale from 1971 – Commando 577, “Soldier from Space”, written by Skentleberry with art by Cortes. Move over Ming the Merciless, as a man from 3000AD travels through space and time to enlist troops to fight in a cataclysmic future war – but not if Lieutenant Mike Johnson has anything to say about it!
It’s a case of let’s do the time warp again in the second 1970s issue, Commando 1294, “Time-Warp Warrior”, written by Mike Knowles with art by C. T. Rigby.
Mike’s story is set far in the future of Earth, when a wise and kind council rule peacefully. However, this harmony is threatened when evil Dextra travels back in time with four others to retrieve the lost art of warfare from different periods in human history.
Humanity’s only hope is “ancient” warfare historian, Cam, who is sent back to stop them, armed only with his vast knowledge of war…
The first of more modern Commandos featured in this new digital collection is with No. 5331, “Flight from Tomorrow”, written by Arthur C Clarke award-winning writer Adrian Tchaikovsky with art by Paolo Ongaro.
Amid the turmoil of the Dunkirk evacuations, a group of refugees is being aided by the British soldiers on the retreat. Except these refugees aren’t trying to escape to a different place – but a different time!
Writer Adrian Tchaikovsky is an award-winning and highly acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author, creator of the acclaimed Shadows of the Apt fantasy series. In civilian life, he is a lawyer, gamer and amateur entomologist.
Finally, giant creepy-crawlies are on the prowl in Commando 5477, “Bug Attack”, written by Ferg Handley with art by Dan Barnfield. When a fracking operation in rural Colorado unleashes a hoard of mammoth, killer insects, the US military is ready to nuke the suckers… but it’s a race against time to save the scientists stuck in the hive!
Also included in this digital edition is a cover gallery, featuring the original artwork for each issue, by Penalva and Ian Kennedy.
Heritage Comics and Starblazer Presents… Starblazer Special Edition will be familiar to some downthetubes readers already, as it was released as a graphic novel in 2019, but this special edition is now also available digitally on Kindle and ComiXology.
Originally published between 1979 and 1991 by DC Thomson, Starblazer, which we’ve documented extensively on downthetubes, was a pocketbook-sized, science fiction comic, presenting action and adventure stories set throughout space and time, overflowing with alien alliances, weird and wonderful worlds, and tantalising technology. This special edition presents issues 45 “Operation Overkill” from 1981 and No. 71 “Jaws of Death” from 1982, two classic adventures crafted by some comic book legends-in-waiting.
“Operation Overkill” provides a glimpse into some of British comic legend Grant Morrison’s earliest work, while Argentinian illustrator Enrique Alcatena’s artwork brings such imaginations to life in exquisite detail. Likewise, “Jaws of Death”, written by D Broadbent, showcases 2000AD star Mick McMahon’s instantly recognisable, clean, confident draughtsmanship. Together, they present some of the best of British science fiction, appealing to a contemporary audience as well as fans of the original pocket-size publication.
Supplemented by the original, full-colour cover art by Keith Robson for both issues, and a cover by Neil Roberts, featuring Grant Morrison’s intergalactic investigator Mikal R Kayn, Starblazer Special Edition brings these classic stories into a contemporary, yet familiar field.
Bonus content comes in the form of a brief history of the well-loved cult comic with an Ian Kennedy Easter Egg in the mix, an exclusive interview with artist Neil Roberts, and insights from a conversation with Grant Morrison by Professor Christopher Murray. A must-have for Science Fiction and British comic fans alike.
Look out for new Heritage Comics and Commando Presents digital releases on the final Wednesday of every month
• The Starblazer Presents graphic novel is still available to buy in print here from Amazon UK (Affiliate Link) | ISBN 978-1845357993
• Jeremy Briggs has compiled a large number of articles and features on Starblazer for downthetubes. Check out his “Blazing through the Secrecy” feature, which started off the section, and have a look at our issue by issue guide and more
• Click Here for From the Command Deck: Starblazer editor Bill McLoughlin’s history of the title
• Click Here for Starblazer Ray Aspden’s feature on writing for the title
• Click Here for Starblazer Recalled: Forgotten Fantasy Fiction – With Pictures by series writer Mike Chinn
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.