Storm promotional art by Don Lawrence - 1998

In the Spotlight: “Storm” by Martin Lodewijk and Don Lawrence

Storm promotional art by Don Lawrence - 1998
Storm promotional art by Don Lawrence – 1998

With Rebellion‘s welcome announcement of mass-market Trigan Empire collections, launching next year, it’s perhaps no surprise that some fans of artist Don Lawrence are also wondering if this might also pave the way for a similar release for the science fantasy Storm, a strip the British artist worked on for 22 years.

Following his departure from “Trigan Empire” in 1976, when Look and Learn‘s publisher IPC refused to raise his page rate despite the strip’s pan-European syndication success, Don Lawrence began work on Storm for Oberon (Big Balloon).

Co-created with Martin Lodewijk, the stories drawn by Don  are available in English language limited edition collections, translated by Steve Holland, complete with background information and behind the scenes art, from the Don Lawrence Collection, but they aren’t cheap.

Storm by Don LawrenceThe story centres Storm, an astronaut who finds himself marooned in a strange fantasy world, and rather like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, Warlord of Mars, has to make his way through it with only the aid of a red-headed warrior woman and a red-skinned alien prince.

Don drew 22 adventures in all and the series is primarily available in Dutch, published by published by Big Balloon and Uitgeverij Oberon, with reprints also available in languages such as German, French, Italian, Spanish, Bosnian and Indonesian.

Storm - The Last Fighter, published by Titan Books in 1987
Storm – The Last Fighter, published by Titan Books in 1987

Titan Books are among the limited number of English language publishers, who issued just two collections in the 1980s in the UK. (The British European Association also published just one collection, The Deep World, in 1982).

The strip also ran in some issues of Marvel UK’s STRIP, and the stories “The Living Planet” and “The Slayer of Eriban” were also published in Heavy Metal magazine in January 1997 and March 1999.

Some of the modern Dutch editions available through the Don Lawrence Collection are also available in English, translated by Steve Holland, who also worked on their Trigan Empire titles.

The origins of the series lie in an earlier, unpublished project, written in 1976 by Vince Wernham, drawn by Don Lawrence centring on a character called Commander Grek. (When Storm proved a success, the previously unreleased Commander Grek album was published as part of the Storm series, as “Episode 0”). 

The series consists of two arcs: The Chronicles of the Deep World, which takes place on post-apocalyptical Earth centring on the adventures of Storm and his feisty companion, Roohaar, whose name changes in English translation, finally, it seems, settling on Ember; and The Chronicles of Pandarve, taking place in the Pandarve multiverse, the latter introducing Nomad and Storm’s nemesis Marduk, Theocrat of Pandarve.

It’s the second arc that offers the most wide-ranging and visually stunning imagery, with  Pandarve, a living planet, a place where the normal physical laws no longer apply, which gave the creative team, who also included 2000AD and Starlord‘s Kelvin Gosnell, huge scope in terms of story possibilities and visuals.

Storm by Don Lawrence

Storm by Don LawrenceThe final three stories from the original team – The Von Neumann Machine, The Genesis Equation and The Armageddon Traveller – form a trilogy that throws Storm and Marduk together in an uneasy alliance to save Pandarve from disaster, with a giant “spaceship”, the Intruder, on a collision course fro the planet.

When Don Lawrence died the series continued, albeit intermittently, with Chronicles of Meanwhile, drawn by Dick Matena, a story set within the continuity of The Chronicles of the Deep World.

Lodewijk returned as the writer between 2007 and 2010 with the stories The Navel of the Double God and Marduk’s Springs, published in 2007 and 2009 respectively, working with new artists Romano Molenaar and Jorg de Vos, for Rob van Bavel’s publishing house the Don Lawrence Collection.

Writer Willem Ritstier and artist Minck Oosterveer also produced one Storm story in alternation with these during this period, a project that, The Comics Journal noted, was not without controversy. Oosterveer’s tragic death in a motorbike accident in 2011 curtailed the partnership.

Dick Matena and Rob van Bavel have since written new “Storm” stories for the magazine Eppo, while Conan writer Roy Thomas was asked to create Chronicles of Ember, a spin-off starring ‘Roodhaar’, the first volume released in 2014 and continued by Rob van Bavel, with

With its clever mix of science fiction and fantasy, Storm might be a series packed with familiar fantasy adventure tropes, but between Lodewijk’s scripts and Lawrence’s stunning art, it’s surely a  series, considered a classic bit its European fans, well deserving of wider exposure here in the UK.

Storm - The Collection Volume OneSTORM CHECKLIST

The series is also offered in high end hardback collections, containing two albums and a part of the Storm dossier, “The Search for Storm”

Commander Grek – Prisoners of Time (Commandant Grek – Gevangenen van de tijd)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection- collected in Storm: The Collection Volume 12, which also features a longer feature on the creation of Storm
Created in 1976, but first published in 1984, written by Vince Wernham, art by Don Lawrence

The Chronicles of the Deep World

Art throughout by Don Lawrence

The Deep World – (De Diepe Wereld)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume One
First published in 1978 | Writer: Philip ‘Saul’ Dunn

The Last Fighter – (De Laatste Vechter)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume One
First published in 1979 | Writer: Martin Lodewijk

Storm - The Collection Volume TwoThe People of the Desert – (Het Volk van de Woestijn)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Two
First published in 1979 | Writer: Dick Matena

The Green Hell – (De Groene Hel)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Two
First published in 1980 | Writer: Dick Matena

The Battle for Earth – (De Strijd om de Aarde)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Three
First published in 1980 | Writer: Dick Matena

The Secret of the Nitron Rays – (Het Geheim van de Nitronstralen)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Three
First published in 1981 | Writer: Dick Matena

Storm 07 - De Legende van YggdrasilThe Legend of Yggdrasil – (De Legende van Yggdrasil)
Available in Dutch – Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection
First published in 1981 | Writer: Kelvin Gosnell

City of the Damned – (Stad der Verdoemden)
Available in Dutch – First published in 1982 | Writer: Kelvin Gosnell

The Creeping Death – (De Sluimerende Dood)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Four and Five
First published in 1982 | Writer: Don Lawrence

The Chronicles of Pandarve

Written by Martin Lodewijk, art throughout by Don Lawrence

The Pirates of Pandarve – (De Piraten van Pandarve)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Four and Five
First published in 1983

Storm: The Collection Volume SixThe Labyrinth of Death – (Het Doolhof van de Dood)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Six
First published in 1983

The Seven of Aromater – (De Zeven van Aromater)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Six
First published in 1984

The Slayer of Eriban – (De Doder van Eriban)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Seven
First published in 1985

The Dogs of Marduk – (De Honden van Marduk)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Seven
First published in 1985

The Living Planet – (De Levende Planeet)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Eight
First published in 1986

Vandaahl the Destroyer – (Vandaahl de Verderver)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Eight
First published in 1987

Storm: The Collection Volume NineThe Twisted World – (De Wentelwereld)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Nine
First published in 1988

The Robots of Far Sied – (De Robots van Danderzei)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Nine
First published in 1990

Return of the Red Prince – (De Terugkeer van de Rode Prins)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Ten
First published in 1991

The Von Neumann Machine – (De Von Neumann-Machine)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume Ten
First published in 1993

The Genesis Equation – (De Genesis-Formule)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume 11
First published in 1995

The Armageddon Traveller – (De Armageddon Reiziger)
Available in English from the Don Lawrence Collection – collected in Storm: The Collection Volume 11
First published in 2001

The Navel of the Double God – (De Navel van de Dubbele God)
Available in Dutch – First published in 2007
Script: Martin Lodewijk • Art: Romano Molenaar & Jorg de Vos

Marduk’s Springs – (De Bronnen van Marduk)
Available in Dutch – First published in 2009
Script: Martin Lodewijk • Art: Romano Molenaar & Jorg de Vos

The Red Trail – (Het Rode Spoor)
Available in Dutch – First published in 2010
Script: Martin Lodewijk • Art: Romano Molenaar & Jorg de Vos

The Mutineers of Anchor – (De Muiters van Anker)
Available in Dutch – First published in 2011
Script: Martin Lodewijk • Art: Romano Molenaar & Jorg de Vos

The Guards of the Tracks – (De Wisselwachters)
Available in Dutch – First published in 2012
Script: Rob van Bavel & Jorg de Vos • Art: Romano Molenaar & Jorg de Vos

The Race of Opale City – (De Race van Opaal)
Available in Dutch – First published in 2013
Script: Dick Matena • Art: Romano Molenaar & Jorg de Vos

The Coral of Kesmee – (Het Koraal van Kesmee)
First published in 2015
Script: Rob van Bavel • Art: Romano Molenaar & Jorg de Vos

The Executioner of Torkien (De Beul van Torkien)
Available in Dutch – First published in 2017
Script: Rob van Bavel • Art: Romano Molenaar

Chronicles of Meanwhile

Written by Martin Lodewijk, artwork by Dick Matena

The Voyager Virus – (Het Voyager Virus)
First published in 1996

The Dallas Paradox – (De Dallas Paradox)
First published in 1997

The Stargorger - (De Sterrenvreter) The Stargorger – (De Sterrenvreter)
First published in 1998

Klein Space – (De Ruimte van Klein)
Unfinished and unpublished

Chronicles of the Outer Rim
Written by Willem Ritstier, artwork by Minck Oosterveer

The Expatriate of Thoem – (De Banneling van Thoem)
First published in 2011

The Chronicles of Ember

Storm: The Legend of KrillThe Legend of Krill
Available in Dutch – First published in 2014
Script: Roy Thomas • Art: Romano Molenaar

The Fifth Tower
Published in Dutch
Script: Rob van Bavel • Art: Romano Molenaar

The Arc of Noorah
Published in Dutch
Script: Rob van Bavel • Art: Romano Molenaar

WEB LINKS

The Storm Collections (English Language Editions) | Original Art for Sale

The Official Don Lawrence Web Site

Lambiek: Martin Lodewijk

Read Steve Holland’s article on his approach to translating the Storm stories into English on Bear Alley, published back in 2006,

The Comics Journal: A ‘Storm’ of Controversy Surrounding Don Lawrence’ Legacy
By Bart Croonenborghs, 2nd February 2011

Don Lawrence “Storm” book and art on the European site CatWiki

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. 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 “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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