Hot on the heels of our partly speculative news item yesterday, DC Thomson Media‘s Heritage Comics department have sent us more details about their first Starblazer collection, in print for the first time since the 1990s, now in graphic novel format with a terrific cover from Neil Roberts.
Originally published between 1979 and 1991 by DC Thomson, Starblazer was the pocket-sized, Science Fiction comic, presenting action and adventure stories set throughout space and time, overflowing with alien alliances, wonderful worlds and tantalising technology. This graphic novel presents issues #45 “Operation Overkill” from 1981, written by Grant Morrison with art by Enrique Alcatena; and #71 “Jaws of Death” from 1982 by by D Broadbent, with art by Mick McMahon, refreshing and rescaling the artwork to full graphic-novel size, whilst retaining the charm of their original black and white format.
“Operation Overkill” provides a glimpse into some of British comic legend Grant Morrison’s earliest work, where Argentinian illustrator Enrique Alcatena’s artwork brings such imagination to life in exquisite detail, the first story starring space detective Mikal R Kayn, who made return visits to the pages of Starblazer. Likewise, “Jaws of Death” by D Broadbent showcases Mick McMahon’s instantly recognisable, clean and confident draughtsmanship.
Together, they present some of the best of British Science Fiction in a highly-collectible and well considered format, appealing to a contemporary audience as well as fans of the original pocket-size publication.
The strips are supplemented by the original, full-colour cover art by Hartlepool-based artist Keith Robson for both issues, a fresh new wraparound cover by Neil Roberts 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 from the University of Dundee.
Since writing some early episodes of Starblazer, Grant Morrison (MBE) has gone on to write for 2000AD and DC Comics titles such as Animal Man, Batman, JLA, Action Comics, All-Star Superman and Vertigo’s The Invisibles. Most recently, he’s been working on Green Lantern with another British stalwart of comics, Liam Sharp.
Known as Quique Alcatena in his native Argentina and Latin America, Enrique Alcatena began his career in the 1970s as assistant of Chiche Medrano, working for Argentine publisher Ediciones Récord; his first signed work appeared in the magazine Pif Pif in 1976. He started working for DC Thomson in the 1970s, and has gone on to draw comics for US publishers DC Comics, Marvel and Dark Horse, including Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus and Other Stories.
Mick McMahon, whose highly-regarded work has influenced many comic artists, became a regular contributor to 2000AD starting with Prog Two in 1977. He drew several characters for the comic, most notably Judge Dredd (including his first published appearance), Slaine and the ABC Warriors. While most of his comics work was for 2000AD and, later, Sonic the Comic, he also drew the memorable, much-praised two-part “Junkyard Demon” strip for what was then known as Doctor Who Monthly in 1981 (a strip written by Steve Parkhouse) – and this one issue of Starblazer.
Keith Robson worked for DC Thomson on such diverse titles as The Dandy and Starblazer, for IPC on Jinty and Buster, was the artist for Dundee City Council’s Time Tram Dundee book project, and is currently Artist-in-Residence at two schools in Hartlepool – Hart Primary and Elwick St Peter’s. He also does work at Ward Jackson Primary.
An internationally recognised, highly experienced, talented and motivated freelance artist with over 20 years experience in art, illustration, game art, leading teams and art direction, Neil Roberts has worked on AAA game titles, TV-tie ins, international comic titles and New York Times best-Selling, record-breaking novels, and excitedly describes his Starblazer cover as “one off the bucket list!”
This collection is surely a must-have for Science Fiction and British comic fans alike
• The Starblazer graphic novel (ISBN 9781845357993) will be available to buy from WHSmith and the DC Thomson shop from early November 2019 for £12.99. You can check out the collection details here on the DC Thomson web shop
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• 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