In Review: REJECTED, by Baden James Mellonie et al

Last year, we revealed plans for Rejected, a one shot anthology from Baden James Mellonie, featuring “scripts, abandoned projects, character designs, letters of rejection and tales of what might have been”.

Wrapped in a cover by Stephen Sampson, the anthology is available now (ordering details below), with stories including rejected “Tharg’s Future Shocks” from Baden and art from Steven Austin, Patrick Goddard, David Hitchcock, David Millgate and Karl Richardson, letters by Bolt-1.

Now enjoying critical success with his independent horror comic project Edge of Extinction, last year, Baden described the title as “a compilation or worst of. Or it’s a book of stuff that hasn’t worked out yet.”

Mayne, Page 2. Art by co-creator David Hitchcock. a proposed submission to STRIP magazine

Well, speaking as a comics editor, after reading Rejected, there are some strips I’d definitely like to see more of, particularly “Mayne”, co-created with David Hitchcock, which has echoes of the kind of set up you’d expect to find in classic comics such as Lion or Valiant, with a modern twist. I’m delighted to learn that Baden is now working on breathing new life into that particular project.

Mayne cover by Stephen Sampson, coming soon…

The “Tharg’s Future Shocks” stories and other one shots featured are a bit of a mixed bag, my favourite among them the dialogue free “St. Andrews Point”, a horror tale that opens with the kind of visuals you might associate with the US TV show The Ghost and Mrs Muir but quickly turns to mystery and cracking, creepy horror. As an exercise in visual storytelling, it’s a delight.

St Andrews Point page 1, art by co-creator Steven Austin

Art throughout Rejected is impressive, and the stories reflect, I‘sad argue, a growing confidence as a writer over a number of years, despite knock backs that Baden discusses in a forthright manner in a supporting feature. Yes, there are some mis-steps, but there are some flourishes of talent, too, sparks that fire Baden’s work on The77 and Edge of Extinction today.

I for one am glad that while rejection is tough, it’s led to stronger success for the writers and artist featured in this anthology, and reading these steps along the way is an enjoyable treat.

Angel, art by Steven Austin
The Beguiling Page 1, art by Karl Richardson. Rejected “Future Shock”
Tusk page 1, proposed submission to STRIP Magazine, co-creator David Millgate on art duties

Of course, there’s a downside reading Rejected too, as it does rather reinforce how few opportunities there are for British comic creators to get a crack at professional publication. That’s not to dismiss in any way the energy and enthusiasm of the current British independent comics scene, but with only 2000AD the only news stand title still publishing one-off short strips, it’s a continuing disappointment that there are so few opportunities for creators to gain professional, paid publication here.

I sincerely hope that projects such as The77 and upcoming projects like SHIFT from GetMyComics, and Pat Mills’ Space Warp, help serve how fantastic anthology comics are, so long a staple of the British comics landscape. That way, the kind of ideas and strips featured in Rejected might have more chances to see the light of day.

John Freeman

Rejected. Want one? Let Baden James Mellonie know direct.
Available to order price £13.00, including postage to UK. Payment PayPal badenmellonie@hotmail.com. Press play.

• Follow writer Baden James Mellonie on Twitter @MelMellonie

• Reviews of individual issues of Edge of Extinction are here for Issue One by Tony Esmond, and issue Two and Three by John Freeman | Read a review of #1 – 3 by Colin Noble

• Edge of Extinction #1 – 3 are available from www.edgeofextinction.co.uk – note there’s only limited stock of #1! 

• Also available from Eighth Continent Publishing: Maximum Mayhem – The Art of David Millgate, for £17.99 including postage in the UK – but there are very few copies left!

Declaration: In addition to the strips mentioned, Rejected includes a short feature by me on the rise and fall of STRIP Magazine. This should in no way spoil your enjoyment of the strips and supporting material featured, including scripts, pencil art and more fleshing out the development path of some stories featured.

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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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