Looking back at 2020, wishing all downthetubes all the best of the season – and a much better 2021…

diwnthetubes Christmas eCard 2020

Festive wishes to all our readers, difficult though these times may be. 2020 has very definitely been a year in which we have come to appreciate everything we have, rather than what we have not.

I sincerely hope you are all keeping well and safe in difficult times. It has been an extraordinarily difficult year for us all, and, sadly, many have lost loved ones. I am so sorry if you are one of them.

Despite adversity, compounded still further by the latest restrictions announced here in the UK, many determined and enterprising comic creators have kept busy through 2020, despite everything! It’s been hard to keep up with you, sometimes!

Here in my Lancaster bunker, despite Pandemic setbacks, I have been busy with numerous projects too, with both downthetubes and Crucible Comics Press. While some larger projects remain in limbo, thankfully there have been at least some things to keep me busy and distracted this year, not least of them a much appreciated rise in visitors to downthetubes.

Anyone would think you were all locked in your houses or something… oh, wait

The impact the pandemic has had on the comic community has been mixed. I’m very aware 2020 has been terrible for many. However, we have also seen our community adapt, enforced circumstances focusing the minds of many creators who, like me, have also wanted to keep busy.

This has resulted in some great new  projects, many featured on downthetubes. I’m personally delighted, for example, to see how the new British anthology title, The77, has developed through 2020 and we have been running a number of tie-in interviews with creators involved. Congratulations to the team behind this title.

The77 #4 Variant Cover by Lew Stringer
The77 #4 Variant Cover by Lew Stringer


Back in October, this year’s online version of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival was a great success – thanks to everyone who dropped in on the “virtual weekend”. As part of that, working with B7 Media’s Andrew Mark Sewell, I was one of the judges for aRace into Space Challenge, won by ace artist James Newell, one of the contributors to Pat Mills’ excellent Spacewarp project (reviewed for downthetubes here by Peter Duncan).

Race Into Space Challenge - Cover

The digital anthology of select entries to Race Into Space Challenge is now available to read for free online and includes James’ winning strip, alongside entries from a variety of both established comic creators and newcomers to the world of comics.

In terms of current projects, I’m writing a new SF comic mini series for B7 Media and you may have seen their shout out for comic strip samples for their new B7 Comics imprint. Submissions should be made Tuesday 12th January – details here.

Charlotte Corday - Shockwave Riders Episode 21 - art by Keith Page
Charlotte Corday – Shockwave Riders – art by Keith Page

As we head into the festive season, over on the web comics platform Tapas, I’m posting new episodes of “The Adventures of Charlotte Corday – Shockwave Riders” by Keith Page, lettered by me. 

As Commander Corday leads an expedition to Venus to investigate aliens operating from the planet, she also explores the history of an ancestor with the same name… or is she?

Don’t forget that there are other “Charlotte Corday” adventures featured on Tapas too, including “Witchcraft Street” (a complete, earlier story) and the more recent tales such as “Wonderbirds” and “The Fulcanelli Conundrum, another dive into the multiverse of Keith’s long-running character.

As previously mentioned, I’m working with Keith on the production of a new book, “Strawjack“, which is in the works for 2021.

Also on Tapas: “The Adventures of Alien Potato Assassin – The Twelve Slays of Christmas” also continues. A character created by myself, Mark Hetherington and The Yorkshire Orc,  in this adventure written by me and drawn with aplomb by The Orc, will our angry mutated sentient spud finally meet his lady love, or has he had his chips?

Thank you, once again, to all of who have been reading downthetubes over the past few months. While some projects have gone on the back burner, despite rising costs, I’m determined to continue the site – and I’m hoping long-discussed expansion plans will finally become a reality in 2021.

I wish all readers a very Merry Christmas (or whatever festive label you wish to give midwinter celebrations).

I sincerely hope that 2021 will be a much better year for us all.

Be Kind. Stay Safe. Take Care.

All the very best,

John Freeman

PS If you are interested in writing for the downthetubes, please do get in touch – or write to us any way

PPS Please consider supporting downthetubes through a PayPal donation – unfortunately, our costs never seem to go down – thank you!

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.



Categories: British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Site Announcements

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1 reply

  1. Same to you and yours, John!

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