Crowdfunding Spotlight: The77 Issue 6, offering variant cover by Glenn Fabry and, oh, so much more!

The77 is “a love letter to the comics that made us” according to its publisher and creative team – and the latest crowdfunding campaign, for Issue 6, is seeking support on Kickstarter.

This is an anthology publication that has very much grown in the telling since its debut, and I’ve regularly backed the project campaigns. Here’s a guide to some of what to expect this time around…

The77 Issue 6 - Newsstand edition featuring “Extinction 2040” by Ian Stopforth
The77 Issue 6 – Newsstand edition featuring “Extinction 2040” by Ian Stopforth

You can expect everything and anything in every issue of The77, from space opera to mythology, action to comedy and monster to robots. Created by hot new talent and legendary creators from your childhood, the latest issue is being offered with the option of a terrific newsstand cover by Ian Stopforth, or variants from Glenn Fabry or Hal Laren. (You can even buy all three if you want!)

Thanks to previous support, backers won’t be waiting for months for this issue. All the strips are already finished, thanks to an amazing team of hard working and talented creators – and it will be shipped within a month of the campaign. (However, international backers and high value rewards do take longer!)

What’s needed now is your support for the cost of producing the UK’s best independent comic, as voted for in the Comicscene Top 10 Comics of 2020 Awards.

Rewards include exclusive commissions and sketches from £40 – 100, such as the original artwork for Ian Stopforth‘s newsstand cover, five John McCrea pages, and an Andy Meanock page; merchandise pins, stickers, keyring and choice of T shirts; back issues of The77 digital and print bundles at reduced prices; signed copies of BLAZER! and TheSheerGlam Consiracy by Steve MacManus; and print and digital subscription deals distributed by GetMyComics.

Plus, every backers name will appear on The Roll of Honour.

“I’m proud to have commisisoned and published five editions of The77,” says editor Ben “Conan” Cullis, “especially as we launched to critical acclaim in the midst of the pandemic. Now with Blazer! under our belts, we aim to release our annual and Pandora in the coming months.”

This issue pays tribute to editor and letterer Dave Evans (1970 – 2021), aka BOLT-01, a stalwart of the indie comic scene for as long as anyone can recall.

“Everyone involved in the production of ‘Extinction 2040’ , ‘Division 77’, ‘Bounty on the Mutie’, ‘GRID’ and ‘Ghastly United’ will miss Dave’s advice and professional editing and lettering skills,” Ben notes. “We honour him with the newsagent’s mark on the cover”.

Here’s what’s in The77 #6 and a guide to the creators – check it out and back it here!

Glenn Fabry's variant cover for The77 Issue Six, 'Animal Kingdom' by Paul N Neal
Glenn Fabry’s variant cover for The77 Issue Six, ‘Animal Kingdom’ by Paul N Neal

Glenn Fabry has produced work for all the worlds top publishing companies for 35 years, including “Slaine” for 2000AD, and US titles such as Hellblazer, Preacher and American Gothic.

“We are delighted that Glenn’s artwork for ‘Animal Kingdom’ adorns a variant cover,” says editor Ben Cullis, “and can announce that a story by Glenn and Paul Neal will be featuring in The77 Annual, coming later this year!”

Hal Laren's Division 77 wraparound variant cover for The77 Issue Six
Hal Laren’s Division 77 wraparound variant cover for The77 Issue Six

Hal Laren is a digital concept and comic artist. “By night I am Hal Laren comic artist, by day concept and 3D designer,” he informs. “I also run my own independent comic publishing business and have created 24 comics, three graphic novels, two art books and around 70 covers for many comic publishers around the world. such as IDW (Rom, Transformers, TMNT, TMNT – The Last Ronin, G.I.JOE), Dynamite ( Vampirella), Titan (Robotech), Boom (Robocop, Power Rangers) Image (Ant, Sweet Paprika), and many more.”

His concept work covers film and TV and includes Star Trek: Discovery, developing the Jesuits in season one and creating costume visuals for the movie, Mute.

V – by Steve Bull and Ade Hughes

As a writer, Steve Bull surrounds himself with insanely talented people “because they make you look good”. At The77, he’s co-creator of “V” with Ade Hughes, and sub editor and art director.

Ade Hughes is illustrator of “V” and co-conspirator on Pat Mills’ SpaceWarp. “I was raised by hamsters until the age of 11, escaped to the theatre to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a curtain operator,” he claims. “These dreams were cruelly snatched away in an horrific hoola-hoop accident. All I ever wanted to do was to fiddle with thespian drapery, funny how life turns out.”

Silver Jubilee – by Dave Heeley and Andrw Sawyers

Dave Heeley is Director at The77 Publications, resides near the Rad wastes of Birmingham and in between home-schooling and work, writes “Division 77”, “GRID” and “Silver Jubilee” for The77 comic, and the upcoming story “Filth and the Furry” for The77 Annual. He actively campaigns for an extra hour in the day and spends his spare time sampling I.P.A beers and watching Spaghetti Westerns.

Andrw Sawyers is the artist on “The Cell” and “Silver Jubilee”, making his debut in Issue two of The77. He produced the album art for the Aggros (Cro Mags) and Vertical Noise. He describes himself as “originator of the Cyco Vision™ color STyle, coffee drinker, hardcore punk ‘Drokktober’ veteran!”

Extinction 2040 – by Paul Goodenough and Ian Stopforth

Paul Goodenough is the creator of Extinction 2040, with Ian Stopforth on art detail. Hailing from a digital and entrepreneurial background, Paul founded production company, GBK Hybrid, with Gary Kurtz (Star Wars, Dark Crystal) and Richard Bazley (Iron Giant, Hercules) where he works as a development executive, writer and executive producer. Paul works on both sides of the Atlantic as both a writer and producer, and his first feature film, The Chimeran, combines his love of hard hitting, gripping dramatic propositions and fact-based science fiction.

Paul also sits on a sustainable broadcast consortium at BAFTA as well as being a leading figure, inventor and innovator in the digital world through another of his businesses, Aerian Studios.

Ian Stopforth is this issue’s newsstand cover artist and illustrator of “Extinction 2040”, a creator who’s been fascinated with art since he can remember.

“My love of art was ramped up in the mid 1980s, when I discovered 2000AD and Judge Dredd,” he says. “As a teenager, I was captivated by the layers and textures of Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean and the expressive imagery of Frank Miller, Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley. The older I get, the more I’ve realised that Art interests me very much indeed, but the alchemy and joy of making pictures interests me far, far more.”

Jǫrmun – by Dave Bedford and Bruno Stahl

Dave Bedford is the writer of “Jǫrmun” with Bruno Stahl (SpaceWarp) providing the artwork. He is a Director of The77 Publications and The77s Twitter persona plus writer. His previous scripts include “The Tempered Curse”, “Trompe La Morte” and “The Trackless Depths”.

Dave’s stories are influenced by old horror comics, history, and folklore. Outside The77, he spends his time working for the public sector, reading comics (especially John Byrne and Jack Kirby), and playing Minecraft (badly) with his daughter Honey.

Bruno Stohl is a Leeds based traditional comic book artist. He works utilising a meticulous inking technique for black and white and has acrylic paint as a favourite medium for coloured artwork. As well as working on “Jǫrmun” for this issue, he’s is also getting ready for Volume 2 of the best-selling sci-fi anthology SPACEWARP with Pat Mills, as the artist and co-creator for “Jurassic Punx”.

Animal Kingdom – by Paul N Neal and John McCrea

Paul N Neal is a British comics writer who has written “Outlaw” and “Vector 13” for 2000AD, and “Judge Hershey” and “Judge Dredd” for the Judge Dredd Megazine.

Paul has offered the artwork for “Animal Kingdom” up as five Kickstarter rewards for the campaign.

John McCrea makes his first appearance in The77 on “Animal Kingdom”. He is a respected illustrator and comic book artist which has seen him draw for many of the major Western publishers including the big two: Marvel and DC Comics. He has illustrated iconic characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, Spider Man, Daredevil, Wolverine, Star Wars, Judge Dredd and the Simpsons amongst others.

John also teaches in schools and colleges and is the lead facilitator in comic art for Hi8us, a sister company to Maverick Television. He works with charitable organisations and local authorities producing comics spotlighting issues such as children’s rights, drug abuse, homelessness, safe sex and proper foot care!

Sgt. Shouty of the Moon Force! – by Lew Stringer

Lew Stringer has worked as a professional humour comics artist and writer and have been freelancing full time since 1984, creating many characters such as Combat Colin, Tom Thug, Brickman and now, SGT. SHOUTY! He’s freelanced for IPC, Marvel Comics, Egmont, Panini, DC Thomson, and many others, covering the comics field from originated characters to licensed properties, pre-school to adult on comics such as Buster, OINK!, BEANO, The Dandy, Transformers, Sonic the Comic, TOXIC, VIZ, and many more.

Mr. Meeker, Monster-Maker by Bambos Georgiou and Andy Meanock

Bambos Georgiou is the creator of ‘Mr Meeker, Monster Maker’, a comic creator who made his debut in British comics writing scripts for He-Man, Starblazer, and Whizzer and Chips back in the 1980s. He went on to found ACME Press and co-founded the digital anthology comic Aces Weekly with David Lloyd in 2011, where he’s currently contributing “Doctor Strangeglove & Mister Custa”.

Also currently inking adult horror comic strips for SCAR, his many freelance credits across over 30 years in comics include work for Marvel UK, IPC Deadline, A1, DC Comics, Marvel US, Titan Books, The Sun and DC Thomson. “I guess it’s too late to get a ‘proper job’l, he muses.

Realising that he could make money by drawing cartoons of people was a light bulb moment for Andy Meanock, and lead to a two-year stint in a local shopping mall, a season in Padstow and Blackpool, numerous weddings and comic conventions and festivals and events.

“We then opened our first shop,” he says. “I have also had many, many commissions for different illustrative and cartoon style projects including for DC Thomson. I am now working towards furthering my career into the world of published cartoons and books and I am currently working on a comic I intend to self publish.”

Galactic Geographic – by Noel K. Hannan and Warwick Fraser-Coombe

Noel K Hannan is the creator of “Galactic Geographic”, illustrated by Fraser Warwick-Coombe, @a creator who has been writing and publishing Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror for over four decades. He is the writer of the comic book series Night of the Living Dead, based on the George Romero movies, and creator-owned series such as Weird West, Streetmeat and Air Warriors.

He’s also publisher of the RAWHEAD imprint, working with Rik Rawling, and is the author of several novels, including Wild Tundra and The Children.

As well as providing stunning art for “Galactic Geographic”, 2000AD artist Fraser Warwick-Coombe is the Creator/Publisher of The SkullF**ker and rEVENGER: The Shadow Constabulary.

Disposal – by Martin Fisher and Charlie Gillespie

Martin Fisher is the creator of “Disposal,” illustrated by Charlie Gillespie. He’s written for TV and comics for over 10 years, including Lego Star Wars Magazine, Lego Batman Magazine, and Lego Jurassic World.

Charlie Gillespie has been illustrating comics and books for over 30 years. He first appeared in The77 with Steve MacManus’ “Collector” in ssue 2 and now is working with Martin Fisher on a three parter, “Disposal”.

Division’77 Origins – by Dave Heeley and Hal Laren

Back The77 #6 right here on Kickstarter

Red by Night, Black by Day – by Jo Heeley and Rupert Lewis Jones

Jo Heeley is a Director at The77 Publications, a lifelong comic fan and is busy commissioning the company’s next title, Pandora. As a proud Black Country woman, “Red by Night, Black by Day” is Jo’s love song to her home town in the industrial heartland, taking fantasy and occult themes, interweaving them with the rich history of the West Midlands.

Rupert Lewis Jones, who made his debut in The77 in Issue Four, is a freelance artist working in film, TV, animation and games and believes in developing his art style around the needs of each unique project, seeking to continually develop his creative skills.

Also contributing to this issue is Annie Parkhouse, who began working in comics in 1970 on Lion comic at IPC. There, she was preparing pages for printing, making lettering corrections and cleaning up the artwork. Two years later, she went freelance, lettering full time. As well as Rebellion, Annie has worked for DC, Dark Horse, Marvel and Warrior, amongst many other publications.

Based in Portsmouth, Darren Stephens has been a comic artist and colourist on and off for around 20 years and his work has appeared in 2000AD, Sonic the Comic, Red Dwarf Smegazine and, more recently, the Phoenix comic.

Brendon Wright serves as The77’s official card-carrying art editor. Away from The77, he’s a freelance commercial illustrator in Christchurch, New Zealand. While his preference is for comic styled artwork and logos, caricatures and silly animals have been his bread and butter. The77 was his first opportunity in ‘real’ comics. His first gig was artist for Steve MacManus in “The Trinkling Triangles” in The77 Issue One, and since then his series “Martian Law” has been a regular feature and concluded in Issue Five.

Finally, last but by no means least, there’s artist, letterer and colourist, Filippo, who’s worked on various strips for The77, Blazer, Paragon and Dogbreath.

“As a young child in the early 1970s, I fell into the amazing world of British comics and never left,” he says – echoing the feelings of many The77 contributors and readers!

Back The77 #6 right here on Kickstarter

• All three editions of The77 #6 are bundled at a discounted Early Bird price of £17

If you missed a previous issue of The77 you can get them here

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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