UK indie producer and publisher B7 Media has announced PILGRIM, a new four-part comic book mini-series, the first title of a new comic book imprint B7 Comics based on original audio, film and television properties.
The project will launch with a special preview in SHIFT Issue 8, on sale next month in comic shops and newsagents across the UK, and at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal (15th – 17th October).
The first four-issue mini-series PILGRIM: Secrets and Lies will be written by John Freeman (Crucible, Doctor Who), based on the universe created by Bev Doyle, Richard Kurti (Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, The Baker Street Irregulars, Wolfblood) and Andrew Mark Sewell (Dan Dare, I, Robot and Blake’s 7), featuring art by Neil Edwards (Spider-Man Season One, Torchwood), Alex Ronald (Lost Fleet, Doctor Who, Judge Dredd) and Wamberto Nicomedes, better known as Wam Nick (Anunnaki – The Lords of Eternity, King Cobra).
Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies digs deep into the millennia old strata of our planet and unearths something… completely unknown. Dormant since long before the dinosaurs, it’s incomprehensible, ancient – and alien.
With the world transformed by environmental disaster, tensions rising between the Western Alliance and the Eastern Coalition and space colonisation beyond our solar system now within easy reach, the discovery lying beneath the Antarctic ice promises to be a threat we have never faced before.
Some will go to extreme lengths to expose the deadly enigma’s secrets. And others will go even further to protect them.
Writer John Freeman will be at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival next month to talk about the project at the B7 Media stand, in the free entry Comics Clock Tower at the Town Hall in Kendal, and Robin Evans, the creator of Venna’s Planet, a graphic novel series and a B7-produced podcast audio drama, will also be signing at the event on both Saturday and Sunday.
(Also at the event will be former 2000AD artist Smuzz, who drew “ABC Warriors”, as SMS, signing copies of SHIFT on Saturday afternoon, which also features “Crucible“, an SF strip created by John Freeman with the writer and illustrator).
“B7 Comics has been in the works for a while and it’s great to be extending our long-time collaboration with John Freeman with this new publishing venture,” says B7 Media’s Managing Director, Andrew Mark Sewell.
“Given our long association with reimagining genre favourites like Blake’s 7, The Martian Chronicles,
I Robot and Dan Dare, it’s a natural progression for us to look to the world of comics and graphic novels as a platform to expand and develop some of our audio, film and television projects.
“Comics have rightly inspired a generation of filmmakers, so it’s nice to slightly reverse engineer the process and dramatise some of our properties into what I hope will be a long-running comic book series.”
“Most people associate me with my audio and indie film work,” Andrew continues. “But the truth is my connection to the world of comics stretches back to the late 1980s when I staged comic book events such as the launch of Judgement in Gotham and the Longest Comic Strip in the World, helped establish Stateside Comics as a franchise in Virgin Megastores and Hamleys, to my involvement with Great Eastern Conventions in the US.
“I’ve always recognised the incredible creative minds working in comics, so I’m delighted to be embracing this world once again.”
Writer John Freeman, who’s also founder of downthetubes adds, “It was a pleasure working with Andrew and his team on the Dan Dare audio adventures, but working on Pilgrim, contributing to the creation of a completely new fictional universe, is
challenging, fun and, from everything seen so far, rewarding. I’m glad to be part of it.”
Working in the world of comics is something very new to scriptwriters Kurti-Doyle, but it’s a transition they’ve relished. “As screenwriters, our primal instincts are always to think visually (even when writing for radio!) so it has been particularly exciting to see Pilgrim evolve into a graphic novel,” says Richard Kurti.
“Turning books into screenplays involves a lot of distillation and turning a screenplay into a graphic novel takes this process even further; John has now produced the ‘pure alcohol’ version of Pilgrim!”
“What is particularly thrilling is the visual ambition of the piece,” adds Bev Doyle. “Scriptwriters are used to hearing the phrase ‘It’s nice, but we can’t afford it.’ Thankfully, that doesn’t apply to graphic novels – the only limit is the imagination.”
“There is a huge arc to Pilgrim; the themes work on the largest possible timescale, but the stories are played out on a very human scale, and John’s work captures this duality so well. We are always with the characters but remain constantly aware that they are riding on an epic story.”
The journey from teleplay to comic book was a natural progression agrees Kurti and Doyle. “From the very outset, Pilgrim was created with multiple media in mind, and we are delighted by this first incarnation.”
• SHIFT Magazine Issue 8 is on sale in all good comic shops and newsagents from Thursday 7th October – and copies will be available at LICAF from B7 Media | Order SHIFT Issue 8 here | Buy single issues and subscribe here on the SHIFT online store
• Robin Evans is online at www.grenville-evans.co.uk