Bear Alley Books announces reprint of DC Thomson’s “Arena” strip

A panel from "Arena"

Steve Holland at Bear Alley Books has just the next title from the independent publisher will be a reprint of the 1979 series “Arena”, published by DC Thomson.

Originally serialised in The Crunch, created by Dave Taylor (not to be confused with the British artist of the same name) and Quique Alcatena, reveals how the 21st century world is run by a small elite and criticism is met by revoking the citizenship of adversaries of the state and sending them to the Arena where they are forced to compete in gladiatorial games with high-tech weaponry in battles to the death. (Which doesn’t sound too far-fetched given the state of the world, to be honest).

A journalist tried for writing seditious material is sentenced to fight in the Arena. Will Mark Sabor survive? Or will he find ways to rebel against the cruel tyranny of corporations who control this violent world?

Along with work for The Crunch, Dave Taylor wrote for Bullet, Starblazer, Hotspur, Victor and other DC Thomson titles. “I’m hoping that he’ll share some memories of his writing career for the book’s introduction,” says Steve.

A self-taught Argentinian artist who acknowledges his work is influenced by creators such as Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Lucho Olivera and Barry Windsor Smith, among others, Quique Alcatena, now perhaps best known for his work on US comics such as Batman, Conan the Barbarian and The Fantastic Four, began his career as an assistant to Chiche Medrano at Ediciones Record in the 1970s, before securing work at DC Thomson in the UK. He started work on US comics in the late 1980s, but has created many strips for Argentinian titles such as the children’s magazine Anteojito magazine.

• Arena should be available from September. More info:

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. 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.