We’re honoured to debut the brand new cover for Summer Magic: The Complete Journal of Luke Kirby collection, to be published by Rebellion in May 2017.
A series which trumped JK Rowling’s Harry Potter to the ‘young boy wizard’ trope by a number of years but hasn’t been reprinted in its entirety before, Summer Magic: The Journal of Luke Kirby collects all “The Journal of Luke Kirby” stories from 2000AD: “Summer Magic” (published in 1988), “The Night Walker” (1992), “Sympathy for the Devil” (1993-4), “Old Straight Track” (1995), and “The Price” (1995).
Created by writer Alan McKenzie and artist John Ridgway, “The Journal of Luke Kirby”, later drawn by Steve Parkhouse, this story of a young boy who becomes a powerful wizard was a long-running series in 2000AD, originally intended as a pitch for Eagle around 1987.
Set in the 1960s in an enchanted rural England, it’s a coming-of-age story about power, magic, and family that’s been described as Cider With Rosie meets Harry Potter via John Wyndham and Alan Garner.
Sent to stay with his Uncle Elias in the countryside in 1962, Luke discovers the man has magical powers. After their housekeeper is killed by a horrific beast, Elias offers to make Luke his apprentice and teach him the magical arts. Luke is the inheritor of a great magical dynasty and, learning first from his uncle and them a tramp called Zeke, Luke begins to harness his extraordinary powers with the potential to be the greatest alchemist of all – but at what price?
From its slow pace to the evocative artwork, “The Journal of Luke Kirby” is a lost gem from the second wave of 2000AD, mired in issues over copyright for several years; the idyllic setting undercut by the new world of magical danger Luke discovers hiding under the surface in a coming-of-age tale that deals with burgeoning maturity, fear, loss, grief, and the ending of innocence.
John Ridgway’s artwork, moving from black and white to colour, evokes the classic comics of the 1960s while his scratchy, dense style also provides an eerie dissonance befitting the dual world in which Luke now finds himself, while later stories with art by Steve Parkhouse bring a more pop-art aesthetic.
Talking to The Comics Journal in 2011, John said of the story “‘Summer Magic’ was the style of story I had hoped that Hellblazer would be. It was much nearer to the Hammer Films school of horror than the Clive Barker school… While there are elements of horror in the story, the main theme was the boy learning magic against the background of a horror/ mystery.
“The story featured many things I love: creepy trees with twisted roots and branches, rural community (I am not a city-loving person), and likeable characters.”
• Summer Magic: The Complete Luke Kirby Journal will be published on 4th May 2017, on sale in all good book shops and comic shops. Pre-order it here on Amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes