British comic creator and designer Martin Stiff – best known for The Absence, published by Titan Comics – has gone digital for Free Comic Book Day by releasing a free, new 29-page web-comic.
“It’s a story completely unrelated to The Absence (although I have put a plug for the book at the end of the comic!),” Martin who recently illustrated a new edition of Dracula, released alongside the hit TV show Penny Dreadful and is currently working on a new project, Tiny Acts of Violence, told downthetubes.
“It’s called Building 27 and it’s a horror scifi set in an abandoned astronaut quarantine centre.”
Given Martin’s busy day job as part of the team at design agency Amazing15 and other commitments – his work has been seen on over 100 book covers, in various small press comics and featured in Mark Millar’s CLiNT magazine – it’s great to see new work from this hugely talented creator, who originally produced his wide-ranging 272-page thriller The Absence, nominated for Best Comic at the 2013 British Comic Awards, in single issues over a five year period between 2009 and 2013 and which is currently being developed as a TV series.
That haunting mystery story – which can perhaps only loosely be called a supernatural tale – unravelled the mysteries that link World War Two veteran Marwood Clay, his coastal Cornish home town, and dark, inexplicable events from his past. The story has earned Martin wide praise, with Broken Frontier describing him as “one of British comics’ best kept secrets“.
Building 27 is set almost entirely in a disused quarantine facility at the Johnson Space Center, used to isolate Space Shuttle flight crews before and after space missions, helping to reduce their likelihood of contracting viruses or other contagious illnesses. Abandoned after it was used to treat the sole survivor of a Mars mission, his son, suspicious of authority explanations of his death and two friends break in, to try and find out what really happened to him.
Just like The Absence, Martin skilfully weaves legend and mystery into this clever short story, which may well leave you with goosebumps up the spine as the characters try to uncover some buried secrets…
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.