A new adventure strip, Charlotte Corday of the Surete, drawn by top British comics artist Keith Page, is now being published on comics to mobile service ROK Comics.
Keith’s current work includes Ramsey’s Raiders for DC Thomson’s Commando and other stories, and a “prequel” of the original Dan Dare for Rod Barzilay’s magazine Spaceship Away.
Keith reveals he decided ROK Comics is a good way to present Charlotte Corday in a newspaper strip-style way, at a time when many print newspapers worldwide seem to have abandoned daily, ongoing adventure strips, much to the dismay of millions of fans of the genre.
Written by screenwriter Stephen Walsh, Charlotte Corday of the Surete: London Calling is set in London in the early 1950’s will also be a full length graphic novel, with a few surprises.
“I had the original idea for the character some time ago,” Keith explains. “The outline concept was the adventures of a French detective of some sort getting involved in all sorts of arcane exploits in 1950’s London which could best be described as “Brighton Rock meets Quatermass and the Pit”.
“This evolved further in defining the motivations of the main character Charlotte Corday and the inclusion of a human-sized “Muffin the Mule” entity, (which had its origins in a strip I did for IPC’s Revolver many years ago.)
“All this might sound strange but I can’t reveal anymore without spoiling the plot!
“I drew a number of pages of my initial storyline, together with a lot of characters sketches and then set the whole thing aside for a while,” he continues. “At this point I got in touch with script and screenwriter Stephen Walsh, who was writing for Commando. Stephen took the original theme and came up with a brilliant graphic-novel length script incorporating a host of new characters.
“We decided to approach some French publishers, so the whole thing was translated into French by my wife. In this version, Charlotte is one of a team of French agents on a mission to London. The thinking was to leave scope for a series of linked books with a different agent’s story featured in each.
“To cut a long story short, it proved too difficult to interest French publishers and Charlotte remained on the shelf for a while. Eventually, however, I decided Stephen’s script was just too good to abandon , and I had a large amount of period reference material, location photos, so I drew the whole 50 page story.
“It features a variety of themes including the North London Vampire Squad (a little-known division of the Met) and what could have been the inspiration for John Steed of The Avengers. [Comedian] Tony Hancock and his landlady also put in guest appearances!”
This article was updated in October 2021 to remover dead links