Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke, new story book from Jay Gunn, coming soon

Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke - Final Cover

The release date for Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke, a new illustrated story book from Jason Wilson, released under his nom de plume, Jay Gunn, will make its eagerly-anticipated debut early next month.

Described as “An Industrial Fairy Tale”, a project for teenagers and up, Coal Face will be published under Jason’s own imprint, Moonalp Books, on 6th March and available through Amazon.

As we reported last year, Jay’s dramatic, thought-provoking story is set in Britain, during the Winter of 1984, during the days of the divisive miners strike.

The villagers of a divided and poverty-stricken coal mining community make a pact with a demon offering salvation, so long as they continue to dig the coal. But at what cost?

As the villagers begin to disappear, the teenage son of a missing coal miner and a mysterious girl from the past unearth a terrible secret buried deep beneath the village pit that threatens to destroy their lives and consume the world.

Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke by Jay Gunn
Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke by Jay Gunn

Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke is a fantastical faustian monster story, set against a backdrop of social strife, absent parents, escapism and video games.

Jay Gunn is the writer/ artist nom de plume of Jason Wilson, who started his career working at the National Coal Board, where he was tasked with drawing some rather gory safety comics to teach children the hazards of playing on industrial sites. He then joined the burgeoning home grown video game development scene in the late 1980s, where he spent over 25 years making everything from arcade conversions to original Bafta award-winning games for Sony, the best known, perhaps, the MediEvil series.

Surface Tension, an absolutely stunning sci-fi fantasy with a tinge of horror, was published by Titan Comics in 2015 to plenty of deserved acclaim from many quarters, myself included, an environmental eco-thriller influenced by authors as diverse as Nigel Kneale and Japanese film maker Hayao Miyazaki.

Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke by Jay Gunn
Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke by Jay Gunn

Coal Face, a morally complex fantasy adventure for young adults and older readers alike, has gone through a number of permutations, including a proposed graphic novel.

“This version of the story was shelved after constant rejections from publishers,” Jason explains. “The story was completely rewritten and drawn during lockdown for it’s upcoming 2023 release.

The opening page of the abandoned graphic novel version of "Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke" by Jay Gunn
The opening page of the abandoned graphic novel version of “Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke” by Jay Gunn

The extra features for Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke will include extracts from Jason’s original graphic novel draft of the story, written and drawn at some point from 2016-17.

“The prior draft still looks very nice and I’m proud of the work that I did in that original version. The new story become a more fantastical waking dreamlike satire of life during 1984 and the troubles that still echo in the Britain of today. And for all you retro video-games fans, there’s lots of references to the games scene of the 1980s – given a modern twist!”

• Follow Jay Gunn on Twitter @gunncomics

• UK Kaiju recently interviewed Jason Wilson to discuss Coal Face: The Devil in the Smokeavailable to watch now on YouTube

Surface Tension was released as a collection by Titan Comics in 2016 | Buy it here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

• Read our 2015 interview with Jay Gunn about the Surface Tension project

Surface Tension is TM & © 2015 Jay Gunn. All rights reserved | Coal Face is © 2022 Jay Gunn. All rights reserved

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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.

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