Titan Comics are giving the collected Lost Fleet – Corsair a bit of a “back catalogue” push right now, so as the series editor, I thought I’d share some of the early design work that went into creating the series, based on Jack Campbell‘s best selling SF novels.
The series had been on the books at Titan for some time before I took over the title and I knew both author Jack Campbell (John Hemry) and artist Andre M. Siregar were champing at the bit to get it moving. The first issue had already been drawn, but some fine tuning was made to the first issue before moving on to the rest of the series, which included selecting variant cover artists and a colourist – Sebastian Cheng, the latter after looking at a wide range of possibilities, chosen after seeing some of his incredible work on IDW’s Transformers.
We secured several great artists, but changes behind the scenes sadly meant that some I’d hoped to use on every issue had to be dropped, much to everyone’s chagrin. Despite this, Alex Ronald, Marc Laming, Gary Erskine and others did some amazing work, and I was delighted when Titan publishers Vivian Cheung and Nick Landau approved my suggestion to use David Demaret‘s work, originally featured on the French editions of the Lost Fleet novels, particularly as David kindly re-worked some of the covers for this new use.
Also behind the scenes, we had the series letterer, Jim Campbell, create emblems for the rival Alliance and Syndic factions who uneasily rubbed shoulder aboard the Corsair, the vessel stolen to escape the totalitarian Syndic’s prison.
As an editor, I’m a strong believer in working hard on the script stage of any project as it’s my belief that it can save a lot of heartache later. John was new to comics but took to the project fast and was thankfully amenable to most of my nips and tucks to his script. He supplied breakdowns for every issue, gave feedback and suggestion on the resulting script and provided valuable guidance and ideas on the look of the book.
Andre was also on had to make amends as required, often working fast at a late stage when some scene or other hadn’t quite worked as planned or we hit an unexpected snag on John’s site of the inks.
On Issue 4, for example, John gave some detailed and helpful steers on how to present the battle simulations, which Andre revised at the ink stage. The aim behind all this work was to successfully blend comics storytelling, which is by nature highly visual, with John’s careful and considered plotting and narrative that has made his Lost Fleet novels such a success, but are of course a distinct medium from comics.
Looking back, the work we did on Lost Fleet – Corsair – including some great input on the feature pages from the Titan Comics team in London and Andrew James and Editorial Director Christ Teather’s steady steering of every other element of such a project – turned out well, I think. The project successfully ran that fine line between being as close to the novelist’s vision while still delivering strong visuals, an all-out action comic with space battles, hand to hand combat and, above all else, intriguing and relatable characters.
Let’s hope it’s not too long to now before we set out on another adventure with the Corsair team. There’s plenty of stories to tell and John Hemry is brimming with ideas!
The critically-acclaimed sci-fi novel comes to comics. Written by Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet) and illustrated by Andre Siregar (Martian Comics, Severa) and Sebastian Cheng (Revolution, Orphan Black), lettered by Jim Campbell and edited by John Freeman
Set after the end of a century-long war between too space empires, Captain Michael Geary – an Alliance officer, presumed MIA – awakes to find himself aboard an enemy Syndic vessel.
Forming an uneasy pact with the rebel Syndics, Michael sets out to save not only his fellow prisoners but their jailors too – on the run from a government determined to crush any uprising. But can he live up to the legend coloring his family name?
• Jack Campbell – jack-campbell.com
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.