Regular readers of downthetubes will recall we’ve previously plugged the independent comic Gateway City created by Russell Mark Olson – and now the first four issues are to be collected into a new collection, accompanied by extra pages, new art and more.
Set in 1925, in Saint Louis, Gateway City is told against the backdrop of Prohibition America, private investigator, “Lundy” Lundqvist, is on the trail of Johnny Russo, mob boss, rum runner, and cold-blooded killer. Whilst hunting for evidence connecting Russo to a double-homicide, Lundy witnesses rival gangs breaking bread to welcome foreign visitors into their patch. Although these new players have little interest in booze and rivalries, their motives are anything but friendly.
More alien than an avocado at a lemonade stand, these shadowy intruders threaten to turn the Rome of the West into a circus…with Lundy taking centre stage.
The project is the brainchild of Portsmouth-based Russell Mark Olson, who’s currently working on Cult Empire Comics’ terrific Lady Hollywood series. His work can also be seen in Dirty Rotten Comics #11, AccentUK’s Enter the Asylum and the upcoming Mad Robot Cadavers anthology. His previous Kickstarter campaign (with Phil Breach for the Gilded Boar Studios), was the successful, cautionary, Lovecraftian tale, The Arte Mephitic.
“Gateway City came about from my love of film noir, campy 1950s and 60s sci-fi, Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy, and the work of the EC bullpen,” says creator Russell, who’s lived in the UK since 2008. “I imagine there’s also a healthy dose of Sunday afternoon films from KPLR 11 in there, too.
“I grew up in Jefferson County, Missouri and went to University in St. Louis. I lived in the city for around eight years (Webster, Maplewood, The Loop, Central West End and Tower Grove). I fell in love with its neighbourhoods, architecture, culture, food, music, history and people.
“Gateway City is a kind of love letter to a place which will always be dear to my heart.”
The story’s a glorious mash-up of noir and sci-fi, a tailspin adventure with cinematic nods to the 1940s, 50s and 60s and, having already raved about the story, I had little hesitation when approached to cast an editorial eye over the project. Russell’s now added extra scenes to the tale for this collection, which has already hit its crowdfunding initial target, and deservedly attracted the attention of legendary comics writer Roy Thomas, who’s provided an introduction to this 100-page sci-fi noir craziness.
Brilliant! (yes, I’m biased. Get over to Kickstarter now).
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.