Howard Lee, a Chicago-based champion of pop culture both British and American, founder of Tomatovision TV and Nexus Entertainment Group Publishing, has just self published the first in a trilogy of SF novels under the umbrella title “Dark Metropolis“. The first, Planetsong, is available now.
The Dark Metropolis project has been gestating for over 30 years – pretty much as long as I’ve known Howard, back when I was editor of Doctor Who Magazine and he kindly invited me to his Brit TV-inspired convention in Chicago, alongside Doctor Who script writers Gerry Davis and Terry Nation, and authors John Peel and Dave Rogers.
In the strange and terrifying city of Dark Metropolis, Olympian Gods and Gods of Darkness fight for control of Dark Metropolis and the losers are sent to the horror that is called the Battlefield of Ur, forever.
“Dark Metropolis is centuries old,” Howard teases in advance Information about his saga, which offers an intriguing blend of Greek myth blended with urban nightmare inspired by the darker side of his home city. “Buildings on top of buildings tell the story of Dark Metropolis and the people who have lived and died building it. Their ghosts are locked into the stones and at night, they are set free to tell the living what has happened to them – and give them a warning about how they are building their own tombs if they keep trying to control the forces of nature.
“The Darkness knows this so he makes sure that the warnings delivered are by frighting versions of the long-dead people of Dark Metropolis.”
The action begins in Planetsong, available now. Celesta, a dying planet asks her sister Gaia to save her children. Gaia agrees, but ask Celesta, that one of her children must help Gaia fight against the Gods of Darkness in Dark Metropolis.
The second story, Urban Legends, tells the story of Kevin Mathers, who disappeared 15 years ago from Dark Metropolis. Now he’s back – but he has brought evil with him that could tip the balance of power between the Olympian Gods and the Gods of Darkness…
“The third story is Medusa Rising, this story told by Medusa herself,” says Howard, centring on the Gorgon killed by Perseus. “It tells the real story about how Medusa was seduced by Poseidon and cursed by Athena to turn anyone who looks at her into stone. But now Medusa is free, but who side is she on? Can she be the key to a new power rising that will mean the end of both Olympian Gods and the Gods of Darkness?
“Medusa was not an evil woman whose only joy was to inflict pain on others,” Howard suggests. “On the contrary, she had a deep love of all human beings. She did not ask or deserve the curse that Athena inflicted on her.”
This final novel, in the trilogy, due for release next year, tells Medusa’s tragic story from her view. Does she deserve her fate – or is she the victim of a cruel game player by the gods?
Are you ready to enter Dark Metropolis – or are you already there?
• Howard Lee will be at the 23rd Black Age of Comics Convention in Chicago (28th September 2019), his first convention appearance in 25 years. It’s taking place at Kenwood Academy High School, 5021 South Blackstone Avenue, Chicago IL 60615-USA. Free admission from 9.00am until 5.00pm. Also appearing: Punx of Rage, Donna Upshaw, Nino / nino, Turtel Onli, Joe Curie Robinson, Yaounde’ Olu, 1st Aid Comics, The Kenwood Art Department and many more, plus exhibitions, cosplay!
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.