A few years ago authors Roz and Dave Morris (the former, a fantastic source of advice on writing tips as well as a brilliant well-established writer, the latter currently promoting the marvellous graphic novel project Mirabilis via Patreon) spent a week at Shute Gatehouse in Devon.
“Owned by The Landmark Trust, it’s a place that you find by turning off the main road, passing between two half-collapsed stone posts, and finding yourself on a narrow route that seems to take you a couple of decades back in time,” says Dave via social media. “The mist closed in and we spent a few days exploring the local woods, pubs, and footpaths.”
“One afternoon, we came across a steep driveway lined with pumpkins – rotting, puckered and caved-in on themselves in the week since Hallowe’en, but which must have marked out the way to a bonfire party.
“The story ‘A Wrong Turning‘ arrived in my head just like that, in one piece, a gift from the otherworld…”
Dave has now posted the comic online, drawn by Martin McKenna, well known for his illustration work on White Dwarf magazine and the Fighting Fantasy books, and it’s free to read here, a gorgeous homage to the old Warren horror comics of the 1960s and 1970s.
“The tight, atmospheric pencils are by Martin McKenna, and you’ll see right away why he is so in demand for movie storyboarding,” Dave says. “His artwork on this little tale reminds me of the great Creepy artists like Gray Morrow, Reed Crandall, Angelo Torres and Al Williamson.
In “The Wrong Turning”, it’s that time of year when the veil between life and death is so thin that to stray off the path could easily take you on a detour via undiscovered country. Guy Wasserman has already suffered one bereavement, and when his car is forced off the main road, he finds Death waiting with an impossible offer: “You, or your son…”
• You can read “The Wrong Turning” here
• If you enjoy the story, do check out the Patreon for Mirabilis: A Year of Wonders by Dave and Leo Hartas. This wonderful project deserves support
• Martin McKenna: www.martinmckenna.net
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.