There was a uproar from several creators when downthetubes reported Canadian-based publisher CPEG had announced reprints of some of independent British publisher Harrier Comics 1980s titles back in 2017 – and it seems the project is now in limbo.
Harrier Comics was started by publisher Martin Lock in 1984, at the height of that decade’s explosion of independent comics publishing on both sides of the Atlantic. Martin was soon joined by another fanzine alumnus, editor/writer Rob Sharp and a whole host of talented writers and artists.
Seasoned fan-favourite comics creators gave Harrier their backing by contributing cover artwork, such as Bryan Talbot, Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, John Ridgway and John Bolton, while Alan Moore gave editorial input and some introductions. Artists who just about started their careers in the pages of Harrier Comics included Art Wetherell, Stephen Baskerville, Kev Hopgood, Howard Priestley, Glenn Dakin, Nick Neocleous and many more.
CEPG’s publisher Mike Rickaby struck a deal with Martin to republish titles such as Avalon and Swiftsure and after renewed discussion of the original line just this week, we checked out CPEG’s store on DriveThru.
A number of reprint titles are available digitally on a free/ pay what you want basis, but it does appear the project stalled after creators protested at the plans and contested numerous statements made by Rickaby.
In addition to Avalon an Swiftsure, CPEG has also published Deathwatch #1 by the late Art Wetherell and Shock Therapy #1 by Howard Priestley – but there’s no sign of titles such as Conqueror and no new comics from the extensive, eclectic Harrier line seem to have been added since last May.
Creator-owned, fondly remembered projects such as Redfox were never part of CPEG’s plans, so let’s hope someone, somewhere, tracks the team on that book down and offers them a decent deal to reprint it one day.
• The spirit of Harrier lives on in Lew Stringer’s self-published comics such as Brickman – available direct from him here – and in David Lloyd’s digital anthology Aces Weekly where Stephen Baskerville’s original series from Swiftsure – “Jim Dandy in the Underworld” – is available in Volumes 19 and 20 – subscribe and buy back issues here
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.