Knock me down with a kipper! downthetubes is 20 years old in… October!

downthetubes Header 2017 - WrongWell, I’ve got egg all over my face this morning. Ever striving to bring accurate reports on the world of comics (largely, at present, British comics) and more, marking major events where we can between the demands of various editing day jobs and promoting comic events, it seems I’ve neglectful of one major happening – 20 years of downthetubes this October!

Over the weekend, Judge Dredd Megazine feature writer Matthew Badham dropped me an email noting, based on this site’s former masthead, that downthetubes might be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year. Which was very kind of him to remind me (it’s always a joy to be reminded how ancient I am…), but it also prompted some digging into the site archives over on on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to find a rough date for a “birthday”.

Which is where things got a bit.. messy

The “downthetubes” project actually pre-dates my regular use of the Internet, an “umbrella” name for a long-gestating comic story I’ve had in my head for decades, that in part has been realised by the Crucible strip co-created by me and 2000AD artist Smuzz (SMS).

As a web site however, it turns out that I started using the name in 1998, not 1999 – and, based on Wayback Machine captures, that was in October 1998, back when, by day, I was still editing Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan (among other projects) – and downthetubes by night.

A Wayback Machine capture for downthetubes in 2003, just before we moved to our dedicated domain

A Wayback Machine capture for downthetubes in 2003, just before we moved to our dedicated domain

So, it turns out I’ve been steering you wrong about the age of this site since its last makeover. I can only ascribe this to my misinterpreting Wayback Machine’s captures for the old “dircon” site where I hosted downthetubes until late 2003.

(Bangs head on table).

Incredibly, someone at the Internet Archive clearly spotted greatness to come for this site back in 1998, its longevity in thanks in no small part to the amazing contributions of so many people, including Matthew Badham, Jeremy Briggs, Tony Esmond, Colin Noble, Richard Sheaf and Ian Wheeler, and many other occasional contributors down the years.

So, anyway, a time for a quick update to the site banner… and it’s time for me to get thinking about how we mark the site’s 20th anniversary in October this year.

Probably, in part, by raising a few glasses at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival, I expect… so see you there?

Thank you, our many readers, for reading downthetubes. We wouldn’t be here without you.

John Freeman
29th January 2018 (Definitely…. Possibly… Maybe)

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. 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 “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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