Information has emerged from Whitehall about the latest activities of the highly secretive Department of the Peculiar, whose activities can only, for now, be documented through the visual medium known as “comics”.
In keeping with new government directives favouring requesting that all departments respond to Freedom of Information requests by demanding money up front to cover the cost, this Department has launched a Kickstarter that will, if successful, result in its new comics publication.
Department of the Peculiar Goes POP! #1 is the first part of a two-part story that concerns efforts to stop a ‘peculiar’ fellow named Gavin Leech, the manager of a hopeless rock band called Areshole, who discovers that he has the ability to make them superstars… but not without making a few sacrifices first.
For the last few months, writer Rol Hirst (The Jock, PJANG) and artist Robert Wells (Back, Sack & Crack (& Brain), Malty Heave) have been held in a secure wing of the Sanatorium – the former asylum for the criminally insane that serves as the headquarters of the Department of the Peculiar.
Under strict supervision, they have at last resumed work on adapting some of the Departments’s more memorable cases into comic books. A Kickstarter campaign to fund publication of the first comic begins today, Saturday 3rd August 2019, and the comic itself will launch at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal (Friday 11th – Sunday 13th October), where at least one member of the creative team (Wells) will be handcuffed to a table all weekend.
This issue has 28 black and white interior pages (25 story pages, plus three pages of guest pin-ups – and they are amazing, keep an eye on Robert Wells Twitter for reveals of those!) and colour covers. The Department will slowly reveal the guest pin-ups and their creators throughout the Kickstarter campaign.
The Department will be posting regular updates and revealing the guest pin-ups on Twitter (@DotPeculiar). If you follow them, be aware they we will run a thorough background check and may follow you back.
If you hear a helicopter circling above your home shortly after following them, it is likely you have failed the background check. Hirst (@RolHirst) and Wells (@RobertDWells) will also be allowed on Twitter occasionally.
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.