New Starblazer collection launches in November

It’s been a long time coming, but there’s good news for fans of DC Thomson’s still much-missed Starblazer SF comic – a second collection is due for release next month, some four years since the first, back in 2019.

Just like Volume One, still available from AmazonUK, Starblazer Volume 2 anthology, on sale from 1st November 2023, collects two classic stories from DC Thomson’s extra-terrestrial archives – one written by Grant Morrison MBE. Just like Volume One, it features a stunning cover from Neil Roberts (2000AD, Warhammer, Commando).

Originally published between 1979 and 1991 by DC Thomson, Starblazer was, just like Commando, a pocket-sized, “picture library”comic, presenting action and adventure stories set throughout space and time, overflowing with alien alliances, wonderful worlds and tantalising technology.

Starblazer Volume Two collects two vintage issues from 1979 and 1984, blowing them up to full-graphic novel size, along with an exclusive – and rare! – interview with legendary artist Carlos Pino (Commando, 2000AD’s “Judge Dredd”), a cover gallery, and a foreword by Doctor Who screenwriter and comic writer Paul Cornell.

Starblazer No. 12: The Web of Arcon

In “The Web of Arcon”, first published in Starblazer No. 12, in 1979, with a cover by John Martin, written by Mike Knowles, with art by Carlos Pino, reconnaissance ships patrol the dark recesses of the Galaxy. As these ships were largely automatic, the crew spent long periods doing nothing. But on his first deep space trip, the newly commissioned Lieutenant Janus was about to encounter The Star Queen, a spaceship long thought lost and destroyed. Well, the truth about its fate was stranger – and more dangerous – than fiction!

Back in 2015, Mike Knowles, a major contributor to the Starblazer series, briefly reflected on his 40-year career in British comics on Bear Alley, revealing this story was inspired by an episode of Gerry Anderson’s Space:1999.

Still writing short fiction today, Mike’s comic credits down the years include also Commando, Bullet, Warlord, VictorBeano, The Dandy, Mandy and Bunty, among others, for DC Thomson, and work on Buster, Oink! and Whizzer and Chips for IPC. He’s also worked in TV, writing sketches for shows such as The Two Ronnies, radio, and animation, on series such as The Bunbury Tails and Henry’s Cat, and spent three years as a gag writer. He also contributed a number of gonzo style articles to the “top-of-the-shelf” magazine, Fiesta, and launched a punk pulp fiction imprint, Halfpenny Dreadful Comic Publishing, in 2015.

Carlos Pino is a Spanish comics artist who has illustrated Spanish, British, and American comics. In a quarter of a century he has provided the art for around three hundred issues of Commando, his credits in comics also including War Picture Library, TV21 (drawing, among other strips, Star Trek), 2000AD and the 1980s Eagle.

Starblazer 127: The Death Reaper

The Death Reaper”, first published in Starblazer No. 127, 1984, with a Keith Robson cover, written by Grant Morrison MBE with art by Enrique Alcatena, centres on policeman Mikal R. Kayn, forcibly retired by the Republic of the United Worlds’ Department of Justice, Star Cops, for methods to be found in no book… and a slight medical problem. He was all but blind.

However, being medically blind didn’t stop Kayn from becoming a Private Investigator, in fact, the Justice Department were delighted, because it got him off their backs. Well, almost… on 23rd March 2284, Kayn’s old partner, Affa, still a Galactic Policeman, was in the middle of an investigation and he needed Kayn’s help!

“The Death Reaper” is the second Mikal R. Kayne story from Morrison, the first, “Operation Overkill”, reprinted in Starblazer Volume One, and introduces another famous Starblazer character created by Grant and Enrique, Cinnabar.

Grant Morrison MBE is an international comics legend known for their work on Animal Man, Batman, Doom Patrol and The Green Lantern. One of Morrison’s first writing jobs in comics was for DC Thomson’s Starblazer. (He also drew his first Starblazer story, “Algol the Terrible”, published in Starblazer No. 15).

Grant is one of the contributors to GENERAL STRIKE: Calexit & Other Tales of The Good Fight, currently seeking backing on Kickstarter, a comics anthology made by Writers Guild of America writers telling awesome genre stories, in support of the WGA strike fund and others striking for fair rights in the US entertainment industry.

Starblazer Volume 2 – ISBN 978-1845359690is out on AmazonUK, available here (Affiliate Link), and in WHSmith stores from 1st November 1st, 2023, or is available to pre-order now on Magsdirect

Starblazer Volume One is still available to buy here from Amazon UK (Affiliate Link) (ISBN 978-1845357993)


Starblazer No. 15: Algol the Terrible

• Jeremy Briggs has compiled a large number of articles and features on Starblazer for downthetubes. Check out his “Blazing through the Secrecy” feature, which started off the section, and have a look at our issue by issue guide and more

• Click Here for From the Command Deck: Starblazer editor Bill McLoughlin’s history of the title

• Click Here for Starblazer Ray Aspden’s feature on writing for the title

• Click Here for Starblazer Recalled: Forgotten Fantasy Fiction – With Pictures by series writer Mike Chinn

Starblazer Checklist

Issues 1 – 75 | Issues 76 – 150 | Issues 151 – 200 | Issues 201 – 250 | Issues 251 – 281 | Starblazer Abroad

External Links

Follow Mike Knowles on Facebook (be ready for some scurrilous material, which may offend the sensitive) | Medium | Smashwords | UK Comics Wiki Profile

Grant Morrison MBE: | Substack | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

• Vic Whittle’s Starblazer Page

• Starblazer Memories

Steve Holland is amazed at how many people remember Starblazer, noting the pocket books appeared as “regular as clockwork throughout the 1980s at the rate of two new titles a month so I guess over the nearly twelve years it appeared a vast army of young science fiction fans, high on Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica, sought them out.”

• Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3

• Starblazer on Wikipedia

Starblazer fan Douglas Nicol began this article on the internet’s contributor-based encyclopedia

Starblazer is © DC Thomson. The images featured in this article are done so for review purposes only and no copyright infringement is intended.

Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Collections, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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