Since it is a ‘significant’ one, we would like to wish Happy Birthday to downthetubes supremo John Freeman, without whom there wouldn’t be a site or a blog here for you to be reading.
A professional editor, John started downthetubes as a hobby and ten years later it remains a hobby site about British comics, written by fans for fans. It wasn’t until Ian Wheeler ended his long running comics fanzine Eagle Flies Again, which John had helped out on in its later years, that John hauled Ian and several of the EFA regulars over to write for downthetubes and the blog (and site) as we know it today was born.
Small pressers to the end – John on the left with Ian Wheeler at the Lancaster Comics Day in 2006, proud parents of a bouncing baby EFA 14.
John’s credits within British comics and genre magazines stretch far and wide, so for your delectation and delight we present a short romp through his history. (Just think of it as our virtual equivalent of writing “Happy Birthday John” on a bed sheet and hanging it from a bridge over the road that he takes to work every morning!)
Scan was John’s comics fanzine from the 1980s and ironically we don’t have a scan of it. However we are required by International Comics Law to end any description of it with the following statement, “and Alan Moore was one of its subscribers” while his first professional writing credit was on Dan Dare-esque Science Service graphic novel in 1987 with artist Rian Hughes.
John then applied to Marvel UK and got the job of designer and then, from issue 137, editor of Doctor Who Magazinewhich of course means that, like it or not, his name is now carved in stone in the annals of the greater Whoniverse.
A hirsute John (on the left) with Telos publisher David J Howe and Sarah Jane Adventures script editor Gary Russell at the DWM panel at Galaxicon in 1990
Back to reality and a move to setting up Titan Magazines as its Managing Editor where, amongst other titles, he created RAF Magazine hence the now familiar photo of John standing beside a Red Arrows Hawk T1A jet.
Staying with Titan and, as if one major TV SF fandom wasn’t enough wasn’t enough for him, John became editor of the monthly Star Trek Magazine.
Yet perhaps it is his time on DWM that he is best known for so let us leave with this cartoon from Doctor Who Magazine and say “Happy Birthday John” from the rest of us here at downthetubes.
Hey… happy birthday Mr Freeman. (I missed this somehow!)