In the latest episode of Panel Borders, celebrating great comic book art, Zara Slattery discusses her graphic novel Coma, which depicts her experiences of extreme medical intervention as a journey through a fantastical dreamscape.
Plus, listen in on a great “Live Draw” session, recorded at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Declan Shalvey and Staz Johnson discuss their influences and inspirations for working on such titles as Injection and 2000AD.
Published by Myriad Editions, Coma is an astonishing record of one woman’s will to survive against the overwhelming pull of the deep – a beautifully painted graphic novel and a visual diary recording the monstrous and mundane
In May 2013, Zara Slattery’s persistent sore throat turned into a deadly bacterial infection, after the paracetamol and ice pack prescribed by her GP failed to work.
The world of Zara’s 15-day drug-induced coma, which she describes as ‘being trapped in a nightmare state that you can’t wake up from’ is rendered as a full-colour fantasy, with mythological creatures appearing out of nowhere as she battles to protect her three children against the forces of evil that threaten to engulf her.
Meanwhile, her husband Dan tries to keep family life going as he faces the most difficult task of all: preparing the children for the likely loss of their mother. His diary, and that of the nurses in the Intensive Care Unit, who kept of record of Zara’s illness, interweave to make a heartbreaking graphic memoir.
Coma was shortlisted for the Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition 2018, the Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2020 and longlisted for the LDComics Awards 2019.
Declan Shalvey is currently working with Rory McConville, Joe Palmer and Chris O’Halloran on Time Before Time, an ongoing crime/sci-fi series from US publisher Image Comics, described as “The Wire meets Quantum Leap.”
It’s the year 2140, and to escape a world with no future, many turn to the Syndicate, a criminal organization who, for the right price, will smuggle you back in time to a better life. After working for the Syndicate for years, Tatsuo and Oscar decide to steal one of their boss’s time machines – but soon find that the one thing you can’t run from is your past…
When not busy on strips for titles such as 2000AD, and Treasury of British Comics projects such as his strip for last year’s Battle special, Staz Johnson has been developing his own projects, including Werewolf Division, and cheering us all with amazing art over on Twitter.
Check out this “Rocket Girl” art for example, coloured by the brilliant Thiago Rocha!
• Panel Borders: Fantastical Visions airs at 5.30pm, Wednesday 5th May 2021, repeat broadcast 2.30am, Friday 7th May, Resonance 104.4 FM and DAB (London) / broadcast streamed at www.resonancefm.com / extended podcast after broadcast at www.panelborders.wordpress.com
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.