ROK Mobile Comics has released the first issue of its new audio comic The Beatles Story for iPad, iPhone and other mobile devices.
The eight-issue digital series collects, for the first time in its entirety, the classic and highly-acclaimed Beatles strip created by the late Angus Allan and Arthur Ranson for the British weekly comic, Look-In.
With new covers by Martin Baines, the digitally-enhanced audio comic also includes rare Beatles videos and other material to complement the comic, including audio commentary memories from writer and radio broadcaster Angie McCartney.
Working closely with artist Arthur Ranson – with some pages scanned from original artwork – and the estate of writer Angus Allan, the eight-issue digital audio comic is available for for iPad, iPhone, Android and other mobile devices, the strip complemented by fully authored audio enhancements that further bring this unique comic biography of The Beatles to life.
The launch coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s beginnings back in 1962, when The Beatles – John, Paul, George and Ringo – took the charts by storm in 1962 with their first official release, “Love Me Do”, quickly followed by “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You”. Beatlemania soon swept across the globe as the Fab Four recorded a staggering 12 studio albums, 13 EPs and 22 singles from 1962 to 1970.
It is estimated they have sold over one billion records worldwide and The Beatles continue to influence many musicians and artists today, attracting a new generation of fans.
Beautifully realized, The Beatles Story charts the history of the band from their struggle for success in the early 1960s through their entire career until the band’s split in 1970.
DJ Mike Read has called the strip “the only worthwhile strip record of the Beatles” and the creator-owned comic, first published in British comic Look-In has only ever been reprinted in an abridged form, both in the UK and in Europe.
“Before The Beatles – Their Story in Pictures strip, Angus Allan, comic-book and Paperback Writer, and I had been teamed up by Look-in Editor Colin Shelbourn to do The Elvis Story,” recalls Arthur Ranson of the origins of his acclaimed Beatles comic strip. “Like Dreamers Do I suggested to Angus that we might retain the copyright – prompted by belief in its future possibilities and thinking possible returns When I’m Sixty-Four.
“Rather than just the Money there was also pride in ownership and an interest in creators rights. Creator ownership was at that time even less usual then it is now and Nobody I Know at the time had done that. Can’t now imagine the hubris that made me pushy so don’t Ask Me Why.
“When Angus heard the idea he was nervous about it,” Arthur continues. “Apart from the gamble that a reduction in fee would later be recouped I think it ran against his idea of how professional comics guys worked and he might be seen as a Bad Boy. I convinced Angus We Can Work It Out and the Two of Us took the proposal to Colin. I said I would not draw the strip on any other terms. (How was it I was so cocky?) With much less argument than I expected Colin agreed. Thank you, Colin.
“When Colin wanted The Beatles strip it was more or less understood that the same terms would apply. At Look-in’s expense Angus and I became Day Trippers, took A Ticket to Ride and went to Liverpool for research, visiting Penny Lane and all.
“ITV Publications reproduced the strip as a paper book only four months after its first appearance in Look-In, hardly Any Time at All. The impression I was left with was that whoever organised the reprint was so miffed when he discovered that Angus and I had the copyright that he made no attempt to sell it on so it wasn’t exactly Here, There, and Everywhere. Angus and I took on an agent to act on our behalf and he landed some foreign versions.
“Some of the artwork was displayed at the Walker Art Gallery in their 1984 ‘Art of the Beatles’ exhibition.”
“Do You Want to Know a Secret? Drawing a weekly story with the hope of seeing it reappearing in a complete continuous format did need some thinking about,” Arthur reveals. “The space where the title would go required filling, but not with anything that was essential. For new readers the breaks are then not apparent and the story will move without interruption, Act Naturally…”
The Beatles Story is the latest audio comic project from ROK, who launched their first audio adventure comic Team M.O.B.I.L.E. earlier this year, with several new titles, including Houdini, new adventures of the world’s greatest escape artist soon to follow, along with spy adventure Tomorrow We Live, written and drawn by Mike Collins.
The company is also working on a number of music comics featuring up and coming bands, and a collection of Angus Allan and Arthur Ranson’s other creator-owned strip for Look-In, The Elvis Story.
• The Beatles Story by Angus Allan and Arthur Ranson, with new covers by Martin Baines
• Android Edition: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rok.comics.beatles001