A bit of shameless self-promotion: I’m delighted to report that Secrets of Ceres, the first part of a new SF strip drawn by Mike Nicoll and written by me, John Freeman, will feature in the next issue of the Dan Dare-inspired comics magazine Spaceship Away, now at the printers and which editor Rod Barzilay tells us will soon be shipped to subscribers.
Secrets of Ceres is a three part-story set in the Ex Astris universe created by Mike, set some years before the strip available as a free to view comic on ROK Comics and the one-off strip Homecoming, appearing in another independent UK comics title, Bulletproof Comics, which will be available from that publisher’s Online Store soon.
Secrets of Ceres is set in the mid 21st Century, at a time when the race to space has been rekindled, borne from both the need for raw materials and a desire to explore. With bases on the Moon, Mars and the asteroids, humankind has truly expanded beyond the confines of home planet Earth… but is this fast expansion driven by other needs, unknown to the general public at large?
By 2040, the major asteroid Ceres has been selected as staging post for the mineral exploitation of the Asteroid Belt, with big corporations paying for the base in return for property rights. By 2050, Ceres base is fully up and running — moved using giant ram jets into Mars orbit to better exploit its resources.
But beneath the surface of Ceres secrets are about to be uncovered – secrets investigator Sarah Blake may not live to reveal…
Spaceship Away (a three times a year, full colour, glossy magazine) started out as a way to get a newly created 1950’s ‘old Eagle’ style Dan Dare strip story (Drawn by Keith Watson and Don Harley) in print, along with how it was done. However, it didn’t stop there! Soon, other new Dan Dare stories – some serious, some not, and features joined the title, including plans, cutaway drawings, development notes, real science connections, custom-built models, foreign DD, readers’ chat-back and background write-ups.
The magazine has grown from 24 to 48 pages over its five year publishing history and is now moving sideways into other SF comics as well. Of the latest issue’s 11 regular strips, five are non-Dan Dare, including Charles Chilton’s Journey into Space, Space Girls and Ron Turner’s Nick Hazard Interstellar Agent – Mission to Vorga.
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.
Categories: British Comics