Pandora is the latest crowdfunded comic anthology from The77 Publications, launched at the recent Lawless Comic Convention, and available to order now. The line-up includes established creators such as Alan Hebden, Anna Morozova and Andrew Richmond, and also gives a platform for new and up-and-coming writers and artists such as Anna Everts, Jamal Luckett and Lola Bonato.
Pandora, which is also the new home for The77 comic fan favourite, “Penny Pentagram”, is curated by The77’s co-Director Jo Heeley, ably assisted by Andrew Richmond on Art Editor duties.
Originally envisioned as an homage to 1970s and 80s “girls comics”, the focus soon changed when Jo, influenced by current world affairs, pushed instead, to produce a comic that was more inclusive and with stories reflecting the present – very much focussing on the now and the future.
The resulting anthology, featuring Jo’s favourite genres – fantasy, sci-fi and horror – looks fantastic, and Pandora Issue One available to order now from The77 Publications, and Jo has kindly talked us through the content of the first issue…
“Star Nav” by Alan Hebden and art by Anna Morozova is as wonderful as what you would expect from these two greats.
“I’m aware that Jesus Redondo has seen some of Anna’s art from this piece and was very impressed,” says Jo. “In fact, he sent her some art and that was lovely to see. Anna’s star is rising very fast and her art compliments the Star-Nav world that Alan has created.”
“If You Just Listen“, written by Jamal Luckett is illustrated by a new-to-the-industry artist, Lola Bonato, who is currently completing a degree in Comic illustration at Leeds University and you can see more of her work on her Instagram page.
“Jamal was inspired to write the story by his daughter, who, like the main protagonist, and who you will see more of in Issue 2, has autism,” Jo notes. “This story will focus on the young girl’s abilities that will help her mother and those around her in the aftermath of a Zombie apocalypse.”
Lola, who is French, was born in San Francisco and brought up in Saint Martin in the Caribbean. She has been based in Leeds since 2018 while studying for her degree in Comic and Concept Art.
“Penny Pentagram” by David Thomas with art by Andrew Richmond is something that Jo exceptionally proud to include in Pandora.
“David’s knowledge of the weird and arcane is matched by Andrew’s,” says Jo. “They make a fantastic creative pair and Penny will return in Issue Two with another story. Both David and Andrew creatively bounce off each other and I’m looking forward to seeing how Andrew will illustrate more of Penny’s adventures and escapades.”
“Home”, with art by Ade Hughes (“V”, The77) was written by upcoming writer Rob MacDonald, in memory of his mother, who was affected by Alzheimers before she passed.
“This is one of the first fully painted strips that Ade has ever done,” Jo points out, “and I think it perfectly captures the pathos in Rob’s writing. I think it’s something quite beautiful.
“As is Anna Evert‘s “Weep for Me“, with art by Gary Burley,” she continues. Anna is such a good storyteller.
“Again, they are another creative team that I’m humbled to have included in this comic. I see them having a long career in comics and/or fiction. Gary’s a wonderful draughtsman and his artwork, almost Art Nouveau in style, brilliantly fits the story.”
“El Bunito” is written by Jo herself and Andrw Sawyers (with art by Andrw), a collaboration that came about from a conversation about expanding on an Inktober commission Andrw drew for Jo, “a portrait of my own pet bunny as a mecha-rabbit.
“Andrw has created a frantic and busy Space world, where rabbits are searching for a new homeland to escape a terrible disease (or are they?).”
Pandora Issue One features a teaser for “The Devil’s Bride“, advertised as a back page poster pin-up, is a story of revenge, very much in the Spaghetti Western tradition with some supernatural elements.
“This is written by my brother, Dave Heeley and illustrated by the BAFTA-award winning animator, Peter Western, son of the great British comics illustrator, Mike Western,” says Jo.
“This was scheduled to be included in Issue One, but unfortunately, Peter sustained an injury to his hand preventing him from completion. I’m pleased to say he is now back on form and it will start in Issue Two.”
Offering a great looking range of strips, Pandora Issue One, price £6.95, features a standard cover is by Andrew Richmond, and variant by Anna Morozova and is available to buy from the77comic.bigcartel.com
Issue Two is scheduled for release in late 2022/ early 2023.