Interview with Blazer! Creator Steve MacManus

Steve MacManus is a British comic writer and editor, particularly known for his work at 2000 AD and Creator of the New upcoming Comic Blazer!

What is Blazer!

Blazer! is a 32-page, indie anthology comic in the style of the British newsstand weeklies of the 1970s such as Battle Picture Weekly, Action, 2000 AD and Starlord. In one sense, it is more a reflection of Lion comic or Valiant comic in that its strips cover a variety of genres rather than being specifically about war, sport or science fiction.

Blazer! No 1. Cover by Jim Stewart

Who are the crew working on it?

In real life, the group editor is Ben Cullis, ably assisted by the designer and sub-editor Andrew Richmond. Dan Cornwell, Colin Maxwell, Peter Western, Filippo Roncone, Andrew Richmond and Ian Baker draw the strips. Dominika Brodowska appears as sub-editor Dom Tom and the photographs of her are by Peter Western. Blazer! Is published by The77 Publications Ltd. 

Will it be ongoing?

The Kickstarter went so well, exceeding £8,000 pledged, that Ben Cullis and his publishing team have green-lit a second issue. However, as you will understand, the notion of Blazer! being a monthly or even a weekly is unrealistic at this time. Think of it more as blazing comet-like ball of nostalgia that will shoot across the firmament from time to time in the future.

Is it connected to your novel The Sheerglam Conspiracy ?

Yes. Indelibly! The SheerGlam Conspiracy tells the tale of a circulation war between two rival comics publishing companies in 1970s London. To establish an outright dominance in the market, one of the companies hires two scriptwriters to create a new title, which is codenamed GNP 13. As the novel progresses, we see the different strips for the title being created and learn that it has a working title of Blaze. The scripts for these strips are presented at the back of the novel and it is these scripts that form the strip content of Blazer! 

What was the first comic story you wrote?

Ignoring a rather verbose attempt at the Swots and Blots, my first comic story was episode one of The Running Man for Action, the comic created by Pat Mills.

Where did you get the idea for Blazer! ? 

I found some preparatory notes about it in the dustbin of a well-known comic strip writer, whose name must remain a secret for a jolly long time.

Blazer! Concept art

How do you come up with names for your characters? 

I follow the Gerry Finley-Day method, which is to find a name that suggests the character of the owner. For example, to me, the name Clive Clitus sums up perfectly someone who would edit a horror comic (especially when you add the nickname ‘Cobweb’). As such, I thought the name Gloria SheerGlam would do very well for a powerful female figure in the 1970s comics publishing industry.

Gloria Sheerglam

Writing is a solitary pursuit. Editing is highly interactive. Take your pick!

2000ad prog 86

Do you think 2000AD fans will enjoy it? 

Indubitably, my dear sir… it will be a hit with them — a very palpable hit!

Back the Blazer! Kickstarter here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/the77comic/blazer

The77 and BLAZER!: Media & Press

The Brew Gooders episode 74. “This Week, we will have Steve MacManus (former editor of 2000AD) and Dan Cornwell (artist on Rok of the Reds) joining us to talk about the launch of Blazer, a comic straight from the 1970’s. Speaking of the 70’s Benksy , editor of the 77 might pop by too!” https://youtu.be/nquEmUlO6Xw

Comics For The Apocalypse. “Every Monday, comic book writer, Samuel George London, interviews interesting guests about what comics they’d take into the apocalypse.  Sponsored by ComicScene magazine, this week’s guest is comic book publisher and very nice chap, Benksy of The 77, who tackles an asteroid apocalypse.” https://open.spotify.com/episode/7wHEVPbI2SDNklx5BYu06u?si=jVFucF-NTG-kSz2ZBWq3aQ

The ICE-CAST LIVE – BLAZER SPECIAL! ICE – The International Comics Expo
January 23
“Shane and Andy Welcome legendary 2000ad editor Steve MacManus, Publisher Ben Cullis and artists Peter Western and Dan Cornwell as we introduce the amazing new anthology BLAZER, which hit it’s KickStarter target in just hours.” https://www.facebook.com/ICECOMICON/videos/900680237340096/?tn=HH-R

The77 issue 4

The77 Cover by Jon Roydon

Cover Penny Pentagram by Jon Roydon
Penny Pentagram pt 2/3 Colour David Thomas, Jon Roydon 6 pages
Bounty on the Mutie (Colour) Bambos Georgiou, Neil Sims 4 pages
Prodigal (Colour) Mal Earl – 4 pages
Trackless Depths pt 2/3 (B&W) Dave Bedford, Ben ‘Mac’ Macleod   -5 pages
The Cell pt 3/4 Colour Bambos Georgiou, Andrew Sawyers – 6 pages
V pt 4/10 (Colour) Steve Bull, Ade Hughes, Darren Stephens -2 pages
V pin up by Hughes, Darren Stephens
Demon For Dinner “Chi77er” B&W Jim Tomlinson, Rupert Jones-5 pages
Martian Law pt 3 Colour Brendon Wright -5 pages
77 Stars poster Bambos Georgiou
Scarred for life feature by Jo Heeley-2 pages
Undertow pt 3/4 Col – Joe Dunn, Jeremy Dunn 4 pages
FunSShun (Colour) Paul Duncan, Robert Wells -6 pages
Division ’77 pt 4/5 Colour Dave Heeley, Sinclair Elliott, Darren Stephens – 2 pages
SGT. Shouty pt 4 (Colour)Lew Stringer -1 page
Valkyrie pin up Andrew Sawyers
Sk8te Worm – (A5 Zine insert) B&W Conan and Gleave

You can get issue 4 and back issues of The ‘77 here at Big Cartel: https://the77comic.bigcartel.com/

Contents
The77 variant cover by Lew Stringer

The77 issue 3

The77 issue 3 cover by Ade Hughes

Cover Ade Hughes
B&W Part 3: Fade away the duller shade of living by Steve Bull and Ade Hughes
GRID (2) Col An assassin who will literally kill for a quiet drink byDave Heeley and Neil Sims
The Screaming Hand 3/4 (5) B&W Part 2: More macabre horror from Kek-W, Conor Boyle
The Cell 2/3 (4) Col Part 2: Meet 8AR8ARA by Bambos Georgoiu and Andrew Sawyers
The Trackless Depths 1/3 (6) B&W Part 1: ‘Death is still cold in the warm seas’ by Dave Bedford and Ben Macleod
Matilda Atkins & Amulet Of Destiny (5) Col “Matilda’s here to save the world and steal your chips!” Michael Powell and Sarah Millman
Division ’77 3/5 (4) Col Part 4: Crossing the Rubicon by Dave Heeley, Sinclair Elliott and Darren Stephens
Division ’77 pin-up B&W by Andrew Sawyers
SGT Shouty! pt 3 (1) Col Part 3: Behold Evil Doctor Plank! By Lew Stringer
Forgotten Reality (4) B&W Nothing is what you remember’ by Anna Everts and Phil Elliott
Undertow 2/4 (4) Col Part 2: In a flooded world, one man refuses to give up the day job by Joe and Jeremy Dunn
Gut Crawlers 2/2 (4) B&W Part 2: Esssential workers doing The Galaxy’s dirtiest job by Dan Whitehead and Filippo Roncone
Martian Law 2/4 (5) Col Part 2: The monstrous melee at Mikhael’s military merch Brendon Wright
Skate Worm (1) B&W Resusitated! Mutated! Skated! Part 2: ‘F.O.A.D.’ Conan and Gleave
Penny Pentagram 1/3 (6) Col Part 1: Howling Moonshine! David Thomas, Jon Roydon
Roll of Honour
Anat and Shard poster by Hal Laren

Variant cover by Neil Sims
Variant Cover by Paul Williams
The77 #3 Index

Available here The Big Cartel https://the77comic.bigcartel.com/product/issue-3-standard-edition or here GetMyComics https://getmycomics.com/the77

The77 voted 2nd best U.K comic in major poll

The77 voted 2nd best U.K comic in major poll run by Comic Scene magazine. ComicScene is comic trade magazine that focuses on both commercial and independent publications

“It’s incredible that in less than a year the77 has established itself in the hearts of UK readers in such a way. By utilising familiar names and raw talent we are producing a quality, quarterly anthology that has readers begging for more.” – Dave Heeley

“We’re immensely proud that we’ve kept readers entertained during the age of Covid” – Jo Heeley

The77 : Richie’s Review

Philty Rich Reviews: 1,2,3 Go!

“Whatvid? Covid, doesn’t matter we’ve got a new comic to read and as soon as you touch it you can feel the difference thanks to the paper stock. It may seem trivial but it just feels like quality before you even start on the stories, my favourites of which I’d like to highlight now. Division 77(Dave Heeley, Elliots, Bolt) lol one little virus eh? Once we get up to 96 pages of this it’s destined for a collected edition, good pacing great art work.
V(Bully from the boot camp, Ade Hughes, Annie Parkhouse) I was hooked from page one of this and it has just gone from strength to strength, my only issue with this one is I want more of it.

Division 77



The Screaming Hand (Kek-w, Conor Boyle, Annie Parkhouse(If you can find the A team you use the A team)) Wonderfully atmospheric, Conor Boyle is definitely picking up what Kek is throwing down and I can envision the screaming hand on a nice T-shirt.#

issue 1 special mentions: Mal Earl for Prodigal just missed my top three, awesome solo work here with really nice colour pallete changes through issue 2&3.
Neil Simms and Brendon Wright for great colour and texture, both a joy to behold.
Lew Stringer for, well, being Lew Stringer.
Drew Marr: a nice touch of originality for one so young.#

Prodigal

Issue 2 we get a new writer(to me anyway) burst into the77 with 2 whopper stories Gut Crawlers and Jerico-5 with PJ Holden and Paul Williams on art duty. Gut Crawlers especially is right in my horrible future jobs wheelhouse.

V

with all of our returning stories from issue1 resolving cliffhangers and world building this is a very enjoyable read.

Issue 2 also sees the beginning of the Cell (Bambous Georgiou, Andrew Sawyers, Filipo) Probably the most visually striking strip in the mag, you just have to see it really.

Can’t forget The Ghastly United either, I love grey scale with touches of colour so this ones a tap in, easy goal.

Issue 3: We are in full swing baby, all of the stories above are in full stride and we finally get to meet Sgt. Shouty’s Nemessis, roll on issue 4 and beyond.

Big Love and lots of Vitamin D to the whole 77 crew.”

Philty Rich Flannery.

The77 #3 cover unveiled

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The77 issue 3 Cover by Ade Hughes

The77 issue 3 cover by Ade Hughes Featuring Anat from V by Steve Bull and Ade Hughes has been unveiled

“Wow, what a cover!!! Ade’s really bought V to life makes me want to watch the movie” -Steve Bull writer of V

The story behind the cover here

On sale from comic stores beginning of November. Available also from getmycomics.com

Links
The77 Facebook Group
Ade Hughes Art Page

The77 Issue 3 Cover unveiled : Ade’s Aced it Again!

Ade Hughes cover to issue 3 of The77

I see the cover as a movie poster with the tagline It takes opposing forces to create the storm

Steve Bull writer of V

The Cover to issue 3 of The77 by Ade Hughes has been unveiled. Foreground is the heroine Anat (her with the axe in issue 2), behind her, is the mysterious Haydn the head of the corporate bad guys and Han, Chief of security

Ade painted it tradionally “I did it after work for about 6 days, so approx 15-20 hours. Its primarily Acrylics with a little bit of pastel pencils for the occasional highlight.”

Earlier Draft

The Cover was heavily influenced by 70s scifi movie posters like Flash Gordon

It also premiers Anats new Costume as “she can’t go running around in the future dressed like a barbarian” according to writer Steve Bull

V writer Steve Bull

“The new costume pays tribute to one of my favourite out there movies and maybe my first crush. Barbarella”

Steve Bull
Jane Foda in Barbarella (1968)

Links
The77 Issue 3 Kickstarter page
The77 Facebook Group
Ade Hughes Art Page

Issue Two signing at Newport’s Heroes – ‘77 takes Island by Storm !!!

The77 comic had a comic signing on a successful comic signing on Thursday 27 August at Heroes Comic shop at Newport, Isle of Wight with Divion 77 artist Andrew Sawyers

“What was cool whilst there was a steady stream of customers who’d specifically come in store for The ‘77 – including a backer who his KS copies signed bought more !!! Better yet was the kid who put down the gaming cards and bought a ‘77 instead and the mother of two daughters who were comic fans, but not interested bought one for herself – never read a comic and now has a signed copy of The ‘77 … Reactions varied from its like 2000ad when it was good, it’s like Heavy Metal to I like the variation of stories or different art etc – through to its a breath of fresh air to we’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time !!!”

Artist Andrew Saywers and Heroes manager Rob Mead

According the Heroes Manager Rob Mead the signing went well “The signing went great, there was a steady steam of people for the whole day, Andy was amazing and drew sketches for everyone that wanted one. It was going to be a 2 hour event which turned into a 6 hour one”

Heroes

The signing happened due to a chance meeting between Andy and Rob at the Heroes shop. “Andy came here on holiday and popped in to the shop and introduced himself and handed me a copy of The77 #2. We like to support new comics and I was already in the process of getting copies for the shop through Get My Comics. Andy spent a couple of hours in the shop and we just hit it off straight away, liking the same stuff talking comics movies and music. After he left I contacted Adrian at Get My Comics and asked if he could send some more #2’s so I could get Andy to sign them before he went home, he said yes then I thought hang on a min lets see if he would be up for a signing which he very kindly was, “

Links
The77 issue 3 kickstarter
The77 at GetMyComics
Heroes Shop

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