John Freeman is a writer, editor and creative consultant based in Lancaster, England. By day, he is currently editor for ROK Comics (www.rokcomics.com), part of ROK Global, currently, publishing a number of audio comics for mobile devices (Apple and Android) including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story, the latter drawn by Arthur Ranson and first published in the British weekly Look-In in the 1980s.
By night, he is editor of downthetubes.net, a web site devoted to British Comics news and features web site that began back in 1999. He also works as a specialist PR advisor and copywriter for organisations such as the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (16th-18th October 2015!) and Lancaster Comics Day (Sunday 5th June 2016).
He is currently writing the online SF adventure strip “Crucible“, drawn by Smuzz (whose credits include 2000AD), lettered by Jim Campbell and working as creative consultant on the new Dan Dare audio drama series in pre-production from B7 Media.
Past comic credits include Doctor Who, The Real Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Galaxy Rangers, Gene Dogs, Shadow Riders, Warheads, Judge Dredd Megazine (writing “Judge Karyn” and “Cabal”), “The Grand Tour” for Italy’s CJL publishing, various humour strips for Lucky Bag Comics, comics for business clients (including a still unpublished and scurrilous serial about the British Civil Service that runs to over 100 strips), and “Black Ops Extreme” and “King Cobra” for STRIP Magazine, the latter re-inventing Scottish publisher DC Thomson’s superhero character first created by 2000AD‘s Ron Smith.
John’s career in the comics began over 25 years ago as a writer for fanzines and “The Science Service”, his first professional work, drawn by Rian Hughes (re-published by Knockabout in Yesterday’s Tomorrows). A humour strip, “The Really Heavy Greatcoat“, drawn by Nick Miller, began in 1987, and continues to this day as an element of “Skid Avenue” a web comic written by Italian writer Antonella Caputo. He began working in the comics industry proper at Marvel UK, first as designer and then editor of Doctor Who Magazine, working alongside Richard Starkings (now head honcho at Comicraft and the creator of Elephantmen), John Tomlinson (now editor of the Eaglemoss-published Marvel part work) and Dan Abnett (who has been so successful as a writer and author he claims to have had to clone himself).
Working with Paul Neary, he helped shape the 1992 “Genesis” project that saw the creation of Death’s Head II – Marvel’s most successful cyborg character – Warheads and Motormouth and Killpower, penning some issues of those comics and working with Liam Sharp (co-founder of the digital comics publisher Madefire), Mike Collins, John Ridgway, Lee Sullivan, Charlie Adlard, Dave Taylor, Craig Huston, Bryan Hitch, Andy Lanning and many more fine British comic creators. He also edited the weekly anthology title, Overkill.
In 1995, after a brief period as a freelance writer, editor and Director of the Lancaster Literature Festival, he was appointed Managing Editor at Titan Magazines, helping the company develop a line of licensed titles including Star Trek Magazine, Star Wars Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine and the British incarnation of Simpsons Comics.
After a successful and enjoyable time with the company he plunged into the world of digital publishing in 1999, creating the concept and characters for a virtual SF chat world, VZSciFi, while continuing to work in ‘traditional’ publishing as freelance editor of books and magazines, including Titan’s Dan Dare and Charley’s War collections. (A ‘temporary’ return to Star Trek Magazine as editor lasted for over two years).
He began working on ideas for digital comics delivered to mobile devices in 2002, but it was at ROK Comics that those ideas finally coalesced into a range of titles that includes Team M.O.B.I.L.E., Houdini Adventures, audio comics for bands and more. A number of projects continue to be “in development” including one that will ‘star’ a famous Hollywood actor.
Between 2010 and 2014, he edited STRIP: The Adventure Comics Magazine for Bosnian-based publishing house Print Media, as well as working on their graphic novel projects.
His first book, Sci-Fi Art Now, was published in 2010 by ILEX in the UK and Harper Collins in the US, a collection of some of the best in contemporary science fiction art by a wide range of creators that includes an introduction by the legendary Chris Foss.
You can find him online at www.downthetubes.net and on Twitter @johnfreeman_dtb