Their parents may be more concerned about grocery bills and mortgages, but for thousands of children the biggest casualty of the recession was Britain’s brightest weekly comic The DFC.
Published by Random House, The DFC treated several thousand devoted subscribers to the very best in British graphic fiction, with stories by top-name authors and artists like Phillip Pullman and Harry Potter artist Adam Brockbank.
The biggest of all The DFC's ongoing stories was unquestionably Mirabilis, a hugely ambitious comics saga planned to span a hundred and fifty issues. Mirabilis tells the story of a magical green comet that appears in the night sky over Edwardian London, ushering in an era in which steam trains and airships combine with ghosts, goblins and Martian invaders. Billed as "a modern Tintin", Mirabilis's planned 800 pages equals more than a dozen volumes of Herge's classic comic series.
When The DFC closed last year, Mirabilis creators Dave Morris and Leo Hartas had barely begun to tell their epic yarn. The next two instalments appeared on the Mirabilis website (www.mirabilis-yearofwonders.com) and drew almost eight thousand hits. That's when Hartas and Morris realized they could be onto something.
"We couldn't bear to end our story there," explains Morris, a #1 best-selling UK author and a mentor with the American Film Institute. "You have a duty both to your readers and to the characters you've created not to leave them in the middle of a cliffhanger."
"The question was how to finance the project," says Hartas, the award-winning illustrator who draws the Mirabilis comic. "It's a recession and nobody was investing in anything. Then we decided, to hell with it – rather than looking around for new work, we'd just get our heads down and complete the story."
Almost a year on, the first season of Mirabilis is now ready. It's a whopping 200-page epic whose eight chapters comprise the first act of an ongoing fantasy adventure that is destined to win a generation of loyal fans. Just as Morris and Hartas were dotting the i’s on their project, Print Media Productions announced an exciting new slate of high-quality graphic novels for the UK market. The timing was perfect. Now Mirabilis is teamed up with a new publisher and season one is available in two superb hardback volumes.