The classic British comic book is the anthology on the newsagent stand. From the Beano to Eagle, from Whizzer & Chips to Bunty, from 2000AD to Judge Dredd Megazine, from Viz Comic to Warrior, from Toxic to Phoenix Comics Weekly, we may now have another contender for the list. Shift, a new anthology comic book, to be sold in comic stores and newsagents alike. It will be published by Comics Toolbox, better known as an online comics store working with bricks'n'mortar retailers, most recently within Orbital Comics. And now a print comics publisher too.
The biggest independent UK title launched to newsstands in nearly a decade, Comic Toolbox will publish Shift on October 29th, an anthology comic featuring an exciting mix of action, adventure, sci-fi, shocks, fantasy and more.
It will include Simon Furman and Geoff Senior's To The Death, as well as reviving Jim Krueger's Foot Soldiers, previously published by Dark Horse and Image.
Shift is entirely independent, supporting UK creators and talent from overseas. The comic features a carefully curated selection of creator-owned titles along with self-contained and short-run original stories. The partnership between the creators and Shift means that the more the comic sells, the more revenue the creators get – and strips remain fully creator controlled. Shift is 90+ pages for £6.99 (about twice the price of a traditional US comic) and will be published every 5 weeks, square-bound on high-quality paper with a trim size of 194mm x 297mm.
The comic is aimed at readers 12 and up. There has been a sizeable gap between the audiences of the Phoenix Comics Weekly and 2000AD which my youngest daughter has just fallen into. Maybe Shift is just what she'll want? We'll see, the title is not just aimed at existing comic fans but beyond the standard demographic and engaging lapsed and new readers. Here's what they are lining up for the first issue.
- To The Death – Simon Furman, Geoff Senior.
- Kora – Chris Geary
- Foot Soldiers – Jim Krueger, Steve Yeowell
- Soulwind – Scott Morse
- Shifter – Brian Haberlin, Brian Holguin, Skip Brittenham, Geirrod van Dyke, Kunrong Yap
- Tiny Acts of Violence – Martin Stiff
- Hungerville – Warwick Fraser-Coombe – one off originated story.
SHIFT will run a section compiled by the ComicScene team, covering interviews, Q&As and behind the scenes with the creators of the stories involved. Also featuring news and reviews on the best in independent comics.
Shifter by Brian Haberlin, Skip Brittenham, Brian Holguin, Geirrod Van Dyke and Kunrong Yap.
Shifter is a sci-fi murder mystery with a unique perspective, a pulsepounding thriller that explores the depths of humanity's evil and the tremendous powers of the animal kingdom. Gorgeous art, supported by a companion augmented reality app – watch characters and creatures literally jump off the page when you point your device at the pages!
What if you could soar with the birds – not in a man-made contraption or by using virtual reality, but as an actual bird? What if you could literally be a fly on the wall in a top-secret meeting? What if you could become any animal in the world or, better yet, anybody in the world? What if you could become any creature that has ever existed (and some you never believed could exist)?
Foot Soldiers Created by Jim Krueger with art by Steve Yeowell
Newly coloured and scripted, this story will run through the first few issues of SHIFT, on 2 x three page fold outs in the first issue – showcasing a massive mural, telling the story of the Foot Soldiers so far. The first issue features an interview with Jim, giving an insight into Foot Soldiers and his other work.
In a world where traditional super-heroes once existed, but have since been killed by oppressive robotic beings who rule what is now a totalitarian society. Several teenage delinquents are poking around a superhero graveyard one day when they find artifacts – boots among them – that grant them powers.
Tiny Acts of Violence – Martin Stiff
The multitalented author of award-nominated The Absence, has crafted one of the most intriguing and engaging reads of recent years. Originally intended as a five-part mini-series, it grew into a 224 page graphic novel – with every last bit of story, art, lettering and design work by Martin.
East Berlin 1968: a city recovering from the horrors of WWII and where the state police, the Stasi, cultivate a climate of paranoia and fear. In a place where your closest friend or family member could be a state informer, the threat of violence is ever present and no one knows this more than damaged school teacher Sebastian Metzger. But something evil and ancient is stalking Metzger from the shadows of war–torn buildings–something which threatens the city and perhaps even the future of humanity itself.
TO THE DEATH Written by Simon Furman with art by Geoff Senior
The fan-favourite creative team on Transformers and creators of Death's Head teamed up again in 2018 to start a digital, frame by frame online comic. Soon realising they wanted to get it in print, the massive undertaking to convert it to a print comic page started. The storyline concluded at the beginning of the year, Geoff's pulse-pounding artwork will now be showcased in the magazine sized format of Shift.
Earth, 2674: off-world combat legend and absent father Aleksy Dryagin is returning home to a hero's welcome… and a death sentence. Caught between The Triumvirate, a trio of omnipotent Corporate Heads who want Dryagin publically and permanently axed, and the subversive White Noise, who want a symbol, Dryagin is forced into one last, no-win campaign to save the lives of billions of oblivious civilians. With nothing left to lose, Dryagin is prepared to fight… To The Death!
Soulwind by Scott Morse
The Eisner award-nominated story originally published by Image Comics in 1997 and later at Oni Press, SOULWIND is a true epic and we're very pleased to be able to serialise it in SHIFT.
Beginning with a boy transported across the universe to retrieve a legendary sword, SOULWIND is a tale of ancient myth, classic fairy tales, modern pulp and futuristic adventure with an incredible heart. We'll not elaborate, as it needs to be experienced!
Kora by Chris Geary
Written and drawn by Chris Geary of Aces Weekly fame, featuring stunning art and an epic, intriguing story-line. Mostly wordless, the story is conveyed across the European comics-inspired artwork. Chris has enhanced and reformatted the strip from an initial digital run – it features a substantial amount of new pages.
After crashing on an unknown planet, all Kora wants is to get back home. Sometimes life doesn't go according to plan… Fighting off native wildlife, discovering new cultures, Kora must fight for her survival on this unforgiving world.
Originated Stories and One Offs
We are also highlighting some of the best talent around at the moment, with self-contained stories. Starting with Warwick Fraser-Coombe who has produced the fantastic Hungerville for us. Having done artwork for Interzone, and created and produced his own series', The Shadow Constabulary and Skullf***er, we're very proud to bring his storytelling to the shelves!