The second collection of UK Star Trek comics will be released in November. I presume IDW’s 240 page hardback will include the last of the TV21 strips with art from the likes of Mike Noble, Harold Johns and Carlos Pino and hopefully some strange gems from related annuals and holiday specials.
Still in the land of presumption, I am guessing most of this volume will be given over to work by one of my favourite comics artists, a gentleman most comic reading ODeckers will recognise as an inker on myriad DC and Vertigo titles including LEGION, Blue Beetle, The Invisibles and American Century - namely John Stokes.
Stokes has worked in the comics industry since the Sixties. I believe he was introduced to the field by his late brother George who drew Wes Slade and Bear Alley comic strips. My first encounter with John Stokes work was Fishboy, a serial in the Fleetway weekly Buster. He drew all 360 installments of the saga of an amphibian orphan hunting for his parents.
Between 1965 and 1980 he drew a range of other strips for Buster, spy saga Maxwell Hawke, The War Children, Lenny the Loser, Keen and Mustard, and notably Marney the Fox which deserves a collection of its own. He also drew material for the post-Power Smash! and other Fleetway titles.
And of course there was a notable run on Star Trek.
When TV21 finished its painful death throes, it was merged with Fleetway’s boys’ adventure weekly Valiant. Only one feature made the transition. Star Trek joined Captain Hurricane, Billy Bunter, Mowser,and the Tuffs of Terror Island for weekly hijinks. Between October 1971 and December 1973 Stokes drew 118 installments that boldly went where no comic had gone before. Most of the content in Valiant appeared in black-and-white. Trek was the exception which took a colour centrespread position. It was also granted a never-to-be-repeated cover for the second week of the merged publication.
Following Trek, Stokes continued to draw strips for Buster but also drew for House of Hammer/Horror. In the Eighties, he drew for Marvel UK, notably Black Knight and Star Wars, and also inked David Lloyd’s pencils on the Time Bandits adaptation. He also drew material for Warrior.
He has also worked as a penciller and inker on various strips for 2000AD, Dark Horse and DC Comics.