His Name’s Steel, John Steel: The Treasury Of British Comics Brings Back More Classics

by Richard Bruton

Another new collection of classic never-before-reprinted stories comes at us in November 2020 – it’s the return of Steel, John Steel

As the press release proudly says…

Sharper than Bond, cooler than The Saint – the indefatigable British spy John Steel is back!

The John Steel Files collects a couple of never-before-reprinted comics, Play it Cool and Bullets in the Sun featuring a classic spy character from the 50s and 60s and featuring the stunning artwork of legendary comic artist Luis Bermejo (Creepy, Vampirella)!
The art’s been given a fresh presentation for a modern audience, with new colours from 2000 AD colourist Pippa Bowland and the book features a new cover by V. V. Glass (The Last Witch). And it’s a great decision, as you can easily tell from the preview pages – Bermejo’s artwork is so wonderful anyway, but the addition of colours brings it right up to date, transforming it into something that could just as easily be published as a new book from a new artist right now.

The 128-page comic book special lands on 11 November, priced at £7.99, and will be available from comic book stores, the Treasury of British Comics webshop, and the 2000 AD apps.
John Steel first appeared in Super Detective Picture Library issue 157 (Sept 1959) and went on to get a regular slot in Fleetway’s incredibly popular Thriller Picture Library from November 1960, published as a 64-page digest-sized black and white comic book, hence the two comic panels per page of the reprint. And to be honest, that’s no problem, as the new size of the reprint just means you get more chance to see all that gorgeous looking artwork…

Originally a secret service agent during World War II, Steel transformed when Bermejo took over the artwork in 1960, taking on the contemporary stylings and atmosphere of the James Bond novels and transplanting Steel from WWII into the Jazz Age and giving Steel a new life as a private detective.

Luis Bermejo Royo’s diverse career spanned Spanish, British, and American comic book industries and his style is instantly recognisable on series such as Adventures of the FBI, Apache, Tarzan, Johnny Future, Vampirella, Captain Thunder, and his adaptations of Lord of the Rings and books by Isaac Asimov and Raymond Chandler. He passed away on 12 December 2015.
These John Steel reprints, the first in the new line of Thriller Picture Library books, comes about thanks to the acquisition of the huge comic book archive of Fleetway and IPC by Rebellion, creating the largest library of English-language in the world and a stellar archive of classic British comics.
And over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of incredible reprint titles and new titles featuring re-workings of classic British character being published through the Treasury Of British Comics.

The John Steel Files Volume 1 – art by Luis Bermejo, colours by Pippa Bowland, cover by V. V. Glass – published by Rebellion and The Treasury of British Comics – published November 2020.

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