John Freeman (editor)

John Freeman (born 18 January 1943) is a British writer/editor/designer known for his work with Marvel UK, and on Doctor Who Magazine and The Really Heavy Greatcoat.

John Freeman
Freeman, photographed in 2005.
Born (1943-01-18) 18 January 1943
Area(s)Writer, Editor
Notable works
Doctor Who Magazine
The Really Heavy Greatcoat


Freeman began his media career editing the Lancaster University student newspaper SCAN[1] in 1981.

Freeman's first professionally published comics work was The Science Service, drawn by Rian Hughes, which Knockabout reprinted in 2007 as part of a larger collection of work by Hughes titled Yesterday's Tomorrows.

On the Beat/Off the Beat

After university Freeman launched On the Beat, a listings magazine for Lancaster, England, which eventually morphed into Off the Beat (not to be confused with the a cappella group at the University of Pennsylvania). After Freeman left Lancaster to work for Marvel UK in 1988, Off the Beat was run by a co-operative, until Freeman returned in 1993, where he took up the editorial reins of the title, turning it into a monthly free publication.

Marvel UK

While working for Marvel UK between 1988 and 1993, Freeman designed and then edited Doctor Who Magazine,[2] and comics titles such as Death's Head II,[3] Warheads,[4] Overkill,[5] and others.

Freeman became group editor on Marvel UK's superhero range while Paul Neary was editor-in-chief at the company. The titles were set in the existing Marvel Universe — Marvel's U.S. editors were expected to approve submitted plotlines. The first of these, Death's Head II, written by Dan Abnett and initially drawn by Liam Sharp, was a recreation of Simon Furman's cyborg bounty hunter (who first appeared in the Transformers comic).

As well as editing some of the Marvel UK titles, Freeman also wrote issues of Warheads and Motormouth and Killpower. He also wrote Shadow Riders, with Brian Williamson, and Gene Dogs, drawn by Dave Taylor, and the mini-series G-Force (not to be confused with the animated series), as well as several Doctor Who comic stories.

Freeman left the company before the implosion in the comics market that effectively brought an end to Marvel UK.

Recent career

After returning to Lancaster, Freeman worked as a freelance writer; then a publicity officer and, eventually, as director of the Lancaster Literature festival, now known as litfest.

In 1995, after five years' absence, London beckoned once more, and returning there, Freeman helped established Titan Magazines, as its first managing editor, as well as editing Star Trek Magazine,[6] Star Wars Magazine and others.

After leaving Titan in 1999 to work for the UK arm of, establishing its avatar-based science fiction community, he is now again based in Lancaster, working for ROK Global on their comics to mobile service, Rok Comics.

His recent freelance projects include editing the initial issues of Print Media Productions anthology comic magazine Strip Magazine (the UK edition), writing the science fiction comic strip Ex Astris for Spaceship Away magazine and continued work for Titan, including book editing for Titan Books and reviews for Star Trek Magazine.

Apart from his Marvel UK work, Freeman's comic writing credits include Ex Astris, The Really Heavy Greatcoat, The Science Service, The Real Ghostbusters, Galaxy Rangers, ThunderCats, Beyblade, Judge Dredd Megazine and others.

Freeman's website, Down The Tubes and its associated blogs, feature British comics news, interviews and a comic writing guide. He is also part of the team working on The Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Bibliography (selected)




  1. Lancaster University Library and Lancaster University Students Union hold copies of SCAN.
  2. See Doctor Who Magazine staff credits
  3. See Death's Head II issue credits
  4. See Warheads issue credits
  5. See Overkill issue credits
  6. See Wikipedia Star Trek Magazine entry


Preceded by
Sheila Cranna
Doctor Who Magazine Editor
Succeeded by
Gary Russell
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