(Updated, added Carles comments): Meet Warhide, the world’s first skinned communist super hero. A Russian captured by the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, skinned, then coated in a liquid carbon skin that’s as strong as diamond, he was the surreal brainchild of British comic creators Jeremy Banx and David Leach – and a project in the works for Marvel UK back in the 1990s before the company imploded. Sadly, this is one of many Marvel UK ‘Might Have Been’ projects we have covered on this site. The first book was drawn by Spanish artist Carles Demiguel Bonilla, the second book written and the rest of the series commissioned before the plug was sadly pulled.
Warhide made only one published appearance, on the cover of Body Count, a promotional item for Marvel UK projects published in 1993. (Of course, there’s a chance he might appear in Marvel Comics’ upcoming Revultionary War limited series – we’ll just have to wait and see!)
Only copies of the original art survive from this unpublished project, the physical art lost when Marvel UK decamped from its base at Arundel House, London, to Panini UK’s Tunbridge Wells headquarters.
“It was a shame Warhide wasn’t published,” muses Carles, who tells us he has copies of all the pencils he completed. “It came alive in the middle of the second issue. The cover of the first issue would have been silver.”
Warhide was just one of several unpublished projects David conceived, including S.T.O.M.P., a series about a teenager in a nano-tech power suit, which only got as far as being green lit as a character, and a new Death’s Head II series, Death’s Head Quorum, which was to have been drawn by Simon Coleby.
David Leach, today an editor at Titan Magazines, started writing and drawing Psycho Gran for the classic Oink!. As well as being an editor at Marvel UK he co-wrote and co-illustrated The Driver and scripted and illustrated The Dinner Ladies From Hell for Toxic!. His numerous credits include scripting ‘Spider-Man’ newspaper strips for the Funday Times, ‘Ren and Stimpy’ for the Young Telegraph and Wallace and Gromit for Titan.
Barcelona-based artist Carles Demiguel Bonilla credits include work as a designer and storyboard artist for films, book illustration, book covers, advertising storyboard work and more.
• Read and interview with David Leach about Marvel UK days: http://itcamefromdarkmoor.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/deaths-head-which-almost-was-interview.html
• Carles Demiguel Bonilla’s blog – Search for ‘Warhide’ for more imagery from this project