Death’s Head is back! Marvel has announced a new limited series, written by Tini Howard with art by Kei Zama coloured by Felipe Sobreir, edited by Sarah Brunstad – and with regular covers by Nick Roche, launching in July. Here’s what we know so far…
Announced at the Women Of Marvel panel at C2E2, in Chicago, the project is one of the first by Tini Howard, who has signed an exclusive contract with Marvel, whose credits include the creator-owned Euthanauts for IDW’s Black Crown and who’s written the upcoming Captain America Annual #1 for Marvel, out in September, and Age of Conan: Belit, the Queen of the Black Coast mini-series which launched earlier this month. She’s also writing a new Thanos six-issue series, launching next month.
Originally created for Marvel UK by Simon Furman and Geoff Senior, robot bounty hunter Death’s Head’s first appearance was in a one page house ad, “High Noon Tex” drawn by Bryan Hitch.
(I can remember the excitement in the Marvel UK London offices at Redan Place when series editor Richard Starkings and Simon pondered where the strip should run to establish Marvel’s ownership of the character, even considering offering it to British fanzines).
Appearing in as a giant robot in Marvel UK’s weekly Transformers, Death’s Head was reduced to human size after an encounter with The Doctor in Doctor Who Magazine #135 (“Crossroads in Time”), drawn by Geoff Senior, before starring in one of the company’s first US format books.
Death’s Head II was a 1990s revamp of the character written by Dan Abnett, drawn initially by Liam Sharp at the instigation of Marvel UK Editorial Director Paul Neary. AIM construct Minion, having already absorbed multiple personalities through assassination, absorbed Death’s Head. Death’s Head took over Minion to get an all-new look.
The book was MUK’s most successful US style title in terms of sales and gave a strong foundation to the Marvel UK Genesis 1992 project, which included the weekly Overkill comic, although Death’s Head didn’t appear in that anthology until later in its run.
The character was revamped again as Death’s Head 3.0 by Simon Furman in 2005, but despite an attempt to revive Death’s Head II by Liam Sharp back in the 2000s as “Ultimate Death’s Head” , it’s the original version that has held sway in terms of the most appearances, largely, perhaps, due to his memorable appearances in Fantastic Four in 1990 (during a story encompassing #337 – 341) written and drawn by Walt Simonson, who also provided a cover for the original Death’s Head series at Marvel UK.
In recent times, both Death’s Head I and II featured in the mini-series Revolutionary War, back in 2013 and he was revived for SWORD #1-#5 by Kieron Gillen, who also dropped him into issues of Iron Man; and although it seemed a new Death’s Head series was teased by Marvel back in 2016, like many a proposed revival (including a Punisher/ Death’s Head II crossover drawn by Bryan Hitch, it didn’t happen.
Death’s Head was last seen in Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #1 last year, but clearly you simply can’t keep a robot bounty hunter down.
“This series is all about fear of obsolescence,” she says. “Death’s Head is a radio star in a video world. Wiccan and Hulkling are ‘Young’ Avengers who are grown ups now with an apartment together. What do you do when the new models are ready but you’re not done yet?”
“I can’t say enough how I am excited to draw him!,” enthuses artist Kei Zama on Twitter, perhaps best known for work on Transformers, whose Twitter stream reveals a clear love of the character, scattered as it is with pictures of not only Death’s Head but MUK’s Hell’s Angel and Death Metal comics, too.
“The stories Tini wrote are so so so so cool, I can’t wait to show more our works for everyone.”
“Death’s Head is my favourite Marvel character,” says cover artist Nick Roche. “It makes me so happy to be even tangentially connected to him. I’m so excited for everyone to read what Tini, Kei, Felipe and Sarah have cooked up.
“Huge hanks to editor Sarah Brunstad for assembling this team of freelance secret-keeping agents. She’s putting the book together with so much love, it’s been unreal. An absolute joy to work with her again.”
DEATH’S HEAD 2019 PEACE-KEEPING AGENTS
Death’s Head © Marvel Comics