Blast from the Past: Dark Angel loves The Punisher!

A previously-unpublished artwork by Richard Piers Rayner featuring Marvel UK's "Dark Angel" and The Punisher.
A previously-unpublished artwork by Richard Piers Rayner featuring Marvel UK’s “Dark Angel” and The Punisher.

Time for a quick step back in time to the early 1990s, courtesy of artist Richard Piers Rayner, who found this great piece of art featuring Marvel UK’s Dark Angel giving The Punisher a friendly peck.

Warheads #8 - Cover by Richard Piers RaynerRichard’s first work for Marvel UK was the Doctor Who strip written by Andrew Cartmel, Evening’s Empire, originally intended for publication in Doctor Who Magazine but, after some “production delays” finally appeared as a still much sought after Special.

Along the way – and before he gained wider recognition for his amazing work on Max Alan Collins’ Road to Perdition, published under US publisher DC’s Paradox Press imprint – Richard also drew a Warheads cover I commissioned. Between us, we think that this must have prompted a Marvel UK editor to commission this promotional art, perhaps for the Death’s Head versus Punisher mini series announced in early 1994 that was to have been written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and drawn by Bryan Hitch.

Punisher versus Death;'s Head: art by Bryan Hitch
Punisher versus Death;’s Head: art by Bryan Hitch

The mini series never happened (you can read about this and several more unpublished Marvel UK projects here), but Richard’s art offers a tantalising “Might Have Been” snapshot of great times for British creators working with Marvel’s heroes.

Today, Richard is artis it residence at Middlesbrough FC, drawing some incredible art as their long-established Artist in Residence. He’s still doing the occasional comics work, including a recent Doctor Who story for US publisher IDW.

More about Marvel UK’s unpublished projects

Richard Piers Rayner is on Twitter


John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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