Marvel UK – Genesis ’92: Part 08 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1994

Owing to increasing amount of information discovered about the later years of Marvel UK, our “Genesis 1992” section has now been broken up into more pages

Part 1 – Published Comics 1992 | Part 2 – Published Comics 1993 -1994 | Part 3 – Published Comics 1994 – 1995 | Part 4 – Frontier Comics | Part 5 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1990 – 1991 | Part 6 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1992 – 1993 | Part 7 – Other Unpublished Projects Developed during 1993 | Part 8 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1994 | Part 9 – 1994 (Marvel UK branded) Core Relaunch | Part 10 – Final Unrealised Projects 1994 – and a Postscript

Dark Guard: Old Friends
Four Issue Mini Series?
Writer: Dan Abnett?
Art: Carlos Pacheo
Inks: Mark Farmer

Announced in Comics International #38 for publication in April 1994 but subsequently cancelled.  This may have included material originally planned for Dark Guard #5-6.

“This story and a double Dark Guard issue, inked by Mark Farmer,” recalls Carlos Pacheo. “It remained unpublished after Marvel UK cancelled the comic-book line. I completed three issues that never saw the light of day.”

Death Duty
Writer: Information Welcome
Artist: José Fonteriz

Promoted in Body Count and solicited in Marvel Age #130  in November 1993 but subsequently delayed (as reported in Comic World Issue 22, December 1993) and then cancelled. Fonteriz did draw Nocturne, an updated version of Night Raven, published by Marvel US.

Kill Frenzy
Four issue series
Writer: Bambos Georgiou
Art: Henry Flint

An assassin of mixed parentage (alien, animal and human) is doomed to perpetually wander the galaxy in search of potential victims. Announced as a four issue limited series, intended to launch in February 1994.

More info: http://starlogged.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/marvel-uk-in-usa-part-two.html

Motormouth: RE-MIX

Announced as launching in March 1994 but subsequently cancelled, Motormouth RE-MIX was written by Rafael Marin and Carlos Pacheco and drawn by Carlos, whose first comics work for Marvel was at Marvel UK, first drawing Exploits of Spider-Man covers and then a short Motormouth strip for Motormouth & Killpower #12, written by Matthew Hyde.

“We tried to connect the Marvel UK characters, mainly Motormouth and Killpower, to the American Marvel Universe,” Carlos recalls. “A story where Killpower was lost in the multiverse and Motormouth was jumping form different parallel realities looking for him.”

A new look for Motormouth for the unpublished Motormouth: RE-MIX project for Marvel UK. Art by Carlos Pacheco
A new look for Motormouth for the unpublished Motormouth: RE-MIX project for Marvel UK. Art by Carlos Pacheco

In Motormouth Re-Mix, we were to have been treated to an alternative take on the Marvel Universe in which Spider-Man is a Vietnam Vet, The Punisher is an evangelist and Captain America as a sadistic villain.

Expanding on past

“Rafael Marin and I explored the Marvel Multiverse using Motormouth and Killpower, combined with the Slow Glass concept,” Carlos recalled on Twitter in 2020.

Carlos Pacheco's take on Killpower for the unpublished Motormouth: RE-MIX project for Marvel UK
Carlos Pacheco’s take on Killpower for the unpublished Motormouth: RE-MIX project for Marvel UK
Unpublished art from Motormouth: RE-MIX project for Marvel UK, by Rafael Marin and Carlos Pacheco
Unpublished art from Motormouth: RE-MIX project for Marvel UK, by Rafael Marin and Carlos Pacheco

Sadly, Marvel UK suffered and implosion and almost all its planned comics projects projects were abandoned, although some were published by Marvel US.

“We divided that trip in four chapters,” recalls Carlos of the ambitious project. “In the first, Peter Parker was enlisted to Vietnam. The Green Goblin discovers Peter identity and killed all his relatives and friends. Peter went back [ro the US] claiming revenge and a military priest, Frank Castle, tried to stop him.

“Then we went to a Universe where Galactus landed on Moscow, when it was the capital of the Soviet Union. The Fantastic Four didn’t exist and Reed creates a group to help the Soviet Supersoldiers in the fight against the Devourer of Worlds.

“In the final chapter, the world visited was a one where The Secret Empire defeat America. The president committed suicide… and superheroes activities were forbidden. Captain Nomad started a rebellion against the government.”

Motormouth: Other Abandoned Projects

Marvel UK also initiated a number of other Motormouth projects which were never published.

In 2017, artist Jesus Redondo posted these Pages featuring Motormouth and Death’s Head II, but he couldn’t remember which project they were for…

Motormouth versus Removal Man (aka Removal Man versus Motormouth)
Two Issue Series
Writer: Glenn Dakin
Penciller: Pedro Espinosa
Inker: Tim Perkins

Another Motormouth-related project was Removal Man versus Motormouth, written by Glenn Dakin with art from Pedro Espinosa.

Page 4 from the unpublished Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa, inked by Tim Perkins. With thanks to Robert Bown
Page 4 from the unpublished Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa, inked by Tim Perkins. With thanks to Robert Bown
Page 8 from the unpublished Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa, inked by Tim Perkins. With thanks to Robert Bown
Page 8 from the unpublished Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa, inked by Tim Perkins. With thanks to Robert Bown

When a page from this unpublished story was offered on eBay in 2014 it shone a light on a project strangely forgotten in the annals of Marvel UK – ironically mirroring the story’s concept.

“I created Removal Man, who was a MyS-TECH ‘last resort’ assassin who killed people by making it so they never existed in the first place,” recalled writer Glenn Dakin, who has copies of the first issue, which was fully lettered and drawn by Tim Perkins. “He went back and took Motormouth out of reality. Well he tried to, and he ended up being the one who never existed.

Featured in the art below are Removal Man and Scrueman, an insane Dickensian debt collector who handled MyS-TECH’s most lost causes (like trying to catch Harley). 

A double page spread (Pages 14 and 15) from the unpublished Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa, inked by Tim Perkins
A double page spread (Pages 14 and 15) from the unpublished Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa, inked by Tim Perkins

• Tim Perkins has some pages of this first issue on his Wizards Keep web site

More about Removal Man on the Marvel Appendix by Jeff Christiansen

• More info here on the Starlogged blog

A panel from Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Daken and drawn by Tim Perkins
A panel from Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa, drawn by Tim Perkins
A panel from Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Daken and drawn by Tim Perkins
A panel from Motormouth versus Removal Man, written by Glenn Dakin, drawn by Pedro Espinosa and inked by Tim Perkins

Officer Outbody
Solicited two issue mini-series for 1993/94, later expanded to four issues
Writer: Glenn Dakin
Art: Ross Dearsley

Officer Outbody, a creation for Marvel UK by Glenn Dakin and Ross Dearsley
Officer Outbody, a creation for Marvel UK by Glenn Dakin and Ross Dearsley

Solicited four issue mini-series for the 1993/94. Officer Outbody was to have been some kind of inter-dimensional/astral cop and Doctor Strange was to have played a part in his adventures. The announcement of delayed publication appeared in Comic World 22 (December 1993) and then cancelled when Marvel UK pulled the US line completely.

“Officer Outbody grew out of the character Die-Cut,” Glenn Dakin recalls of the abandoned project. “Paul Neary showed me a picture of a big guy with a blade that could cut through anything, and asked me to invent an identity for him (this was early in 1993). I thought it would be good if the blade cut through dimensions, and came up with the idea of an ‘astral plane patrolman’.”

“I did quite a few development sketches, but I think I only completed two pages in ink before the project was cancelled,” Ross recalls. “Jaqui Papp was the Editor I think.

“It was a very surreal story set in the Astral Plane where Outbody was a policeman. Doctor Strange was the obligatory ‘known’ Marvel character cameo, and there were tons of wierd BG elements like floating architecture, eye-ball creatures and starfields.”

• There’s more about this project here on downthetubes

Project Gemini
Writer: Information Welcome
Artist: Salvador Larocca

Death’s Head II artist Larocca is noted as the artist on this project in a promotional brochure, Body Count, published by Marvel UK in 1993, but there are no more details about what it was or which characters featured in it.

Could this have been the “untitled team book to follow-up on the action of The MyS-Tech Wars”, as reported by Comic World magazine [#11 – January 1993]


Punisher versus Death’s Head – Four issue limited series
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Bryan Hitch

"Punisher versus Death's Head" art by Bryan Hitch and Andy Lanning, courtesy of Adrian Clarke of GetMyComics
“Punisher versus Death’s Head” art by Bryan Hitch and Andy Lanning, courtesy of Adrian Clarke of GetMyComics
Punisher versus Death's Head: art by Bryan Hitch
Punisher versus Death’s Head: art by Bryan Hitch

Announced for first-quarter 1994 in Comics International 38, December 1993, but subsequently cancelled.  

In 2014, artist Richard Piers Rayner uncovered what we think is a piece of promotional art that might have been intended for this project featuring Dark Angel and the Punisher. Read our news story here.

• More info here on the Starlogged blog

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.

Red Squirrel Man
Creator: Tom de Falco

“There was an attempt – on the instructions of Tom DeFalco – to develop an all British super hero to be called Red Squirrel Man,” says former Marvel UK editor David Leach.

• More info here on It Came from Darkmoor

Ripwire
Planned Four Issue mini series
Writer: Craig Houston
Art: Stuart Jennett
Colour: Craig Houston

Stuart Jennet's cover for Ripwire #1
Stuart Jennett’s cover for Ripwire #1

A four-issue mini-series, originally titled “Razorwire” from Craig and Stuart, who worked on later issues of Warheads, The book’s release was pushed back in late 1993 (as reported in Comics World Issue 22 (December 1993), and then cancelled.

Craig recalls the story – which featured a robotic weapons system called Rip on the run in New York – was originally a self-contained two parter, but was extended to include an appearance by the Warheads, perhaps in part at Paul Neary’s suggestion, so it was expanded to four issues.

A colour mark up for the unpublished Marvel UK title, Ripwire, art by Stuart Jennett. The book's writer, Craig Houston, was also to have coloured it. With thanks to Craig Houston
A colour mark up for the unpublished Marvel UK title, Ripwire, art by Stuart Jennett. The book’s writer, Craig Houston, was also to have coloured it. With thanks to Craig Houston

Craig had completed the first two issues, written to full script, and was also to have coloured the book, but thinks the last two probably never got past outline.

“I vaguely remember a Warhead character being based on [designer] Ed Lawrance from the Marvel UK offices,” Craig recalls. “I think he got an arm ripped off that Liger then used to batter some zombies…”

Marvel UK designer (and Warhead cannon fodder) Ed Lawrance working on some colour separations for Thomas the Tank Engine. (Marvel UK staff used to create the colour separations by hand to be turned into film for printing). Artist Stuart Jennett, who drew Ripwire, recalls climbing scaffolding on Fleet Street with Ed - climbing so high it took ages to get down...
Marvel UK designer (and Warhead cannon fodder!) Ed Lawrance working on some colour separations for Thomas the Tank Engine. (Marvel UK staff used to create the colour separations by hand to be turned into film for printing). Artist Stuart Jennett, who drew Ripwire, recalls climbing scaffolding on Fleet Street with Ed – climbing so high it took ages to get down… Photo: John Freeman

Sisters of Grace (Frontier title)
Writer: Simon Jowett
Artist: Information Welcome

Described by Michael Bennent as “humour-based title about six hot babes in space.”

“I was slated to write both Sisters of Grace (they had appeared very briefly in Black Axe),” Simon Jowett recalls, “but had only written a few pages of each when the final hammer fell.”

The ‘Sisters’ were seeking Grace, the source of their genetic code.

Ten Sec
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Michael Bennett

Solicited as a six-issue series to commence in June 1993, ‘Tensec’ involved Rathcoole from MyS-TECH who could stop time for ten seconds, at least until his power ring goes missing. The quest to regain that power source somehow provides an excuse for a team-up between Captain America and the Warheads team along the way.

Timestryke: 2050
Writer: Graham Marks
Artist: Barrie Mitchell

Minion’s creator, Dr. Necker, is dying. Her only salvation is to find Badhand. (As noted in the Bulldog Bulletin in the back of the Frontier Comics Special)

Total Death
Writer: Information Welcome
Artist: Information Welcome

All we know of this at this stage is a line from the “Editor’s Choice” of the Frontier Comics Special from editor Stuart Bartlett. From the vagueness of the mention, it’s possible that “Total Death” could have been the name given to their next big over-arching promotion rather than for any specific title.

Unbelievable Exploits of Father Christmas
Writer: Tim Quinn
Artist: Mario Capaldi

A holiday Special which would have seen Saint Nick himself facing the Demon King.

Unknown ‘Prestige Project’
Writer: Information Welcome
Artist: Simon Coleby

Mentioned in the 1993 Body Count promotion.

Warhide
Writer: Jeremy Banx & David Leach
Artist: Carles Demiguel Bonilla

Marvel UK 'Lost Character' Warhide

Warhide was the world’s first skinned communist super hero – a Russian coated in a liquid carbon skin that’s as strong as diamond so you can see all his muscles.

This was planned as a four issue mini-series, and in co-writer David Leach’s words was a rare series that “didn’t feature MyS-TECH” at all. ‘Warhide’”, Leach explained on the original Facebook group Make Mine Marvel UK!!! in 2008, “started in the last days of the Soviet/Afghan war” when the hero, Pushkin, was “captured by the Mujhadeen and skinned alive.

He’s rescued and undergoes a procedure that accidentally coats him a special carbon polymer” turning his body as hard as diamond. With the collapse of the Soviet Union “the Warhide technology is sold to a warmongering American industrialist”, David continued, “and that’s where the story proper started. Because of my sick sense of humour, the main villain was a sadistic killer paralysed from the neck down and strapped into a massive exo-suit”.

With the first three issues scripted, and artwork for the first issue (including the cover) already completely drawn, Bonilla had started work on the second issue, but just as Marvel’s promotional machine kicked into gear “the plug was pulled. Then, to add insult to injury, Marvel upped sticks to Tunbridge Wells, and the wonderful old Arundel House was cleared out”, David recalls, “with the artwork to #1 of Warhide and lots and lots of other original artwork all thrown out”, criminally, “along with the entire Marvel UK comic library”.

More info:
• Lost in Action: Marvel UK’s Warhide
• It Came from Darkmoor: Death’s Head which Almost Was – interview with David Leach

Wild Things (possibly another iteration of “Wild Angels”, detailed here)
Writer: Nick Vince
Art: Pino Rinaldi

Although not published in English, the full series was gathered together and published instead by Marvel Italia.

Owing to increasing amount of information discovered about the later years of Marvel UK, our “Genesis 1992” section has now been broken up into more pages

Part 1 – Published Comics 1992 | Part 2 – Published Comics 1993 -1994 | Part 3 – Published Comics 1994 – 1995 | Part 4 – Frontier Comics | Part 5 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1990 – 1991 | Part 6 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1992 – 1993 | Part 7 – Other Unpublished Projects Developed during 1993 | Part 8 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1994 | Part 9 – 1994 (Marvel UK branded) Core Relaunch | Part 10 – Final Unrealised Projects 1994 – and a Postscript

• It Came From Darkmoor: itcamefromdarkmoor.blogspot.co.uk
Terrific blog about Marvel UK and British Marvel heroes

• Starlogged: starlogged.blogspot.co.uk
Charting the history of many British comics, including their promotion. The site has a fantastic list of every Marvel UK title published, in chronological order, here

• A Distant Beacon

The web presence of author Rob Kirby, who’s working on a book on the history of Marvel UK, From Cents to Pence

Comics Pending – January 1993

This document compiled by John Freeman outlines some of the unpublished comic strips planned for Overkill, and his thoughts on the future of some of the company’s title such as Motormouth and Warheads, in January 1993, when he was in the process of leaving the company to take up life as a freelancer.

The hand-written notes refer to “Paul” – Paul Neary, Marvel UK’s Editorial Director; and editors Tim Quinn, Jacqui Papp and Bambos Georgiou.

Special Thanks

This section is compiled with thanks to: Adrian Clarke, Alan Cowsill, Andrew Currie, David Elliott, Carl Flint, Glenn Dakin, Alan Green, Richard Green, Rob Kirby, David Leach, Carlos Pacheco, Tim Quinn, Simon Jowett, Mark Roberts, John Ross, Cam Smith, and others

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