This project was an unrealised four-book relaunch of the Marvel UK range Paul Neary planned in 1994, from which only Nocturne was eventually published as a regular Marvel US comic.
Writer: Dan Abnett
Pencils: Andrew Currie
Inks: Bryan Hitch
Part of a four-book relaunch of the Marvel UK range Paul Neary planned in 1994. “I’m pretty sure Dan was given the Captain Britain assignment,” Simon Jowett recalls. “At least one script was written and Andrew Currie drew some pages.” In fact, 16 pages were eventually completed, and a few tantalising panels later shown in an issue of Marvel’s solicitation magazine Marvel Vision.
• More info here on It Came From Darkmoor
Death’s Head Quorum – ongoing series
Writer: David Leach
Art: Simon Coleby
A Death’s Head II revamp. In 2012, David Leach told It Came from Dartmoor “Paul Neary, Marvel UK’s Editor in Chief, wanted to do a brand new Death’s Head title, with no connection to the cancelled Marvel UK series written by Dan Abnett or to Death’s Head Gold. It was to be a completely new start, a reboot, the only connection to the past was that it featured Death’s Head II. The Death’s Head Quorum title was my suggestion.
It started as a jokey comment. Paul told me that Marvel UK was going to relaunch Death’s Head II, and I said why bother, the character wasn’t working any more and had become boring. I joked that we should completely overhaul him, reduce his power, lose the time travel aspect and set it in present day England.
To my surprise, Paul liked the idea and asked me to work it up as a pitch. I felt that I shouldn’t try and ape the American books but try instead to make the book quintessentially British, injecting aspects of British culture into it as well as adding a strong vein of humour.
“In a nutshell, the 4 book mini series started with DHII being beaten to within an inch of his life by a being known as the Time Keeper. He was a new character, who lived in a tower at the edge of time, called the Watch Tower, and monitored the time line for wear and tear which he then repaired. Over the eons he became bored with his job and in recent centuries had started organising illicit hunting tournaments using great warriors and fighters snatched from history as prey for the rich hunters here on Earth.
” Anyway, the Time Keeper rips out DH’s time disc, destroys his weapon arm so that it could only morph into a knife mode, punctures his power source, dramatically reducing his power source and finally ruptures his memory storage capacities which causes all but 5 of DH’s stolen personalities to bleed away. His face mask is also severely damaged and left hanging on by just a bolt. But before the Time Keeper can finish off neutering DH, Tuck attacks him. She is severely injured in the ensuing fight, knocked unconscious and thrown through a time doorway, where she lands in our world in the present.” You can read David’s full recollection of the plot here on It Came from Darkmoor
“Book one was fully written,” David Leach recalls. “I write full scripts, not Marvel scripts, so it came in at I think 40 odd pages in length. The series was loosely plotted and book two was in note form.
“Simon Coleby was hired as the artist, but never got a chance to drawn a single panel. Alas, all that remains are a couple of notebooks.”
• More info here on It Came From Darkmoor
The Golden Grenadier
Writer: Tim Quinn
Art: Adolofo Buylla and John Watkiss
Part of a four-book relaunch of the Marvel UK range Paul Neary planned in 1994. It seems there were two aspects to this project, with Adolfo Buylla providing art for the historical stories and John Watkiss art for more contemporary tales.
Recalls Tim Quinn on Facebook’s Make Mine Marvel UK group: “The Golden Grenadier. Period: The Fifties. By day he was a grenadier guardsman outside Buckingham Palace. He was also Britain’s first astronaut. He worked for a covert organisation run by … wait for it … The Queen Mother.
“We had two issues written and drawn and ready to be coloured when Marvel UK started sinking into the sunset. Interestingly for Marvel fans, one of the issues featured Tim Boo Ba and Fin Fang Foom.”
That the Golden Grenadier does not look unlike Marvel UK Editor in Chief at the time Paul Neary has not gone unnoticed: it was deliberate, says Tim. “Paul had that clean-cut Fifties square jawed hero about him (albeit with more than a touch of Victor Von Doom bubbling under the surface).”
Adolfo Buylla was a veteran artist who had been used by Marvel UK on James Bond Jr and Knights of Pendragon Volume 2. “I think this is the mini-series where Adolfo supplied the art for the 1950s version and John Watkiss was going to supply the art for the modern gritty section,” recalls ex-Marvel UK editor Bambos Georgiou.
Buylla, whose credits include the ‘Flash Gordon’- like Diego Valor series in the 1950s, Marvel’s Chiller Giant and work for DC Comics, Gold Key and 2000AD, died in 1998.
British film and comics artist John Watkiss, whose comics work included Surgeon X from Image, died in 2017, aged just 55. (You can read a tribute here).
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
Marvel UK: Useful Links
• 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
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.
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