Happy 30th Birthday, Death’s Head II!

Following up on artist Liam Sharp’s announcement he was drawing a just for fun celebration strip to mark the “birth” of Marvel UK’s Death’s Head II character, here’s the strip!

Liam describes the affectionate parody as a “little tribute to that moment in time – and a fond little spoof on the crazed and wonderful excesses of the 90’s!”

Liam pokes fun not only at the cyborg character, but at his earlier self, acknowledging his 1990s comic influences such as Image Comics and Simon “Biz” Bisley. There are nods, to, to fellow Marvel UK Bullpen artists, such as Bryan Hitch.

He’s unsparing of his early artist foibles in this MAD-style strip, too – none of which are in evidence in his work today, and didn’t stop him in carving an incredible career as a comic creator.

Death’s Head II at 30 - Tribute strip by Liam Sharp
Death’s Head II at 30 - Tribute strip by Liam Sharp

Released in March 1992 under the guidance of Marvel UK’s Editorial Director, Paul Neary, written by Dan Abnett, the initial Death’s Head II mini series, inked by Andy Lanning, coloured by Helen Stone, captured the imaginations of comic fans of the day and sold over 150,000 copies.

The success of Death’s Head II, Liam notes, changed his life forever.

It has never been reprinted by Marvel Comics, despite its huge success.

Thirty years on since character debuted, as we previously reported, Liam has drawn this two-page Death’s Head II and companion Tuck story, for fun, guest-starring The Hulk, Man Thing, and a couple of X-Men just for the hell of it.

“I was sniggering all the way through drawing it,” says Liam. “The dry ice, missing feet, massive guns appearing from nowhere, and random costume changes… all that fun craziness we could get away with because it was, y’ know, comics! Not reality!

“I’m so glad I took the time to do it. And I think all those years reading MAD magazine played a part too…”

Currently working on his own independent comics project for a image Comics, Starhenge, over the past 30 years since his early success, Liam has worked for Marvel, DC,Vertigo, Wildstorm, Image, Dark Horse, Fleetway and Dynamite, producing a huge range of eclectic work, in every imaginable genre.

Liam is planning to include this strip in the second volume of this three-volume retrospective series of his artistic career, Encore.

As Liam’s editor back in 1992 – and having worked with him before that, too – I’d just like to say this strip is a great spoof, and a lovely tribute to those incredible days, when we chained Liam to an art board in a basement, until he finished his pages!

Oh, all right, that’s a fib. Enjoy!

• Sharpy Productions: www.sharpy.net | Follow Liam Sharp on Twitter

Check out our guide to the Marvel UK “Genesis 1992” project – both published and unpublished projects – here

Death’s Head II and Tuck © Marvel Comics | Starhenge copyright Liam Sharp

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics, Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, US Comics

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