It’s surely the most unexpected announcement from 2000AD publisher Rebellion yet, but the company has announced a left field foray into licensed comics. The Oxford-based publisher has commissioned a continuation of the story that began in the cult 1980s movie Hawk the Slayer – with Preacher and The Boys writer Garth Ennis at the helm, and Henry Flint on art.
A six-issue mini series available through comic shops will begin next April with what Rebellion describes as a bumper 32-page issue, featuring art by “Judge Dredd” artist Henry Flint and covers by Magic the Gathering artist Greg Staples.
The series will also run as the bagged supplement with issues of Judge Dredd Megazine from January.
The mini-series is a direct continuation of the movie, which saw Hawk, played by John Terry, who – with his flying ‘mindsword’ and mismatched allies – sets out to rescue a nun from his own deformed brother Vultan, played by Jack Palance at his scenery-chewing worst. Now, it seems that their victory was not all it seemed and greater battles lay ahead…
Shot in six weeks in Buckinghamshire for £600,000, Hawk the Slayer, directed by Terry Marcel, is one of those legendary 1980s films that has had an influence far beyond its initial debut, inspiring others to create their own fantasy films, and more. Since it first hit cinema screens, it’s gained a huge cult following, perhaps most visible in the form of an official Facebook group.
Garth Ennis has been a massive Hawk fan since he was a child, as has the head of Rebellion, Jason Kingsley, who cites its influence as one of the reasons he ended up becoming a knight in shining armour (no, really!). Other fans include comedian Bill Bailey, actor Simon Pegg and musician Rick Wakeman.
Jason has also previously supported an attempt to deliver a sequel to the film, Hawk the Hunter, back in 2015. The proposed continuation was the focus of an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to secure 20 per cent of a planned £5 million budget. Back then, as co-producer, The Guardian noted Rebellion had signed up to produce a Hawk game and a putative range of books or comics, and to provide CGI and funding for the sequel.
Terry Marcel also revealed plans for a TV series, “the third part of the trilogy”, called Hawk the Destroyer, which he believed could run for five years.
Jason Kingsley described the original Hawk as “a touchstone” of his life and said he was “delighted and slightly awed” to be part of the new venture – and it’s clear from comments made on the official Facebook group that his enthusiasm remains undiminished.
“You might like this!” he declared. “I do.”
While Rebellion has of late focused on developing its own IP in new comics and collections, it’s clear the company isn’t adverse to the occasional licensing deal, albeit a strange one in this case. Hawk the Slayer has a dedicated following who may well have the influence, despite previous disappointment, to make the new comic a success, as does Garth Ennis.
So, despite, perhaps, being an unusual choice compared with other fantasy films, books and games out there, perhaps there’s a success story in the making here, too…
• Hawk the Slayer #1 will be available from 13th April 2022 and will be available to order through Diamond Distribution’s Previews magazine
Hawk (John Terry) is a man of courage, honour and duty; a marked contrast with his deformed, cruel and perverse older brother Voltan (Jack Palance), who wears a black mask to disguise the fact that he bears the mark of Cain. When Voltan slays their father, Hawk is entrusted by the dying man with his magic mind-sword, with which he vows to avenge his death.
• Original theatrical trailer (HD)
• Raw textless elements (HD)
• Clapperboard:Revenge by the Sword
• By the Sword Divided – candid on-location interviews
• Sharpening the Blade – behind the scenes
• Image gallery (HD)
• Original script PDF
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.