Author and publisher Dez Skinn has released a special limited edition print of the original dummy that helped launch his award-winning comics anthology Warrior, the original home of Alan Moore and Garry Leach’s Marvelman (now Miracleman), V for Vendetta (co-created by Alan and David Lloyd) – and many other strips.
As an editor who began his career just one month shy of 20, Dez has steered the direction of more than 70 titles from MAD Magazine to Star Wars Weekly. The often-heard “British Stan Lee” epithet applied to his name is probably derived from the number of comics and fantasy-related titles he has created or co-created, which include Doctor Who Weekly, House of Hammer, Starburst, The Buster Book of Spooky Stories, Hulk Comic, Warrior, and Comics International, along with his involvement in characters such as Night-Raven, V for Vendetta, a version of Captain Britain for IPC and Marvelman/Miracleman.
Dez recalls on his official site how Warrior was a creative high point in his career, born out of a number of frustrations. The title was nine months in the making but for those who grabbed the first issue on publication it was well worth the wait.
“I’ve often stated how it would be possible to have a baby in the amount of time it took Warrior to go from inception to birth. But I seriously believe that perfect planning prevents poor performance.
“… I can’t overstate the importance of all this. It’s impossible for any editor to imagine how all those disparate pieces will look when assembled without a pasteup dummy to look through. If you can’t thumb through it (from the back, because we’re odd like that), you won’t know how a potential reader, an impulse buyer, will judge it in the newsagent’s.”
On offer is a facsimile of one of those dummies, complete with a Laser Eraser and Pressbutton cover, one of the many stars of the title, the creation of Steve Moore and Alan Moore, a character who first appeared in the British music magazine Dark Star in 1979, continued in Sounds and moved to Warrior on its debut in 1982, drawn by Steve Dillion.
Dez also documents aspects of the title’s creation in with this special release.
“It was an exciting period awaiting the first issue of Warrior… and then to have it surpass my expectations,” recalls comic artist Tony O’Donnell.
“We were a bit of a tease about the launch,” Dez acknowledged on social media. “But it’s the only issue without a deadline and putting my own hard-earned cash into making it a reality, I wanted to get it as perfect as possible. Suddenly I was in direct competition with such ex-employers as IPC/Fleetway and Marvel UK, and they had far deeper pockets than I could dream of. I was a mere Yorkshire upstart who didn’t know his place!”
Dez was, however, unsurprised that Warrior was an ward-winning success, despite its relatively short publication history. “Without wanting to sound arrogant, we didn’t really have much competition,” he told Comic Related back in 2011 (Internet Archive link).
“2000AD benefited I think from us competing. And with our deal being so much better than theirs (first rights only, return of artwork, creator share of spin-off material, etc) I think that resulted in us getting better work, even from writers and artists who were working for both of us!
“But awards don’t translate into sales. Without backbone titles like 2000AD, there wouldn’t be a niche market for people like me to play in.”
• To get you hands, claws or other appendages on Warrior #0, Paypal to Dezskinn1@yahoo.co.uk £15.95 + £2.00 UK p+p (£5.50 p&p US). Paypal gives you the option for us to receive in pounds sterling and shows a dollar equivalent