Toxic! was a British weekly comic book published in 1991 by Apocalypse Ltd. that ran for just 31 issues before numerous problems combined to bring the project to a halt and the publisher sadly went out of business. But it was a title bursting with ideas – and “Dino-Wars“, by Pat Mills and Dan Dare artist David Pugh was just one of them, although, ultimately, it never happened.
While “Marshal Law” by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill was, undoubtedly, the comic’s flagship character, the short-lived comic was crammed with other great strips, including “Accident Man” by Mills and Tony Skinner, John Wagner and Alan Grant‘s “The Bogie Man“,”The Driver“, co-written and co-drawn by David Leach and Jeremy Banx, and “The Dinner Ladies From Hell” written and drawn by David Leach, described as a cross between Dennis Wheatley and Robert Rankin.
A number of projects for the title dreamed up during its run never saw the light of day – and one of them was “Dino-Wars“, created by Pat with art by Dan Dare artist David Pugh, who has recently posted his designs, along with other work he did for Toxic!, including unpublished “Garbage Man” pages (written by Alan Grant), on his Facebook Fan Page.
“Pat Mills phoned me to ask if I’d be interested in working on his dinosaur strip for Toxic!” the artist recalls. “After buying his recommended research book, he changed his mind. I then moved on to ‘Garbage Man’.”
The art offers a snapshot of a Strip That Might Have Been, the kind of stuff we love here on downthetubes.
While Toxic! could be considered a publishing failure, there’s no doubting its energy and influence at the time, its full colour format forced 2000AD to mirror the format, and gave some creators their first major break into comics, including Mike Carey.
Many of the strips have since found new homes down the years, particularly “Marshal Law”, “Sex Warrior” and “Accident Man”, and “The Bogie Man”, while some concepts were retooled for 2000AD.
With thanks to Richard Sheaf