Sunday, 17 February 2008

ICFD Cover of the Week - 17th Feb 08

It's time for Cover of the Week, again.

I've been really pushed for time this week, and right now we're celebrating a friend's birthday. It'd be rude of me to send too long away from the others, but I've just got time to post up this little nugget. A very genuine favourite of mine, which I actually had set as my PC's wallpaper for large parts of last year. This is Steve Sampson's brilliant cover to Overkill Number Six, from 1992. This brilliant rendition of Dark Angel (Or Hell's Angel as she was at the time) is exactly the kind of reason I started this feature. It's got that British mock-graffiti-art feel which the American printings of the books from this period never really had. I'm also a big fan of the original Geoff Senior costume. Sure, I loved Salvador Larocca's re-tune, later on, but there something just a bit more classic and true to the character's sensibilities in this form. Shevaun Haldane was not clean cut. She was deeply punky, Psylocke's freaky friend.

The revamp cleaned her up a bit. I prefer her like this.

It's a great cover. Sampson did a few covers for Overkill - but this is without a doubt my favourite.

3 comments:

  1. Ah, Hell's Angel - the most tortured superheroine in the Marvel UK pantheon, ever. Legal threats from the Hells Angels (I kid you not) forced the name cahnge and prompted legal searches to ensure all other MUK character names weren't infringing other rights holders (it was okay to name a comic Warheads but we weren't to try copyrighting the name on a missile...)

    If you want to know what the talented cover artist Steve Sampson is up to now, check out his web site: http://www.zen31478.zen.co.uk/

    Overkill itself was intended as Marvel UK's challenge to 2000AD. With that in mind, Paul Neary ordered no superhero pages from the US pages were to appear in the title, so the writers had to write those US titles "half and half" - 11 pages with superheroes and 11 pages without. No easy demand when he was also fierce enough about writing and art standards in ways that put the backs up many creators.

    Subsequent market research (that included watching a group of teenagers rip Overkill apart from behind a two way mirror) indicated our target audience expected to see superheroes in a Marvel Comic and it was shooting ourselves in the foot not to include them. The scheme was quickly dropped and Death's head soon took rightful prominence in Overkill as a result.

    We did have a limited commissioning budget on Overkill and early issues include strips not featured in the US editions by the likes of Dave Taylor etc. Charlie Adlard did a fab two-parter but I am not sure if it ever saw print?

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  2. Is it me or is that Emma Peel?

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  3. Emma Peel, as renvisioned by Cyberdog, maybe ;)

    It seems so bizarre that the actual Hell's Angels would take exception to the character. But it HAPPENED! The joys of copyright, eh.

    Didn't Marvel US end up using M: UK book Plasmer in a legal case with Defiant Comics? I forget the ins and outs of that one - but remember hearing about it a few years ago.

    I have to admit that I too was pretty surprised in the exclusion of superheroes in early Overkill. I can understand the reason though. There is a certain amount of snobbery about Superheroes in general, in UK comics. An attitude that of 'Who needs Superman, when you've got Dan Dare'. 2000AD in particular have always very publicly held up this policy of 'NO COSTUMED HEROES' as if they were somehow above that.

    I personally feel that there is room for both. The fact that so many of 2000AD's best writers have leapt at the chance to leave them and join up with DC or Marvel should illustrate that I'm not alone in feeling that. I'm sure the money was a fair part of that decision also, but even still...

    Sure, I love Dan Dare. I am bloody proud of the sci-fi heritage in our comics, but I also think that Superhero comics are no more or less inferior, in the hands of a good writer.

    That Charlie Adlard two-parter you mention, John - was that a new strip in its own right or an existing character?

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