Warrior #1 classic comic review – the UK anthology that launched Legends The UK anthology title that launched legends.

January 12, 2021
Louie Fecou 0
Comics
4

Summary

Warrior is often a forgotten footnote in comics history, but for the true comic book fan, it has to be seen to be appreciated.

4

Summary

Warrior is often a forgotten footnote in comics history, but for the true comic book fan, it has to be seen to be appreciated.

Way back in March of 1982, the UK comic book scene was rocked by the debut of Warrior magazine. With 2000AD still a runaway smash hit with fans, a new anthology title in a similar vein was bound to happen. Warrior #1, though, was pitching things differently. Magazine sized, all in black and white and monthly, this comic seemed to be aiming for a mature audience, before comics knew what a mature audience was.

Edited by Dez Skinn, and published by Skinn and Graham Marsh, the book would have a who’s who of creators on board, and more importantly, the creators would own their own content, something that even back in ’82 was a point of contention.

The first issue would contain 7 stories that range from superheroes to fantasy — a format that had worked in UK comics for decades. As well as an editorial page, there would also be two pages at the end of the book that showcased the talents working on the title.

Now as with all anthologies, the quality would vary, however, there would be the debut of two series in this first issue that would probably change the face of comics forever, and both were written by a then largely unknown Alan Moore.

Warrior #1 would hit the ground running with “A Dream of Flying”, the first part of the Marvelman story that would move from publisher to publisher, in a decades-long controversy that still has never seen closure. That may be a story for another time. In the meantime, readers were blessed with an intriguing superhero mystery that has incredible artwork from Garry Leach. Leach would exit the strip early, being replaced with Alan Davies. The style of this story sets the tone for Warrior and is followed by a 4-page text piece that explains the history of Marvelman to new readers.

Next, we have “The Spiral Path” from Steve Parkhouse, a beautifully illustrated fantasy folklore story in the same vein as Conan.

“A True Story” is the next offering, from Steve Moore and Dave Gibbons, and odd throwaway 2-page sci fi tale, that owes a lot to Tharg’s Future Shocks.

Next on the menu is another Steve Moore penned tale, this time with the unmistakable brooding artwork of John Bolton. “The Legend of Prester John” is set in 1228 against the backdrop of the Sixth Crusade.

After a full-page ad for back issues of Hammer House of Horror, a previous publication from Quality Comics, we get our first glimpse of another comic book classic, that would go on to attain incredible respect in the annals of comics history. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd introduces us to the oppressive UK of 1997, complete with the stunning negative space artwork of Lloyd, who’s mask design for V continues to be used today all over the world where ever protests are arranged. V for Vendetta would eventually see completion through DC Comics, years after the cancellation of Warrior.

The next strip is once again written by Steve Moore, with illustrations again from John Bolton. With its roots firmly in Hammer Horror, Father Shandor Demon Stalker is a tale of a demon hunting hero in 19th Century Europe.

Finally, Pedro Henry (Alan Moore?) and Steve Dillon collaborate on the sci-fi comedy adventure Laser Eraser and Pressbutton, in a violent romp with cyborgs and assassins.

Warrior magazine would run for 26 glorious issues, but it would be plagued with controversy and corporate hurdles that would eventually bring the magazine to its knees. The title would win 17 Eagle awards, but despite its reputation for quality storytelling, the legal wrangling over the rights to Marvelman, diminishing sales, and creators often missing deadlines, would bring about its eventual cancellation.

However, the legacy of characters that first appeared here would evolve into their own franchises, particularly Marvelman, who would become Miracleman, and V for Vendetta.

The roster of stories would change as the issues moved forward, and they are available on eBay and if you are lucky, you can often pick them up in back issue shops or at Comic Marts, so if any of this intrigues you, they are worth a look.

Warrior is often a forgotten footnote in comics history, but for the true comic book fan, it has to be seen to be appreciated.

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