You Say You Want a Revo­lu­tion?

Fea­ture Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War talks to Andy Lan­ning and Alan Cowsill about set­ting 2014’s first cross­over, Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War, on Bri­tish soil

Comic Heroes - - Front Page - Stephen Jewell

FWe’ve got a rich and com­pre­hen­sive

con­ti­nu­ity of purely UK-based


or­get In­hu­man­ity. The most highly an­tic­i­pated event book of the year as far as Bri­tish True Be­liev­ers are con­cerned has to be this month’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War. De­vised by co-writ­ers and for­mer Marvel UK staffers Andy Lan­ning and Alan Cowsill, the eight-is­sue se­ries will see the re­turn of Marvel’s erst­while Bri­tish im­print’s much-loved ’90s sta­ble of char­ac­ters, namely Death’s Head, Mo­tor­mouth, Knights Of Pen­dragon, War­heads and Dark An­gel, two decades af­ter the am­bi­tious but short­lived comic book line last saw the light of day.

“I was sadly aware that 20 years was scar­ily long and I thought that we should try and do some­thing to mark the oc­ca­sion,” says Lan­ning, who per­suaded Marvel edi­tor Steve Wacker to green-light the project. “It’s been sur­pris­ing for them as quite a few people have been com­ing out of the wood­work say­ing how much they loved the Marvel UK stuff. Hope­fully, with the people we’ve got on board, at the very least we can come up with a good rollicking story and keep fan­ning the flames of in­ter­est, so maybe we can do some more stuff later on off the back of it.”

Book­ended by the re­cent Al­pha and the up­com­ing Omega is­sues by Lan­ning, Cowsill and artist Richard El­son, Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War com­prises a num­ber of spe­cial one-shots over the next few months. The co-au­thors are also script­ing Death’s Head for Transformers il­lus­tra­tor Nick Roche and War­heads for Gary Ersk­ine, who ac­tu­ally co-cre­ated the fu­tur­is­tic mer­ce­nar­ies in 1992. Ad­di­tion­ally, Kieron Gillen is pen­ning Dark An­gel for

Di­et­rich Smith, for­mer Marvel UK edi­tor Glen Dakin is tak­ing on Mo­tor­mouth and Rob Wil­liams is writ­ing Knights Of Pen­dragon for Will Sliney and Su­per Soldiers for Brent An­der­son.

“As much as pos­si­ble, we’ve tried to keep a flavour of the Marvel UK fam­ily so we’ve got a core of Bri­tish and Ir­ish writ­ers and artists,” says Lan­ning. “Richard El­son was in­volved dur­ing the early days of Marvel UK and it’s fan­tas­tic that Gary is com­ing back to draw War­heads be­cause his style re­ally de­fined that se­ries. But he only ever drew two and a half is­sues so Gary him­self feels that it’s like un­fin­ished busi­ness. He loved the se­ries and is chomp­ing at the bit to get back into it. And Nick Roche grew up on this stuff, which makes me feel in­cred­i­bly old!’”

With his long-time part­ner­ship with Dan Ab­nett cur­rently on hold, Lan­ning re­alised that he needed a new co-writer once Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War was given the go-ahead. “I work best when I can bounce ideas off some­body else so I was floun­der­ing around in a panic for a while, think­ing, ‘Blimey, I can’t do all this stuff on my own be­cause I don’t know enough about the con­ti­nu­ity in­volved’,” he ad­mits. “I then thought of Alan be­cause he was at Marvel UK for the ma­jor­ity of its hey­day and since then he’s be­come the go-to-guy for ba­si­cally any­thing that’s to do with Bri­tish comics.”

The au­thor of nu­mer­ous Marvel ref­er­ence books for pub­lisher Dor­ling Kin­der­s­ley, Cowsill made the per­fect foil. “I’ve got quite a good knowl­edge of the whole thing,” he claims. “I’ve pretty much read ev­ery­thing.”

Cool Bri­tan­nia

The Marvel UK char­ac­ters’ ad­ven­tures – which were se­ri­alised in weekly an­thol­ogy ti­tle, Overkill, as well as be­ing pub­lished in the usual US monthly for­mat – fused tra­di­tional Amer­i­can su­per­heroic tropes

The idea that they’re slightly kooky and off-kil­ter is what makes them in­ter­est­ing

with more cut­ting edge 2000 AD- in­spired sci-fi. “They were kind of like a strange beast to be­gin with,” re­calls Lan­ning. “In re­search­ing them and go­ing back through the old sto­ries, we’ve dis­cov­ered that there’s a lot of fond­ness for them. There’s a lot of hokey stuff in there as well, but that’s kind of fun too. The idea that they’re slightly kooky and off-kil­ter is what made these char­ac­ters in­ter­est­ing in the first place. The best thing about them is that

It’s a skintight one­sie, made out of a black hole. Who said the Bri­tish had no style…?

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