THE VIEW FROM A BOARD
A childhood dream comes true for comic artist Mike Perkins
I’ve been drawing Deathlok since I was eight years old.
Not in a professional sense, of course. I’m not Steve Dillon or Sean Phillips who seem to have had gorgeous work published since the moment they left the womb. But for me, even from that early age, there was something visually enticing about the character – something that pulled me towards him. Maybe it’s that sense of punk anarchy that was so prevalent in 2000 AD… and, yes, I know that Deathlok pre-dates the anthology comic but that’s not to say that the Demolisher – as he was otherwise known – could not have easily found a home within its pages.
Here was a comic character who evaded the clean-cut, cleft-chinned caricatures prevalent throughout American comics. This was a soldier who was half dead, ugly to look at, enhanced by cybernetics and with a chattering computerised intelligence constantly informing him of possible outcomes and damages to his system. A unique observation of heroism – uncompromising, unafraid and a little bit cerebral.
I was introduced to him through the pages of the Marvel Two-In-One series during the classic storyline “The Pegasus Project”, although I have a niggling feeling that I must have come across UK reprints of the original Astonishing Tales run before those John Byrne-illustrated issues as I vividly remember the Rich Buckler renditions. It may actually have been the US comics that I came across but with their sporadic distribution throughout Britain it’s hard to be certain. What is irrefutable though is that I was fascinated by the character throughout his many incarnations… and he’s had quite a few.
Now he has a new one
I’ve been given the task, alongside writer Nathan Edmonson, to launch a new Deathlok series. I have to say that I’ve left enough hints with everyone at Marvel that I’d love to take on Deathlok and try to raise him into the higher echelon of heroes at the company but it’s not until you’re given the keys to such a vehicle that you’re sure that the nudges and intimations you’ve been giving have fallen on open ears. But they have! I’m ecstatic. It’s not just that it’s a childhood dream come true, it’s also a chance to introduce a new player into the Marvel Universe, albeit borrowing some existing tropes.
Having just read the first script I can guarantee excitement and thrills on a par with any James Bond
Here was a character who evaded the clean-cut, cleft-chinned caricatures prevalent in US comics
opening nestling alongside some touching character interludes… but primarily, after the 10-page introduction featuring in the first issue of Original
Sins, we’re attempting to grab the reader by the lapels and thrust them into a world of espionage, secrets, betrayals and action. This is a persona with a clean slate, but accompanied by a history that is anything but spotless.
Join us for this new Deathlok ride, I promise you won’t be disappointed. That eight-year-old boy lives on inside me – especially when I’m sitting down at my drawing board – and at the moment he’s jumping up and down with excitement.
An early Perkins
Deathlok makes his debut in Original Sins.