A child­hood dream comes true for comic artist Mike Perkins

Comic Heroes - - Column -

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.

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