|The classic Freelance Peacekeeping|
Agent. The original... and best, yes?
Artwork by Geoff Senior.
Things were looking up for our favourite Freelance Peacekeeping Agent... that is, until Marvel UK (under editor Paul Neary) launched a line of US-style Marvel UK titles, and decided to completely re-vamp the character....
|Death;s Head II #1 (volume 2).|
Artwork by Liam Sharp.
Death's Head II featured some great stories, and again phenomenal artwork by Liam Sharp... but the character was such a drastic change from the original, losing a lot of the familiar characteristics and quirks that made the original so popular (like ending each sentence with "yes?"). I've always said that I would love Death's Head II if he'd have been a separate character all together, or if the original had have been able to have been kept around... as the character design was awesome, as well as the artwork from Mr. Sharp (and later on Simon Coleby). Still, Death's Head II was a very successful title, and was the highest selling of Marvel UK's American style comics.... up until Marvel UK stopped producing titles in the US a couple of years later.
Little was seen of Death's Head until Marvel introduced a third version in 2005. Marvel featured a poll on their website asking which character fans would like to see again in their Amazing Fantasy title. The choices were Woodgod, the Aquarian, Texas Twister and the original Death's Head. Despite some difficult competition (note the sarcasm, yes?), Death's Head won easily.... and it looked as if we fans were finally going to see the original Death's Head again! Simon Furman was even announced as being the writer... so things were looking good. That is, until the first image of the character was shown online....
|Death's Head 3.0... artwork|
by Lucio Parillo
In 2009, the original made a grand return to the pages of Marvel Comics... but before we go into that, I'd like to talk a little bit about my work on the character....
Now, when I broke into the comics business in 2003... I was fortunate enough to be working for Panini Comics, who now have the license to publish Marvel's characters in the UK. Whilst working on their Spectacular Spider-man Adventures title, I asked editors Tom O'Malley and Ed Hammond if there would be any chance of me doing a Death's Head team-up with ol' Spidey (Simon Furman even agreeing to write it if I could get them to agree on it). Whilst the powers that be couldn't approve it at the time, that didn't stop me from throwing in a few cameos here and there.....
|Death's Head in the Nightmare realm.... from Spectacular|
Spider-man Adventures #115. Artwork by Simon Williams.
|Watch out, Nightmare!! Death's Head attaches his trusty|
axe-attachment. Again, from Spectacular Spider-man Adventures #115.
Artwork by Simon Williams.
|Spidey saves the day, yes? Death's Head looks on with a host|
of other characters (I had to include ol' greenskin as well!!).
|A dream come true, yes? Pencils by Simon Williams,|
inks by David A. Roach. Colours by James Offredi.
|Big guns... pencils by Simon Williams, inks by David Roach. |
Colours by Jason Cardy.
The popularity of these collections led to Panini doing a Dragon's Claws collection.... which led to me producing this piece of work for the book. This is based on a certain Freelance Peacekeeping Agent's guest appearance in issue 5, which was not only re-printed in this collection, but also in Death's Head volume 1:
|Death's Head vs Dragon... based on their battle in Dragon's Claws issue 5.|
Artwork by Simon Williams, with colours by Jason Cardy.
Again, it was a dream come true to draw these pieces... at last, I was an officially published Death's Head artist! However, I still had it in my system that I wanted to draw a comic strip featuring the character.... so, in my own free time I started drawing up a comic strip that I'd always wanted to see... just for fun. These featured Death's Head in battle with the one character that Death's Head comes second place to in my personal list of all-time favourites: the Incredible Hulk.
|The battle I always wanted to see: Death's Head versus the|
Incredible Hulk. Written and drawn by Simon Williams.
|The Monster and the Mercenary... the cover to my Incredible Hulk vs|
Death's Head team-up. Pencils and colours by Simon Williams,
with specially commissioned inks by classic Hulk inker Joe Rubinstein.
|Death's Head.. the King Kong that shoots back! From the|
pages of S.W.O.R.D #1 from Marvel Comics.
Artwork by Steven Sanders, and written by Kieron Gillan.
I hope you've enjoyed my little foray into the life and times of everyones favourite Freelance Peacekeeping Agent. Again, the character is an all-time favourite of mine... and I'm so proud that I've not only drawn him professionally, but in my own way done my bit to keep the character alive and well (and I'll continue to do so as well). And as his various incarnations and most recent appearance in S.W.O.R.D prove to us....
..... you just can't keep a good character down, yes?