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Warrior

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Warrior No 1

Issue 1 (1982), cover art featuring "Laser Eraser and Pressbutton" by Steve Dillon

Warrior was a monthly anthology for older readers that ran for 26 issues between March 1982 and January 1985. It was edited by Dez Skinn and published by his company Quality Communications.

Skinn, former editorial director of Marvel UK, launched Warrior to create a similar mix of stories to the one he had previously put together for Marvel's Hulk Weekly, but with greater creative freedom and a measure of creator ownership.

The lead strip was "Marvelman", a gritty revival of an obscure and derivative British superhero from the 1950s. Skinn wanted to revive the character in the hope that, once the revival's popularity had been established, he could then publish reprints of the original. The freelancers that Skinn approached to write it declined, but Steve Moore suggested his friend Alan Moore (no relation), who had expressed a desire to write the character in a fanzine. Skinn asked him to write the first episode on spec, which impressed him enough to give him the assigment. Garry Leach was the initial artist, later replaced by Alan Davis.

Skinn approached David Lloyd to create a mystery series in the vein of "Night Raven", which he had drawn for Hulk Weekly. Lloyd independently suggested Alan Moore, with whom he had worked on back-up strips for Doctor Who Weekly and Star Wars Weekly, as writer, and the pair came up with the near-future political vigilante strip "V for Vendetta".

Steve Moore also wrote a number of strips for the title. Under the pseudonym "Pedro Henry" he wrote "Laser Eraser and Pressbutton", a science fiction strip about a pair of assassins. It revived the character of Axel Pressbutton, a psychotic cyborg with a blade for a hand a pleasure button on his chest, who had previously appeared in underground strips by Steve and Alan Moore. Skinn asked Moore to give Pressbutton a female partner, who turned out to be teenage clone assassin Mysta Mystralis. Steve Dillon was the initial artist, although others, including Mick Austin, also drew occasional strips. Under his own name, Moore also wrote "Father Shandor, Demon Stalker", drawn by John Bolton, an occult strip that had previously featured in Skinn's House of Hammer magazine, among others.

Steve Parkhouse wrote and drew a fantasy adventure called "The Spiral Path". After it finished, he teamed up with Alan Moore to create "The Bojeffries Saga", a kind of British working-class "Addams Family". Skinn himself wrote "Big Ben", a Marvelman spin-off drawn by Will Simpson. Mick Austin wrote and drew "The Madman" and contributed some striking painted covers. Other creators who worked for the title included Grant Morrison, John Ridgway, Jim Baikie, Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland.

Although initial sales were strong, for much of its run Warrior was subsidised by Skinn's comic shop, Quality Comics. Its low page rates meant artists could not turn down work elsewhere, but its creator-owned ethos meant fill-in artists could not be hired. Marvel Comics were happy enough for Warrior to feature a strip called "Marvelman", but objected on trademark grounds when Quality published a Marvelman Special. "Marvelman" was pulled from Warrior, and Skinn used the legal dispute with Marvel to cover for the fact that Moore and Davis had fallen out over a proposed deal to reprint their Captain Britain work for Marvel UK. Moore had fallen out with Marvel over their treatment of editor Bernie Jaye, and witheld his co-operation, which meant Davis lost royalties. Eventually "Marvelman" was reprinted for the US market by Eclipse Comics, and continued with other artists, as "Miracleman". After years of legal wrangling it turns out the rights to the character had belonged to its creator, Mick Anglo, all along. In 2010 he sold them to Marvel Comics.

Warrior ended its run with issue 26 in 1985. A final "Spring Special" flipbook issue was published in #76 of Comics International in 1996. "V for Vendetta" was reprinted and completed in colour at DC Comics. "The Bojeffries Saga" later appeared in A1, and in a collected edition from Atomeka Press. Axel Pressbutton got his own series from Eclipse, which included original stories as well as reprints from Warrior.

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