Tuesday, 27 December 2011

David Hine and the Marvel UK Migration

Continuing with the New Statesmen thread, here's a terrific piece that David Hine did for the title in 1988. Dave seems to be known primarily for his writing skills these days with The Bulletproof Coffin, Spider-Man Noir, Spawn, District X and the forthcoming The Darkness under his belt, though he was originally known more for his illustration work. This was up until his universally celebrated graphic novel Strange Embrace, which he wrote and drew. This has recently been included as one of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die publication by Paul Gravett.

Rian Hughes' CRISIS cover design
Back in 1988, with the advent of Fleetway's new title CRISIS, the editor Steve MacManus had hired Rian Hughes and myself to design the comic between us. Rian designed the Third World War half and I designed the New Statesmen half. It's interesting to note that it was originally going to be called 50/50, to tie in with the numerical nature of 2000AD's title (I still have a logo rough for that somewhere). Rian designed the CRISIS front cover and logo of the title itself, which still stands up today as an outstanding piece of comic-book design.

Having gladly accepted my New Statesmen duties there were a few things that I suggested to Steve that he liked the idea of. One of them was to hire two renowned fashion designers to design costumes for some of the 'Optimen' in the strip, (which I'll talk about later). Another was to ask David Hine to illustrate the fortnightly short story page. 

At this time Dave was mostly working for Marvel UK and a few of their contributors had managed to migrate to 2000AD, namely Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, who Dave had collaborated with whilst inking the Zoids strip. Steve Dillon and Barry Kitson were other Marvel UK artists who'd crossed over and were both working on Judge Dredd as was John Higgins, though he had always worked for both companies. In the years that followed it's quite interesting to see the pattern of migration from Marvel to Fleetway. Richard Burton, editor of 2000AD, Alan McKenzie the associate editor and myself had all worked for Marvel UK and then the migration continued; Kev Hopgood, Will Simpson, John RidgwayNick Abadzis, Dougie Braithwaite and John Tomlinson. With John initially writing and then being asked to do editorial work on the 2000AD annuals, yet more Marvelites followed. Geoff Senior, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Anthony Williams, Gary Erskine and Henry Flint.

Anyway, having gone off on a bit of a tangent there, I will be posting some of Dave's illustrations from both, CRISIS and 2000AD as and when I find them. If you want to keep up with what he's doing right now though, check his Waiting for Trade blog, right here...


  1. It's a good point - when one looks at 2000AD's mid-90s resurgence after the early 90s slump. the influence of the Megazine is often highlighted (where David Bishop developed some of the new talent like Robbie Morrison, Simon Fraser and Simon Davis) but people like Dan Abnett and Henry Flint were also the mainstays of this revival and they came in from Marvel UK. Marvel UK folding in 1994, was a coincidence, but it did free up some talent to help refill the rosters at just the right time.

    Also Marvel UK was a big influence on Warrior, where Dez Skinn very explicitly tried to come up with a formula for success based on what had worked at Marvel UK. Getting Alan Moore onboard was just a happy accident.

    You can see from your list the clear ongoing influence on 2000AD over the years and how it helped not only keep things fresh but also cultivate a lot of its biggest talents. So it is real pity that there isn't anything like this that gives comics creators their first professional gigs - it'd be a real shot in the arm for the industry.

  2. Yes, there were also artists like John Higgins who happily worked for both, Marvel UK and 2000AD. Steve Dillon was someone that I forgot to add to the list (I should amend that). He was working on Doctor Who for Alan McKenzie, during my early days at Marvel. As was Rahid Khan who ended up as the designer on Steve and Brett's Deadline magazine.

    Sometimes things worked the other way round too. Ian Rimmer, Simon Furman and Richard Starkings all came to Marvel from IPC/Fleetway.

  3. I've amended that. It's so less final than print, innit! :)


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