ABC Warriors : A Potted History 7 of 6
(One-shots, spin offs, solo stories and other media)
So, clearly it was kismet and very fitting that this should actually by 7 parts and not the 6 I had originally thought, clearly destiny is an insurmountable force and nothing to do with the fact that I can’t plan for toffee. Hence, we have an article titled like a dyscalculic Star Trek Villain.
As you would imagine, the popularity of the series has meant here has been the odd spin off and one parter here and there. But considering how long the Warriors have been around, no quite as many as you would expect.
First off we have “Old Red Eyes Is Back” from the 1983 annual. Not really an “ABC Warriors” story, but a “Ro Busters” tale, notable for the inclusion of Joe Pineapples. Alan Moore (you know….. HIM) scripts and art by Bryan Talbot on his first work on the characters, still showing his underground comics roots. In summary : Hammerstein gets a clout across the head and begins reliving the big war. Joe Pineapples is now working as a police marksman and instructor, but is hired to bring down his old comrade. Moore has Ro Jaws, Hammerstein, Joe and Mek Quake down pat, good fun, Talbot’s interpretation of the characters is more cartoony than we’d see in the “Nemesis” books, but as far as I’m concerned, he can get away with anything.
Very different in tone from the ’83 annual “Ro-busters” tale, Moore’s next work on the characters was in the 1985 2000ad annual. A proper “ABC Warriors” strip this time, superbly drawn by Steve Dillon and beautifully coloured by John Higgins. Set during the Warriors’ first Mars mission, Moore crafts a tale of man’s disregard of indigenous lifeforms and their willingness to destroy in the name of progress. Hardly original, but well executed and worthwhile reading nonetheless.
The short lived “Diceman” gaming magazine had a game where you played Hammerstein against the Volgs, rather spiffy Steve Dillon art, can’t speak for the Pat Mills scripted game, but it looked nice.
Deadlock appeared in a team up with his master Nemesis in the 7 part (8 with prologue wizards and warriors) “Nemesis & Deadlock : The Enigmass Variations”. The chums appear at a wizards / sorcerers / mystical beings conference (you can dress it up, but that’s all it is), in a recreation of “10 Little Indians” they start popping off until the murderous culprit is revealed . Unfortunately, it’s a bit pants. Carl Crichtlow’s art is muddy and indistinct, the plot is laboured and the script is painful to read. Avoid. It’s so bad I’m not even going to put a piccie of it in.
“Blackblood : Dishonourable Discharge”, by Pat Mills and Kevin walker. A blackly humourous and wonderfully illustrated tale of Blackblood’s origins published in the 2000ad winter special 1992. It’s pretty much as you’d expect, slight, but well executed nonetheless.
The 1996 sci fi special brought us a Pat Mills and Tom Carney Joe Pineapples tale. “Joe Pineapples Greatest Hits” follows our hero on an assassination. Carney does a Bisley impression and Mills ‘phones it in. Not bad, but just a bit pointless. Also, this special is notable for the ever so slightly homo eroitc painting of Joe in the centre pages.
1995 saw Mills and Skinner writing a tie-in “solo” Hammerstein strip set in MC1, mastheaded “Judge Dredd” , drawn by Jason Brashill (what happened to him?) to tie in with that film from the late nineties about that lawman (you know, the one we don’t like talking about). The strip ties Hammerstein in with the civil war between the USA and the Mega Cities late in the 21st Century and features a cameo of the “Cursed Earth” baddie, General Blood and Guts. In portraying Hammerstein as a solider in the robot army that fought the judges, this story seems to contradict, well….. lots. Mills likes his ret-conning, but I’d suggest this was editorial led, and I’d suggest that it has been quietly forgotten.
Speaking of the film that shall not be mentioned (the “Scottish Play” of 2000ad circles) – one of the few highlights was seeing a Hammerstein (without helmet and combat hammer) in live action. he grunts a bit, hangs around Armand Assante (can’t bring myself to call him Rico really) – looks jolly intimidating and Hammerstein ish.
Speaking of TV and film, there was the proposed animated ABC Warriors cartoon, which looked jolly promising, you only saw Hammerstein and Mongrol in detail (the others in silhouette) and the guns were a bit too lasery (I’ve invented an adjective!) for me, but it looked cool.
“Deadlock – Return to Termight” acts as an epilogue to the “Nemesis the Warlock” saga as the mystic ABC Warrior travels to Termight to defeat the serial killer called the accountant – hardly essential but lotsa fun. Appearances from Purity and Nem’ book 1 characters and you can never have too much Henry Flint art can you? Or can you? Let’s have some more to test that hypothesis :
Most of the above can be found in the “ABC WArriors” solo missions collection.
The final spin offs in print were two “ABC Warriors” novels published by Black Flame, “The Medusa War” – Pat Mills and Alan Mitchell (whom I believe worked with Mills on “Third World War” and “Coffin”), and “Rage Against The Machines” credited to Mike Wild on Amazon, but as we can see from the piccie below, Pat Mills & Steve Earles.
I’m going to express my ignorance and state that I haven’t read them, I’ve never really taken to the novelisation of 2000ad characters. I like pretty pictures. Still available for your “Kindle” or other electronic book reading device.
Finally, and probably my favourite 2000ad merchandising are the 3A “ABC Warriors” figures. They cost a small fortune, but they look cool. Especially on my fish tank.
Of course that isn’t the end, there are more strips on the horizon. A Joe Pineapples Mills and Bisley strip (confirmed by the Biz at the last Cardiff Comic Con in March) and the next chapter in the regular strip, the climactic (?) showdown with Howard Quartz.
As much as the strip has had a bumpy time; particularly through the nineties and early noughties; you can’t fail to enjoy the sight of robots beating each other up. That, coupled with the characterisations and some mind blowing art have ensured the Warriors popularity.