ABC Warriors is one of 2000AD’s most popular and long running strips, having started in Prog 119 way back in June 1979. However, some characters predate this as they featured in the Ro-Busters stories of 2000AD sister publication Starlord, which begun a year earlier.
The story centres around the khaotic adventures of a group of (usually) seven hardy robots designed to withstand Atomic, Bacterial and Chemical attack.
The roster of artists who have worked on the saga is pretty much a who’s who of British comics – original designs were provided by Kev O’Neill, Mick McMahon, Brett Ewins and Brendan McCarthy and giants such as Dave Gibbons, Simon Bisley, Carlos Ezquerra, Henry Flint and Kev Walker among others have since added their mark. The most recent artdroid to tackle the group is Clint Langley, a remarkable talent who’s digital artistry is, in my opinion, untouchable.
Clint, who also provides the breathtaking art for Slaine, began working on the strip in Prog 1518 back in January 2007. This was the beginning of ‘The Volgan War’ series of books which see the Warriors back on the planet Mars preparing to rescue a special forces comrade known as Zippo from execution. Through a series of dazzlingly illustrated flashback sequences, we see how each of the Warriors have at some point in their past encountered the dashing droid!
During this series, Clint has provided a series of outstanding covers depicting each of the warriors. Among other things, it was my desire to see these actual covers without the text and logos that inspired me to create this blog, meaning that this blog entry is particularly special to me! Thanks Clint!
Above we saw Hammerstein, the heroic leader of the Warriors, with all cannons blazing during the Voglan war. Hammerstein is a war robot of honour with a strong moral compass that the others in his group often deride and, in some cases, despise.
Below is Mongrol, the huge, ape-like Paratrooper droid of the ABCs. His frame is made up of the body parts of other droids after he was mostly destroyed in the Battle of Zarnhem (hence the name ‘Mongrol.’) His hulking body was built by a young female scavenger called Lara who was executed shortly after his reactivation. Mongrol has deep feelings for Lara and will 'smush' anyone or anything who dares sully her memory!
Next up is the galaxy’s coolest and deadliest hit erm… droid, Joe Pineapples. Ice-cold Joe is so accurate with a weapon that he can ricochet a bullet to kill two planet-based targets from high orbit! However, beneath his super cool exterior lies a robot in turmoil. He keeps a human heart in his chest locker and, following a nervous breakdown, has taken to cross-dressing. The beautiful cover below shows Joe’s assassination attempt on Volkhan, leader of the Volgan robotic forces…
Next up is the traitorous Blackblood! Ex-Volgan robot and leader of the infamous Straw Dogs, Blackblood is rumoured to have drank the blood of fallen ABC Warriors during the Volgan War. Though reprogrammed (as far as he could possibly be) to be an ABC Warrior, Blackblood has a turbulent past with the group, openly despising several members (particularly Joe) and betraying them on several occasions…
This is the mysterious Deadlock, spiritual leader of the Warriors. Deadlock is a follower of the Khaos religion which often leads to conflict with the honourable and noble sensibilities of Hammerstein. He is also a Grand Wizard of the Knights Martial, possessing magical powers and psychic abilities which have got the warriors out of many difficult scrapes…
Dim-witted and very dangerous, Mek-Quake is a demolition droid with a penchant for destruction, or ‘Big Jobs’ as he calls it. Feeling betrayed by the warriors, the brainless droid has recently absconded from Broadband Asylum (where he was admitted by his fellow warriors) and has joined forces with Volgan leader Volkhan, probably to do some ‘Big Jobs’ on his former comrades…
Steelhorn has a complicated and very tragic back story. Once an elite droid made from almost indestructible alloy, Steelhorn eventually ended up in a fusion furnace that was being used to destroy superfluous ABC Warriors after the Volgan War. Reduced to a bubbling mess, Steelhorn swore vengeance on the human race for their despicable treatment of his fellow droids.
Eventually ending up on Mars, he was allied with Medusa, the consciousness of the Red Planet which shared his hatred of human kind. After tussling with the warriors, Steelhorn struck up a deal to forge a peaceful coexistence between humans and Martians on the planet before taking his place with the ABCs again.
Following (yet another!) destruction of his body, this time by the fearsome mercenary droids known as the Shadow Warriors, Steelhorn was brought back to life by Deadlock, sporting a new diamond-formed body.
This is Zippo, a special forces droid who we find out has encountered each of the Warriors in the dim and distant past. Now a renegade graffiti artist on Mars known as Z, Zippo has been captured and almost executed by government for inciting the population…
Prog 1616 showcased Volkhan’s comrades following his escape with Mek-Quake from Broadband Asylum. Note the clever inclusion of a traitorous shadow at the bottom of this cover…
Finally for this set of covers we have Ro-Jaws, recently re-united with his ABC mates! This disgusting sewer-droid has found very appropriate work in a robotic public toilet facility on Mars. However, this is a ruse as he is really the mysterious ‘Urban Fox’, fellow graffiti artist and social activist friend of Zippo, who alerted the ABCs to Zippo’s desperate plight…
Thanks to Clint, I also have some bonus images! The first is a preview extra spread from the Volgan War 2 Graphic novel. Clint adds extras to his GN’s which is even more reason to buy them!
The second is the Angel Gang Star Scan from Prog 2008, an image which I sure many of you will have only seen in a very distorted manner thanks to the hard spine of the prog.
Thank you so much to Clint for sending these amazing images. As I said at the start, this blog might not have been here if it wasn’t for these covers and I, and I’m sure many others, appreciate the time he has taken to send so many wonderful images! I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have!
So, a final tanks again to Clint as he's been a very generous supporter of the blog from the start, sending every cover image he's done over the past year within hours of me emailing him. Cheers fella!
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Clint Langley ABC Warriors Special!
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Simply stunning work. And the Angel Gang cover... It's enough to make you cry!ReplyDelete
Thanx for putting these up.
Thanx also to Cliff for sharing.I was lucky enough to meet up with him at the Birmingham Con last year and he has so much time for people.A top guy.The latest Ro-Jaws is just sweet.If people aren't aware you should check out the Slaine and ABC collected editions as I believe they feature extra spreads lovingly donated by Clint...
ive just recently got the volgan war 1&2 books , im a big fan of ABC warriors chronicles of kaos and the black hole being personal favourites , this artwork is great and in my opinion does the characters justice.ReplyDelete
To Clint my hat is off.