Crisis (Fleetway)

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For other uses of the word Crisis in comics, see Crisis (comics).
Crisis
Crisis #1 (Sept. 1988), featuring an image by Carlos Ezquerra of Eve from Third World War
Publication information
Publisher Fleetway
Schedule Fortnightly (1-48)
Monthly (49-63)
Format Comics anthology
Genre
Publication date 1988 - 1991
Number of issues 63, plus 2 specials
Editor(s) Steve MacManus
Michael W. Bennent

Crisis was a British comic published from 1988 to 1991 as an experiment by Fleetway to see if intelligent, mature, politically and socially aware comics were saleable in the United Kingdom. The comic was initially published fortnightly, and was one of the most visible components of the late-80s British comics boom, along with Deadline, Revolver, and Toxic!.

History[edit]

Crisis was Fleetway's response to the success of Deadline. David Bishop, in his Thrill Power Overload, comments "2000 AD had once represented the cutting edge of British comics, but was now in danger of looking staid and old fashioned next to Deadline".[1]

Crisis would offer to make the work creator-owned, which might the chance for royalties and greater copyright control, which was a departure from the way they had done business up until then. They also planned to turn the stories into American comic books which would sell better on the other side of the Atlantic, although ultimately only the first few titles got this treatment and the title moved to shorter stories after issue #14.[1]

"The original concept was a superhero comic that could be sold in America" MacManus recalls. Each issue would feature two stories, both 14 pages long. It was planned to repackage these as individual monthlies for the US market.[1]

As a 2000 AD spin-off, it was initially science fiction based. It began with two stories: Third World War, by Pat Mills and Carlos Ezquerra, extrapolated some of the effects of global capitalism on the developing world into the near future, as seen through the eyes of a group of young conscript "peace volunteer" soldiers; New Statesmen was a "realistic superhero" strip by John Smith and Jim Baikie. Third World War later moved on from developing world topics to minority issues within the UK and introduced two new artists, Sean Phillips and Duncan Fegredo, while Mills took on co-writers including Alan Mitchell and Malachy Coney.

When New Statesmen finished it was replaced by two contemporary stories: Troubled Souls by Garth Ennis and John McCrea, set amid the "troubles" of Northern Ireland, and Sticky Fingers, a flatshare comedy by Myra Hancock and David Hine. Troubled Souls was Ennis's comics debut, and led to a sequel, For a Few Troubles More, and a religious satire, True Faith, the latter illustrated by Warren Pleece.

True Faith and another proposed strip, Skin by Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy, about skinheads and thalidomide, ran into problems with censorship. Robert Maxwell, Fleetway's then owner, withdrew the collected edition of True Faith from sale after receiving objections from religious groups; Skin was dropped after the printers refused to handle it, probably over its harsh language. Skin was later published as a graphic novel by Tundra, and failed to generate any noticeable outrage.

Another casualty of censorship was John Smith and Sean Phillips's Straitgate. Its main character was intended to be a self-obsessed young loner who suffers from delusions and ends up going on a killing spree, but it was toned down until he became little more than a self-obsessed young loner.

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell contributed The New Adventures of Hitler (originally published in Cut, a Scottish arts and culture magazine), a speculative story about how the young Adolf Hitler's stay in England might have affected his later actions. Morrison also wrote Bible John, illustrated by Daniel Vallely, about a series of murders in Glasgow, and Dare, his revisionist take on Dan Dare. Dare was drawn by Rian Hughes, and had started in Revolver, the sister comic of Crisis. Unfortunately Revolver folded before the last episode of the story, which was therefore concluded in Crisis. Morrison's frequent collaborator Mark Millar contributed a grim prison story, Insiders, drawn by Paul Grist.

Later issues of Crisis included a number of translated European strips, including Milo Manara and Federico Fellini's Trip to Tuluum (collected in a trade paperback published by Catalan Communications) and a number of short strips by Miguelanxo Prado. After issue 49 Crisis was published monthly, for 14 further issues, finally ending in October 1991.

Other creators whose work appeared in Crisis include Simon Bisley, Glenn Fabry, John Hicklenton, Philip Bond, Si Spencer, Steve Sampson, Chris Standley, Peter Doherty, Igor Goldkind, Tony Allen, James Robinson, Tony Salmons, Oscar Zarate, Paul Neary, Steve Parkhouse and Bernie Jaye.

Ultimately the comic did not sell sufficiently well to survive, and Fleetway cancelled it in 1991. Nevertheless, while it lasted, Crisis broke the mould of British comics[citation needed] by publishing stories which tackled urban struggles, political issues, economic inequality, sexual politics, racial and nationalistic disputes, and cutting-edge speculative writing.

Third World War continued in 2000 AD in the spin-off series Finn.

Editors[edit]

Stories[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]