Axa (comics)

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The cover to Axa #1 (April 1987), art by Romero
Publication information
PublisherNews International (1978–1986)
Toutain Editor (1983–1984)
Eclipse Comics (1987)
Publication dateJuly 1978 – October 1987
Creative team
Created byRomero
Written byDonne Avenell
Chuck Dixon
Editor(s)Cat Yronwoode (Eclipse Comics)

Axa is a newspaper fantasy comic strip and later comic book featuring the eponymous lead character, which was published in British daily tabloid The Sun from 1978 to 1986. It was created and illustrated by Romero[1] and scripted by Donne Avenell.[2]

Publication history[edit]

After a long run on Modesty Blaise, Romero wanted to create his own original character, and came up with the female fantasy heroine Axa. The strip mixed elements of science fiction and sword and sorcery genres. [3] Axa was commissioned by The Sun newspaper in 1978. The series was designed as a daily three-panel adventure strip; on the advice of his agent, Romero hired Donne Avenell as a scripter; Romero would plot and draw the three panels and Avenell would script the dialogue.[1] As Romero created Axa, he has stated in interviews he prefers the character to Modesty Blaise.[4]

Publication history[edit]

The first strip appeared in the 14 July 1978 edition of The Sun, and would run daily Monday to Saturday until the newspaper abruptly cancelled the strip midway through a story in November 1985.AXA was replaced by Striker, a football strip by Sun journalist and design assistant Pete Nash. [5] The strip was noted for its frequent female partial nudity, especially from the title character, and has been called good girl art.[6] Romero created a total of 2,238 strips in black/white before it was cancelled.[7] The last strip published in The Sun was number 2234, published on November 16, 1985.[8] The storyline was eventually concluded in the album Los Traicionados in 2012, published in Spain.[9]

Romero also produced a longer story in full colour which was published in the Spanish magazine Creepy in issues #52-59 between 1983 and 1984 by Toutain Editor, and later collected in the Axa Color Album; this storyline - written by Charles King - was even racier than the newspaper strips, featuring full-frontal nudity from the heroine. After The Sun cancelled the daily version of Axa, Romero returned to draw Modesty Blaise.

Ken Pierce meanwhile collected The Sun strips in collected editions, and in 1985 he signed a deal to co-publish these with Eclipse Comics for the American market.[10] Pierce also brokered a deal between Romero and Eclipse to provide new adventures in the comic book format for the American market. Chuck Dixon was assigned to write the bimonthly ongoing title, which would feature no nudity and more humour. Pierce, who would edit the series, felt this was a necessary change to enable the book to reach as wide an audience as possible.[11] However, Romero's work on Modesty Blaise knocked the book off schedule;[12] while the first issue appeared in April 1987 the second wasn't released until four months later,[13] and the series was abandoned after two issues.

Another comic book version of Axa was later produced for the Swedish comic magazine Magnum, written by Petter "Pidde" Andersson.[9] The material was reprinted in English in 2000 AD Showcase #4-5 in 1992. The strip was published in a wide number of other countries, including France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Yugoslavia, India and Hong Kong.[14] Syndication rights are currently held by Knight Features.[15]


A holocaust known as the Great Contamination forced the remnants of humanity into the City of Domes. A hundred years later in the year 2080, having grown sick of the regimented and stifling society inside the city, a woman named Axa flees into the untamed wilderness. She begins a new life as a nomadic adventurer in the outside world, meeting various unusual survivors - including the puritanical Middlemen and hideous Mutants. She returns to the City of Domes to find she has passed a test set by the mysterious Director, and is once again sent out into the world, now armed with a sword.

She continued to explore, meeting the reclusive survivalist millionaire Hector Arkady, the underwater feminist society of Sea Dome, the intelligent dinosaurs of the Valley of Mists, Mr. Nero the ruler of the City of Hope, zealot Joy Eden, pirates scourging the coastal Fisher People, the tree-dwelling Sky People, the warring Automators and Mechanics of Junkheap, the deformed Morpho and Grots, the Dispensers of Pill City, the telepathic Lix of Galaland and the alien intelligence Erg.

In her travels Axa was accompanied at various points by Arkady's grandson Jason and the robot Mark Ten. Jason stayed on to help the people of the City of Hope, with gladiator Dirk instead joining Axa and Mark. Mark was damaged battling Eden, while Dirk remained with the Sky People. A repaired Mark Ten rejoined Axa in the Hidden City of the Artisans, where they were also found by Axa's former lover Matt, long believed dead. The trio discover that Axa was a child born to an exiled couple from Pill City. Gala of Galaland created the robot Martha in gratitude for their help as a partner for Mark.

In other media[edit]

In January 2011, a mobile phone game was released based on the Axa character.[16] The game targets mainly Nokia phones, but is written in Java and is therefore expandable to other platforms. Los Angeles-based studio Saturn Harvest announced plans to make an Axa feature film in 2005, with a teaser poster for Axa: Battle for the Serpent Gate released in December 2017.[14] As of 2024 no further updates have been announced for the project.

Collected editions[edit]

Ken Pierce Books[edit]

Title ISBN Release date Contents
Axa - The Beginning · The Chosen 9780912277271 1981 The Sun strips 1-240
Axa 2 - The Desired 9789997475640 1982 The Sun strips 241-479
Axa 3 - The Brave · The Gambler 9789997475671 1983 The Sun strips 480-719
Axa 4 - The Earthbound · The Tempted 9780912277011 1983 The Sun strips 720-958
Axa 5 - The Eager · The Carefree 9780912277219 1984 The Sun strips 959-1158
Axa 6 - The Dwarfed · The Untamed 978-9997475800 1984 The Sun strips 1159-1437
Axa 7 - The Mobile · The Unmasked 9780912277295 1985 The Sun strips 1438-1667
Axa Color Album 9780912277271 1986 Creepy #52-59 strips
Axa 8 - The Castaway · The Seeker 9780912277356 1986 The Sun strips 1668-1915
Axa 9 - The Escapist · The Starstruck · The Betrayed 978-0912277363 1988 The Sun strips 1916-2238


  1. ^ a b Contemporary Graphic Artists. Gale Research Company. 1987. ISBN 9780810321908.
  2. ^ Markstein, Don. "Axa". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "Original "Axa" strip art on offer from artist Romero himself in latest Catawiki International Comic Art Auction". Down the Tubes. December 30, 2021.
  4. ^ "Interview with Enrique Badia Romero: On Modesty Blaise and Axa". Body Pixel.
  5. ^ "Donne Avenell".
  6. ^ Comics: Between the Panels. Dark Horse Comics. October 13, 1998. ISBN 9781569713440.
  7. ^ Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art. Dynamite Entertainment. April 5, 2017. ISBN 9781524101343.
  8. ^ Avenell, Donne; Romero, Enrique (August 30, 1988). "Axa: The escapist. The starstruck. The Betrayed (Unfinished)".
  9. ^ a b "Axa". Harnaby.
  10. ^ "Newsflashes". Amazing Heroes. No. 70. Fantagraphics Books. May 1, 1985.
  11. ^ "Newsline". Amazing Heroes. No. 110. Fantagraphics Books. February 1, 1987.
  12. ^ J. Collier (January 15, 1988). "Axa". Amazing Heroes. No. 133/Preview Special 6. Fantagraphics Books.
  13. ^ "Top of the News (advertisement)". Amazing Heroes. No. 148. Fantagraphics Books. September 1, 1988.
  14. ^ a b "Axa: Battle for the Serpent Gate – movie promotional activity ramps up". Down the Tubes. December 21, 2017.
  15. ^ "Axa". Knight Features.
  16. ^ "Axa Mobile Phone Game".

External links[edit]