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Toonhound presents...






British Comic Strips
     Crisis - issue one

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                           17th Sept 1988 - 21st July 1990
                           fortnightly / 49 issues

                           Sept 1990 - Oct 1991
                           monthly / 14 issues

   "If it takes off, as it should, this could be
    the most important comic of the decade."

- Time out 1988


 Crisis was Fleetway's politically charged publication from 1988, which dared to
    drag mainstream British comics kicking and screaming into maturity
. At least,
    that was the plan. It was launched as an off-shoot from 2000ad and sported
    the tag-line '2000ad presents...' above its title, and several of that comic's
    artists and writers let their imaginations run loose on the new publication.

    For the first fourteen issues, readers were presented with two big strips.
    Pat Mills and Carlos Ezquerra's "Third World War" focused on a student, Eve,
    who is forcibly enlisted and thrown into the melee of a multi-national war against
    poverty. Incredible to see this comic strip tackling a subject that now, fifteen
    years later, is the center of attention around the world. Then there was "New
    Statesmen", by John Smith and Jim Baikie. This one focused on new genetic
    supermen, known as Optimen, engineered to be the ultimate super-weapons.
    Again, genetic reasearch is one of the new millenium's main points of political
    debate, is it not?

       Eve from Third World War
    More top strips followed from some equally-top talent. There was "Troubled Souls",
    by Garth Ennis and John McCrae which was set in Belfast, and Ennis teamed
    with Warren Pleece to give us "True Faith", which looked at religion and belief
    through modern young eyes. "Third World War" returned for "Book II" and "Book III" 
    and by the end of the comic's second year we even had Grant Morrison's
    "'The New Adventures of Hitler" to stimulate debate and discussion. 
    After issue 49, Fleetway decided to adapt "Crisis" in to a new monthly format.
    Now we were presented with selections of stand-alone strips each month,
    as opposed to those on-going tales. Sadly, it was wound up after just
    fourteen more issues.

    So where did the title fail, exactly? Well, it certainly didn't embrace its
    readership. From the very first issue readers were simply dropped into the
    strips with ne'er an explanation and the most scant of editorial prologues.
    There wasn't even a welcoming page from the creative team, celebrating this
    new fortnightly title and setting out its aims. The comic appeared to be
    preaching to the pre-converted. Indeed, a year down the line it still lurked
    half-heartedly in the shadows on newsagents shelves, waiting to be
    "discovered" by a wider readership who probably didn't know it was
    there for them. And worse, when they did eventually pick it up, many
    must have felt they were arriving late to a party to which they
    were never really invited in the first place!

    Presentation aside, this comic was certainly a brave stab at something
    mature, and it should be applauded for drawing new talent out of the
    underground and leading them to mainstream success, and equally,
    allowing established artists and writers to bring new themes and darker 
    subtexts in to Britain's newsagents. One suspects it opened the door to
    the likes of Vertigo; DC Comics' more sophisticated British cousin which
    launched back in the 1990s. But "Crisis"' failure to engage the masses
    was a crying shame, because the quotes and reviews were actually right:  
    It could have become the most important comic of the decade...


      On the web

       2000ad Online  
       Rebellion have been keeping Crisis memories alive with
       a splendid covers page, in their "prog zone"...

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© Egmont Fleetway / IPC Magazines Ltd / F2008