Tuesday, January 10, 2012

'Deathlok the Demolisher' origin
Astonishing Tales No. 25, August 1974

One of the more offbeat sci-fi - based comic characters of the mid-70s, and a forerunner to the Cyberpunk heroes of the following decade, was Marvel's 'Deathlok the Demolisher', created by Rich Buckler. Deathlok debuted in the August 1974 issue of Astonishing Tales

Deathlok was inspired to some degree by 'The Six Million Dollar Man', which originated as a made-for-television movie in March 1973, and became a weekly series in January 1974. ('Man' was of course adapted from Martin Caidin's 1972 sf novel 'Cyborg').

Unlike the Six Million Dollar Man, Deathlok operated in a dystopian near-future US marked by decayed cities and a dictatorial government. As well, Deathlok was by no means a hero in the traditional meaning of the word. He was a government-trained super-assassin who had few compunctions about killing his adversaries; even with the relaxed Comics Code standards that were in place by 1974, this was something novel and different from the way things were usually portrayed in Marvel comic books.

Deathlok was one of those strips that the very busy Buckler fitted in when he had the time and energy. While never given his own series during this era at Marvel, the character appeared in a number of different comics, such as Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Spotlight, Marvel Two-In-One, and even issues of Captain America, before going on extended hiatus in late1983.

Since that time, the character has resurfaced in several limited-run series, with middling success. The most recent run, a seven-issue production released in 2010, featured fine artwork by Lan Medina, but uninspired plotting by Charles Huston.

Here is the first episode of the Deathlok saga, from 1974. (Since original issues of the Deathlok comics are very expensive, these scans are taken from the Marvel masterworks compilation published in 2009).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Deathlok is an under-rated character, so its nice to see this story I missed back in the day. Thanks for blogging it up!