Forty years and one week ago, an amazing science fiction themed comic landed on newsagent counters. It had some compelling features, some of which are still running today, crisp paper and jazzy painted artwork. This was Starlord.
Edited by 2000ad founder Kevin Gosnell, this new weekly from Fleetway applied a similar dynamic to a publication with higher publication values. Readers were introduced to Planet of the Damned, Ro-Busters, and Strontium Dog among other features. I think I enjoyed Timequake, about an agency keeping history on track. it gave us art by the likes of Carlos Pino, Dave Gibbons, Jesus Redondo and Carlos Ezquerra.
Naturally, this kind of thrill-power couldn’t last. Somewhere in IPC it was decided that two sci-fi comics split the market, One had to go - and it was very nearly 2000ad, home of Judge Dredd. After all Tharg’s zarjazz mag didn’t sell as many copies. But on the other hand, Starlord was damned expensive to produce. Those extra sheckles tipped the scales and after 22 issues, Starlord was merged with its big sister. Selected features moved to the bog paper pages of 2000ad with Prog 86. Editor Gosnell began developing the similarly ill-fated Tornado. However, Johnny Alpha and Hammerstein and Ro-Jaws retain a cult following.