On this day, 13 May 1978: Starlord
On this day, 13 May 1978 … I was a sci-fi kid although oddly didn’t start reading 2000AD until I was 10 in 1980. The Year of the Starlord was 1978 and I remember being bought one or two copies of it – strange because it was supposedly aimed at an older readership than The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, but it’s possible that that gave it a classier, more acceptable look while 2000AD could have been considered trashier or more violent, and maybe my dad even wanted to read it himself. In fact I don’t think Starlord was especially less violent than 2000AD or Battle; all of the strips in this first issue have their share of Action-style punch-ups, attitude and death, but it’s Action with class – the larger pages, higher-grade paper, glued binding and gorgeous splashes of colour give the comic a veneer of sophistication. That’s the overriding memory I have of those occasional issues I read as an 8-year-old. This was a special comic, a window to a more grown-up real world, and to the imaginative worlds of the future and outer space, patrolled by heroes tall and mysterious, both dark and colourful, with fantastic guns and costumes – most notably John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s Johnny Alpha, Strontium Dog, one of the all-time British comic greats whose latest adventures even today are impossible for me to read without a thought back to his origins and earliest incarnation here in Starlord.
A truly excellent comic. Happy Birthday, Starlord. Watch the stars!