On this day, 10 June 1978: Starlord
On this day, 10 June 1978 … An aircraft protruding from the side of a skyscraper into which it’s just crashed, and people falling to the streets below, could be a chilling sight for readers today but to be honest I didn’t realise that’s what this cover to the fifth issue of Starlord was illustrating until I read the Ro-busters story inside. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a lovely cover: a rainbow of colours and Kevin O’Neill robots and machinery are an immediate draw for me. But the combination of a smoky sky, the knocked-back colour of the building and the black text used underneath the ‘Disaster’ captions to describe what’s going on create the effect of what I thought was a smashed-up spaceship drifting in space. Which all would have been just as exciting!
Kevin O’Neill is one of the definitive Ro-busters artists, but the story inside this week’s issue is drawn by another legend, Ian Kennedy. It’s a great opening episode, in which a US rocket carrying highly-toxic nuclear sludge flies into the side of London’s landmark ‘Midpoint’ building (this story was written only twelve years after the opening of Centrepoint). Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein are soon on the scene but this instalment is as much about their cyborg boss Howard Quartz and his attempt to lever as much profit as possible from the situation. Those who have been reading the continuing adventures of Quartz in recent series of Savage and The A.B.C. Warriors in modern-day 2000AD might suspect he had rather more to do with this particular disaster than is apparent here.
Elsewhere in this issue, it’s a sad day for Gronk fans in Strontium Dog, there are Nazis on the loose in both Planet of the Damned and Timequake, and the human-Jugla Mind Wars continue as the reptilian aliens use their power over the psi-powered boy Arlen to force the human’s warship to crash on a primitive planet. Jesus Redondo’s exotic artwork makes this story a very nice one to read, and reminds me of Return to Armageddon, the epic space saga he drew for 2000AD a couple of years later.