Tuesday, September 01, 2009

He could have been someone. A Transformer, maybe.

DH would make a great figure, if those fangs don't gouge someone's eyes out.
(EDIT: I wrote this a couple days ago, before Death's Head became a Disney character! Unfortunately, I was working overtime yesterday and couldn't slap together a post on the Marvel-Disney deal. I am waiting with bated breath to see if Oubliette from Marvel Boy will become a Disney princess, though.)

In the comments a couple days back, Chiasaur11 (who needs to leave a link, if he's not already in the sidebar!) mentioned Death's Head, a Marvel character that has gone through a few different versions. Most of whom I'm not familar with: a third version was introduced a couple years ago in Amazing Fantasy, and I recall seeing Death's Head 2.0 in a lot of ads and covers for Marvel's UK books: he looked like a cross between the X-Men's Colossus and Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer. Pretty metal, but it had the reek of trying too hard to be extreme. Especially since the first version was pretty good from the start.
Quiet, Ben, don't queer the deal.
Created by Simon Furman and Geoff Senior, Death's Head was originally intended to be a throwaway bounty hunter character in Marvel's Transformers comic. But they liked the design too much to just use once, and arrangements were made for his first appearance to be in a one page strip so the rights wouldn't revert to Hasbro. A swell idea, that may have cost DH an action figure...

More after the break!
Sad Death's Head.
The character was a time-travelling, robot bounty hunter antihero; which sounds like just throwing together a lot of "kewl" elements. But, Death's Head somehow transcends that, at least in short bursts: he showed up in Marvel Comics Presents, She-Hulk, and probably most famously, Walt Simonson's Fantastic Four. There's something about him, perhaps the interesting design. Especially the face, which is alternately pointy-scary or mugging and comedic. (Like Deadpool or Spider-Man's masks, DH's face probably shouldn't have any change of expression, but artistic license says it does.) And Death's Head talks funny, or at least funny for comics, ending most of his sentences as questions, yes? Like this, huh? Not annoying at all, yes?

I guess Death's Head was a larger character when he was in Transformers, but was shrunk in an issue of Doctor Who. I want to say by the fifth Doctor, but the seventh may have messed with DH a time or two as well. In the prior issue, the Doctor also as much as calls DH a soulless automaton, incapable of learning, at least in terms of personal growth; and tells the uncaring robot that he will just go on forever, doing the same things, over and over and over. Geez, that's a little harsh, Doctor; what did robots ever do to you?...oh, right.

(Actually, that may be not be accurate: how many Dr. Who monsters are bona-fide, 100% non-organic robots? Both the Cybermen and the Daleks have organic components. And I don't know if someone who had K-9 would be so unsympathetic to robots.)

Panels from Death's Head #9, "Clobberin' Time!" Written by Simon Furman, art by Geoff Senior. Cover by Walt Simonson!


chiasaur11 said...

As a matter of fact (embarrassingly enough, in this case) I don't have a blog, or anywhere else to hang my proverbial digital hat. Thus, the lack of a link.

Thanks for the offer, though.

(Huh. Word verifacation was a scifi reference. Mentats, of all things.)

SallyP said...

Oh Googum, I'm sure that you wrote some wonderful commentary, but I'm afraid that I took one look at Death's Head's adorable little smile, and completely lost my mind.