I’m a Batman fanboy. I like the Green Arrow a lot, although not read much on him. Big fan of the tv show. Always been interested in knowing more about Martian Manhunter after watching the Justice League animated series. Judge Dredd is great (give us a Dredd sequel, you bastards!) as are the ABC Warriors and Bad Company and others. I love me some 2000AD.
Yet if I had to pick a favourite comic book character, it would have to be Death’s Head. Not because he is a Marvel character. Don’t give a shit about that Marvel vs DC crap. Being Marvel certainly suits him – he has an irreverence about the mayhem he gets involved in, although that also shows his British origins, I think – but I don’t care what team he plays for. It is the character himself. The all business, ultra violent freelance peacekeeper with the twisted sense of humour and affront to being named a bounty hunter.
Death’s Head. The mechanoid who fought Rodimus Prime and Galvatron, and future Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, and had two run ins with my childhood Doctor, Number Seven (Sylvester McCoy), and more. Not the most intelligent of individuals but quite devious when necessary, in a blunt-weapon-on-legs type of way, Death’s Head was like a mechanoid mountie – he always got his man. You hired him, he got the job done, no matter how many walls he had to break through, heads he had to bust open or hits he had to take. He was damn tough, if not invincible. He had to be rebuilt by his new partner Spratt at one point. He can be broken up a bit too. When he fights Arno Stark, he gets his head ripped off, but his body kicks the crap out of the Iron Man of 2020. He also had a detachable hand. He carries an array of weapons that can be fixed onto his arm. Very handy, yes?
Perhaps I should explain about that. Death’s Head had a quirky way of talking. Often short and sharp, to the point, as any businessman should be. But he often ended statements with questions or added a querying yes or no to a question. “I scare you, yes?” “Should have ducked faster, no?” “Bad day for you, yes? Should never have got out of bed, huh? Let me put you back to sleep.” (These aren’t quotes, by the way. Just things I made up that suit his style).
It is amusing to read but really added to his unique behaviour. He’s an oddball, even for a heavily armed robot who lives for profit. He also has strict codes and a very practical attitude to, well, everything. Never take things personally. Don’t get mad, get paid. Oh, he would whole heartedly agree with the Joker’s comment: If you’re good at something, never do it for free. Even lunatics make sense sometimes, no?
So credit where credit is due, the two creators of Death’s Head are Simon Furman and Geoff Senior – the writer and artist respectively. Apparently he was only meant to be a minor character in the Transformers’ world, yet after Geoff Senior had worked out the appearance, they knew he had to be something more. He looks great. Kind of like a robot devil – something which is highlighted in one story where a criminal refers to him as El Diablo. Simon Furman is a name that means a lot to me too. He worked on Transformers comics in the UK, then got promoted to running things in the US because of how good a job he had done. He used the new characters from the 1986 movie really well and wrote a brilliant storyline for the Transformers facing Unicron. Different to the one in that movie, and elsewhere I believe. Much better too. I wrote about it before: Me, Grimlock, Understand Genetics
Death’s Head came from good parents and deserved a better run. From what I’ve read, Furman and Senior both love the bastard and have tried repeatedly to bring him back. If he ever got into one of the Marvel movies somehow, that would be my true fanboy moment. I might literally squee.