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Crisis (comic)

From Academic Kids

Crisis was a British comic published from 1988 to 1991 as an experiment by Fleetway Publications to see if intelligent, mature, politically and socially aware comics were saleable in the United Kingdom.

As a 2000 AD spin-off, it was initially science fiction based. It began with two stories: Third World War, by Pat Mills and Carlos Ezquerra, extrapolated some of the effects of global capitalism on the developing world into the near future, as seen through the eyes of a group of young conscript "peace volunteer" soldiers; New Statesmen was a "realistic superhero" strip by John Smith and Jim Baikie. Third World War later moved on from developing world topics to minority issues within the UK and intruduced two new artists, Sean Phillips and Duncan Fegredo, while Mills took on co-writers including Alan Mitchell and Malachy Coney.

When New Statesmen finished it was replaced by two contemporary stories: Troubled Souls by Garth Ennis and John McCrea, set amid the "troubles" of Northern Ireland, and Sticky Fingers, a flatshare comedy by Myra Hancock and David Hine. Troubled Souls was Ennis's comics debut, and led to a sequel, For a Few Troubles More, and a religious satire, True Faith, the latter illustrated by Warren Pleece.

True Faith and another proposed strip, Skin by Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy, about skinheads and thalidomide, ran into problems with censorship. Robert Maxwell, Fleetway's then owner, withdrew the collected edition of True Faith from sale after receiving objections from religious groups; Skin was dropped after the printers refused to handle it, probably over its harsh language. Skin was later published as a graphic novel by Tundra, and failed to generate any noticeable outrage.

Another casualty of censorship was John Smith and Sean Phillips's Straitgate. Its main character was intended to be a self-obsessed young loner who suffers from delusions and ends up going on a killing spree, but it was toned down until he became little more than a self-obsessed young loner.

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell contributed The New Adventures of Hitler, a speculative story about how the young Adolf Hitler's stay in England might have affected his later actions, which had caused considerable controversy in its original home, a Scottish magazine called Cut. Morrison also wrote Bible John, illustrated by Daniel Vallely, about a series of murders in Glasgow, and his Dan Dare strip (drawn by Rian Hughes) was concluded in Crisis after Revolver folded. Morrison's frequent collaborator Mark Millar contributed a grim prison story, Insiders, drawn by Paul Grist.

Later Crisis included a number of translated European strips, including Milo Manara and Federico Fellini's Trip to Tuluum and a number of short strips by Miguelanxo Prado.

Other creators whose work appeared in Crisis include Simon Bisley, Glenn Fabry, John Hicklenton, Philip Bond, Si Spencer, Steve Sampson, Chris Standley, Peter Doherty, Igor Goldkind, Tony Allen, James Robinson, Tony Salmons, Oscar Zarate, Paul Neary, Steve Parkhouse and Bernie Jaye.

Ultimately it didn't sell sufficiently well to survive and Fleetway cancelled it in 1991. Nevertheless, while it lasted, Crisis broke the mould of British comics by publishing stories which tackled urban struggles, political issues, economic inequality, sexual politics, racial and nationalistic disputes, and cutting-edge speculative writing.

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