A Brief History of Starlord

In December 1975, IPC Competitions Sub-Editor Kelvin Gosnell wrote a proposal to the head of the company's Boys Comics department, Jack Le Grand, suggesting a weekly science fiction title. Gosnell had seen the excitement being created by the forthcoming wave of new science fiction films, particularly the Star Wars movie, and felt that IPC should capitalise on this with their own launch. Le Grand dismissed the idea, citing IPC's traditional wisdom that sci-fi simply did not work. Pat Mills and John Wagner had recently managed to secretly release Battle Picture Weekly onto the market,  bypassing the old hands in the upper echelons of Boys Comics. Le Grand was still fuming over this slight and wanted to regain control. Mills' follow up to Battle, the new weekly comic Action, was in pre-production, and would shortly cause a stink all of its own, so for the time being, sci-fi was off the agenda.

By 1976, Battle was an established success, Action was the company's top seller and Gosnell's disregarded memo had been revived by Mills and Managing Editor John Sanders as 2000AD. The comic's development was radically altered following the self-imposed banning of Action in September, following a string of protests about its violent content. 2000AD was neutered, its more graphic content removed, and any reference to true life or events altered into fantasy. Even so, 2000AD did not entirely escape censure when it finally hit the shelves, earning more outraged early evening television from Frank Bough, who's hatchet job on Action contributed heavily to its ban. Mills walked away from his editorial role, and Kelvin Gosnell was installed at the helm.

IPC were pleased with 2000AD's progress, and initiated their tried and tested policy of "hatch, match and dispatch". This method saw a successful title imitated by a new launch in a similar vein, the two titles would then be run in parallel for a brief period, when the least popular of the two would be folded into the more successful comic; innovate, imitate and assimilate.

So it was with to be with 2000AD. Gosnell was put onto the development of the new title, whilst his assistant editor on 2000AD, Nick Landau, stayed on the main title to organise the day to day running. Gosnell remained in nominal control, but most of his efforts were channelled towards the new title, effectively making Landau 2000AD's editor. This decision would result in some grave repercussions for both titles and the men running them, but all of that was some way off. For the moment, Gosnell's thoughts were firmly with his new title, Starlord.


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