Friday, 4 December 2015

1991: TOXIC!

From August 1991 and May 1992: What a difference a few months makes... The rise and fall of TOXIC! Punctuation obligatory. 

Toxic! was another part of the Trident-Neptune-Apocilypse axis of brands owned by Neptune Distributors, one-time rival to Titan for the accounts of Britain's specialist stores. The distribution side folded into Diamond (who subsequently acquiured Titan) in 1992. 

Appearing under the Apocalypse banner, Toxic! was the boldest and most ambitious of the new wave of mature readers British titles to spring up at the turn of the decade. Many followed the VIZ formula to deminishing creative returns, Fleetway used 2000AD as a launch pad for various new titles and Marvel mixed reprints with a new UKverse not a million miles from their usual superfare. Toxic! united Tharg's heavy-hitters (Mills, O'Neil, McMahon, Wagner and Grant) to create a new colour weekly, stuffed full of their own creator-owned strips that would, they hoped, supplant 2000AD as Britain's go-to weekly. 

All under the mission statement "The comic throws up", a riff on the pretentious slogan that adorned Marvel UK's STRIP. 

The creators, freed from the shackles of corporate ownership, let rip with an increased quotant of gore, violence and general gruesomeness. All flogged in WH Smith. 

Unfortunately for them, the new publisher lacked both the infrastructure and deep pockets of the Nerve Centre and things soon started to fracture. The scheduling of individual strips became erratic as deadline-doom began to over take the title... And cash flow became an issue as some creators found they didn't get paid.

It all ended suddenly after only 31 regular issues and a few spin-off one-shots.

A year later, readers of the surviving Trident books could pick up the whole run for £12 plus postage. 

2 comments:

  1. not to be confused with the still publishing kids mag TOXIC.

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