Savoy Comics
Lord Horror #3

Hard Core Horror 1—
The Romance of Lord Horror
and Jessie Matthews


Script—David Britton

Art—Kris Guidio / Harry Douthwaite

Cover design—Douthwaite


A Savoy Venus and Tannhäuser Production


ISBN 0 86130 077 7

Hard Core Horror 1

'Over my shoulder goes one care, over my shoulder go two cares...'

Jessie Matthews

First of the five-part Hard Core Horror story cycle, among the most controversial comics of the Nineties; an alternative history of events in the Second World War.

England 1928: the dashing Lord Horror, would-be Member of Parliament, courts star of stage and silver screen, the gorgeous Jessie Matthews. Horror's brother, writer James Joyce, puts in an appearance. Winston Churchill is tormented by Horror's popularity with the electorate and dispatches the police to sort him out. James Joyce unsheathes his razors for his brother.

Also includes text stories by David Britton: The Lung On Mars and The Lung Of Love.

If the first two Lord Horror comics were capricious appendages to the Lord Horror novel, this is where the Lord's adventures in the comics medium really get down to business. Beginning with a picnic on the grass in 1928 and ending on the killing floor of Auschwitz, the Hard Core Horror series and the early Meng & Ecker titles have proved to be the most controversial titles of the 1990s, becoming the first British comics ever to have been banned and destroyed after a legal battle lasting over three years.

Hard Core Horror presents an alternative history of the events of the Second World War. In this telling, the military and political events of the period 1928-45 are overshadowed by the personae of some of the leading figures of the time, visible as in a Magic Realist distorting mirror; Churchill commands his steam-driven Tick-Tock men with a General Jumbo remote control, Hitler appears as a heroin-addicted decadent and, in the first issue, James Joyce takes up the razors in defence of his brother.

Also in this issue, illustrator Harry Douthwaite lends Guidio's artwork an extra patina of Thirties' caput mortuum, the smell of Bakelite and radio valves. He also designed the type layout for the Hard Core Horror covers and the red abstraction of Savoy's Art Nouveau flower logo used as a symbol on the comics. Douthwaite was cover artist for Savoy's edition of The Gas, The Russian Intelligence, the Jack Trevor Story novels and the solemn black and white dustjacket of the Lord Horror novel itself.

In the early Sixties, Douthwaite and fellow Savoy artist James Cawthorn were the only British illustrators contributing to Amra, the landmark American Sword and Sorcery journal. By the mid-Sixties, both artists also featured regularly in the Moorcock-edited New Worlds. Douthwaite provided the earliest illustrations for Moorcock's nascent Jerry Cornelius cycle and a number of drawings for first-run Ballard stories (including the ground breaking The Assassination Weapon). There is in existence an unpublished comic-strip adaptation by Douthwaite of Ballard's The Terminal Beach, also from the 1960s, probably the first Ballard-inspired strip to be produced anywhere in the world.

When Savoy began book publishing in the late Seventies, Douthwaite and Cawthorn were regularly commissioned as illustrators; this pairing is continued in the first two issues of Hard Core Horror which also feature Cawthorn illustrations for Britton's text stories, showing Lord Horror in a death-dealing John Carter/Elric frenzy.



"An accomplished and brilliantly disturbing work of art...(with) extraordinarily vivid work from Guidio...A potpourri of the absurd, the irreverent, and the horrific, stirred with a certain gleefully calculated malice, but (with a) fundamentally serious purpose."

BRIAN STABLEFORD, Other Dimensions


"A tripped out, time-travelling 'romance' between Lord Horror and '20s starlet Jessie Matthews."



"A wonderful piece of twisted history that never was. Kris Guidio is a genius. He seems to have been waiting for something like this to let rip on."



"The scope of Britton's achievement bears justifiable comparison with Hans Jürgen Syberberg's magnum film opus, Hitler: A Film from Germany. There, too, there is an exacting cultural reclamation of theme and material previously considered intractable to creative expression."



"A base, sordid, corrupting evil that perverts our nation... It is a so-called 'comic' book of filth and degradation in the name of art."



"A considerable achievement in graphic art."

BYRON ROGERS, The Sunday Telegraph


"The Lord Horror comics certainly go beyond the bounds of public decency. They should be banned."



"A rapacious alternate history of Lord Haw-Haw filled with violence and vitriol."



"The artwork is dizzyingly forceful, standing head and shoulders above almost all other comics."

RUSS KICK, Psychotropedia


"Executed (by Kris Guidio) in a Beardsleyesque 'yellow' manner—showers of blood and offal mingling deliriously with art nouveau backgrounds; eroticism and elegance merging seamlessly with ultraviolence and sadism."

D M MITCHELL, Rapid Eye 2 (1995 edition)

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