Thursday, May 31, 2012
Berzerker began life on Gary Carlson's (of Big Bang Comics) spiral notepad during high school way back in 1974. Originally called the Terminator, the character was a cyborg sent back in time to stop sentient machines from killing humans. Sound familiar? That would be because the 1985 movie of the same name shared many common themes with Carlson's idea, although Carlson has chalked this up to just coincidence.
Here is an excerpt of Carlson's original Terminator strip:
Fast forward to 1983. Carlson dug up the character from his archives and renamed him Berzerker, after another Terminator, Deathstroke, appeared in New Teen Titans. The character also had a new look thanks to a depiction of the character by artist Dan Reed on the back of Megaton #1. In 1987 the story was re-written and Carlson's friend Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon) was set to draw the first issue, but Larsen ended up getting a job at AmeriComics and the project was placed on hold. A young Rob Liefeld (X-Force) wanted to draw it, but before that happened Liefeld decided to create Youngblood instead.
Here is Erik Larsen's depiction of Berzerker:
And here is Rob Liefeld's version of Berzerker:
Eventually Angel Medina ended up penciling the first 12-page story of Berzerker, which would go on to appear in the only issue of Battle-Axe magazine, and is reprinted in this issue. Medina's artwork is fantastic in this story. Read it in it's entirety below:
Berzerker's character file:
As good as this was, unfortunately the Battle-Axe magazine tanked and never saw another issue. Carlson revived the Berzerker once again in 1993 this time with Steve Adams doing the pencils, but it is Medina's version that sticks out in my mind as the best, and you can't help but wonder what the talents of Larsen or Liefeld could have added to the Berzerker universe.