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19 May 2024

UPDATE: Cuirass (Harrier comics) - a puzzle!

 I was set a puzzle recently by friend of the blog Robert Hardingham and I thought I'd share it here for posterity.

Rob's collecting Harrier comics (a line of comics I really should cover more on the blog but this is in fact their inaugural mention) and was interested in a title call Cuirass. He was interested in know if I thought issue #4 of the title had ever been published. Issue 1 is easily available on ebay... 

and cover images for issue 2 & 3 can be found on the 'my comic shop' website here

But what about issue 4? It was supposed to be a 4 issue mini-series after all. I decided to look back through some contemporary fanzines to see if I could find any reviews / mention of Cuirass #4. 

Speakeasy seemed my best bet and this is from page 61 of Speakeasy issue 86/87 [a combined issue] for June 1988 it says "...Harrier have announced that due to the low orders for the Cuirass title it will not get past issue one. Martin Lock publisher of Harrier put it down to the lack of support in the market for first issues. "There was a time when you could expect a new title to have a high sale for the first issue, but Cuirass #1 was lower than the orders for that month's Barbarienne". Martin says he is reassessing his marketing strategy.

I then thought I'd also have a look at a (then) contemporary comic price guide as well just to see if that had any listings for Cuirass - and it did! Just the first issue though.

So, that seems pretty clear - just the one issue of Cuirass. That doesn't quite solve the mystery of where the images for issue 2 & 3 came from though. I'll have to assume some sort of promotional catalogue, but even then I'm surprised that the images are in colour, I'd have expected them to be in black & white (given the print options available back in 1988). 

one of the comments on the original post about this comic highlighted the existence of a Harrier 'preview' comic. There's more than one Harrier preview comic available, but this one...
seems the most relevant to my enquiries. One ebay seller has helpfully included a scan of the back page of the comic, which looks like this...

and there they are! Those colourful image of issue 2+3 (and a draft cover for issue 1). So, it seems to me that this advert is the only 'proof' of the existence of issue 2&3. And we know from Martin Lock's contemporary comment that issues 2&3 were never published. Mystery solved!

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