In the early 1980s, around the time of the 8 bit home computer boom (Sinclair Spectrum, ZX81, C64, Vic 20, BBC Micro), the British publisher ECC produced a short lived comic based around home computing and gaming. Called ‘Load Runner’ (a nod to the game ‘Load Runner’ perhaps? Or maybe a reference to the ‘loading’ of cassette based programs / games – the standard for the computers of the time). It lasted all of 13 issues. Like most British comics, it was ‘anthology’ based, with several serialised strips running concurrently – most were drawn, but, much like its contemporary, the 80’s reboot of The Eagle, there were also fumetti (photonovel) strips. I assume that the motivation behind the comic was to expand the concepts of some of the computer games of the day – and seeing as the game graphics were extremely basic, there was some sense in this idea. Considering you could get intriguing cover art for a game;
but the reality of the gameplay was like this;
then a bit of artistic licence to expand the concept was a fine ideal. So, what sort of strips were in Load Runner? Well, there was the titular character himself, who alongside his glamourous companion Petra, found themselves in vaguely computer based dramatic scenarios in a virtual world of peril and danger!!!
There was, as mentioned earlier, fumetti! One of the strips was called Time Plan 9, and another was called ‘School for Software’;
which must have been getting some fumes from Grange Hill judging by the body language / posturing of teacher and pupil (love that Teachers wig…)
Then there was the obligatory sports story (‘Load Runner’, despite its slightly different theme, stuck very closely to the tried and tested way of producing a contemporary comic) – this strip was called ‘Andy Royd’. Set in the future (1993), when professional football had changed irrevocably (maybe this was prophetic – the Premier League came into being in 1992….) and robots have replaced humans as the players. However, there is one man (Andy…) who poses as a robot to play in the league and try and save his team – the ‘Dominators’ – from relegation;
But this one has to be my favourite;
There was also a mascot / figurehead for ‘Load Runner’, who was obviously aimed at the demographic. His name was ‘Brainy’;
Anyway, there is some information out there on Load Runner (but not a lot). I would like to point you to the following links;
and all credit to the original scanners.
Here are the complete set of covers for Load Runner 1-13. Found them on ebay (current price per issue? 15 quid…);