It's often thought that The Daredevils was intended to rival Dez Skinn's Warrior, which was likely to be the case. (Dez, an ex-Marvel UK editor, had set up Warrior the previous year.) I remember Alan Moore remarking that he and Alan Davis were in the strange position of competing with themselves, as they were doing Marvelman for Warrior at the very same time they were producing new Captain Britain stories for The Daredevils.
The Daredevils No.1 kicked off with a new cover by Paul Neary, and, inside, a new 8 page Captain Britain episode (which would increase to 12 pages in later issues).
The comic's editor was Bernie Jaye, although Alan had a large influence in suggesting feature ideas which Bernie was happy to accommodate. For example, for the first issue Alan also wrote a six page article on Frank Miller's Daredevil (being a perfect accompaniment to the reprints of Miller's Daredevil strip in the comic), and a regular Fanzine Reviews column.
I get a little annoyed when I hear some fans today claiming that Alan Moore hates fandom. In fact it's complete bol... well, to put it politely, nothing could be further from the truth, as proven in the pages of The Daredevils. Alan had his roots in comics fandom and was always encouraging new creators. With his Fanzine Reviews pages he went out of his way to promote fanzines he'd often paid for himself. This was a big deal for those of us starting out back then. No other British comic was promoting 'zines in this way, but here was Alan Moore giving us free publicity in a comic sold on the High Street.
Another regular feature in The Daredevils was Frank Plowright's News Feature, looking at upcoming American comics. It even promoted those published by Marvel's rivals.
Humour was provided in the form of the Earth 33 1/3rd mini-strip by the ever-brilliant Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett.
There was also an Early Artwork feature, with each issue showing the very early work of top creators such as Dave Gibbons, Garry Leach, and David Lloyd...
The first few issues of The Daredevils also featured serialized Spider-Man reprints by Stan Lee and John Romita, although these were dropped after issue 4 to make room for more British material. The comic was rapidly developing into something unique and unmissable; a publication that not only featured comic strips but embraced them with well written articles and features.
Every issue (except No.3) featured a full colour centrefold poster with new artwork by UK talent. I'll be showing these in more detail in a few days time.
Issue 6 saw the start of a series of Night Raven text stories written by Alan Moore, with art by David Lloyd on the first chapter and Alan Davis in following issues.
The Daredevils No.7 (July 1983) has a personal significance for me because it's where my first professional comics work appeared. Again, this was due to encouragement from Alan Moore who introduced me to Bernie Jaye at a Westminster Comic Mart. Alan bigged me up, Bernie asked me to submit some ideas to her, I sent off a bunch of What If cartoons and they started appearing from issue 7. I'll always be grateful to Alan and Bernie for giving me my first break. Here's that very first one...
Issue 8 saw the publication of a great Daredevil spoof by Alan Moore, Mike Collins, and Mark Farmer. Grit brazenly parodied the Frank Miller Daredevil strips that were appearing in the same comic. This was Mike Collins' first professional work, again thanks to Alan Moore's input. Here it is...
Sadly, despite The Daredevils being one of the most unique and entertaining comics in the UK, it wasn't to last. With sales lower than hoped, Marvel UK pulled the plug with issue 11, merging it with The Mighty World of Marvel the following month. Disappointed, Bernie Jaye and Alan Moore quit, although some new material did continue for a while in MWOM. Other writers took over Captain Britain, Night Raven, and the comics/fanzine reviews.
The Daredevils lasted just under a year, but what a year! If you've never seen it, the issues are worth collecting. Marvel UK went on to produce more new material of course (and I went on to do Captain Wally, Robo-Capers, Combat Colin, and more for the company) but they never did another publication with such a great mixture of strips and comics features.