Back in the day, the Black Library (Games Workshop’s publishing wing) used to produce a monthly comic called – funnily enough – ‘Warhammer Monthly’. In it tales were told of characters created within GW’s two parallel yet unconnected game universes, that of the fantasy world of Warhammer and the apocalyptic dystopian vision of the far future, Warhammer 40,000.
An iconic character from those heady creative times was Ephrael Stern, Sister of Battle, the heroine of the ‘Daemonifuge’ strip – and later award-winning graphic novel – created by legendary comic book artist Kev Walker. In the 41st millennium Ephrael fought against the insane corrupted servants of the Dark Gods, effectively a living weapon against Chaos. Her nemesis-turned-ally was Silas Hand of His Imperial Majesty’s Inquisition. The strip ultimately ran to three books, although the last ended abruptly only part way through when the Black Library ceased production of the comic.
For the bumper landmark issue 63, however, as a Christmas special popular characters from the two game worlds swapped places, just once, to see how things might have been. Hence the doomed Dark Elf Malus Darkblade became the female Dark Eldar Maless Darkblade, the Titan god-engine Imperius Dictatio became a steam tank battling skaven in the beleaguered Empire and the Blood Angels Space Marines journeying on their noble Bloodquest became blood-obsessed creatures of an altogether different order in the Northern Wastes of the Warhammer World.
Having had a couple of strips appear in WHM and its sister publication Inferno! I had been fortunate enough to be asked to pitch for the Christmas special. The character that intrigued me most was Ephrael Stern and, at the time, I was keen to write something set in the sub-world of Mordheim, a millennial madness skirmish gaming supplement set five hundred years in the past of the Warhammer World. A new warband had been created for this setting, that of the Sisters of Sigmar, and Witch Hunters also abounded in the game. The parallels were just too obvious and so was born, ‘Ephrael von Stern – Sister of Sigmar’.
When the final comic hit the stands I was thrilled to see the images Patrick Goddard had produced, with Dylan Teague and Lee Townsend on inking duties. But what delighted me even more was that the strip ran first in the comic and also appeared on the cover, this time with Len O’Grady colouring.
So, I present here for your delectation, the cover of warped Warhammer Monthly #63 and two pages of strip from Ephrael von Stern – Sister of Sigmar’.
Images from the Black Library’s Warhammer Monthly comic are the property of Games Workshop Ltd, and used with permission. Copyright © Games Workshop Ltd, 2007, all rights reserved.