Armored Road Police, 1993

The thing that first leaps to mind when I look back on this short project wasn’t the work itself, but a review that was published in The Comics Buyer’s Guide. I remember it so well I can quote it from memory:

Eternity Triple Action #1 is an anthology title with three ongoing series: Gigantor (writer Dan Danko, artist William Jang), Amazon Gazonga (writer/artist Jason Waltrip), and Armored Road Police (writer/artist Tim Eldred). Armored Road Police is well-drawn.

That’s it. That was the entire review. It has that rare quality of saying the most with the words that were left out.

Road Police was the last project I started in my home state of Michigan before moving out to Los Angeles, CA in early December 1992. I’d never lived in another state before, so this was a real adventure. It was happening because Malibu Comics (of which Eternity was an imprint) was rapidly expanding, and hired me to move my small family across the country to become an in-house staff member. I’ve described that in detail elsewhere, so I’ll stick to only what’s most relevant here.

A month or so before the move (if I recall correctly), Eternity editor Dan Danko told me of the plan to publish a monthly anthology with three ongoing features (8 pages apiece) that all had an anime/manga feel. The title would be Eternity Triple Action (which aped a Marvel series from the 70s) and he invited me to submit a concept for it.

That wasn’t difficult at all. In my second year as a working pro I developed several story ideas. One of them was The Last Blue Eagle, which is my newest project as I write these words. Another was an action/comedy about a bumbling police unit in a high-impact future in which climate change (referred to back then as ozone depletion) has drastically changed mass transit. Taking my cues from a popular anime title at the time (Mobile Police Patlabor), I gave them a flying mecha and called the story Armored Road Police.

I wrote it up as a 4-page proposal with a single illustration (intentionally cartoony) and sent it around to whoever I thought might be interested. Nobody was, so it went into the morgue. When Dan described what he was looking for, I pulled it out and offered it up. He said yes, and suddenly an old idea was new again.

I developed it further, refining the characters and choosing an opening story from my roster of plot scenarios. From there, things moved fast. After laying out the first episode, I finished the art for all eight pages (plus an introduction) in just one week. I wrapped it up on December 2 and put all other work aside for the big move on December 6.

At some point, I decided to set the story in Los Angeles because it was so notorious for its snarl of freeways and never-ending traffic. I drew cityscapes that were based only on what I’d seen in movies and TV shows, and was kind of amazed to find that I’d made the right choices once I saw the place with my own eyes. I didn’t magically capture any specific architecture, but my urban sprawl of low-rise buildings was everywhere to be seen. Speaking as someone who has lived in L.A. for over three decades, the only thing I’d do differently now is add more trees and a small number of tall buildings poking up like weeds. Otherwise, good as is.

By the way, the traffic here lived up to its worst reputation. Commuting long distances in slow traffic is something you learn to live with, or it will destroy you. When I think of all the hours I lost sitting in a car rather than at a drawing board, it’s tragic. The only way to beat it is to live close to where you work. When I could finally make that happen, everything changed for the better. The very best solution is to become a freelancer, so you only have to commute from room to room. But I digress.

Once I got settled into my new home, splitting time between other comics during the day and my own on nights and weekends, I figured out how to weave a schedule that allowed me to jump between Road Police, Captain Harlock: the Machine People, and Robotech: Return to Macross, somehow keeping them all on schedule. (I also wrapped up work on Invid War and Grease Monkey during this time. It was pretty crazy.)

Road Police was a lot of fun to work on, and quite different from the other titles. More realistic and down to Earth, grungy and satirical. It was one part sitcom, one part anime, and one part police procedural (a term that hadn’t been invented yet). I thought it could go on for a long time and always feel fresh to me, but there were some unfortunate factors that would prevent that from happening.

As you saw in the Buyer’s Guide review, I shared Eternity Triple Action with two other comics. Neither of them was anything I would choose to read myself. I did lettering for both of them, so I got a close-up look and didn’t like what I was seeing. The thing about an anthology title is, you’re only giving readers a small taste of something in each issue (just 8 pages in this case), so it’s got to be REALLY GOOD to bring them back for more. I couldn’t be objective about my own work, but I didn’t see anything in the other strips that would build an audience. And I was right; the initial commitment to four issues was the limit. Sales weren’t strong enough to go any farther.

Would I have liked to continue Road Police? Sure! I whipped together a solid story in 32 pages with some of the best art I’d done up to that point (I’m still kind of amazed at it today), and it wasn’t around long enough to become a burden. I thought it absolutely should have been collected into a one-shot afterward, but everyone at Eternity just sort of moved on and forgot about it. Regardless of how it ended, or how dated some of the details are now, I’m still very proud of this little side quest. I present it to you with no hesitation.


The Proposal (July 1990)

Click here to read all four pages


The Story

Click here to read all the pages


Production dates
Episode 1: late November 1992
Episode 2: mid January 1993
Episode 3: late Feb/early March 1993
Episode 4: late March 1993



Production Gallery

Bruiser sketches


Bruiser finished design


Main character design development






Ad concept feat. Captain Brunt



Eternity Triple Action #1, March 1993

Each issue had a “flip cover.” Gigantor was always on one side, and the other two titles alternated.
Therefore, Armored Road Police got two shots as a cover feature


Eternity Triple Action #2, April 1993



Eternity Triple Action #3, May 1993


Eternity Triple Action #2, July 1993


For my last cover, I wanted to satirize the oversexualized look of female superheroes
(and inking styles) of the 90s. And how I personally felt about them.


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