While recently re-reading some of Captain Britain’s earliest adventures, I found I was beginning to harbor a growing suspicion about his role in the Seventies Marvel Universe. Then when I came to his first official US cross-over in Marvel Team Up 65-66 my suspicion became a conviction, was the Captain Britain of the Seventies meant to be the UK version of Spider-Man?
Grabbing my Seventies Captain trades I started to make notes, and found a list of similarities between Cap and Spidey which seemed to reinforce my conviction. So join me now as I present my light-hearted list of why I believe Captain Britain could have been mistaken during the Seventies for Spider-Man, and remember if I kid I do it out of love for the characters involved.
Parentage – Or lack off.
Peter Parker and Brian Braddock are introduced to us as orphans, Pete’s parents were killed in an air crash and Brian’s died at the hands of the super computer Mastermind. Interestingly they both, unlike some comic book characters, never made the direct choice to become heroes because their parents were dead.
Captain Britain and Spider-Man are both highly intelligent, some might say almost to the genius level. Sadly after the Seventies Cap’s intelligence took a tumble – though to me he still remains a physics genius – while Spidey was never ” lobotomized ” by his writers.
Both our heroes costumes are red and blue and both bear a chest logo that defines who they are. While we’re on looks both our boys in the Seventies were never drawn predominantly muscled, of course Cap’s body mass changed later on but only to rightly represent his change of powers and costume.
Both threatened to quit the day job.
There’s almost a symmetry to these respective Cap and Spidey covers which show them walking away from their superhero personas. Interestingly both have to be reminded of their responsibilities by Spidey witnessing a crime or Cap being berated by Merlyn, to both quickly change their unemployment prospects.
Your problems don’t end when the suit comes off.
Captain Britain and Spider-Man both had turbulent family lives that caused them problems outside their superhero issues. Spidey has his frail Aunt May to look after while Cap had a dependent sister and brother. In a similar vein both had troubled love lives with rejection and misunderstandings from the fair sex aplenty. Last but by no means least both had friends and family turn on them , Spidey mainly with the his Green Goblin troubles and Cap with sister Betsy targeted by villains or his brother Jamie’s racing career used to lure him to his death.
The misunderstood hero.
As well as their rosta of super powered crooks Cap and Spidey both had enemies who had no powers determined to bring them down no matter what the cost. For Spidey trouble was never far away with newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson constantly on his case, while Cap had to deal with the strong-arm of the law in the form of detective Dai Thomas who constantly dogged his footsteps.
So there you go the main reasons I believe Seventies Captain Britain was heading down the road to becoming the UK’s Spider-Man, until the talented team of writers and artists at his helm took him in his own unique direction, laying the ground for his eighties triumphs. If you want to see my thoughts on some of Cap’s distinct seventies adventures then go here.
I’m well aware here a lot of my arguments could apply to Captain Britain and Superman or any one from a whole host of superheroes, but as Cap and Spidey often appeared in the same comic it just struck me as more logical to compare the both of them.
Agree, disagree or think Seventies Captain Britain was a unique hero in his own right. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below,