Just what were Alan Davis’ plans for Captain Britain in 1991?

If you speak to Captain Britain fans about his time in Excalibur nearly all will agree that the title was at its best when Alan Davis took over the book. With that in mind today I’m going to bring you an Alan Davis interview from 1991 when he was cornered by Marvel Age magazine before his run on Excalibur started, and where he spoke about his hopes for the book and Captain Britain.

The article starts after the cover shot below, you can either read the scanned pages or following them I have picked out some points of interest, so you can get the get the feel of the interview if you cannot read the scans.

Marvel Age issue 100 Alan Davis Captain Britain interview

Yes at one point in time Marvel did allow their comics to reach issue 100 and not reboot them, anyway here’s the interview.

Marvel Age issue 100 Alan Davis Captain Britain interview page 1

 

Page 2

Marvel Age issue 100 Alan Davis Captain Britain interview page 2

Page 3

Marvel Age issue 100 Alan Davis Captain Britain interview page 3

The interview starts with a potted history of Davis’ involvement with Excalibur before promising us  “an ambitious new story line that will reveal the true purpose behind the origins of the team.”  High stakes indeed what were Davis views?

“Editor Terry Kavanagh has asked me to wind up some of the loose ends and make resolutions to certain character developments.” A fair comment, as recent issues of Excalibur prior to Davis’ take over had to me become a bit of a continuity nightmare and full of “funny” stories which certainly didn’t lead to any character development, and often where far from being kind to the team. Marvel editorial were I’m certain probably well aware of this, and while no note is made of dwindling sales I can’t help but feel handing the title over to Davis might have been a kill or cure editorial choice. Luckily they chose well, but back to the interview.

Excalibur and Captain Britain foes Gatecrasher’s Technet were due to return and Davis describes them brilliantly: “They’re basically pretty useless and incompetent: getting into situations where, because of their own clumsiness and lack of planning things fall apart.. ” A true definition of the Technet certainly, and those who read Davis’ Excalibur run will certainly remember he shook them up, and gave them a temporary new leader.

Davis when asked about the plot replies: ” It’s all very complex, I’ve got myself a flowchart of where everyone’s going to be at different points, in different dimensions.”  Looking back this was certainly reflected in Davis’ writing, never where there issues as throw away as recent Excalibur stories had been up to his coming on board, but never where the stories so convoluted that like other X titles fans might feel lost.

Let’s take a look at how Davis planned to handle Captain Britain: ” Although he’s an intellectual Captain Britain’s very quick-tempered and slightly arrogant in his own knowledge”. Plot wise Davis stated “Basically our Captain Britain is a rogue. He’s not done what he’s told.. he’s let his side down and he’ll be in for some penalties.” Davis played his cards close to his chest here as he wrote in Cap’s cursed blunder factor that had made him as he was, and how it’s removal bought forward a more stable person who was no longer a buffoon, but a fully fledged hero confident in his power and aware of his responsibilities.

Alan signs off with how his career and drawing and writing Cap’s have seemingly become entwined. “When I left working for Marvel UK I thought I’d waved goodbye to Captain Britain… it was only when Chris – Claremont – offered me Excalibur that I started to work on him again. Then when I left last year I didn’t think I would ever work on Excalibur again. It was completely out of the blue when Terry Kavanagh offered it to me to write and draw.

So, I hope you enjoyed that retrospective look at Alan Davis and how he felt prior to his taking over Excalibur in 1991, if you want to read more about Davis and his early work check out my articles here…

Alan Davis Modern Masters part one.

Alan Davis Modern Masters part two.

Alan Davis Modern Masters part three.

Alan Davis scripted Excalibur 42 to 67 and his whole story has been collected in three trades, if you haven’t read it yet it’s highly recommended with its massive story lines, great art and offbeat sense of humor.

You can keep up to date with all the Captain Britain news and views by liking The Captain Britain fans’ page and Blog on Facebook, or on Pinterest, or subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the link top right. Already following the site on Facebook? Well you can still help by liking and sharing the blogs posts, thanks in advance. You can also email the site with news, feature ideas or whatever is on your mind at captainbritainblog@gmail.com

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Captain Britain and Meggan in the course of superhero love never did run smooth part 1.

The course of true love never did run smooth according to Shakespeare and this has never been so well demonstrated when you look at Captain Britain and his wife Meggan. With this in mind I decided it would be interesting to look at how Cap and Meggan came together, and examine a relationship that according to Meggan’s co-creator Alan Davis might never have come to pass.

So join me now for the first part of our look at Cap and Meggan’s life-long love affair, including their early romance, and how the forming of Excalibur and their adventures with that team could have driven them apart. Part two will be out next week which will cover Cap and Meggan through the trials and tribulations of the X-Men House of M event and beyond showing how not even death could separate them, plus some of my idle speculation on their future

To understand Cap and Meggan’s relationship we need to start with Meggan’s introduction in Mighty World of Marvel issue seven – The Candlelight Dialogues – from December 1983, with Alan Moore and Alan Davis credited as her creators. It’s obvious from the story that Meggan hero worships Captain Britain, but this was never originally destined to turn to love until Alan Moore left the book, Alan Davis explains the Meggan/Cap plan.

” When Alan quit writing Captain Britain he tied up all of the narrative loose ends and I was faced with writing Captain Britain from a cold start. I had plotted the whole CB romance with a new-female shape-shifting character when I had the idea of linking back to the original continuity by having my new-female evolve from the ‘Candlelight Dialogues’ Meggan. ”

early Meggan

Whatever the plan you can see Meggan looked very different to her current appearance, and as an interesting aside it seems she was also partial to the odd cigarette.

meggan enjoys a cigarette

Marvel went on to explain the reason behind Meggan’s initial look, it seems she was a shape shifter with a hidden talent in that she was often influenced by her feelings or surroundings when she underwent metamorphosis. In her youth Meggan had grown hair to keep out the cold, and her monstrous look was due to her picking up on the hatred her family and friends had for her.

Cap first met Meggan in the traditional superhero fashion of the mistaken fight, Meggan had been driven mad by the full moon attacking Captain Britain, and in doing so she accidently kills her friend Mickey. At her request Cap takes Meggan to Mickey’s family to apologise, and you can’t help but think he is impressed by this action, and so the seeds of romance are sown.

Cap takes Meggan in and it’s obvious with her childlike view of the world and unabashed enthusiasm for life that his respect for her might slowly turn to love. To me this is only so natural as Cap is still reeling from Jasper’s Warp and as Meggan is one of the few good things to come out of that escapade then it’s only right he be attracted to her.

Meggan responds by being there for Cap when his sister Betsy is blinded by Slaymaster, and he is there for her after her traumatic physical change at the hands of the warpies. Meggan’s change here is worth looking at in more detail, while blessed with a big heart and a strong sense of right and wrong her looks never matched her personality, and she was described often as having hidden potential. The warpies force her to come out of her chrysalis state and emerge as a beautiful woman finally casting aside the part of her power that made her change to how people see her, and which had been a mental block on how she looked up until now. I still think Captain Britain would have married Meggan however she looked, but this change moves their relationship onto the next stage as they tour the world together before setting up home in a lighthouse, a lighthouse that was soon to be the scene of many a problem that threatened to drive Cap and Meggan apart.

The cause of all these problems stemmed from a good idea when Captain Britain and Meggan formed the superhero team Excalibur. The first problem they encountered was Cap believing his sister the X-Man Pyslocke was dead became depressed and distant from Meggan. The next problem the lovebirds faced was Nightcrawler drooling over Meggan and her empathic powers meaning she couldn’t help but respond to Nightcrawler’s emotions. Nightcrawler then compounded the issue by not walking away and instead taking every chance he could to score cheap points over Captain Britain.

nightcrawler and meggan

Luckily after Cap issued a sound drubbing to the elvish rapscallion things got a little better, but sadly Cap’s off panel death meant it would be some time before he and Meggan could continue their romance.

Captain Britain in Excalibur 68

Captain Britain dies off panel in Excalibur 68

Meggan during Cap’s absence became a stronger character and her immaturity of the world reduced when Douglock took her under his wing. When Cap finally returned to Excalibur he and Meggan were married and things never looked better for them.

Of course this being a comic book story you know that this can easily change, join us next week for part two of this feature when we look at how post Excalibur Meggan and Captain Britain faced the toughest challenge to their relationship, and I speculate on the what the future might hold for the couple.

You can keep up to date with all the Captain Britain news and views fit to print by liking The Captain Britain Blog on Facebook, or on Pinterest, or subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the link top right. Already following the site on Facebook ? Well you can still help by liking and sharing the blogs posts, thanks in advance.

Facebook followers not only get the regular posts but extra content I dredge from the site’s archives or I find as I trawl the internet.

 

 

 

It’s Captain Britain vs. Hitler as Weird War 3 is declared.

What sort of comic do you get if you cross an alternate dimension where the Nazis won the war, with a Professor X who seeks to advance the world to the next stage of evolutionary development by psychically executing mutants, where the X-Men are known as the Reichsmen and Captain Britain has to thwart Hitler’s plans to exterminate all mutants.

The answer is you get Excalibur: Weird War 3, which I rate as one of the best if most depressing Captain Britain adventures I’ve probably ever read from his early Excalibur career. But before we delve into the book itself let’s have a look at who was on its creative team.

excalibur_weird_war_3

Excalibur: Weird War Three was a one shot graphic novel that came out around December 1990 and was written by Michael Higgins, a man who is no stranger to Excalibur having written for the ongoing series and its spin-off adventures in Marvel Comic Presents. Art chores were handled by Tom Morgan and Justin Thyme. Now if you think that last name sounds odd it’s because Marvel on their website inform us its a pseudonym that includes the artist Chris Wozniak. I also believe the pseudonym includes Joe Rubenstein because he is credited along with Wozniak with a sketch at the book’s end. I have no idea why this was done, but one thing’s certain is that the book’s art does not suffer for this.

Excalibur: Weird War 3 opens with the psychic execution of a bunch of mutants in an alternate dimension; the shock of which it seems is enough to transfer Excalibur across the multiverse to the source. Here we learn the Nazi version of Professor Xavier is trying to advance mutant kind to their next evolutionary phase by executing mutants in their thousands, all to no avail.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 executed Mutants

Behind the scenes lurks an aged Hitler supported by the Red Skull, both aware of Xavier’s plans, and about to use them for their own dastardly advantage.

Excalibur mistaken for their Nazi counterparts Lightning Squad are sent to see the Reichminister of genetics Doktor MacTaggert to see if they are fit to serve the Fuhrer or should they face extermination. A brawl ensues between Excalibur and the Nazi version of the X-Men known as the Reichsmen, in which I’m happy to say the Reichsmen well and truly get their arses handed to them by Excalibur.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The Reichsmen

As the fisticuffs calm down Doktor MacTaggart comes clean.It seems she is possessed by the real doctor from Excalibur’s own dimension, and disguises the team as Lightning Squad before sending them to end Xavier’s experiments.

In a short aside Xavier and the Red Skull show us exactly what happens to mutants who fail to live up to the Nazi’s standards, as we witness the gruesome fates of their dimensions versions of Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and others.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The fate of the X-Men 1

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The fate of the X-Men 2

Excalibur face off against Xavier just as Hitler seeks to use the power of some recently executed mutants to complete his cunning plan of turning back time and making himself young again. I’m not sure if this plan also includes cutting Xavier’s marvelous eyebrows – I hope not.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 Excalibur vs Professor X

At first it seems as if the bad guys will win, but then other worldly forces intervene. The result is that Xavier and the Red Skull are slain, and Hitler is regressed to an extremely young stage.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The fate of Hitler

Excalibur are transported home and it seems that Professor X ‘s experiments turned him into the ultimate mutant he was searching for all along, and he now acts as guardian of the Nazi dimension .

Confused? Here’s Phoenix with the science bit.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 Pheonix explains it all

After all the anguish luckily all is forgotten in a  Scooby-Doo type ending, with obligatory forced laughter

Captain Britain Weird War 3 bizzare comedy ending

As I said earlier just because this story depressed me doesn’t mean it’s not a good story, let me explain. I feel it takes skill to take an often funny comic book team and place them in a believable scenario where humor cannot save them, and they have to rely on each other and their powers. The fact the story depressed me really means the writer has done an effective job, I shouldn’t come away from a story that stars Hitler and that also has holocaust parallels feeling happy.

I like that Weird War 3’s pace and tone change our usual perception of Captain Britain and Excalibur, then when you add in the art which is nicely grim with washed out colours you get the perfect horrific undertones for the book. Yes the story is the complete opposite of what the team often face but it’s not any less for this, comics shouldn’t be afraid to shy away from real world horrors as long as the source material isn’t an excuse for bad jokes and inaccuracies.

On a different note it’s nice in Weird War 3 to see Captain Britain and his team make a very good show in all the fights they get into, as Higgins writes a group that works well together; while the great art makes for some frantic action. Perhaps the only fault I can find with the book apart from the overly jolly ending is that I wish there had been more room to explore Cap and the Nazi version of his sister Betsy. However, these are minor faults in a book I enjoyed reading when it first came out, and again on my return to it many years later.

Have you read Excalibur: Weird War 3? What did you think of it? Should it have been a mature readers book?  If you haven’t read it would it make your pull list ?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below

Captain Britain in ” The night they tore down the Gilded Lady.” Or why people with drink problems shouldn’t goto the pub.

Sometimes a Nineties Captain Britain story can surprise the reader with a tale so bizarre you wonder if it was just a fever dream, Excalibur volume 1 issue 28 by Terry Austin and Colleen Doran is one such issue. So read on and find out how a story about Captain Britain and Meggan on a trip to the pub have the most insane evening you can imagine without imbibing any ale.

The insanity for this tale starts on the very first page, as you can see from the cover below.

Excalibur 28 cover

Mermaids, beer, oddly colored clothes and a host of look-a-like drunks, oh my.

Anyway onto the plot, Cap and Meggan sneak away from their team mates to attend the last night of revelry at the Gilded Lady pub before it’s knocked down. You know trouble is going to hit our heroes and hit hard when they make as much effort to go incognito as when the Fantastic Four’s Thing just dons a trench coat and goes to a bar.

Captain Britain in disguise

Let’s face it Cap and Meg look like they have donned coats over flashy wet suits, and what if the pub’s central heating is on?

Anyway once inside we are treated to a magnificent interior shot fantastically depicted by Doran, check out the picture below – wish my local looked like that and can you spot the obvious toupee?

Captain Britain and the gilded lady

Things get off to a bad start when Cap – at this point in his career a recovering alcoholic – won’t drink and the locals get aggrieved. A quick aside, I’m sure those glasses hold more than a pint, this pub just gets better and better.

Captain britain alcoholic

The revelry is interrupted by the arrival of this weeks throw away villains, who seem to believe people will fall for the old wild west con trick of “there’s gold in them there hills.”

Captain Britain and gold in Scotland

Luckily the wily lady has the super power of amplifying the greed of others, which makes them see what their greed wants them to see to help her skullduggery. Even Meggan (disguised as Captain Britain – don’t ask) is not immune, though I’m not sure of the writer’s Cap facts but hey ho.

Captain Britain has no imagination

A fight ensues and Cap gets the worst of it, while the Police outside seem more keen to fondle sausages than go in.

Captain Britain and Policemen with sausages

Cap fights back though I imagine looking back he will be rightly embarrassed by use of the word ” chubbins.” Also Meggan sums up the whole story in just one panel.

Captain Britain Chubbins

Luckily good triumphs, but only at the cost of the pub being totally destroyed, which having seen many of my favourite hostelries destroyed in my time to make way for a ring road or cinema made me sadder than seeing Meggan save the day over Cap.

Captain Britain Meggan saves the day

So there we have a hearty chunk of Nineties Cap madness, I really love the Doran art in parts here, and Austin writes a tale that although treats the Captain with some disrespect stays true to continuity with Cap’s drink problem, and isn’t afraid to have fun at the same time and not all of it being pokes at Captain Britain.

Do you know what chubbins means? Can you place when Captain Britain went insane when faced with the occult ( unless Austin is referring to the X-Men event Inferno?)

Sound off in the comments below.