Forget Star Wars sometimes you just want to see Captain Britain punch Dracula in the face.

With this weeks Avengers Time Runs Out issue being 100% Captain Britain free, and everyone discussing the new Star Wars comic I thought I might take a moment to reflect on just how great Cap is.

So from Paul Cornell’s Captain Britain and MI13 issue 15, brilliantly illustrated by Leonard Kirk comes this great two panel sequence of Captain Britain punching Dracula in the face.

First the warning

Captain Britain and Dracula

Then Kablammy straight to Dracula’s kisser.

Captain Britain punches Dracula

That’s all for now I need to get back to editing the next review for my new feature, see you soon.

Oh and for the record I quite enjoyed Marvel’s new Star Wars number one, Jason Aaron delivers a great story and John Cassady illustrates it beautifully.

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Happy Birthday Captain Britain, I still remember the time we first met.

Today is a great day for Captain Britain fans as on this day 38 years ago the UK’s best hero made his debut in Captain Britain issue 1, so you could say today is Captain Britain’s birthday.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN CAKE

That idea got me thinking about why so many people like me have strong feelings about Captain Britain, and why despite his erratic treatment at the hands of his creators at Marvel Comics people still love him. What is it about the good Cap that makes me take to the internet and write about obscure details of his chequered career, instead of writing about The Fantastic Four or Daredevil – two of my other long-term Marvel faves.

Well to understand how I came to love Captain Britain it makes sense to start at the beginning with just how did I come to own my first Cap comic?

Way back in the mid nineties I was an avid comic book fan but my wages of the time didn’t allow much choice when it came to my weekly pull list, a list that was 99% Vertigo comics. This meant I tended to look down my nose at spandex adventures as I was a mature reader!

vertigo

mature readers only please 🙂

Also limiting my comic choice was the fact that my money was tight which meant I often would forgo a visit to the comic store to visit a second-hand book shop in Birmingham which had a large second-hand comic selection – it was called Readers World.

Reader’s World was a chaotic mix of books, magazines, comics and a whole lot more. Shelves overflowed onto the floor, long boxes were scattered liberally around the shop and every available space bulged with items for sale. The shop seemed to me to have a fine disregard for the alphabet and finding what you were looking for was often impossible, but gems discovered in the shop were all the more pleasurable for this. My most prevalent memory of the shop was that musty dusty paper smell that a lot of second-hand shops seemed to have but none had such a musk as Readers World.

Readers World Birmingham

Anyway on one of my trips to Readers World fresh from a diet of Watchmen and V for Vendetta I came across a battered Captain Britain comic – I can’t remember the exact issue –  where I was surprised to see Alan Moore listed as the writer. Without paying for it I read it – times were hard remember – and I was instantly drawn to the action and the dialogue; this was superheroes as they should be done I thought.

So began my quest to piece together more Cap Moore, but as those were the days when trade paperbacks were few and far between my Captain Britain collection grew in a patchy fashion. Cap appearing in Excalibur helped as Marvel put out a trade of some of his pre-Excalibur adventures then Moore’s Crooked World was collected. I snapped up any Cap comics I could find, and started reading Excalibur. This helped as my love for Cap blossomed to the point where as I said earlier I tend to be obsessive about him, but I like to think I do it in a well-mannered and British way.

But what was it that made me want to read more Cap what was it that made me want to buy that torn and tattered comic languishing in the bargain box of a second-hand shop, and hunt for more. I’m going to try to pin it all down with a list.

Firstly Snobbery.

As I said I was a Vertigo collector, and because of this I tended to look down my nose at superhero comics and might have done so with Captain Britain if anyone but Alan Moore had been the writer. But the fact that such a writer with a distinguished pedigree wrote spandex adventures meant they couldn’t all be that bad I thought. So my comic book snobbery actually had a positive effect, and instead of retreating into more and more obscure books I took a bold step out into the colourful world of superheroes and found out I had been missing a lot. If it wasn’t for Captain Britain I might never have tried Batman, Captain America and many more. So that’s one of the reasons I love Cap so much; he was my first real superhero.

Next, oh that Davis art.

A lot of early Captain Britain was drawn magnificently by Alan Davis, and his fabulous eye candy certainly was a draw to Cap’s adventures. Because of this I was more than willing to move onto Excalibur and continue revelling in the art I had come to love, despite its early issues confusing links to X-Men continuity and poor treatment of Cap.

captain_britain solo

I needed to take a Vertigo break.

Vertigo was and still is an exceptional line of mature reader comics, but bloody hell they could be depressing quite a lot of the time. Looking back to my constant diet of Sandman, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol and Shade I’m not surprised I embraced Cap as his adventures were the polar opposite to the Vertigo anti-heroes. I started to read comics where yes the good guys might get a bloody nose, but they were nowhere near as depressing as my previous comic choices. Cap cheered me up and while I have no less respect for Vertigo and still buy their wares I needed a change, and that’s what I love about Cap is that he brought this into my comic book world and probably kept me collecting and enjoying comics long after I might have become jaded.

Morrison and Case's great yet dark Doom Patrol

Morisson and Case’s great yet dark Doom Patrol

So there you go that’s why Captain Britain is my favourite superhero and why I’m writing about him today and will continue to keep writing about him until I run out of ideas. I still read Vertigo comics by the way, it’s just now I have a lot more varied choice in my comic book collection and that can only be a good thing.

Join me later in the week when I take a sideways look at Captain Britain’s debut issue and examine just how much his origin was influenced by the decade I myself grew up in , the Seventies.

Until the why not join me in wishing Cap happy Birthday and sign off in the comments below if you have any Cap memories you wish to share.

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Captain Britain meets Bruce Forsyth and Judge Dredd. Was Alan Moore responsible?

In 1991, comic publishers Fleetway licensed Captain Britain, along with other UK comic book characters to appear in their one-off Comic Relief charity comic. For the good Captain his appearance here rates perhaps as his most surreal cross-over ever. Read on to find out why.

Before we look at Captain Britain’s charity appearance it’s worth noting what an extraordinary comic the Comic Relief book was; one of the reasons for this comes from the massive amount of talented funny book people involved in the project. On board were Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and more. ( The full list if you are interested can be found here. )

Captain Britain’s appearance is reprinted below – click to enlarge.

Captain Britain and Judge Dredd

 

So, Captain Britain faces off against some distinguished competition in what can only be described as a ” chin off.” From left to right his rivals are….

2000AD’s legendary lawman, Judge Dredd.

From The Eagle, hard travelling space hero, Dan Dare.

From the now sadly cancelled kids comic The Dandy, Desperate Dan.

Last but by no means least comic book collector and writer, Jonathan Ross.

Despite the propensity of their chins all the entrants have no chance against UK entertainer Bruce Forsyth, but to be fair he really does have a big chin, there is little exaggeration in the comic book panel he appears in.

Despite a lot of searching I’m still not sure who wrote Captain Britain’s Comic Relief appearance. However, I would like to imagine with the subversive humour on display and his past history with the character that Alan Moore was to blame. Who knows?

As you can see from Cap’s appearance Comic Relief is celebrated with all involved donning a comedy red nose, and his charity appearance wasn’t the last time he wore one. Years later on the cover to Excalibur 54 ( pictured below) Alan Davis was to draw Cap with exactly the same nasal appendage.

excalibur-54

So there you have one of Captain Britain’s weirdest cross-overs, but as it was all in a good cause, I’m sure you will join me in forgiving Fleetway for this odd Cap appearance.

Before I sign off while researching this article I found this interesting snippet from Neil Gaiman on his input to this comic here.

Do you remember the Comic Relief comic? Do you think Captain Britain should have won the ” chin off, ” or are you just left confused?

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Captain Britain meets Deadpool – not as bad as you might think !

I must confess when I originally learnt that Captain Britain was to team-up with Deadpool it felt like a little bit of my soul died, then I read the comic and I was quite surprised. Sure its full of bad jokes, has a dodgy plot and is obviously a money making tie in but it does have some redeeming features, but first the science bit.

Deadpool Team-Up number 893 ( it had a very weird numbering system don’t ask, ) came out in May 2010, Rob Williams was the writer, Matteo Scalera handled the art and Ramos & Delgado did this rather neat cover ( which is a major spoiler for the plot, but then covers often are !)

Deadpool team up with Captain Britain

The story starts in typical Deadpool fashion with an over the top movie homage this time to James Bond, full points to Deadpool for playing blackjack with what look like Top Trump cards but…

Deadpool top trumps

minus points for calling a woman a bint.

Deadpool calls a woman a bint

Anyway Williams has done his continuity homework and its seems an old foe of Captain Britain’s known as Slaymaster despite being dead ( Cap killed him after he blinded his sister, ) is still causing trouble as the location of his high-tech armoury is now in the public domain.

Cap is sent off to make sure the weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands while Deadpool is only to keen for this to happen providing the hands are his.

Both arrive and the obligatory mistaken fight sequence occurs but our heroes are too late as another mercenary has beaten them to the haul and is now armed and dangerous. In a Monty Pythonesque moment Cap and Deadpool recreate a scene from Holy Grail and bravely run away and here is where the madness begins.

Deadpool and Captain Britain run away

As you can probably guess from the cover some sort of identity swap is involved but this time our heroes don’t swap bodies but instead trade cultures. This is a cue for lots of jokes about the UK and the USA and their respective cultural stereotypes, some funny and some not so.

Deadpool and Captain Britain culture swap

There is a great moment when Deadpool is paralysed with British angst whereas Captain Britain gets overly confident before Deadpool goes slightly over the top in his battle wear. Then in a marvelous end scene that I feel is a tribute to Cap’s original Slaymaster encounter he offs the villain with no regrets at all.

So there you go a comic that is really just an excuse to make fun of the stereotypes the UK and USA have about each others respective cultures but done in a way that only makes you occasionally cringe. Despite this being a Deadpool title both heroes come off looking a bit daft so I am unable to have my usual rant about poor representations of Captain Britain in cross overs, much to my disappointment.

So there you go I like a comic with Deadpool in and I never thought I might one day type that.

Bonus Post. Captain Britain trash talks the internet in Avengers Arena 13.

Out today Avengers Arena issue 13 written by Christos Gage and drawn by Karl Moline has a Captain Britain appearance in which although small is quite funny.

The Avengers Arena comic is similar to the films Battle Royale or The Hunger Games in that a load of ” kid,” super heroes have been kidnapped by the evil genius Arcade and made to fight each other to the death in an unknown but inescapable location.

Captain Britain’s connection to this is that Kid Briton who was a student at the Braddock Academy is one of Arcade’s victims and in Avengers Arena 13 Hank Pym has started an investigation to try to trace the abductees.

Captain Britain with his Kid Briton connection gets a call and there follows this wonderful exchange with some great images as Cap firstly snarkily comments on social media and the internet.

Captain Britain in Avengers Arena 13 panel 1

Fritter and Wastebook are great mickey taking names, hats off to Christos Gage the writer for coming up with them but it gets better, look at what that rascal Kid Briton has supposedly been up to.

Captain Britain in Avengers Arena 13 panel 2

Yes that’s him in Cap’s old costume the scamp. In the last panel to feature Cap we also learn that MI-13 work hard but play harder as he comments on Pete Wisdom and Union Jack.

Captain Britain in Avengers Arena 13 panel 3

A week-long pub crawl that ended in the Savage Land, my mind and liver boggles !

Captain Britain Timeslipped

Marvel Timeslip was a series of two-page spreads that ran in the Marvel Vision fan magazine in the 90s, each one was a re-imagining of a classic Marvel character by a modern-day creator. Every entry included a short explanation of the changes (usually involving a slight origin change) and a full-page picture of the re-imagined character.

Surprisingly Timeslip involved Captain Britain by Matt Smith, so here he is in all his reimagined glory, the scan isn’t great but if you click on the picture you can read the interesting twist in Cap’s origin.

Timeslip Captain Britain

 

King Braddock the First.

Marvel Comics House of M event saw an parallel Earth spring into existence where mutants were the dominant species and ruled over ‘normal’ homo-sapiens but more importantly Brian Braddock never became Captain Britain.

As per all Marvel events the effects were felt in all its core titles but I’m sure you’re only interested in what did Brian Braddock do if he never became Captain Britain in this twisted universe, simple he became King of England.

Here is a piece from a Marvel House of M promotional comic about King Braddock the First.

King Braddock the first

The scan hasn’t bought the text out brilliantly as the quality of the paper was poor to begin with but the start of it reads,

” The British Royal Family decamped this morning from Buckingham Palace London to Braddock Manor the ancestral estate in the west of England for a weekend of festival activities in celebration of Lord Magneto.

The published guest list reads like an A-List ‘ Who’s Who ‘ of both the Mutant and Baseline Society headed by the Prime Minister and Mrs Blair. The centrepiece of the scheduled events is a gala ball to be hosted by the Monarch himself and his consort her Royal Majesty Queen Meggan. Initially talks had been floated about the possibility of Lord Magneto himself attending but it is now believed he will be staying in his capital Hammer Bay, Genosha.”

The article then lays the ground for Cap’s appearance in the House of M Uncanny X-Men event and the formation of his new Excalibur team post House of M. For once a Marvel event was to have a a lasting effect on Captain Britain as Queen Meggan sacrifices herself to seal a rift threatening the cosmos not reappearing until Paul Cornell bought her back in the pages of Captain Britain and MI-13 a few years later.

So there you go a quick introduction to King Braddock, his Uncanny X-Men crossover is deserving of a post of its own due to its knock on effect on Captain Britain’s life so I will look at that in more detail next week.