Earlier this week I published a list of five superheroes from across the vast multiverse of comics that I felt had influenced or been influenced by Captain Britain. Today I look at my final five choices and some runners-up, part one can be read here.
Rock star, superhero and slayer of elder gods Grant Morrison’s Zenith has something for everyone. Created for UK weekly sci-fi mag 2000AD in 1987 Zenith’s legal shenanigans were only sorted out last year allowing fans to finally see his adventures reprinted in an affordable format. Zenith was a mix of slack behaviour, superhero style action and Morrison using him and the cast to make attacks on the Conservative party. Interestingly enough another hero with Captain Britain similarities named Maximan turns up in a flashback set during the war, sadly he is quickly dispatched by his Nazi counterpart Masterman.
The self-styled Man with no Time for Crime Big Ben was a supporting character in Alan Moore’s Miracleman run – interestingly like Zenith only now out of legal obscurity and with affordable reprints. Big Ben was a deluded superhero who saw all his adventures in a comic book style, sadly he had his arse well and truly kicked by Miracleman. But still you have to admire his style, the bowler, brolly and natty suit combo clearly showing where his loyalties lie.
Dan Dare the squared jawed, clean-cut astronaut and all round hero debuted in UK magazine Eagle in 1950 and is still going strong today. Reimagined by Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis, Dan has always been a popular hero and he still has new adventures printed three times a month in the fan publication Spaceship Away, showing you can’t keep a good hero down. Dan was famous for his stiff upper lip, never breaking his word, being an ace pilot and roundly thrashing his arch-enemy the Mekon every time they met.
Washed up on the shores of Scotland Garth’s nationality is suspect, but as Superman is often referred to as American as his rocket crashed there I’d like to think we can apply this theory of nationality to Garth. Garth debuted in UK newspaper the Mirror in 1943 and began his interdimensional quest to thwart evildoers and right wrongs which continued up until 1997. During the Seventies and Eighties when I read Garth every day in my dad’s newspaper I certainly remember him as a daring hero who battled evil often with the help of a nubile lady who would have difficulty keeping her top on.
Last on my list in World War One veteran Charley Bourne from the definitive war comic book tale Charley’s War published by Battle comics from 1979 to 1985. Charley had no superpowers except some might say luck, perseverance and bravery, and his story is often hailed as the best war comic ever written and is now collected for all to enjoy.
So I hope you have enjoyed my look across the multiverse of comics at Captain Britain’s ancestors and “family” , here’s the runner-up list of more heroes I could have discussed if I’d had the time.
Codename Warlord – Lord Peter Flint
Tough of the track – Alf Tupper
I’ve no doubt there’s many more UK influenced superheroes out there and if I’ve missed any off please feel free to drop them into the comments section below.
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