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Posts Tagged ‘Captain Britain

For dubbing our San Diego condo “Hive Five Headquarters,” we sure were quiet during the actual convention. Surely, the other blogs were covering all of the actual news stuff (OMG EYE-STABS) while we were out, you know, having fun and stuff. But we wouldn’t be much of a comic blog if we didn’t talk about San Diego Comic-Con itself, so here’s the day-by-day goings on through the eyes of us High Fivers.

Wednesday, July 21

Not much really goes on at Preview Night, but it’s always nice to get the lay of the land. Early access to the floor and first pick of whatever is for sale is cool and all, but that’s more or less all that happens. The highlight of Preview Night (for me) was definitely getting Bill Willingham to sign my copies of Ironwood #7-10 (pfft, don’t judge me). He was shocked when I pulled them out of their bags, and for a minute I thought the whole exchange was going to be super-awkward, but then he jovially asked for our I.D. cards and starting sharing some insider information with us, like how his former studio mates’ mugs are hidden in the cover art of issue #10.

Maggie’s Preview Night highlight? Shaking Michael Dorn’s hand and mumbling “Thank you,” like a big dumb fangirl.

Aside from that, I managed to pick up Power Man and Iron Fist #50, Flash Volume 1 #289 (first Firestorm back-up, the first thing George Pérez ever did professionally) and DC Comics Presents #17 (Superman and Firestorm team-up, a huge hole in my Ronnie Raymond collection). Hell yes.

Thursday, July 22

All the other blogs are putting in their two cents about this, so we might as well follow suit. Yes, Westboro Baptist Church protested Comic-Con and it’s “worship of false idols.” While High Five! unilaterally agreed with Warren Ellis’ plan of “ignore, ignore, ignore,” some attendees opted to counter-protest. Whatever, go for it. My biggest problem was that while most of the signs mocked religious intolerance (I did laugh at “the Cylons destroyed the 12 Colonies for your sins” and Maggie loved the “Kill All Humans!” sign wielded by a Bender),  some of the signs in the counter-protest (namely “Fuck God”) were just as offensive as Westboro’s signs, more or less giving Phelps and crew exactly what they wanted. Oops.

Inside the convention center, we got Hava all badged up and headed straight for the “BOOM! Irredeemable/Incorruptible” panel. Highlights included the potential for character-specific one-shot tie-ins and listening to Waid and Peter Krause discuss their writing process. Oh, and the Irreedemable perfumes by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (friends of Hava’s, plug plug plug).

Later we hit up the “Mondo Marvel” and “DC Comics 75th Anniversary” panels. Holy shit, I could listen to Dennis O’Neil (Green Lantern/Green Arrow!) and Jerry Robinson (creator of Alfred, Robin, and the freakin’ Joker!) talk all day. Fun Fact: According to Jerry Robinson, Batman’s sidekick was NOT named after the bird, but after Robinson’s own childhood nickname.

Maggie and Hava tried to hit up the “Geek Girls Exist” panel but the place was well over capacity and half-full of dudes. Bummer! Still, rather than pout, the girls gave up getting in and held their own Geek Girls panel at a bar on Fifth Street, because this is San Diego Comic-Con, and you can always find something awesome to do when your original plan falls apart. Big congratulations to the Geek Girls’ Network for hosting a massively successful panel!

Later on, Maggie went over to w00tstock and met Wil Wheaton and Aaron Douglas and Matt Fraction while Hava, Jon, and I went to the BOOM! Studios’ Fifth Anniversary Drink-Up and spent upwards of an hour and a half chatting up Peter Krause. Hell of a way to end a night.

Friday, July 23

Friday was Room 6DCE day. After sitting through the “Marvel Video Games” panel (and, I’ll admit, “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” looks pretty rad), the barrage of DC panels began.

First up was “Spotlight on Grant Morrison” and, my god, that was entertaining. Between his bajillion impressions, he announced the release of an Absolute We3 and revealed that Seaguy: Eternal will be coming sooner rather than later.

Next up was the “Batman: The Return” panel. The stage was packed, with Grant Morrison, Bryan Q. Miller, Gail Simone, Paul Dini, Paul Cornell, Judd Winick, Scott Snyder, Frazer Irving, David Finch, Dustin Nguyen, and Mike Marts (I probably forgot somebody). Biggest news was that Morrison will be replaced by Peter Tomasi on Batman and Robin while Morrison starts a new Batman team-up book called Batman Inc. Paul Cornell will also write Knight and Squire (which we’re all pretty psyched for) and a Batman Beyond ongoing was hinted at. Also, the whole panel kept joking about how Dick Grayson is about to get “a bullet in the brain” meaning that I’m pretty sure Jon and I were right (at least about something).

Next was the “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” panel with J. Michael Straczynski, Jeff Lemire, Sterling Gates, Shane Davis, and Paul Cornell. Straczynski discussed his upcoming run on the “Grounded” storyline in Superman (nothing we didn’t already know) and the Superman: Earth One graphic novel he’s writing, with art by Shane Davis. Cornell revealed that Neil Gaiman’s Death will be a major character in Action Comics #894. The biggest news (to us, at least) was that the Phantom Stranger would be a major character in an upcoming Superboy book by Jeff Lemire. YES.

The last panel of the day was “DC Nation.” Dan DiDio, Straczynski, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, and Jim Lee (flanked by fans in costumes, including a Darkseid who stayed frighteningly in-character) revealed a few future projects, but nothing too crazy. Mostly that Geoff Johns will write a book starring Bart Allen and the other speedsters called Flash: Speed Force, that he’s writing a Dex-Starr Valentine’s Day special, and that he has an upcoming secret project with Grant Morrison.

On the way out, after nearly six hours parked in 6DCE, we ran into fellow blogger Kelson from Speed Force. Who’d have thought people from the internet have, like, faces and stuff!

Maggie and Hava headed over to the Geek Girls Tweet-Up while Jon and I went to Tweet House Party on the U.S.S. Midway and watched William Shatner, Brent Spiner, and LeVar Burton promote a website they knew nothing about and then run away to a VIP area. At least we got to be serenaded by Alice Cooper’s son’s band (Oh God. No).

Saturday, July 24

By this point, we were exhausted, and we still needed to get a ton of shopping done. The only panel we attended on Saturday was “Avatar Press and Max Brooks” where they talked endlessly about Crossed and Lady Death before casually mentioning that Warren Ellis is working on a second volume to Ignition City and that Supergod #4 is fiiiiinally ready to ship next Wednesday. While there wasn’t much news on the Ellis at Avatar front, listening to Max Brooks riff for 45 minutes was a hoot. He even touched on inter-fandom animosity, saying, “Everyone gets to have something, even teenage girls who are afraid of penises. Suck my blood, but don’t touch my tits!”

The rest of the day was dedicated to buying books and gathering sketches (we’ll share those in a separate post) and autographs. Jon managed to track down a sweet copy of October 1976’s Captain Britain #1 (complete with mask) and Maggie got June 1967’s Strange Adventures #201 (featuring an old Animal Man story that’s screaming for the Silver Age Recap treatment).

The most awesome thing of all, however, was talking extensively with Frazer Irving (who drew a three-second Batman for Maggie even though he wasn’t supposed to) and getting a bunch of books signed by Grant Morrison. Oh, and this.

We win at everything.

Sunday, July 25

I guess Hall H had nothing going on because the Exhibit Hall was fucking packed. Everybody walking past the immense line to get signatures and sketches from Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Francis Manapul asked what the deal was and then walked away, unimpressed by some of the best artists in the business.

Maggie gathered 3 out of 4 signatures for her copy of 52 #1 last weekend, with a bit of Con luck on Sunday. We were talking with Greg Rucka at the Oni Booth about some of his upcoming books, including the next issue of Stumptown and a new Queen & Country novel.  As Rucka signed some comics for Maggie, up walked Geoff Johns. Rucka signed 52, then turned around and handed it to Johns for her. The two writers shared an “Aw! Remember the good old days!?” moment, and Maggie did a fist pump because in case you didn’t know, now that Johns is running half the DCU, his signing lines are enormous.

The only panel we attended on Sunday was the “DC Town Hall Meeting.” Dan DiDio and Jim Lee really, really wanted to know what we thought of digital comics. (Answer: We like them, but don’t you dare fuck with our weekly books.) Also, Maggie may have terrfied poor Mr. DiDio. He brought it on himself though, when he asked (albeit jokingly) if she didn’t mean to be at a Harry Potter panel instead.  Sorry, DiDio. You mess with the bull, you get the horns.

We’ve got more San Diego news in store, including some reviews and the High Five! Sketchbook, San Diego edition. Stay tuned!

omnibus coverI mean, maybe I’ve just been more exposed to British culture than most American kids, thanks to growing up with a British stepfather (Captain Britain was born in Essex, by the way. What UP, parents who read our blog?) but how is Captain Britain not more popular in the States, or even in the UK?

Fun Fact #1: The designation of the main Marvel Universe as “Earth 616?” Yeah. That was thanks to David Thorpe’s early eighties revamp of Captain Britain.

Fun Fact #2: You know who Psylocke is, right? Of course you do! But were you aware that Captain Britain is her brother?

(Ok, the fankids probably knew #2, but High Five!’s more casual readers probably didn’t.)

betsyandbrianBesides that fact that Brian Braddock is a whole hell of a lot more important to the Marvel U than modern continuity would have you believe, the David Thorpe/Alan Moore/Jamie Delano + Alan Davis stories in the early eighties were remarkably ahead of their time. In the first issue of the revamp, Braddock and his sidekick, Jackdaw the elf, are sent by Merlin (yes, that Merlin) to an alternate Earth (238, for anyone keeping track.) Britain of Earth 238 is run by the borderline fascist British National Party and the entire populace is ridiculously violent and hateful. Unbeknownst to the largely ignorant citizens, the alien Lady Saturnyne is hiding out, attempting to “evolve” this dimension by exposing the population to an evolutionary elixir. Apparently, Earth 238 is so backward that it’s retarding the evolution of the entire multiverse.

Scuttlebutt is that some of the higher-ups at Marvel had a problem with the “omniverse” storyline in Captain Britain, a concept they deemed a little too DC (which might have something to do with why I like it so much.) But ultimately, both Thorpe & Moore’s storytelling abilities, coupled with Alan Davis’ top-notch art, propel this run to the top of the early eighties comics scrap heap. Many a comics enthusiast can elaborate at length about the renaissance of the medium in the eighties, usually citing Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and Sandman as prime examples of the era’s superhero revamps. But Captain Britain deserves a place on that list, not because the work itself is on par with what Moore, Morrison, and Gaiman later accomplished in what many would call their seminal works, but because Captain Britain’s reinvention and his adventures in the wake of it were an early, pioneering step in the direction that super hero comics would take in the later eighties.

Captain Britain‘s writers were exclusively British themselves – so instead of a national hero written by Americans (which, my god, can you imagine what we might have done to him?), the British comic nerds had a hero who was uniquely, and accurately, British. I mean, this is a guy who can fly, create force fields and generally kick some serious ass – but because his writers themselves were Brits, it was easy to believe that Braddock would stop mid-fight for a cuppa. Which he could get away with because, you know, his villains generally had to take tea breaks too. (In fact, his biggest villain, Mad Jim Jaspers, traveled around in a giant flying tea kettle.) The very idea might seem completely insane to Americans, but to the British (who, by the way, do NOT fuck around when it comes to tea) it is entirely natural. The remarkable use of dialect in the series is also thanks to the British writers, a dropped ‘h’ here, an overemphasized ‘h’ there, dialect in Captain Britain is a pretty good indication of who is good or bad, poor or rich, and thanks to its British creators, it is lettered just so – even a Yank can tell the difference.

britPerhaps the bulk of the credit must go to the artist, Alan Davis, who guided the series through several different writers and was listed as “co-creator” even alongside Alan Moore.  In any event, it’s a complete mystery to me that this series isn’t a bigger deal than it is. There exist very few collections of Captain Britain. There are a few affordable trades but the best bang for your buck is the Captain Britain Omnibus which will set you back about $60, but is entirely worth it. Not only is Brian Braddock a much bigger deal than you think he is, but Moore’s run on Captain Britain was one of his earliest works. As far as I know, this is the only volume these issues are compiled in.

Brian Braddock’s got a PhD in physics, superpowers, the hottest sister in the Marvel Universe, and if not for him, Earth 616 would’ve been wiped off the map in the mid-eighties. He might be the most underrated underdog ever, not only in-universe, but in his book’s real world contributions to the medium.  Trust me on this, read Captain Britain!

Partner. Young ward. Faithful chum. Whatever you want to call them, sidekicks got the backs of pretty much all of your favorite comic book characters. Without them, who will your villain kidnap and use as bait to lure you into a deathtrap and then pull your ass out of said deathtrap just in the overdramatic nick of time? Nobody, that’s who. Besides, it’s the dynamic between hero and sidekick that sometimes makes or breaks a book. After much consideration, I present to you, the best of the best’s best sidekicks.

Sidekick1(10) Zook – Oh, Zook. He was one of those unfortunate weird Silver Age cutesy characters that kept popping up in everybody’s books. Glued to the side of Martian Manhunter for a while, Zook was an orange monkey-dog hybrid with antennae and Pete Wentz’s haircut (which I will from here on out dub the Zook). He could change his temperature, read minds, shape-shift (sort of), and speak in annoying baby talk. And then he was gone. Not killed off, not really written out of continuity, just gone. And, you know, maybe that was for the better.

Sidekick2(9) Kid Marvelman/Miracleman – Kid Marvelman fought bravely alongside Marvelman and Young Marvelman during the old Fawcett Comics runs from 1954 to 1963, one of the greatest Golden Age sidekicks of all. You know, until Alan Moore got his hands on him, made all of the previous adventures virtual reality scenarios, had Kid Marvelman become a crazed business tycoon, and had him pretty much destroy the United Kingdom.

Sidekick3(8) Dum Dum Dugan – Nick Fury’s right hand man (and pretty much the only person on this list old enough to grow facial hair), Dum Dum was a force to be reckoned with. When he isn’t heading S.H.I.E.L.D.’s anti-Godzilla squad (yes, that Godzilla), he helps keep track of mutant affairs. Even after Fury left S.H.I.E.L.D. and Dugan had to serve under Maria Hill, he ended up helping out Fury’s Secret Warriors. Now, that’s dedication.

Sidekick4(7) Snapper Carr – Before being a Checkmate big shot and being able to teleport, “Snapper” Carr was just a kid who talked funny and snapped his fingers a lot. Then, after he helped the JLA figure out that you could beat Starro with lime, he became the little mascot around the Happy Harbor HQ. He even got his own one-shot in the form of Final Crisis: Resist, was the hero of this year’s Justice League of America annual, and fucked Cheetah. A lot.

Sidekick5(6) Rick Jones – Marvel’s answer to Snapper, Rick was the teenager who drove out into the New Mexico bomb range and, albeit inadvertantly, created the Incredible Hulk. Realizing that his acting like a little shithead was the cause of it all, he stuck to Bruce Banner’s side. Later, he created a ham radio ring called the Teen Brigade that, through a ridiculous series of events, helped create the first-generation Avengers. He ended up taking the Bucky mantle for a time and also being the teenage sidekick to Captain Marvel until, in a delicious twist of irony, he was dumped into a bunch of chemicals and became what I call a were-Hulk (human in the daytime, Hulk after dark).

Sidekick6(5) Fallout Boy – Wait a minute, does this character even count? Hell yeah, he does. Backing up the hilariously inept Radioactive Man in both the Simpson’s universe and his real life eponymous Bongo Comics title, Fallout Boy runs around Zenith City protecting it from parodies of DC and Marvel supervillains. Plus, I still can’t help but laugh every time I think of Mickey Rooney rocking Milhouse’s costume. Jiminy jillickers!

Sidekick7(4) Wendy, Marvin, and Wonderdog – Man, I remember plopping down in front of the TV when I was a kid and watching old episodes of the Superfriends. Thing was, they didn’t really serve a purpose aside from comic relief, so they were promptly replaced by the Wonder Twins. But fear not! In Geoff Johns’ run on Teen Titans, he brought all three of them back to mind the Titans Tower! Except, you know, Wonderdog was possessed by a demon and ripped out Marvin’s throat and put Wendy in a coma. Comic relief, indeed!

Sidekick8(3) Armor – The aptly named Armor got promoted to full X-Man when the team found itself hijacked and well on it’s way to the Breakworld with Abigail Brand. Sure, Armor’s part of the team as a whole, but what are the X-Men without a teen girl sidekick for Wolverine? (Which sounds really screwy now that I think about it…) First there was Rogue, then Jubilee, X-23, and now, Armor. She back-sasses Mister Logan just enough, and to date, the only substance that can penetrate Armor’s mutant armor-stuff is adamantium. Which ALSO sounds wrong. She’s a good sidekick, OK? He’s a surprisingly good teacher, OK? STOP BEING RUINERS.

Sidekick9(2) Jackdaw – He’s an elf sent from another dimension sent by Merlin (yes, that Merlin) to assist Captain Britain as he fights to save an alternate reality Britain from the all powerful member of Parliament, Mad Jim Jaspers. He’s able to jump between realities, but unfortunately ends up getting blown in half by the Fury and dies in Captain Britain’s arms. In life, he spent most of his time running around drunk as hell, a concept High Five! can definitely get behind.

Sidekick10(1) Bucky Barnes – Ignore his ridiculous name, Bucky is a total badass. After punching Nazis in the face during World War II, Bucky was presumed dead after a plane he was on exploded. His death was pretty much the one thing that influenced other Marvel heroes not to get kid sidekicks, since dead kids are kinda depressing. He stayed dead for almost 40 years until he was brought back as a Russian spy, went crazy, and took over the Captain America mantle after Steve Rogers was gunned down. As to what he will do after Captain America: Reborn finishes, time will tell.


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