Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Birth Of a Legend

Welcome to part 5 of

This week we get what I think is the start of a pretty unique retelling of Captain Britain's origin, from none other than the Captain himself…

After a wonderful set of panels from Alan Davis which further defines both Brian Braddock, Betsy and their relationship while at the same time setting the mood for telling the story within the story…

But what was the story behind the story - who created Captain Britain and what did they think of their own work and the circumstances surrounding it?

Issues 1 - 10 of Captain Britain (which was a UK Only weekly published comic) was written by Chris Claremont, Penciled by Herb Trimpe and inked by Fred Kida.  Issue 1 debuted Wednesday, October 13th 1976.

Who better than Chris Claremont himself to spill the beans?

From his introduction of the "Before Excalibur" Captain Britain Trade paperback (Printed in 1988 which was the first reprint of all of Alan Davis's post Alan Moore Captain Britain strips, including the one I am attempting to recreate)

"Once upon a time, O best beloved - and very, very long time ago it was, way back in the happy, halcyon, innocent days before Thatcher and Reagan when some of us were a lot younger than we care now to admit- Marvel Comic, in its infinite corporate wisdom, came up with the notion of producing an original series of comics for the UK Market.

Instead of publishing reprints of already extant American material, or distributing the current run of US titles, we'd do a series about Britons, set in Britain and published in Britain.

To compete with a hefty collection of weekly British comic magazines, we'd create a -hopefully- top drawer hero, in the tradition of Captain America, who would spearhead Marvel's drive for intentional dominance.  Because a flagship figure was wanted for this flagship book, the character was christened CAPTAIN BRITAIN.

Thing was, in those Dark Ages - before anyone Over Here quite knew what was Over There - nobody was sure if there were writers and artists who could handle Marvel-type characters and Marvel-type stories, especially since the creative editing on the book would be handled in New York (no faxing back then, and no international Federal Express either, which meant the deadline pressures would be horrendous).

So I was tapped to create the character and write the series (Hey, I'm a Londoner by birth, they must have figured that must count for something, right?) and Herb Trimpe - who at the time was living in Cornwall (and who was, and is, not only an ace at meeting deadline, but also one of the best story-tellers in the business and a absolute prince to work with) - was chosen to pencil it."

So to help compare and contrast with the recreated Alan Davis page above here is the corresponding pages from Captain Britain number 1 :-

NEXT WEEK:- We continue with more on Captain Britain's origin and we answer whatever happened to Chris Claremont to make his run so short…

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