Thursday, 4 April 2013
Never The End
Welcome to the 12th and Final Part of
In which Chief Inspection Dai Thomas finishes his presentation to his superiors and is rather brusquely dismissed, just look at his expression on this page which I have attempted to recreate from Alan Davis's fantastic original art…
Speaking of Alan Davis, it's long past time we heard from him as I and probably quite a lot of people would consider him to be the definitive Captain Britain artist as well as fantastic artist and storyteller overall!
So what did Alan Davis think of Captain Britain at the point he joined? From Alan's introduction to Captain Britain Volume 5: End Game. We join Alan just as Paul Neary had offered Cap to Alan:-
"I have to admit I was less than enthusiastic when Paul (Neary) told me I would be working on Captain Britain.
I wasn't a fan. I had wanted to like the original Captain Britain like so many other young comic readers but I could never see the costume as more than a few patriotic emblems pasted onto a composite of Daredevil, Spider-Man and Thor. I persisted and brought every issue but it was the same as Space 1999, frightened to miss an episode in case it achieved its promise but always disappointed."
So after all the relaunch with David Thorpe and the more famous grand epics of Alan Moore, Cap was given to Alan Davis and Jamie Delano to launch a brand new title, Captain Britain Volume 2
But how did that work out for Alan?
"I supplied Jamie with an overview for the long story I had pitched after Alan (Moore)'s departure and promised editorial it would be business as usual. Nobody wanted to change an already successful formula.
Jamie is an excellent writer but freely admitted he has little fondness for the superhero genre so I needed to constantly rework his scripts to fit the direction agreed with editorial. This was obviously very demoralising to Jamie. By the time the situation reached crisis point my DC deadlines had tightened to the degree where I was already considering quitting Captain Britain. I contacted editorial with a few suggestions for my replacement only to be told Captain Britain was to be cancelled. I agreed to write and pencil an additional extended episode to give the series a tidy conclusion"
The last issue with that extended episode was issue 14 of Captain Britain, which as a monthly comic, lasted just over 1 year…
And thus ends our little journey through the publishing and narrative history of Captain Britain as encapsulated within the story I have attempted to reproduce
Throughout we have seen numerous creators refer to problems and the difficulties of working on the title and or the state of the character or what they thought before they inherited it and its hard to think that overall the conclusion doesn't appear to be that positive
But to my mind the central point is this - the character had history - all it took was the right pair of eyes to look over it and represent it in a way which showed the promise and then went onto to fulfil that promise and Alan Davis delivered that just in this one issue alone
None of the history was overlooked or forgotten, it was used to clarify the point that the character had been through tough times but was now something more as a result of making it through that struggle
There was no need to intensely focus or be bogged down on every part of the history within the comic story itself, but just show enough to make people stop look and want to explore that history for themselves
And that is all - my friends - and Marvel and Dc really need to do, no erasing, no it never happened, just focus on what is necessary and use it to tell a great story and have the great story be the most important part of all
NEVER THE END
Of course Alan Davis had a bit more to say
"Never once did I consider that Chris Claremont was already plotting Captain Britain's next revival or that I would be involved."
But this is of course, possibly a story for another time?
NEXT WEEK : I am not a number, I am a free man!