The Rattling Skull – 3

So, I was going to write about Unknown Soldier this time, wasn’t I?

Next week, I think. Or I might actually wait till the current arc is finished. Not sure.


I’m in the middle of moving house right now, or more precisely, in the middle of packing for the move. I just got finished packing up ten- TEN!- longboxes full of comics. Our flat looks like it’s become infested with some kind of weird mutant cardboard box creature, as they clutter up every surface and pile on top of each other in corners in some kind of bizarre and disturbing mating ritual, and OH NO THEY’RE EATING ALL OUR STUFF! Basically, my life is a bit chaotic right now. Even more than usual.

So today, I feel like rambling a bit. Taking you for a little wander through the dirty back alleys of my brain.

Mind the broken glass. Try not to trip over the bodies. And don’t let the boxes eat you.

Captain Britain. Now there’s a character we’d all love to see done well. You know Captain Britain, right? Big bloke with a drink problem, wanted to be a physicist but Merlin forced him to be a superhero? That guy. I know he was meant to be in that Pete Wisdom And His Wacky Pals book that finished up the other week, but I couldn’t find him. There was some blonde geezer everyone kept calling Captain Britain, but that wasn’t him.

Not that he was in it enough for that to matter.

I absolutely loved Chris Claremont and Alan Davis’s Excalibur when I was a kid, and back then the only collected edition of Captain Britain’s solo adventures that you could get was a big fat collection of the Jamie Delano run, which Davis actually ended up finishing on his own. A lot like Excalibur, actually.

(Jamie Delano is a horribly under-rated writer, in my opinion. This is the man who wrote the first 3 years of Hellblazer, taking a supporting character from Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and turning him into possibly the most enduringly popular non-superhero character in mainstream comics. And yet, since leaving Hellblazer, he’s been pretty much ignored, despite producing, amongst many other great comics, the hands down best run on Animal Man in the character’s history. A run which has since been retconned out of DC continuity to keep Grant Morrison’s legion of worshippers happy; but fuck you DC, you can mess the continuity around as much as you like, YOU CAN’T TAKE THE COMICS OUT OF MY LONGBOX, they’re still there! I saw them, just the other day! MOO HOO HA HA)

I adored that Captain Britain book, and as an adult, I find it holds up much better than the Excalibur stuff does. Although that could just be my allergy to Caremont’s dialogue, I don’t know. (seriously, what the fuck is up with the way that man writes people talking? I mean, never mind all the endless soliloquising, it’s the godawful regional accents that do my head in. He must think he’s good at it, or he wouldn’t keep doing it… but CRIKEY O’RILEY AND GORBLIMEY GUVNA people do not talk like that.)

The Delano run was recently reprinted again by Marvel, in an even bigger and fatter edition that also includes Alan Moore’s hugely acclaimed work on the character, which I’m sad to say I’ve never read. And I won’t be reading it any time soon, either- that book’ll set you back seventy five quid, which is quite frankly a good five times more than I’m willing to pay for it.

Oh, and while we’re talking about highly acclaimed early works by the wizard of Northampton that haven’t been reprinted for decades because of complicated legal wranglings, what about that big Miracleman/Marvelman announcement from Marvel last week, eh? What do you reckon the chances are that Moore’ll give them permission to reprint that stuff? Personally, I’m sort of optimistic- just so long as Marvel agree to give Mick Anglo a fair cut, I reckon the old Glykon worshipper will probably be okay with it. Fingers crossed, I guess.

What was I on about? Oh yes.

Captain Britain And MI13 was a good enough comic, but it was quite frankly doomed to failure right from the start, because ofthat stupid bloody title; it completely mis-represented the content. Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of people reading this probably really enjoyed it, and I want to assure you that I bought every single issue myself, including that annual that I hope no-one missed, because if you did miss it then #15 probably didn’t make any sense at all… but, um, what was I saying? Yeah, I liked it, more or less. I’m not a big fan of the superteam-as-soap-opera approach- I’ve never been a big X-guy- but as those kind of comics go, it was definitely one of the better ones. I just think it was monumentally stupid calling the thing Captain Britain and then NOT HAVING CAPTAIN BRITAIN IN IT.

D’you know, my intention when starting this column was to try and keep each installment down under 400 words. It’s not happening, is it?

Right, back to the packing…

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