Saturday, 9 August 2008

ICFD Cover of the Week - 9th August 2008

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know. They're not really weekly anymore, but here goes, anyway...

This 'week's' cover comes from Excalibur #52, artwork by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.

Yes, it's kinda cheesy (and I really wish it had been Davis' pencils on the inside of this one) but we've actually been talking about this one quite a bit over Comic Book Resources' X-Men forum over the past few days. It's a great cover cover, for me, because it really summarises the cynical relationship which Excalibur had with the X-Men titles. Sure, in its original incarnation, the book had three former X-Men on its roster. But as far actual connection TO the X-Men went? Well... in all honesty there really weren't that many. Excalibur was 95% continuations of Captain Britain stories and tales from Marvel's Britain. There really were very few links or even allusions to the X-Men. They really didn't belong there - they weren't part of the book.

When Excalibur had guest appearances it would be from Marvel Universe characters - like Dr Doom, the Black Panther, War Machine or the West Coast Avengers. Characters who ALSO had no true ties to the X-Men. Even outside of the title itself Excalibur were being shown not so much as X-related characters but as "Britain's Premier Superhero Team" turning up in issues of Marvel Comics Presents, Spider-man and Thor. So on the few occasions the X-Men DID turn up it was usually as very little more than exactly how the cover paints it - A cynical marketing ploy.

Although, to be fair, in the latter half of its run its conversion into an X-Book is probably what saved it from the kind of cancellation which hit other vaguely X-connected titles, such as Alpha Flight for example. I will always remain of two minds on that, however. Scott Lobdell DID make Excalibur an X-Book. But in order to do that he had to axe every British cast member, ever character or setting which was related to the Captain Britain Mythos, every member of the Excalibur Rogues Gallery and anybody who had not, first and foremost, been an X-Man.

And I happen to think that if you need to make THAT many changes you may as well go the whole hog and be writing a different book, as well. A part of Excalibur died off that day and, sadly, much as though several characters and elements of the book eventually returned it was never quite the same again.

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