Sunday, 28 September 2008

ITEM! - Captain Britain OMNIBUS?

Okay, this one kind of came out of the blue. One of the biggest asks from British and American comic fans for a good many years was for Marvel to collect all of the multitudinous Captain Britain stories which were published over here in the UK but never saw a proper print run in the USA. For those unaware while there were two ongoing Captain Britain solo series books a good percentage of Cap's adventures (Including all those stories teamed-up with The Black Knight) were printed in Marvel UK's superhero anthology titles (Hulk Comic, Marvel Superheroes, The Daredevils, etc...) and while Panini Comics have recently begun reprinting the earlier solo runs those shorter stories have never been collected.

Ever since Marvel first started doing their Essentials line (High numbers of issues reprinted in black and white, on the kind of paper usually used for phone directories) fans have been pleading for a properly collected Essential Captain Britain. To date it never happened. However, this weeks Cup of Joe column, over at MySpace Comics reveled some interesting information...

Again, for those of you unaware, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada uses this page to answer questions mailed in from readers on all things Marvel. If you scroll down the page you'll eventually find a question from a guy named 'Richie' on the subject of the Marvel Omnibus books. You know the ones - Over-sized, hardback bound books capable of killing a small child if dropped upon them?

Well, Richie is a big fan of the Omnibus format and suggest a few books he'd like to see collected. But it's actually the books mentioned in Quesada's answer which interests me:

JQ: Richie, so glad you're diggin' the Omnibus format, I love it as well.

Currently we have plans for an Inferno style Omnibus, Classic X-Men, and even a Captain Britain Omnibus for the beginning of 2009. Now here's the thing: we have plans for lots more but it's way too early for me to spoil the surprise.

Could this be real? Could it actually be happening? The idea of Captain Britain getting the Omnibus treatment was unthinkable even this time last year. But you heard it - from the E-i-C himself!

Control yourself, Roberts... It's only a comic book...

But this is HUGE! ;D

I'll be keeping my ear to the ground for more news on this one. More news as it comes...


  1. Very interesting - I spotted this on the 2000 AD forum and googled for more information which pretty much got me there, here and your comments on it on CBR!! So not much news to be had.

    I'll be keeping a beady eye open, as I'm sure you will be too. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

    If I had to guess I'd suggest this will include the earliest run which Panini have reprinted (3 volumes at 200 pages a go) plus the two other post-relaunch volumes (Moore and Delano runs - again 200 pages a go) which brings us to the 1000 page number which seems about right for the Omnibus.

    I do wonder if they'll also include uncollected material like Dave Thorpe's run which is only a few issues but it would help provide a much smoother run (along with the Craddock/Collins/Davis-written stories before Jamie Delano took over).

    So doable I think, although as I have an awful lot of those I am unsure if I can really justify shelling out for it, but I am excited enough about it that I just might!!

  2. Yeah, the Omnibus volumes are a bit pricey. I don't own too many, for this reason. But this one would be a biggie for me. I'm sure I'd find the cash somewhere ;D

    It certainly is very doable. As you say, that first run which Panini have been reprinting (The first solo series, which later merged with Super Spider-man) would be a logical start point. Then there's the Marvel-Team Up issue with Spider-man, also.

    But there's actually more continuity out there than many people might think. I think (And certainly on the popularity of the character in Captain Britain and MI:13) it would be criminal not to include the Steve Dillon/Steve Parkhouse Black Knight and Captain Britain stories, from Hulk Comic. Especially as these have never been reprinted before - and never been seen by the majority of fans in America.

    Those stories also dovetail neatly into the start of the Dave Thorpe issues. Marvel have actually reprinted those once before, as X-Men Archives: Captain Britain, reprinting the whole of the Jaspers Warp storyline. But oddly those were then left out of the Moore/Davis Captain Britain tpb from a few years back.

    Then, as you rightly point out, there ARE stories between Moore and Delano which could be used (And I've not got access to all of those myself) and other odd little off shoots, like the Grant Morrison Captain Grandbretagne prose story, which could be used.

    So much stuff! ;D

    I think it's a safe bet to say this one will be finding its way into my possession, but I'll be greatly intrigued to find out what actually goes in.

    As I'm sure will you be, and a good number of other Marvel UK fans.

  3. Agreed.

    I have been going through my old copies and stumbling across little gems like the Captain Britain Summer Special from 1979 which includes:

    Both the Marvel team-Up with Spiderman - which stands up very well as Chris Claremont's writing is always (well nearly always - got to cover my back there) good and John Byrne's art always felt ahead of the curve, when a lot of other art from the period can look a little shabby.

    Four Black Knight/Captain Britain stories (from Incredible Hulk Weekly #57-60) where they raise Arthur, get Excalibur and Cap and Jacdaw are sent back to their own time - all in 10 pages!! Again the art still works well the only real pity with that story is it was given so little room to breath but seems to have triumphed despite these restrictions. You are right it would be criminal but it is also needed - it is the last of the Captain Britain stories before the redesign and it leads straight into Marvel Superheroes #375 (the Summer Special ends with a little add for it) so surely has to be included too.

    I agree there are some nice oddities out there worth throwing in:

    Captain Granbretan is available online but it'd be nice to see it back on the page. Of course, the beauty of it is: it would allow the marketing people to stick Grant Morrison's name on it, which should shift a few units!!

    Captain Airstrip One by Alan Moore would also be worth putting in but I don't know what the legal situation is there - the character is clearly a Marvel UK-owned one but it appeared in a small press comic. Having down some small press work with existing comic characters I know that they pretty much own the story and could just nab it, but it would, obviously, be a courtesy to ask Alan Moore first. Still we get to enjoy it anyway as that is also online.

    They don't need to include them but it'd be no really hassle to throw them in and they'd be a fun addition as well as make it a more complete affair, and could tempt some of the waverers like myself.

    And yes while I am umming and ahhing about this now I did manage to talk myself into buying the Moore and Delano trades when I was only missing a few issues and I suspect the same reasoning will come into play (depending on quite what is reprinted). After all my aunt left me a couple of quid in here will and I'm sure she'd want me to spend them on this. Probably a wise investment as Morrison's X-Men Omnibus rapidly tripled in price. Yep I think that is the angle I'll use on talking myself round.

  4. I did a bit more digging and outlined the possible contents in response to a question on the 2000 AD forum.

    Being pretty comprehensive would give a volume of around 1,250 pages. Which isn't outrageous when compared to other volumes (Secret Wars II will be nearly as big) so it is doable and that is what I'm hoping for.

    Also a side question which arose while looking into this: who is the Black Knight in the Otherworld Saga? My issues of Hulk Comic are patchy but nothing I have states it clearly.

  5. Hello Emperor,

    I actually have a bit of news to share on the Omnibus front, from talking to the Panini UK guys at the Birmingham International Comics Show, at the weekend - which I'll be posting up with my report on that, just as soon as I can get the photos from the weekend off the PC I put them on (The aforementioned monitor properly died this time, and I've had to work off my aged laptop). Expect that before the week is out.

    As for which Black Knight appeared in Hulk Comic? It very much is Dane Whitman. Despite these stories never having been reprinted in the USA mainstream Marvel continuity has long since acknowledged that they happened. Brian and Dane's past friendship has been acknowledged in two volumes of Excalibur and also in the Earth X trilogy (In as much as that the Black Knight had been a team mate of King Britain).

    Although it may be the case in Hulk Comic that Dane is not named specifically, or very often. I'll have to check that out myself, but I too am missing a few issues.

  6. And also Captain Britain was introduced as some kind of unnamed stranger at the start of the story. Throw in Black Knights time-travelling forwards and backwards and possessing each other and it all adds up to one big headache!!

    After looking over these stories again not only do I think it should be included because of its important part in the large Captain Britain story but because John Stokes artwork still looks great after all these years and I'd love to see it on better paper (and not the rather yellowed copies I have too!!).

    I look forward to the Omnibus update.

  7. Hi,

    Just to add to the Dane/Black Knight discussion, I'm pretty sure Dane's name isn't mentioned during the Otherworld saga. However there's nothing that seems to contradict it being him and Moore himself acknowledges it in his last issue by having Brian call him Dane to which Dane replies that he's changed since last they met.
    Furthermore they both meet again, in the 90's Black Knight series, and Brian mentions how they saved Camelot in the past.

    More confusing is that there are two Mordred's as well :S and CB has fought both of them. (well I think, I get confused which one is which)

    Mark, did you happen to ask if Panini were planning a Knights of Pendragon trade?


  8. Emperor is quite right. Brian is introduced as a wayward stranger, out of costume, at the start of that story. It is not instantly clear that it IS Brian.

    For more information on what could be in the omnibus, as well as the future of the 'Birth of a legend' volumes checkout the Birmingham Con post.

    Hi Si,

    Sadly I did not (Something I really wish I had). Instead we'd got talking about Night Raven of all characters. And how there sadly isn't much chance of getting that re-traded, right now. I own both previous trades from, but not all of the Moore prose stories. I know that the character doesn't truly fit into Marvel UK - not being set in Britain - but I always found him kinda fascinating. The most he's had as an appearance in modern comics is a brief background shot in in a flahback image in JMS's The Twelve.

  9. That's a shame. The litte I've read of Night Raven, i.e some hulk weekly stories and that weird crossover with Black Widow, has been quite good. But sadly I've not had much luck finding the older trades.
    Wonder if there's much chance of a Combat Colin trade...


  10. Hi Si,

    There were two collections of Night Raven stories. The first being a collection of all the Anthology strips together and a second stand alone graphic novel, by Jamie Delano and David Lloyd, named "House of Cards" which came out in the imprint years.

    You can occasionally find them on eBay, that's certainly where I got my version of the former from. You can also find some of the prose stories Alan Moore did available online:

    You also uttered the magic words of "Combat Colin" there. It really is far too long since he had a regular home. Lew Stringer was at BICS last weekend, and he is one of a couple of guys I was quite genuinely gutted not to have tracked down.

    As I understand things when Marvel UK parted ways with Lew (Which was an editorial decision) they gave him creative rights to the character, to do with as he wished. Although I'm not entirely sure what the policy is regarding reprinting the material from Action Force and Transformers.

    I know that "The Place of No Return" which was originally printed in Transformers was reprinted in a collection of Stringer's Brickman stories a couple of years back, under the name "Village of the Doomed":

    Which would suggest that Lew does have the rights to reprint. As to how much, and indeed how much of the actual material still exists, I can't say.

    Back in the early 90s (As a misguided kid) I cut out all the Combat Colin strips I'd picked up in both comics, and put them into a folder (To give you a clue of how long ago this was it was a Gordon the Gopher folder... ;D ). Sadly this folder has gone missing. I'm really hoping that it wasn't lost in our last house move. There was several years worth of those strips in there.

  11. Captain Britain By Alan Moore & Alan Davis Omnibus

    672 pages
    April 2009
    ISBN 0785137602

    So that looks like the reboot version. So we'd be getting... both trades, Dave Thorpe's issues, the three issues in between the end of Moore's run and the start of Delano's. Just some back of the envelope sums suggest that comes in at around 500 pages. So what is the rest? The more recent Captain Britain stories from Panini?

    It is also clear they'll be doing a another omnibus containing the original version giving them plenty of space for the three trades, the Hulk Comic series with Black Knight and the Spider-Man team-up.

    Personally I think that is the best of both worlds. If they include the Hulk Comic run then I'll definitely pick up the second volume. I might be tempted by the first one if I spot it going cheap somewhere.