Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Item: Meet C-ape-tain Britain

Just a quickie!

I'm sure that many of you may remember the Marvel Zombies series that Marvel did, and how Marvel did a range of alternate 'Zombie' variant covers for other ongoing Marvel titles, to hype that event.

Well, this year it's not Zombies it's 'Marvel Apes'. No, really. And once again Marvel are doing some of those great variant covers to accompany that. One such series which is lucky enough to be receiving this variant cover treatment is Captain Britain & MI:13 #5. I'm not sure that Marvel have actually put out any cover shots yet, but the artwork is being done by David Yardin (District X, Black Panther) and coloured by John Rauch. And it looks kinda like this:

A brilliant King Kong pastiche, with C-ape-tain Britain fighting off attack from planes, whilst climbing up Big Ben, with Meggan gripped in his hand (Yardin says we can actually thank Nick Lowe for that idea).

For a better look the line art can be found on Yardin's DeviantART page:

And the coloured art on Rauch's:


  1. I intended to ask, where do you stand on the new Cap costume? I approve of ditching the helmet, but I reckon the costume is, at best, too close to Union Jack's. And at worst, the arrow pointing at the groin is a little, uh, distracting.

  2. Hi Mark,

    You find THAT costume distracting? Just think of Davis' second Cap costume, when they made him simplify things in the original Excalibur. Now there's an arrow telling people where to focus! ;D

    In all seriousness though, I think you'll find very few people who don't see Davis original Cap costume as being the Classic look for the character. Cap's a bit young to really have had a Golden and Silver age incarnation of the character, but if he had the original Lion Insignia red costume (Hair exposed and scarf rather than helmet) would be Golden Age and Davis' Silver. And how many characters truly shake their Silver age form?

    But I do have to say that I feel the change to the current costume is a good move. I love the Davis costume. It is the costume I associate with the finer stories of Cap's past. But I think that there are two key problems in using it in modern comics:

    Firstly, when Davis draws it - it's great. But Davis' style is one which is very hard to imitate, and certainly one which doesn't match with Marvel's current brand aesthetic, so well. Alan could always get so much expression out through that mask, but other artists have generally struggled to. Certainly if you try to draw the mask with the current trend for photorealism you have this rigid mask sitting in front of Brian's face, which isn't very pliable, and cuts off a lot of the emotion behind it. And for that reason I think that the mask kind of needed to go, to an extent.

    Secondly, I think there is the certain problem of its associations with the humorous, bumbling Brian of early Excalibur. Davis' style IS fun, it is quirky. And I think that wen a lot of people see that costume they do have the association in their head with the kind of caricature Englishman which Brian had become.

    That's not what this series is about. It's about reclaiming those parts of Brian which have kind of been lost over the years. The hero. And I think that in order to be taken seriously he did need to change. The change of costume really helps to back that up.

    The Union Jack is pride of place, rising up to the top of that costume like some kind of force bolt, and the mask is gone to allow for true expression of emotion to be conveyed.

    It actually reminds me a lot of the costume Brian inherited from his father, in Excalibur vol 2. I loved that too.

    It's modern, but iconic. And that's what Captain Britain needs to be, right now. To that end I think it very much succeeds.

    I know that some people are drawing similarities with Union Jack's costume. But I do think that the only real similarity is the Flag. Brian's pretty much always worn that. And while Joe Chapman still wears the mask, the utility belt and the pistols I think that they are significantly different. It's those things which I feel actually define Union Jack.

    (It's funny actually. When Union Jack turned up in Knights of Pendragon, sporting a Staff and an all in one masked bodysuit, people were accusing him of ripping off Captain Britain...)

    Of course NOW each time I see the new costume I'm going to be focusing on that arrow! For this, Mark, I blame you.;D