Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Prepare for CAP WEDNESDAY and a helping hand with those Panini trades.

Greetings once more,

Only a fairly quick update today, as time is short. But let me first of all remind you that today is Tuesday 10th of February.

Why is that important?

Well, after all Tuesday 10th of February is one day before an even more important day as Wednesday 11th of February is CAP WEDNESDAY. And we all know what that means! In case there are any of you who don't, the folowing handy bulletpoints will hopefully help you out:

So find that $2.99 and prepare to make your way unto your local comic book store in the morning.

Or if this is already Wednesday by the time you're reading this... WELL WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS FOR!? Get away from your PC and get yourself a copy! :D

I must say, I've been greatly pleased to see so many of those banners I produced turning up in even the most obscure places on the internet. The good word about Captain Britain & MI13 has been spreading across the internet, and beyond, over the past month. A lot of positive discussion and raising of awareness of how good the book is.

At the weekend it was New York Comic Con, and I'm told that the response which Paul Cornell and the book were given during Friday's Dark Reign panel was very positive indeed. I really wish I'd been able to go over there myself. It would have been great to have met CB&MI13 artist Leonard Kirk who was also on hand, in the Artists Alley. A Leonard Kirk Captain Britain is definitely on my Cons check-list.

Unfortunately, my weekend was a little less glamorous, mostly spent berating the state of UK snow. Having my work close by 9.30 am on Friday due to being trapped in what appeared to be the Warwickshire epicentre of the Snowpocalypse I was looking forward to an easy day of relaxing at home. No such luck. My car got stuck in a snowdrift for the rest of Friday morning, literally unable to get enough grip on the white stuff to pull free. I had to make a call to AA Recovery to help pull me out.

Not the greatest start to my weekend.

But on my Saturday travels I managed to acquire a copy of the second Panini volume of Death's Head from Forbidden Planet in Coventry, for the grand total of £3.00. They're clearing out a lot of UK trades right now, and this was a deal I couldn't pass up. True enough, I do actually own most of the contents within this trade (All bar the She-Hulk and Fantastic Four issues) but frankly it's easier to have a trade copy on my book shelf than digging through long-boxes any day.

The real gem of the book trade itself, though, is the reprinting of Death's Head - The Body in Question, which was previously collected as a graphic novel and serialised in Marvel UK anthology title Strip. The story picks up directly from the very hasty end to Death's Head's first ongoing series and (as pretty much usual) is written by Simon Furman with art by Geoff Senior. It's a proper origin story for DH, where he effectively meets his father, a parasitic being named Lupex, who has no body of his own and must transfer from one host body to the next in order to survive. Death's Head discovers that he was created as a new machine based body for Lupex, which would not wear out. Of course, it's never as simple as that. Lupex is somewhat surprised to discover that somebody has programmed his body with a personality, for a start.

The artwork on that story is brilliant. And thumbing through to the story following it, She-Hulk #24 from 1990, it really does show just how far ahead Marvel UK were in terms of production quality compared to their US parent company. Here we are, two books both published in the same year, but comparing the level of airbrushed artwork used on The Body in Question to the pre-Malibu, primary coloured, world of US Marvel Comics is quite a contrast to see.

The latter isn't in anyway badly drawn. Far from it. That's early Bryan Hitch artwork assisting Peter David's story. You'll hear no complaint there. But Marvel US really were miles behind the British side of their operations in terms of finished product. It really galls me that they were so stubborn to embrace chance in the US, that Marvel UK artists working in oils were not kept in work after they closed the offices. The Body in Question stands up well enough today. A lot of Marvel's early 90s output simply doesn't.

So yes, the Panini trades are worth your money, and those guys are doing an excellent job collecting all these issues. I've actually received quite a few emails since I mentioned the Dragon's Claws trade a while back, asking for ISBN numbers to aid tracking down volumes. So for you guys, here's a helping hand:

For Death's Head Volume 1 (Collecting High Noon Tex, guest appearances in Doctor Who Magazine and Dragon's Claws, and #1-7 of his first ongoing) you need

ISBN: 978-1-905239-34-4 and here's an Amazon link: Death's Head Volume 1

For Death's Head Volume 2 (Collecting #8-10 of the first ongoing, The Body in Question, guest appearances in She Hulk #24, Fantastic Four #338, Marvel Comics Presents # 76, Doctor Who Magazine #173 and the What If...? (Death's Head I had lived) #54 ) you need

ISBN: 978-1-905239-69-6 and here's an Amazon link: Death's Head Volume 2

For the complete Dragon's Claws (Collecting Dragon's Claws #1-10 and Death's Head #2) you need

ISBN: 978-1-905239-99-3 and here's an Amazon link: Dragon's Claws

For Captain Britain Volume 1: Birth of a Legend (Collecting Captain Britain weekly #1-23) you need

ISBN: 1-905239-30-0 and here's an Amazon link: Captain Britain Volume 1

For Captain Britain Volume 2: Hero Reborn you need

ISBN: 1-905239-72-6 and here's an Amazon link: Captain Britain Volume 2

Captain Britain Volume 3: The Lion and the Spider I'm a little confused over. It was due for release back at the start of November. I'm not sure whether it actually came out, or not. When I was talking with the Panini guys at BICS last year it was still being worked on. I'll try and find out for you. The ISBN listed on Amazon was:

ISBN: 1846534011 and here's a link to an order when available page on Amazon: Captain Britain Volume 3

To my US readers my apologies that these are Amazon.co.uk links. But as long as there is a reference page there is some hope that Amazon.com can order them. Let me know how you get on. I'm very much in a bothering people kind of mood...

Until the next time, make sure you buy Captain Britain & Mi13 #10, and I'll speak to you soon.



  1. Picked up issue #10 today. Paul and Leonard just keep getting better and better.

  2. Just with my Death's Head Anorak on, the She Hulk issue you've scanned there is issue 24 and is written by Simon Furman (not Peter David). When it was reprinted in the 1993 Incomplete Death's Head, a horrible pink swirl had been added by Marvel UK editorial to herald DH's arrival (In the original, reprinted in the Pannini trades, he just crashes through a window). Marvel UK took many odd liberties with Furman's original DH stories in this series, mainly small things, like pointing out that Death's Heads memories are at odds with real events (are they?) and having a helpful pasted in box of Tuck expalining DH must be being reprogrammed (following the events of DHs rebuilding by Spratt) when there's scene changes. A shame really, as its slightly patronising and suggests just how little in tune editorial were with Furman's concept at the time. That Body In Question art is amazing isn't it? Easily Geoff Senior's best work. Such a shame he never went onto bigger things within comics.

  3. Hi Simon,

    Ruddy hell. You are completely correct. That is Simon Furman. I was scanning issues of PAD's Hulk, featuring Motormouth & Killpower, at the same time as these. I've clearly got confused between the two.

    Idiot. ;D

    Like I say, the Incomplete Death's Head tells a very different story. Those interlinking sections use the past narrative as memories, triggered at points in their new story. It's an interesting take on those events, but yes, it could be interpreted as an attempt to alter parts of Furman's original.

    I always feel a little torn between the two incarnations of Death's Head. I love both of equally. I can understand where Furman feels wronged over Death's Head, but I do also feel that Abnett and Sharp's DH2 was a clever and enjoyable evolution for the character. Also one which fitted in easier with Marvel at the time.

    I still don't see why we can't have both in current continuity, though. It's not like Death's Head didn't across time and dimensions, after all.