And yes, this one is long overdue.
So welcome to a bumper 'All the the stuff I've been meaning to post' edition of It Came From Darkmoor. I'd like to begin by showing you a few of the places that you can (or at least in some cases will) be able to find some appearances of Marvel UK's finest - at present and within the coming months.
I'll kick that off with an X-Men title, of sorts - Chris Claremont's final issue of New eXiles. I have to admit my loyalty has floundered a little on this book. at least one regular cast member I am very much invested in, but the series just hasn't managed to capture the magic of Judd Winnick's original series. The book is actually getting rebooted with a new #1, a new cast and Jeff Parker taking over writing duties very shortly. But I picked up the final issue to see what had been going on, and the implication of what this strange status quo might have on Marvel's multiverse. And as luck would have it I was greeted by a surprising little cameo from one of Marvel UK's best known faces:
And no, it's not Psylocke. She's been there since late on into the last run of eXiles. For those unaware of the set-up, all of those TVs in there show glimpses from other dimensions in Marvel's multiverse. Take a closer look at that top screen:
That's right, folks. A sound little cameo by none other than Death's Head! Who'd have thought. Sure it's an alternate Earth (So it probably isn't OUR Death's Head) but us fans of the horned and metal-plated one must take what little we can get...
Major Kudos to Mr Claremont and New eXiles artist Tim Seeley for that little cameo.
I'm on a real Death's Head kick right now. I'm currently working on some issue summaries of the original DH series for Comixfan (I'll post up some links when they're all done an on site) and have been having a lot of fun re-reading those issues in, which I recently picked up again in the form of the two Panini trades.
It was about the time I had begun reading the second volume time that Simon Hall emailed me a scan of this advert he'd found, while reading through a copy of Knights of Pendragon, for a much earlier attempt at a Death's Head trade collection:
Thanks greatly for that, Simon. I love this advert. It captures the tone of the series and the character so well. The trade itself was kind of a 'Best of' Death's Head. It didn't include the whole lot, but it did have some interviews and early art examples in it. Simon Furman, however, was never quite happy with the volume. In the introduction to the second Panini trade he says:
"It's taken 20 years to get Death's Head collected. Complete. Properly. It's not for want of trying though. Back in 1990, Marvel (UK) gathered together selected chunks of the original 10-issue series under the title The Life and Times of Death's Head. However, much (indeed, whole issues) was omitted for the sake of the 146 pages allotted to that slender volume, and the result was rather unsatisfying (to me at least). A better stab at reprinting/repackaging the Death's Head series came with The Incomplete Death's Head. This 12-issue maxi-series, published throughout 1993, was essentially a reprint title, but with new originated/linking segments featuring DH's successor Death's Head II. All in all, it did a pretty good job of gathering DH's various appearances and stringing the together into a new narrative, but it wasn't a collected edition, and it was, indeed, incomplete"
And he's right. It is. I am so incredibly glad that Panini have now collected it all. It's long overdue.
I would say though, to all Death's Head completists out there, that if you can get your hands on the 12 issues of The Incomplete Death's Head I'd certainly recommend it. It genuinely does, through adding the new linking bits of material, make the original run (and some of those guest appearances) into a whole new separate story. It's kind of weird, but also kind of cool as well.
In same introduction to that second volume Furman also mentions the following:
"In 1992, a new Death's Head series, written by myself and with art by Geoff Senior, was begun (in terms of the creative processes of script and art ) and then abruptly canned in favour of a complete reinvention of the character as Death's Head II. New Marvel UK editor-in-chief Paul Neary arrived with a new broom and the intended series went out with the trash. Oh, how I wish I still had some of the amazing art Geoff (Senior) had delivered up to that point!"
Now I recall Mr Furman mentioning mentioning this upcoming series (I believe it was a limited series at that point) in a mocked up interview with himself and Death's Head, for Death's Head: The Body in Question. I'm a huge Death's Head II fan, as I'm sure you're no doubt aware by now, but there's still a big part of me which would have loved to have known more about what Simon and Geoff had planned. After The Body in Question, in many ways Death's Head felt to have completed his current cycle, but I'm sure they must have had some other kind of specific direction to take him down. we can only speculate as to what that might have been...
The next cameo on the list is one which has been mentioned before...
A little while ago I blogged that Captain Britain and MI13 were to get their first appearance outside of their own title, in the pages of Dan Slott's Mighty Avengers #22. Well, for those of you who might have missed said appearance, it kind of looked something like this:
So yes, it really is a cameo. A quickie appearance from Cap, Spitfire and the Black Knight, along with several other Marvel heroes (She-Hulk, some of JMS's The Twelve and some of Parker's Agents of Atlas?) from around the world, used here to convey the scale of bad stuff happening. And that's a good thing. Any appearance by the team in a top tier title is a good advert for the book.
Back over in the book itself though we've been having a reappearance of another ghost from the past. While not technically a Marvel UK property, they certainly are British. And as can be seen in in this page from Captain Britain & MI13 #10, they've come to pay Spitfire a visit.
For the uninitiated, that fella goes by the name of Kenneth Crichton. And yes, he is indeed Spitfire's son. But you may know him better by the name he assumed the last time he was in comics. Kenneth Crichton is a vampire. He was the second Baron Blood.
Those who read the Ben Raab/John Cassaday Union Jack series a few years back will know what befell him. An extreme case of death by sunlight. But this book has Blade on the team, and in his last ongoing series the Vampire Hunter made a bit of a mistake. A mistake which brought an awful lot of Vampires back from the dead.
Kenneth along with them.
Just when things started to look rosy for Spitfire, too. Talk about complications...
We'll have to wait and see where Paul Cornell goes with Kenneth's resurrection when the next issue of Captain Britain & MI13 hits shelves on Wednesday (Thursday in the UK). But one thing is for sure he won't be the only British character making an appearance. Union Jack will be turning up again but Paul also let out some very interesting news in an interview he did for Newsarama whilst at New York Comicon (
NRAMA: With Marvel's history with UK comics, including a Marvel UK imprint at one point, do you see yourself tapping more into those older comics for future issues?
PC: Just wait two issues, my friend.
NRAMA: Maybe my favorite Marvel UK title, Knights of the Pendragon?
PC: Of course. The Green Knight already popped up, and we're also thinking about using Tangerine. And there's also an upcoming appearance by Motormouth and Killpower; do you remember them?
NRAMA: Yes, of course. Some early great artwork by Gary Frank on those books.
PC: Yes, well they're going to be coming up soon. The way I see it, all of the British superheroes work for MI:13 in a defacto way so there's a way we can have them all pop up. In this upcoming story, Motormouth and Killpower are on duty when something terrible happens and the team is brought it.
I love being free to do this kind of stuff.
So... firstly, the possibility of Tangerine will certainly please old Excalibur fans. I've certainly championed her cause in the past (Who the Hell is Tangerine?) so that's certainly something I approve of.
But the bigger deal for the Marvel UK faithful is hearing those two names for the first time in so long... "Motormouth and Killpower"!
Now, for those who missed the imprint years you may know these two better from an appearance they made in Peter David’s Hulk run from the 90s. There again they were being drawn by the brilliant Gary Frank. But Motormouth and Killpower were one of Marvel UK’s original ongoing series. Created by Paul Neary, Graham Marks and Gary Frank the book began as ‘The Indescribable Motormouth’ but soon added Killpower’s name to the title when it was clear that he was going to be playing just as big a role in the series.
Harley “Motormouth” Davis and Julius “Killpower” Mullarkey were big players in the 90s imprint. Harley’s powers are sonic. She picked them up via a bit of quirky technology she picked up in another dimension, and a bit of tinkering from her partner. She had these shoes she kind of stole from Mys-Tech, which allowed her to slide between dimensions. She also had a talent for the kind of colourful language which would make a sailor blush. Couple that with her sonic abilities and… well, I’m sure you can imagine.
So yeah, Harley is a little bit like what the X-Men’s Banshee or DC’s Black Canary would be like - if they had a ‘potty mouth’. But that low vibration humming sure comes in handy.
Julius on the other hand was a test subject, grown by Mys-Tech’s Oonah Mullarkey in a lab. He’s a mish-mash of human and animal DNA, conditioned and programmed and artificially age. The result is that he’s super-strong, takes a lot of damage, has a natural flair for using pretty much and technology or firearm he can get his hands on... but he’s still kind of got the mentality of a child. For example, it was Julius who configured the technology in Harley’s throat to produce that sonic scream, but often thrown into a combat situation he often sees it as a bit of a game – prompting his trademark war cry of “It’s a Turkey Shoot!!!”.
They remain two of my favourite Marvel UK characters. Always fun to read, and an interesting dynamic. After all, there’s not many female heroes out there who have a male sidekick. I’m looking forward to this. $%^& me. It could be %^&£^%£ fantastic.
Some of you may recall a post I made a few months ago, during the Secret Invasion issues of Nova (Link). Well, since then Dr Evelyn Necker appears to have become very much a permanent fixture at Project PEGASUS. So much so that she actually made appearances in TWO books this month. Firstly in CB Cebulski’s War of Kings: Darkhawk #1:
Darkhawk, you see, is also on the payroll at PEGASUS - in Security. Necker’s appearance is quite brief, granted, but it’s great to see her presence noted outside of Nova, by another writer. All good exposure.
Even if it doesn’t end so well…
Evelyn gets a far better run out in Abnett and Lanning’s Nova #22, where she is slightly more central to the plot. For those who are unaware, at the end of #21 the Worldmind decided that Richard Rider was mentally unfit to be Nova Prime after he disagreed with some of its quirkier decisions, of late, and took away his powers. This issue finds Richard consulting the powers that be at Project PEGASUS to give him the once over, and verify whether or not the Worldmind has a point.
Robbie Rider, Richie’s younger brother, was recently made a Nova Centurion himself, during one of the Worldmind’s more dubious decisions, and Richie wants to talk to him. But without the Worldmind intervening. How do you convince Robbie to come out of range of the Worldmind? How about one of the oldest tricks in the book?
I think it great that Necker seems to be becoming a regular character in the MU. There are so many Marvel UK characters who have been lying around unused for just too long. And of course the ceaseless fan in me will always hope that her continued presence will some day lead to a Death’s Head II revival.
Hey, I can dream… ;D
Abnett and Lanning continue to do a great job with this book. I actually picked up the hardcover of the first year of Nova, a couple of weeks ago, to fill in the gaps of issues I missed.
On the subject of Dan Abnett, the man himself made a very interesting comment on his Blog last week.
“Speaking of trades, I hear the first nine or so issues of the Knights of Pendragon, an eco-superhero-Arthurian comic from the early nineties, is also about to be collected. Co-created with John Tomlinson, Steve White and Gary Erskine, and co-written by me and John, it remains a high water mark in my output, and is one of the first major things I did. People still ask me about the series.”
And with good reason. That first volume was a particularly strong run. The interweaving of myth and legend with a modern (Well, late 80s/early 90s) setting was great. The image of Adam Crown, this waster guy from East London, propelled towards becoming a new Arthur by magical intervention, that scrap metal sword rising from a canal, travelling across reservoirs rather than lakes – it was all a really strong urban spin on an old legend. I’m amazed that it hasn’t been revived in some form or other, by now.
A collection is very long overdue. Me Abnett does not say who is collecting it, but following on fro Dragon’s Claws I think there’s a fair chance it’s likely to be Panini. I’ll let you know more as soon as I do.
Thanks to Mark Jarvis for Twittering me that link to Dan’s Blog last week. I had not been there before. Some interesting information there about Abnett’s Marvel work, and his other projects (such as his Warhammer 40K work). Certainly worth a look in.
You can find it here: http://theprimaryclone.blogspot.com/
And while we’re on the subject of other Blogs you might like to visit, I recently discovered Lew Stringer’s blog ‘Blimey! It’s another Blog about Comics!’. Many of you will remember Lew as the guy behind the best of Marvel’s back up comic strips, up until the turn of the 90s. He was responsible for Robo-Capers and the frankly legendary Combat Colin. I miss those strips a heck of a lot. Forget Marvel US’s Mini Marvels, Lew was drawing strips full of in-jokes, satire and fun, set within Marvel’s context, decades before those strips were showing up in US titles. I still have a large number of Combat Colin strips filed away in a folder, at home, saved when my parents insisted I chucked out most of my Transformers comics, when I was in my teens (Heresy, I know!).
Lew’s blog deals with pretty much everything to do with British published comics, old and new. It’s got some really good articles on books from the past, and some really nice insights from a guy who’s worked on so many different titles, and comics’ brands. It’s updated fairly regularly, and I’d strongly recommend a visit to anybody who’s big on nostalgia or just wants to see some examples of how different British comics are to those of our American cousins.
Have a look: http://lewstringer.blogspot.com/
Right. Well that’s almost it for this update, However, as many of will already be aware tomorrow (or Thursday here in the UK) a certain British set title comes out from Marvel Comics.
That’s right, it’s CAP WEDNESDAY, again!
And to celebrate the publishing of Captain Britain & MI13 #11 I’ve done another banner to tie in with its release. Once again, there’s a standard sized and a smaller variant (For sites which restrict size a little more). This one’s intended a little bit as a ‘Previously On…’ and as I can’t post animated Gifs on hear easily, here’s a breakdown of what it looks like.
And here’s where you can find them (Feel free to spread the word in your forum signatures):
Smaller Size: Here
This issue is the first part proper of the Vampire State arc, in which Dracula has decided to claim Britain as a homeland for ‘his people’.
You know. His people with sharp teeth and pale skin, who don’t get out a lot in the hours of daylight? Yeah. Bad news for the general populace of Great Britain. Last issue Vlad Tepes (To use his real name) launched his assault by trying to eliminate the members of MI13, with a couple of co-ordinated missile attacks. Not just any missiles though. VAMPIRE missiles.
I kid you not. :D
#11 picks up right where #10 left off. If you’re interested in seeing some preview pages you can find them here:
Captain Britain & Mi13 #11 preview at CBR
Now, GO BUY IT!
That’s all, for now. As always, if you have any questions, thoughts or comments, feel free to add them to this post or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . I’m always glad to hear from a fellow fan.
You can also follow me on Twitter, as this seems to be the done thing now.
There’s a link on the right hand side of the page.
Until the next time…