Sunday, 7 April 2013

ICFD Cover of the week - 07 April 2013

This week's cover is going back to the 70s to the very first issue of Super Spider-man & Captain Britain.

Yeah, I know it *says* No. 231, but that's because it continued the numbering of Marvel UK's previous Spider-man reprint title.

This actually might have been my very first contact with the character of Captain Britain. As a kid, growing up with Teachers for parents, I got forced around a *lot* of School Jumble Sales. Sometimes that meant long days hanging around as my parents helped set up and take down said events, but the boon of a long day would be the chance to pick through old comics and annuals, at the sale itself. These usually pretty battered and faded old books were my first exposure to Marvel Comics as actual Comics. I mean I knew who Spider-man was, much like how I knew who Batman was, or Superman, or The Hulk, through coming in contact with them via cartoons and film. But these were the first times I'd actually gotten my hands on physical comics, themselves.

After having acquired a handful of Super Spider-man Comics at a previous Jumble Sale, I was looking for more at the next. I gathered up pretty much anything which bore the 'Super Spider-man' name, and upon getting home and thumbing through them I found this very issue.

Who the HELL was 'Captain Britain'?

A question I've been answering ever since...

I'll be honest, as a single issue it was not the greatest ever Captain Britain introduction. This issue continued directly on from the final issue of Captain Britain's own solo title, which I had obviously not been reading. The Queen was being mind controlled into authorising an attack on an African country by a guy rather imaginitively named "The Manipulator" and his evil Henchman The Highwayman.

Not exactly your 'classic' Marvel Supervillains.

But it was set in Britain, London to be precise, and that connected with young me instantly. I'd been to London. We had cousins down there.

I think the Spidey story in this issue featured Kraven the Hunter, if i recall rightly. Which was a bit more mainstream. And I'd picked up issues with The Scorpion and The Punisher too. But frankly, back then, the simple fact that I held a Marvel comic in my hands was enough to blow my tiny little mind. ;)

I believe this cover was drawn by Ron Wilson, from online searching. Sadly, this was another book which magically disappeared from my possession at some point in my childhood. Probably back to a Jumble Sale, once more. But it remains an issue which started a fascination with a pairing we so infrequently now actually SEE in comics.

To British readers in the late 70s the pairing of Captain Britain and Spider-man was a given, due to this very title, and the Marvel Team-Up between the two by Claremont and Byrne. Heck, many folks don't even recall that Brian was (Albeit a little briefly) Peter Parker's college room mate. Now it's just another connection increasingly left unexploited by modern writers. When the two appeared together in a recent issue of Secret Avengers there didn't really seem to be any acknowledgement of familliarity between the two. And this was *before* the recent changes in Superior Spider-man.

A wasted opportunity in my opinion.

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