Sunday, 14 April 2013

ICFD Cover of the week - 14 April 2013


This week's cover is that of The Knights of Pendragon (vol 1) #4 from October 1991. Art by Alan Davis.

People in packing crates, eh? Dai Thomas makes an unnerving discovery about Omicorp's operations in foreign climes...

Davis was responsible for the first five covers for Knights of Pendragon, each of which were pretty striking, and also used as adverts in other Marvel UK titles of the day, for the most part as uncoloured artwork.

Knights of Pendragon was a brave project, in many regards. I mean aside from the use of Captain Britain (Who by no means plays as large a part as some covers might suggest) the cast of the series was primarily bigger names' supporting characters and characters created purely for this book. The first few issues, in fact, are pretty much Dai Thomas working on his own, and even as a familliar character to Captain Britain and Excalibur readers he was hardly what you might call a big name, by any means.

But that's not what Knights of Pendragon was about. It wasn't a traditional Superhero book. It had roots in folklore, myth and legend, obviously, but it was also a little bit high concept. This notion that across the centuries, whenever the land is truly, catastrophically, threatened, a primal force rises up to make Champions of ordinary men and women, is in some ways a quite traditional Fantasy concept. Yet at the same time, the modern world setting, and the issues it also explores (of environmental concerns and multinational corporations) are really rather cleverly and sensitively done. This was far more than the standard 'Caped Good Guy fights Nefarious Villain' story, that was for sure.

I love this cover because rather than being that of a standard superhero comic (with the traditional poses and framing thereof) this looks far more like that of a pulp crime novel, set in somewhere exotic. Which was very much the tone of Knights of Pendragon at this point. The less said about how the second volume turned out, the better, arguably. But the first run remains an absolute classic, in my book. And a concept which it still surpises me that Marvel haven't tried to revive somewhere in the past 20 years.


  1. I agree: it's a classic, and a very original one, at that. Even though Gary Erskine was still learning, very few of the "second wave" titles were of this high quality. Maybe only the first Warheads do qualify, mainly thanks to a much more mature Mr Erskine.


  2. It's amazing to think of this as Erskine's first work. You really wouldn't tell. He had a really strong style even there.