Sunday, 21 July 2013

So I go away for the weekend and Marvel announces the biggest Marvel UK news in years.

Well... this was rather stupendously badly timed on my part.

For those unaware this past week into weekend was the annual San Diego Comic-Con, probably the biggest annual even in American comics. Certainly the place for comics publishers to make their big announcements.

The cynic in me, of course, kind of assumed that in a year where Captain Britain had received a pretty unwarranted character assassination in Uncanny X-Force and Secret Avengers and Bendis' Guardians of the Galaxy pretty much pretended Britain didn't even have any heroes of its own the likelihood of any Marvel announcement which would favour Marvel UK in any fashion coming out of San Diego was practically zero.

Well... looks like I was wrong. :)

From the panels on Friday this little image started popping up:

For the uninitiated, it's a play on the WW2 public information poster 'Keep Calm and Carry On' , which was produced by the British government to be used in the event of a major wartime disaster or in the event of invasion.
Only in place of The Crown we have Death's Head II. :) - And I really hope Liam Sharp has seen this.
It's a promotional image for a new limited series, starting in January 2014, in which Marvel UK stalwarts Andy Lanning and Alan Cowsill will be revisiting the many characters of Marvel UK, in most cases for the first time properly since the offices closed their doors back in 1995.
Andy Lanning has done a press piece about it for in which he speaks very kindly of Marvel UK, and reminds us of just how many impressive creators were involved with the imprint. And while the details of what the story will actually involve are still very limited at this stage there's plenty positives for long term fans of the imprint to take away from this. Such as:
In preparing to take on the revitalization of the UK imprint, Lanning found himself startled by how strong its world still reads today.

“The biggest surprise has been rereading the old issues and rediscovering how cool the characters and their stories were,” he confesses. “Many of the stories revolved around the evil machinations of a shadowy organization called Mys-Tech, which was formed of 7 ‘techno-wizards’ who, in 987, sold their souls to Mephisto in exchange for immortality.

“As part of their pact the board must supply a steady stream of souls to the demon or else forfeit their own. Many of the stories and characters were linked to Mys-Tech’s efforts of finding a way to escape their compact with Mephisto and becoming immortal in their own right and the machinations and the numerous nefarious plots that they hatched to do this.”

So I would imagine that Algernon Crowe, Wychwood, Tyburn and the other board members will be involved. Mephisto's become very involved with Marvel's universe in the past couple of years, too. In New Mutants, Journey into Mystery, X-Factor and other titles. A good time to have such connections.

Inspired by this trip down memory lane, Lanning and Cowsill have committed to a story big enough to honor the line’s sizable legacy.

“We want to have as many cameos and appearances as we can cram in so expect many ‘Easter Eggs’ cropping up as we return to several of the old haunts from the Marvel UK universe: The Museum of Antiquities, MI-13, Darkmoor and a few more,” Lanning reveals.

Which pretty much ticks all of my own personal boxes. Darkmoor in particular, naturally. But specific characters?

“I think it’s safe to say that Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom will be involved. It would be sacrilege not to feature them in a story set in the UK...."

Are you listening Mr Bendis...? ;)

"...Fans of heroes like Warheads, Knights of Pendragon, Death’s Head, Warheads, Dark Angel, Super Soldiers, Motormouth and Killpower will be pleased. We will strive to fit as many in as possible so keep your eyes peeled as your own old favorite may very well make an appearance!”

My highlighting there.

That's a pretty impressive list of characters. Heck, I'd pretty much written off seeing Tigon Liger's Warheads ever again, yet they got mentioned twice.

Both Lanning and Cowsill have a history with Marvel UK. I have a huge amount of belief in their handling of this project. The Beat are reporting that Revolutionary War will have a number of artists working on it, most likely a different artist each issue. No confirmation as to who, yet. But I'd love to see some of the old familiar faces getting involved.

Spotted this tweet to the Marvel Twitter account last night:

And such a great creation too. I would love to see Erskine return. By no means a guarantee, sure, but I'd love to see it happen.
I'm sure we'll get more info as we get closer to release, but even as a concept this is so much more than I could have hoped for. And definitely something I shall keep posting about as more news comes in.
Maybe I ought to go away for the weekend more often, eh?


  1. This indeed is great news, and maybe it will create a wider interest in all things Marvel UK!

  2. We can but hope, ElvenBrit. As far as I am aware none of the 90s imprint material was ever collected. It would be nce if interest in this sparked Marvel to consider that.

    But all in all this seems like an ideal time to bring these characters back. And it'll be great to see them back in print in any capacity.

  3. I wonder if the can find a way to squeeze in Dragons Claws somehow....?

  4. I started scribbling down some ideas for a Team Deaths Head and Dragon Claws story last week... back to the drawing board!
    Very excited about this though!

    If the 90s stuff gets reprinted, I wonder if they will print it as the comics came out in the states, with the US characters crowbarred in, or as they were printed in Overkill (I miss that title!)?

  5. Hi Ogrebear.

    Yeah, I would love to see Dragon's Claws involved. Very much so. But that would definitely be a tougher sell. Given that they're a team from a different universe.

    But who knows? Not impossible.

    And hello seb_pinter!

    It would be great to get more of the 90s stuff reprinted. Back when Marvel did their Annihilation storyline they put out a hardcover featuring origins for some of the characters who featured, including the full Rocket Raccoon mini courtesy of Mike Mignola.

    Something like that would be great.

    As for US format vs Overkill? I'd still be tempted to go with US format. Yes, sometimes the US guest stars could be a little bit jarring, but much as I loved reading Overkill I also felt that sometimes the gaps that taking them out created could be a little confusing. When I found and read the US market versions of the stories I did feel like I'd been missing out.

  6. I am very excited by this news! I rang my comic shop in a giddy fit asking them to keep an eye out for this stuff :D

    I agree with any reprints containing the US versions. Although Motormouth didn't really suffer in Overkill as the Nick Fury/ Mys-Tech plot read as a completely separate story, stuff like KOP II, Warheads and Hell's Angel did suffer from having parts of the story featuring US characters trimmed.

    It is a bit disappointing reading the US versions back as its surprising how much of the UK characters US books were given over to American guest stars. Motormouth is good example of this, with up to 13 pages of her 22 page book handed over to the dull sub plot involving Nick Fury - which doesn't even dovetail into Motormouth's story.

    You can see what Marvel UK were aiming for in trying to mainstream the books by including US guest stars, but they really went a bit too far - the balance is just wrong. The americaniastion of the dialogue is also quite toe-curling. Makes you wonder how John Constantine ever survived at DC...

    I'm re-reading a lot of M:UK stuff at the moment, and Warheads is a great book and one I overlooked at little at the time. Stuart Jennet's artwork is easily my favourite after Gary Erskine's beautifully detailed work - shame he left after only two issues, what was that about? Hell's Angel is a little bit too New-Agey in places, and does read a bit like a Terrence McKenna lecture at times, but has a fascinating central character at its heart. Motormouth is just briliant. I love her. Shame she couldn't properly swear (i think they were aiming for a Tank Girl vibe, but with a PG rating), she is a bit overwhelmed in her own book when Killpower comes along though. Digitek is still phenomenal, although they really shouldn't have given him that silly hat. Dermot Power does stuff for films now, I understand, having provided concept art for the Harry Potter films. Of the other major books, Knights Of Pendragon II is disappointing, taking the original 'mature readers' book and turning it into a generic could-be-anyone superhero book. Likewise, after a superb limited series, Death's Head II is a rudderless mess (until Liam Sharp does the 'Gold' book...shame that never got completed).

    I'm not familiar with the majority of the second year characters, but whilst Death Wreck, Wild Thing and Black Axe were worthy additions, the likes of Genetix, Die-Cut, Death Metal and Gun Runner were all terrible.

    The Frontier imprint was great though. These were four books that tapped into the sort of mature readers direction Marvel UK was heading in as the 1990s started and it would be great to see this dusted down and collected - especially Immortalis and Children Of The Voyager.

    And I think that's quite enough rambling from me!