Friday, August 30, 2013


I have to say... when I started this blog, the intention was absolutely not for it to be "All Captain Britain, All the Time".  But I started writing my review posts and found that I had more to say than I'd originally expected.  Beyond that, I wrote some supplemental posts to toss in among the reviews as neededThe idea, as I laid out in my very first post was: review Monday, something else Friday, with a supplemental post in between, on Wednesday.  I actually thought I'd need to fill space!

But now that my Cap reviews will be posted on Mondays and Wednesdays, I find myself with these extra supplemental things sitting around, looking for homes.  I think I'll post them on the weekends -- which could mean Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  There may not be one every week, but for the duration of the solo Captain Britain reviews, there should be.  Once my Cap reviews move on to EXCALIBUR, I believe they will cease -- or at least become more infrequent.

This way, if something interesting comes up and I want to write about it, I'll have Fridays available to toss it in.  I know I'm free to update my blog whenever I like, but I would rather stick to a somewhat regular schedule, if possible.

And by the way, my appreciation goes out to anyone who's sticking through the CAPTAIN BRITAIN reviews, even if they aren't your cup of tea.  I'll be the first to admit that they aren't so much "reviews" as they are broad recaps with stream-of-consciousness ramblings tossed in.  As I said a couple weeks ago, when I read these comics, I hadn't decided to start a blog.  Once we move past Captain Britain, the reviews should be more focused, if still somewhat informal.

Thanks for bearing with me as I figure out this "blogging" thing!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


One positive thing I will say about these old Captain Britain stories is that the pace is frenetic. It feels like reading a comic strip, where every storyline leads directly into the next, with no downtime in between. I assume this is due to the weekly schedule of the series. On top of that, Cap's adventures went black-and-white about halfway through the Skull storyline, which adds to the "newspaper strip" feel of the whole thing.

Case in point: Immediately following the Captain America/Red Skull storyline, Brian Braddock passes out in his bed and dreams about nutty ol' Lord Hawk, a hermit for whom Brian constructed a robotic bird some time back.  To keep him company. A. Robotic. Bird.

Anyway, at precisely that moment, Lord Hawk has decided to take his bird out and terrorize England because things aren't how they used to be.  If I recall correclty, he wanted to return to a simpler time, when men and their robot birds lived off the land, and all those pesky modern conveniences weren't around to get in their way.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Before leaving CAPTAIN BRITAIN WEEKLY, Chris Claremont gave our hero an origin, introduced an antagonist on the police force, a mysterious criminal mastermind, and provided a good-sized, if somewhat derivative, supporting cast. Even with his departure, he had left a status quo in place and ready to use for the next writer. So naturally, pretty much all of it was junked immediately.

Art by Herb Trimpe

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Just a quick little note: Apparently I have a lot more to say about Captain Britain than I realized.  I've written up enough posts that I can afford to publish them twice a week instead of just Mondays.  So, beginning this week, I will be posting my Cap reviews on Mondays and Wednesdays.

After that... who knows?

Friday, August 23, 2013


Art by John Romita, Jr.
No, I'm not announcing a new review series... yet.  But come next Spring, that may change.  Earlier this week, a ghost listing was discovered on Amazon for a SPIDER-MAN BY ROGER STERN OMNIBUS, ostensibly to be released next April, just in time for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 in May.

I've bought a lot of this material before.  I own a mix of original issues and MARVEL TALES reprints of the full run, plus a 1992 ORIGIN OF THE HOBGOBLIN trade paperback.  I have a trade called SPIDER-MAN VS. THE BLACK CAT from around 2005 or so, reprinting a 2-parter from Stern's run.  I have SPIDER-MAN VISIONARIES: ROGER STERN volume 1, sadly the only volume in the series, presumably due to low sales -- it started chronologically with the comparatively weaker SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN material.  The Stern Juggernaut 2-parter, along with a few other stories from his AMAZING run, is reprinted in a recent hardcover collection.  And Marvel reissued ORIGIN OF THE HOBGOBLIN just a year or so ago, with a little more material than the 90s version, so I bought it again.

Art by John Romita, Jr.
But even so, this omnibus is an instant pre-order item for me.  I regard Stern's Spidey, especially the AMAZING portion, as the indispensible textbook on how a solo superhero series should be done.  The juggling of sub-plots and supporting cast, ongoing storylines, and done-in-one (and two) adventures is pitch-perfect, and Stern's grasp of Spidey's personality and voice is second only to Stan Lee himself.  So having Stern's full, original Spider-Man run, including both the SPECTACULAR and AMAZING segments, in one handsome hardcover volume, is a double (or triple) dip I will happily take.

I cannot wait to get this book into my collection.  It will be a crown jewel on my bookcase.

Monday, August 19, 2013


First, a brief comics history lesson: In the 1970s, Marvel Comics started a British division, which eventually came to be known as Marvel U.K.  While this division of the company primarily reprinted stories originating in the United States, a decision was made to give the British fans their own new superhero. Thus was born Brian Braddock, better known to the world as Captain Britain.

Marvel U.K.'s editor-in-chief, Larry Lieber (Stan Lee's brother), tasked young Chris Claremont with the creation of Captain Britain. Claremont's version of the character was a physics student, the afore-named Brian Braddock, who was given a mystical pendant by Merlin the Magician and his daughter, Roma (though readers were unaware of the duo's true identities in Cap's origin story). Upon rubbing the pendant, Brian would transform into Britain's very own superhero, complete with a magical force field generating scepter and extra-human physical abilities.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


From approximately March to June of this year, I read a lot of old Captain Britain comics. Starting with BIRTH OF A LEGEND and SIEGE OF CAMELOT, two hardcovers collecting Cap's earliest appearances, which were produced by Marvel U.S. for release through Marvel U.K., I then moved on to the CAPTAIN BRITAIN OMNIBUS, which collects all of Alan Davis's work on Cap's solo stories, now produced by Marvel U.K.'s own home-grown talent.

Having finished all this material I had never before read, I decided to revisit Captain Britain's early Marvel U.S. appearances in the pages of EXCALIBUR CLASSIC volumes 1 - 5, and EXCALIBUR VISIONARIES: ALAN DAVIS 1 - 3. I skipped all the (frequent) fill-ins, reading only the material by Chris Claremont and/or Alan Davis.

It's been a couple months now since I finished the books, and I wasn't really entertaining thoughts of blogging at the time, so my "reviews" of this material will be informal and less detailed than those I hope to produce in the future. But I enjoyed these stories, so I'd like to say something about them while they're still somewhat fresh in my mind.

So, beginning Monday: the first in a series of classic Captain Britain reviews!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Well, here I am. I've decided to start a blog. I have considered this many times over the past few years, but never very seriously. I find, however, that I usually have a lot to say after reading a vintage comic book or watching something random on TV -- thoughts that I don't usually have anyone interested in hearing -- and I would like to get them out somehow.

So, the solution would seem to be a blog. If anyone reads and enjoys what I have to say here, that's great, but this is mainly a way for me to give voice (or in this case print -- err, digital screen-print) to all the random things that occur to me after I read some old comics or watch a movie or TV show. Yes, the banner at the top of the page is clearly Marvel Comics centric, and I will probably talk classic Marvel here more than anything else, but anything will be fair game. In fact, my current comic reading backlog has a decent amount of non-Marvel stuff in it, so we'll likely see some sooner rather than later.

The next thing to mention regarding these comic reviews is that pretty much everything I write about will be a collected edition. I'm addicted to the wonderful hardcovers and trade paperbacks that Marvel releases (as well as the less wonderful but still pretty nice ones from DC and other publishers), and they're just about the only form of comic book that I buy these days. Furthermore, it will be very rare that I have anything to say about a modern Marvel comic. I gave them up a few years back. More power to those who still enjoy them, but Marvel of today does very little for me. Someday I'll write a post about why.

I hope to stick to a regular posting schedule if possible. I'm thinking comic reviews on Mondays to start, and then whatever strikes my fancy -- TV, movies, games, etc. -- on Fridays. If I'm enjoying this enough, maybe something like an editorial on Wednesdays, too, plus probably some random mini-posts here and there as they come up.

By the way, when I say I will be reviewing things, I should note that they probably won't be highly detailed, itemized writings. It's more likely they will be stream-of-consciousness blathering on the subject of whatever I just read or watched. Don't get me wrong -- they'll be coherent -- but I've never been a good note-taker, so they won't be comprehensive.

That's about it for now. If anyone is still around and interested in my thoughts after all that, please stand by for an announcement this weekend about my very first review series...

P.S.: Despite the melodramatic blurbs above, it's highly unlikely that anyone will die in the production of this blog.