Captain Britain Weekly #1-39;
Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain #231-253;
Hulk Comic #1, 3-30, 42-55, 57-63;
Marvel Super-Heroes #377-388;
The Daredevils #1-11;
The Mighty World of Marvel #7-16;
Captain Britain #1-14.
New Mutants Annual #2
X-Men Annual #11
Captain America #305-306
The Knights of Pendragon #1-18
Captain Britain and MI13

Shortly after I discovered the work of Alan Moore I learned that he had written Captain Britain for Marvel UK and I immediately wanted to read those stories. In 1987, Chris Claremont and Alan Davis collaborated on Excalibur Special Edition and I again wanted to read those Moore/Davis Captain Britain stories. A year later, the popularity of the Excalibur ongoing series led to the release of a trade paperback collection of the last 17 installments of Captain Britain’s UK series. These stories were very good, and although they were drawn by Alan Davis, they had been written by Jamie Delano. I still wanted to read those Alan Moore stories! Finally, in 1995, Marvel released a Captain Britain mini-series (somewhat deceptively titled X-Men Archives: Captain Britain) which featured the stories immediately predating those contained in the tpb, drawn by Alan Davis and written by Dave Thorpe and… Alan Moore!

I was familiar with earlier appearances of Captain Britain in his original costume (from Marvel Team-Up #65-66 among others) as well as more recent appearances (such as New Mutants Annual #2, X-Men Annual #11 and Captain America #305-306), but I was interested in the significance of his sartorial shift. The first story in X-Men Archives: Captain Britain #1 cleared that up, but the stories began in medias res (or so I had perceived at the time), and I wanted to know what happened before that!

Flash forward nearly 15 years to 2009 and the recently concluded Marvelman/Miracleman discussion which got me interested in Captain Britain all over again! Marvel recently released a Captain Britain Omnibus, and judging by the costume the title character was wearing on the cover, I was about to have my curiosity slaked at last! So I culled some duplicated comic strip collections from my shelves and traded them in for the hefty volume, only to discover it contained only the Thorpe/Moore/Delano and Davis stories I already owned! But I also found out that all of the original stories I was interested have been collected in British editions.

So starting soon I will begin to cover Captain Britain’s entire UK run!

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From the essay Figs linked above:

Alan Moore: “I’ve often noticed that the most sparkling examples of the industry at the peak of its form seem to have an ultimately deleterious effect upon the medium as a whole.”

Brilliant observation (and it holds true for much of Moore’s own work as well).
The Mighty World of Marvel #9: “Among Those Dark Satanic Mills”

FWIW - “Among Those Dark Satanic Mills” is from London a William Blake poem that I quoted in full in the Grant Morrison thread recently, as London was the title of that issue of The Invisibles...

Come to think of it, the subsequent story arc in The Invisibles, under discussion there now, was called 'Entropy in the UK', strangely echoing the running order of this sequence of CB stories.

A subconscious influence perhaps? There are other links. The kind of world Jaspers brings about would be top of the Archons' wish list, for one thing.
I cannot comment on that, not having read "Entropy in the UK", but I can see the same poem inspiring two similar stories.

The Mighty World of Marvel #11: “Foolsmate”

On March 13, 2006 Detective 445 said: The Fury enters the fray and quickly subdues Captain Britain. Fortunately, it then engages in combat with Jaspers before it has a chance to kill the Captain. Saturnyne and Captain UK observe the battle from afar.

Meanwhile Roma frets that the cosmic chess game has disintegrated and that the multiverse is doomed. When she approaches Merlin to ask him about this, she discovers that he is dead. It seems that our heroes can no longer depend on Merlin's guidance to help them in this struggle. It's not made clear exactly what has killed Merlin but it seems that his manipulation of all the events had been draining his life force.
The Mighty World of Marvel #12: “Endgame”

On March 13, 2006 Detective 445 said: The Fury and Jaspers have entered into a battle of epic proportions. Jaspers constantly changes form and shifts reality all around them as they fight. They are transported from one plane of reality to another and then another but nothing seems to stop the Fury.

Finally Jaspers runs out of reality to manipulate and the combatants float in a void of nothingness. The Fury uses this opportunity to extend a tiny filament through Jaspers head and incinerate his brain.

The Fury has been weakened by the battle and will need time to recover but Captain Britain takes this opportunity to attack. It manages to fend off his attack but Captain UK then enters the battle and finishes it off.

Captains Britain and UK and Saturnyne are then transported to Merlin's world by Roma but not before Saturnyne collects a DNA sample from Jaspers' body.
The Mighty World of Marvel #13: “A Funeral on Otherworld”

On March 16, 2006 Detective 445 said: The conclusion finds Captain Britain and Captain UK attending the funeral of Merlin on Otherworld.* The two Captains are praised as saviors of the multiverse and we are introduced to many of their parallel earth equivalents in the "Captain Britain Corps." Also attending the funeral is Dane Whitman, the Black Knight of Earth-616.

We learn that the Captains are now free from Merlin's service because Roma has no interest in shaping the destiny of men. Also, Saturnyne has regained her position as Majestrix by threatening to unleash a clone of Jaspers. But, unbeknownst to Saturnyne, Roma has killed the cell scrapings that were taken from Jaspers' body.

Loose ends are tied up pretty well and it's a satisfying ending to a story that would end up having a pretty big impact on Marvel books "across the pond" as most of what happens in this book appears to have been made canon.

* Merlin would return some time later in an Excalibur storyline which also involves Roma and Saturnyne. However, I haven't read those stories so I won't comment further.


Even though I had already read X-Men Archives Featuring Captain Britain, the first time I remember hearing the term “Earth-616” was a couple of years ago on the previous version of this board. Even after someone explained to me that it came from this storyline I had no memory of the reference whatsoever, nor was I aware that the term had been embraced by fandom at large as the official appellation of the Marvel Universe proper. I was keeping an eye out for the reference, and unless I missed it in the story ‘Tec cited earlier, I think this is the chapter in which the designation is first used.

Also, the first time I read this story I didn’t attach and particular significance to the cameo appearance of the Black Knight. Now, of course, I know the two co-starred in a Hulk Comic back-up feature. (Longtime Marvel supporting character Victoria Bentley also appears.) I got a whole lot “Moore” (pun obviously intended) out of these stories the second time through, and I expect to get more still out of subsequent re-readings.

Speaking of the Black Knight, Captain Britain Vol. 4 is now available for pre-order (30% off) at Amazon.co.uk. The solicititation only mentions Alan Moore, but I'm hoping it picks up with Hulk Comic #31-63 because I just placed my order. Starting Monday I'll pick up with the three issues written as well as drawn by Alan Davis, then move on to the issues plotted by Davis and co-written by Jamie Delano.
Even though I had already read X-Men Archives Featuring Captain Britain, the first time I remember hearing the term “Earth-616” was a couple of years ago on the previous version of this board. Even after someone explained to me that it came from this storyline I had no memory of the reference whatsoever, nor was I aware that the term had been embraced by fandom at large as the official appellation of the Marvel Universe proper.

This chimes exactly with my own take on the 616 thing.

I wonder if the number has any significance on a symbolic/numerological level. Given Moore was starting to learn how badly Marvel treated its stalwart creators, perhaps it was as close to Earth 666 as he was allowed?

The solicititation only mentions Alan Moore, but I'm hoping it picks up with Hulk Comic #31-63 because I just placed my order.

It'd be a jolly bad show if it didn't pick up exactly where the last one left off. Just not cricket!!

Starting Monday I'll pick up with the three issues written as well as drawn by Alan Davis, then move on to the issues plotted by Davis and co-written by Jamie Delano.

...And I'm back in the game. I picked up the GN these are collected in quite a few years ago and haven't read them since. Just pulled it out of the box and it looks a real treat. Davis has a lovely line!
I wonder if the number has any significance on a symbolic/numerological level.

Now that you mention it, I remember reading somewhere that 616 (or “61-6”) is a reference to June 1961, the month Fantastic Four #1 hit the newsstands. (Of course, that’s likely apocryphal.)

It'd be a jolly bad show if it didn't pick up exactly where the last one left off. Just not cricket!!

What, are you channeling Larry Leiber now? :P

...And I'm back in the game. I picked up the GN these are collected in quite a few years ago and haven't read them since. Just pulled it out of the box and it looks a real treat. Davis has a lovely line!

Really? I was planning to blow through these in a single entry. During the chapter-by-chapter entries throughout Moore’s run I got far ahead of the reading. I stopped after Captain Britain #1-14, but that was weeks ago. I’m eager to move on and get back to this discussion in “real time.” I’m not nearly finished with this discussion. In fact, to give you a preview of where I intend to take this discussion next, I just added the following to the “Table of Contents”:

New Mutants Annual #2
X-Men Annual #11
Captain America #305-306
The Knights of Pendragon #1-18

Tell ya what… I’ll post my overview of the Davis/Delano run on Monday, and if you have any specifics you’d like to discuss, I’ll follow your lead.
"I wonder if the number has any significance on a symbolic/numerological level. Given Moore was starting to learn how badly Marvel treated its stalwart creators, perhaps it was as close to Earth 666 as he was allowed?"

I seme to recall reading somewhere that while the "Number of the Beast" is usually given as "666", some interpretations read it as "616".
The Baron said:
"I wonder if the number has any significance on a symbolic/numerological level. Given Moore was starting to learn how badly Marvel treated its stalwart creators, perhaps it was as close to Earth 666 as he was allowed?"

I seme to recall reading somewhere that while the "Number of the Beast" is usually given as "666", some interpretations read it as "616".

Impeccable scholarship Baron.

Nice joke on Marvel, whether it was deliberate or not.
The Mighty World of Marvel #14-16:

Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing deadlines forced him to turn the writing of Captain Britain over to Alan Davis, who wrote (in the introduction to the Omnibus edition): “Confident that I could tell a story, I hoped to write the series myself but after writing just three episodes and plotting a number of arcs, I decided putting all my eggs in one basket was risky and might cost me more financially rewarding opportunities at other companies.”

Captain Britain #1-14:

Davis continues: “Around the same time, Alan asked me to consider working with his friend Jamie Delano. Unfortunately Alan’s validation helped enhance an unrealistic expectation of Jamie at Marvel UK because Jamie had already replaced Alan on the Nightraven text story series and produced work that was the equal, some my say superior, to that of any earlier author. But, Jamie had no background or prior interest in the comic form and as anyone who has followed Jamie’s subsequent career and many successes might appreciate, Jamie’s stories, though good, were dark, strange, cerebral and didn’t fit the superhero genre. As Jaime himself quipped with typical dry wit ‘I prefer Clive Barker to Stephen King.’

“I like Jamie and learned a lot from working with him but I was the senior partner, initially supplying plots and longstory, then mutilating and reworking Jamie’s scripts to make them conform to ‘what-had-gone-before.’ I still just wanted to draw superheroes and was pleased with the results of our collaborations but the degree of compromise was massively biased against Jamie and, understandably, he decided to quit.”

By this time, Davis’ DC deadlines were taking their toll and he felt the quality of his work was suffering. In addition, there was “an overriding belief in some quarters of Marvel UK” that producing a strip of original material was pointless with so much material from the United States available for reprint. In light of these facts coupled with the prospect of securing a new creative team it was a certainty that the title would be cancelled, so Davis accepted the opportunity to write a conclusion to the series.
It sounds like you're edition has a bit of meaty gossip in the text pieces. My edition - printed in London 1989 - has very unqualified praise from Claremont by way of introduction and some editors equally uncritical reminisces at the back.

I've read up to the end of Jamie Delano's run. I hadn't really noticed before how the yicky body-horror of his scripts clashed with Davis' clean-cut superheroics. (Brian's double trying to force himself on his sister is also yicky!)

Where I bought this volume, the comic-shop guy used to write a little note on a lot of the stuff he was selling - on a label on the mylar bag - don't worry!. This book just had 'superior superheroics' written on it. I can't disagree with that two-word summary. The unlikely collaboration seemed to have pushed both creators out of their comfort zones, and that's not a bad thing.

I also picked up a few of the later actual issues of Captain Britain second hand while I was working in Dublin. We lived in a dingy little house and would stick up pictures on the wall to brighten it up. One issue had an excellent poster of Captain Britain, and because I loved the design of the suit, I stuck it up. Somewhat to the chagrin of my nationalist-minded housemates, I have to say!

Colour posters in the centrefold of mainly B&W comics were very common in Marvel UK comics. As a kid, my entire bedroom wall was covered in them. You couldn't see the wallpaper on one wall.

I'm amused to see Brian reaching for the wine decanter when things get too weird for him. I'm liking how its handled. He doesn't seem to have a "problem", but it is affecting his judgement and effectiveness.

They are cramming a lot of story into 8-10 pages at a time. The Baba Yaga story, which concerned Meggan's birthright, was over before it had hardly begun. Same with the Doctor Crocodile story. I hadn't even time to say "wha...?" before they were off again to the next adventure.

I still have to read the last few Davis-penned issues of the book, but these are great stories. They strike a good balance between continuing the tone of Moore's run and diverging from it. Brian Braddock lucked out in having such a top-drawer story-minded artist guiding him along through these transitions. I'd doubt it, but did Davis get any co-plotting type credits during the Moore run?

I like that they collected the final UK Captain Britain stories after Moore in one package like this. Although I guess in a way they are selling stuff based on Moore's work, as this is 'his' Captain Britain to some extent.

Having read this now, and grown fond of Brian all over again, I would be interested in how he fared after this, especially as he was guided along by the one artist for much of the way. Previous to this point, I've generally steered clear of anything from the 90s with an X in the title, but I might make an exception.

Looking forward to your take on Knights of Pendragon as I know absolutely nothing about this series. Was it by Marvel UK? Just so I can place it in reference to the stories I'm reading now, when did Captain Britain comic end and when was Knights of Pendragon #18 published? Has the Knights of Pendragon been collected? Are you going to continue on to Excalibur then?

Here's an interesting take on Captain Britain by the Mindless Ones. I love that they started with the hair. That's the next Prime Minister of Britain and the current Mayor of London in that photo. Braddock probably would vote Tory. The Git.

He's such a toff that it always jars when he recalls going to the decidely modern and pluralistic sounding Thames University. His family really must have fallen on hard times when they couldn't send him to Oxbridge. But then again we find out in this collection that his parents were blow-ins from Faeryland, so its appropriate that this guy with the Union Jack on his chest is only pretending to be an aristocrat.
Thanks for bumping this up to the top and lighting a little fire under me, Figs. I never intended to let this thread lie fallow for so long, but I've been unusually busy lately and besides, I was at a natural break point. My wife will be out of town for a four-day weekend starting tomorrow, however, so I should have plenty of time to get back on track. Unfortunately, I've been having difficultly accessing the site from work lately, though (I'm at home now), and if whatever the problem is doesn't clear up on its own (I can't very well ask the tech guys, can I?) I don't know what I'll do.

I will be answering all your questions (to the best of my ability, anyway) in the days to come.

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