A leaving card for Mark, who’s heading on to new horizons as of yesterday!
This was a Valentine’s gift from the fantabulous Shannon L. Gallant, aka a great friend and, hopefully, near-future collaborator!
Just to put it into context, this is the kind of art Shannon puts on the outside of envelopes.
He’s an insanely talented chap, currently working on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero for IDW. Go check him out at slgallant.com or his blog.
I’m trying to beckon him onto Tumblr in the meanwhile…
It does seem like this Tumblr’s got a bit obsessive since I started posting again, doesn’t it? :)
It’s an unfortunate side-effect of not being able to show anything from the three books I’ve been illustrating freelance for the past eight months or so (Orcs War Fighting Manual, Elves War Fighting Manual, Dwarves War Fighting Manual), and that none of the great Titan Comics creator-owned titles I’ve been editing have made it into the wild yet.
So, I’ll try to vary things a little, but from June onwards the diet should get a little more mixed of its own accord!
For now, backseat driving and idle fan-art on things that won’t get me into trouble is the order of the day… ;)
I’ve been enjoying Bendis’s work on the revamped X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man (as always!) and Guardians of the Galaxy, even this finger-quotes ‘controversial’ panel from this week’s #2! :P
As a reader of the new GotG, a Brit, and a big Captain Britain fan, I have to say… Iron Man’s kinda right… At least from a meta/publishing perspective!
It got me thinking… Cap’s a bit of a ‘Wonder Woman’ character – he works great on t-shirts, as action figures, as a guest star, etc., but he struggles to make an impact in his own title (when he’s allowed one), or in an ensemble, where the woolly nature of his current powers, and his ‘magic guy’ specialty, usually boot him off to one side.
There are definitely no ‘broken’ characters, they all just need the right story, but Captain Britain certainly has the deck stacked against him!
a) There’s no ‘always been there’ nostalgia for Captain Britain on the US side – not to mention the whole ‘rich’ ‘British’ ‘king’ thing stirring up ancestral memories… ;)
b) It sometimes feels like his best stories are behind him – or that his narrative arc is complete, and everything now is just playing around in the epilogue. Once you’re a happily-coupled King of Otherworld who’s overcome his father issues, and doesn’t bat an eyelid at hopping through parallel realities or beating versions of himself silly every other Wednesday, it’s hard to dial those stakes back and present coherent, personal threats.
c) The English tend to baulk at/feel very uncomfortable with flags and overt signs of patriotism, due to their ties to racism, football hooliganism, etc. – unless it’s the Olympics, of course, in which case we go uncharacteristically hog-wild… ;)
d) With a government on a hardcore austerity binge and the finances of the country a sniff away from a triple-dip recession, a literally Otherworldly aristocrat feels so far away from the current UK experience it’s hard for many British readers to relate (and I know this is the ‘Superman is hard to write/unrelatable’ excuse, but Captain Britain doesn’t have the benefit of being continuously published since 1938…).
e) He was the ‘square dad’ of the Excalibur family dynamic, the version of Cap most familiar to US audiences, and hasn’t had anyone to throw him through a Cyclops-style wringer since.
f) It’s a horrible generalization, but superhero comics fans don’t like getting even a speck of magic in their super-science. Since Captain Britain has leant more and more on the Merlyn and Magic side of things, it’ll always going to find it hard-going in the Direct Market – the same way that Doctor Strange, Brother Voodoo, etc. have struggled to gain traction with that blend.
g) Most Brits aren’t massively happy about Britain and Ireland being the ‘magic ghetto’ of the Marvel Universe, either. It’s nice to have a ‘unique’ slant, but we’d much rather suffer from alien invasions, science-driven supervillains, government conspiracies, secret spy bases and so on! So, good going with GotG #2…
Hopefully the fact that London seems to be being blown up in every blockbuster this year, from GI Joe to Star Trek to Thor, will go some way to correcting the idea that we’re all armoured gentry, battling trolls on the way to the office… Although having the city survive once in a while might be good, too…
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Paul Cornell’s MI:13, but it didn’t sell well enough in the US, and the magic angle probably had a lot to do with it. It also seemed like the book was barely cancelled before Cap was stuffed back into his classic helmet and jodhpurs.
With Brian now apparently the head of the Braddock Academy, I’d love to see a Nova/Miles Morales-style revamp of the concept with a new character.
Keep the iconic helmet, or something like it, redesign the rest of the uniform… Keep him literally grounded, at least to begin with.
Perhaps make the new Cap a 17 year-old, recruited by the government and dressed as a symbol of patriotic unity to distract the people while they systematically dismantle the British state (not really that far-fetched, considering…).
A character who’s increasingly uncomfortable in his flag, disillusioned by his ‘mission’, who rebels against his handlers. The ‘government stooge’/media figure angle allows for a super-science background – not to mention drama-riddled conflict with Braddock, when he objects to his codename being used in vain.
There’s a chance for a wandering hero/antihero-on-the-run storytelling engine, using the whole of the UK as a canvas, the new Cap trying to help the people, while being hunted by the government – the ol’ Spider-Man-meets-TV-Hulk feel that the Claremont/Trimpe version flirted with for a while.
Not to mention the opportunity to build a new hero and supporting cast from the ground up, so readers (particularly US readers) don’t feel like they’re missing out on thirty years of backstory.
(I wonder if the extra 20% from digital sales that wasn’t in place on MI:13 would help keep a Cap solo series alive now? It wouldn’t hurt to let Panini UK do a newsstand-focused reprint and count international sales towards its budget, either!)
Alternatively… maybe Brian and Meggan can just hop into a blue phonebox and go on a continuity-jumping adventure through Time and Relative Marvel Dimensions in Space… ;)
Just a quick Invincible, keeping my hand in, in-between projects and after a bit of an away-from-computer illness. :/
Caught up with pretty much all of Invincible thanks to a great comiXology sale. It’s good!
Against popular opinion, I loved the movie. Looking forward to the next one!