Bronze Age Beginnings

Sunday, 14 October 2012


If you’re a regular dweller within this particular dusty, dark, corner of the comic blogosphere, you’ll no doubt have seen other celebratory posts this weekend about Britain’s very own superhero.

Captain Britain No. 1 was released the week ending October 13 1976. I was 11 years old, and the power of TV advertising (plus the lure of a free Captain Britain mask) worked its magic. I plunked down my 10p and prepared myself to be thrilled by the full colour exploits of the hero we’d all been demanding (apparently).

Well, not quite. Despite a personal message from Stan Lee informing us that nearly a full year was spent ‘creating the characters, developing the themes, and producing the greatest possible stories and illustrations!’ it wasn’t particularly evident within the seven slim  pages written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Herb Trimpe (inked by Fred Kida).

Brian Braddock was a pipe smoking physicist working at the Darkmoor Research Centre, a top secret nuclear complex, when it was attacked by Joshua Stragg…THE REAVER! Fleeing the scene on a motor bike, Brian was startled by the flashing lights of a passing hovercraft causing him to drive off a cliff. Still somehow alive, but battered and broken, Brian is given an ultimatum by a couple of floating heads. Choose either the sword or the amulet…life or death…and…


Well, we already knew what he choose, because the comic opened with two pages of Brian Braddock, as Captain Britain (wearing the amulet), fighting THE REAVER (brandishing a sword). Obviously it was decided that the Special Origin Issue! should open with some senses-shattering action, but it killed the cliff-hanger ending dead.

I wasn’t very impressed, and the lie was put to the claim that a year was spent producing the greatest possible stories and illustrations, by the two superior reprints included in the issue. A John Buscema drawn Fantastic Four, and a Jim Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Beat that Cap!

Still, I gave Captain Britain a chance and bought his comic for a few more weeks, but I was never that interested. It took a few more years, and the talents of Alan Moore and Alan Davis, to make me finally like Britain’s own superhero – and for that alone it is worth wishing Captain Britain a very happy 36th birthday!

Buy Captain Britain No.1 at My Comic Shop

1 comment:

  1. And doesn't he look good for his age? Must be all of...what? 28? Not bad for a 36 year-old. Ah, the magic of comics, eh?


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