No, I'm not talking about some run down old castle in the middle of the countryside, this is more a forgotten British national treasure of the literary kind, Captain Britain.
Unlike the U.S.A. where comic book characters Spider-man, Batman, Superman, Hulk and Wonder Woman are pretty much household names (thanks in part to their popular TV series and movies in the 60's and 70's no doubt), Captain Britain is not your typical A-list comic character and never truly achieved the notoriety his patriotic super heroic status deserves.
I was inspired the other day all the Super President Obama love to speak out in support of my own country's national hero and his new comic book series that could use a helping hand (or at least some more readers).
After surviving many incarnations and several comic book series, Captain Britain is the star of new Marvel Comics team book, aptly named Captain Britain and MI:13.
The new comic series has a great pedigree of creators. It's written by Paul Cornell, who has written episodes of the hit TV show Doctor Who and is penciled in most part by Leonard Kirk.
Captain Britain and MI:13 is about a fictional government agency responsible for dealing with supernatural forces and weird happenings in the UK, led by our titular hero. The team consists of mostly British heroes or those with connections to the UK in some way, including:
- MI:13 operative Pete Wisdom (a mutant who can project 'hot-knives' from his hands)
- the sword wielding ex-Avenger The Black Knight (who has a winged flying horse)
- Spitfire (ex-Invader and super fast heroine from the 1940's kept youthful by a vampire bite and a blood transfusion from the android Human Torch)
- Dr. Faiza Hussien (a plucky new Muslim character transformed by an alien ray gun and now wielder of the mythical sword Excalibur)
- and they have recently been joined by vampire hunter Blade (who was born in Soho, London when his mother was killed in childbirth by a vampire).
The cast of characters has also included John the Skrull, an alien shape-shifter in the form of Beatle John Lennon, fairy Tink, veteran soldier and pensioner Captain Midlands, another patriotic hero Union Jack, Captain Britain's elfan wife Meggan and more British characters from Marvel's rich history set to appear.
Apparently the series has been green-lit until issue 18, but with the current economy making comics a bit of a luxury for some people and the fact that the comic book, no matter how well written and engaging, is made up of less well-known marginal characters, means it needs all the fans it can muster to survive.
Already they have fought off invading shape-shifting aliens, seen team-mates die in battle and fought a Duke of Hell in Birmingham (of all places). On the horizon they will do battle with the king of vampires, Dracula himself.
The comic has a distinctly British feel to it (in the writing and the art), so if you're a fellow Brit why not show your support and give it a try and as the majority of people who visit my blog are from the U.S. who may enjoy the adventures of their own national hero Captain America, I thought you may like to experience another patriotic super hero and discover more about Britain in the process (vampires, mutants and invading alien hordes aside).
Captain Britain himself has a rich history and was first introduced by his creators Chris Claremont (legendary British writer of X-Men fame) and artist Herb Trimpe in 1976.
The further adventures of Brian Braddock (Cap's secret identity) were most enjoyably chronicled (in my opinion anyway) by Alan Moore and comic art legend Alan Davis, who gave him his distinctive (and iconic) Union Jack flag inspired costume.
We were introduced to his purple-haired sister Betsy Braddock, who went on to become the X-Men's resident telepathic ninja Psylocke.
He was a founding member of the British based Excalibur in 1988, where he was joined by former X-Men Shadowcat, Nightcrawler and Phoenix, together with his metamorphic girlfriend, Meggan, and was reunited with his creator Chris Claremont and fan-favourite artist Alan Davis.
During the series and their many adventures he changed his costume several times (and even his name to Britannic for a short spell), and eventually wed his longtime love Meggan in the final issue 125.
After a brief spell as ruler of the mystical Otherworld (the homeland of his father) and relinquishing the mantle of Captain Britain, to be assumed for a short time by a woman, he became separated from his wife Meggan when she sacrificed herself to save all reality no less.
Eventually he joined a new version of another British based team, entitled New Excalibur.
Starring team-mate Pete Wisdom alongside mutants Dazzler, Nocturne, Sage and ex-sparring foe Juggernaught, this inferior series was short-lived, but was the precursor to his new relaunched series, Captain Britain and MI:13.
And there we have it, his abbreviated story so far (there's so much more to his origin and adventures, but I don't want to bore you to death). Thanks for letting me indulge my geek streak and absolute love of comic books - I'll just pass around the hat to start the collection to help save this fantastic new series, as it's too good to let end.
But I'm speaking far too early as there are many more issues to come and hopefully a bright future for Captain Britain and his heroic colleagues in 2009...
Why not get up to speed on the story so far, in the USA:Captain Britain and Mi13: Secret Invasion