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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Where are all the British superheroes? Gastric Reflux Parts I & II

 

Where are all the British superheroes? asked The Journalist. "They All Live Here With Me" Was My Reply!

The following article is from The Telegraph -the online version of a UK national newspaper- in 2013 got a response from me.  I pointed out that counting US created 'British' heroes was not "home grown".  I cited a long list but also pointed out that Black Tower had been publishing home grown, British created, super heroes since 1984.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10201861/Where-are-all-the-British-superheroes.html

How did the Telegraph respond -remember I was very polite and not "Angry of Bristol!"- to this?

"Sorry but your comment is not suitable"

*****!!!

So here is that article by Tim Martin -you lot out there fill in all the gaps -this is DIY know your British super heroes test no. 1!

Where are all the British superheroes?

As Wolverine opens in cinemas, Tim Martin looks at the best - and worst - of our homegrown superheroes.

Absurdly good: Zenith is a popster turned superhero
Absurdly good: Zenith is a popster turned superhero Photo: (Rebellion A/S)
Had you forgotten that the superhero Wolverine is a Canadian? I had, I confess. Not just because the grumpy old man of the X-Men exists at such distance from maple-leaf stereotype — although he does, being much more likely to blow cigar smoke in your eye or skewer you with adamantine claws than apologise or take you to a hockey game — but because one tends to assume that most superheroes are American by default. US culture has proved fertile ground for such myths since Superman’s creation in 1938, but attempts to funnel the spirit of other countries into skintight costumes and capes have been less successful. One can’t imagine the French or the Italians getting particularly exercised about the failure, but the Brits are a different matter.
No one needs reminding that the caped crusaders on today’s cinema screens owe much to British talent. Batman is played by a Welshman, Superman by a Jerseyman, and directors like Christopher Nolan and Ken Branagh lurk behind the cameras. Further back in the 1980s, it was the influx of writers such as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey and Grant Morrison that helped to drag American comics from the creative slough of identikit theatrics and point them towards a future of adult plotlines, snappy dialogue and ironical introspection. So where, then, are all the British superheroes?
Standard procedure here would be to mention Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and other (non-super) heroes as refracted homegrown equivalents to Marvel and DC’s men in tights. But that’s just special pleading. A riffle through the archives does indeed reveal several British supes who deserve a share of the attention garnered by their louder, older, more famous counterparts across the Atlantic — as well as some perfect examples of why no one’s ever heard of the breed.
Zenith
The adventures of a lackadaisical British popster, son of two Baby Boomer superheroes, who is forced to abandon his assignations with willing groupies when neo-Nazis find a hibernating Übermensch, fill him with Lovecraftian horrors and sic him on London. Long out of print, Zenith is reissued by 2000AD later this year, and it’s brilliant: recognizably British in its sense of the absurd but with a fearsomely exciting high-stakes plot. If anyone ever wants to make a good UK superhero movie, there are many worse places to start.
Knight
Britain’s first superpowered blueblood. Created in the Fifties with his sidekick Squire as a homegrown competitor to Batman, Knight was initially the alter ego of Percy Sheldrake, Earl of 'Wordenshire', and could be summoned by ringing the bell of his local church. By the time Grant Morrison briefly revived the character at the end of the Nineties, the new Knight was seen to have piddled away his inheritance and acquired a drug habit, and had to be rescued from the gutter to restart his crimefighting career from someone’s garage. Now there’s Broken Britain for you.



Blueblooded crimefighter: 'Knight' with his sidekick 'Squire' (DC Entertainment)

 
Captain Britain
Another super-aristo who failed to move with the times. Raised in a posh family fallen on hard times — Wikipedia amusingly describes him as “too proud to fraternise with lower classes” — Brian Braddock has the good fortune to be around when Merlin turns up brandishing a superpowered Amulet of Right. Subsequent exploits made for a wearisome parade of victories over Arthurian villains, Nazis and other gestures towards Britain’s storied past, while successive attempts to rename him as ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Brittanic’ took the franchise even farther towards swivel-eye territory.


Miracleman
The best homegrown superhero writing draws more on British satirical tradition than it does on Blitz-spirit cliché and poshos with funny names. Years before Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the Northampton magus Alan Moore began sniping at superhero tropes with Miracleman, imagining a knackered freelance journalist able to swap bodies with a glittering blond super-being at the whisper of a magic word. Under Neil Gaiman’s subsequent stewardship, the series became a queasy meditation on the moral demands of supreme power in a super-utopia. Last year’s resolution of a long-running rights dispute holds out hope for a reprint, too.


Union Jack
Originally Lord Falsworth, military man and scourge of His Majesty’s enemies during the Second World War. Loses his legs in combat with the evil Baron Blood, so his son takes up the mantle, subsequently becoming one of the very few gay superheroes. He bites the dust in turn, however, and it falls to a working-class Mancunian to take up the cudgels in Jack’s most recent incarnation. It’s an interesting trajectory for a British character, if you overlook the temporary possession by Sir Lancelot’s ghost, but perhaps of more use as a sociological document than a Hollywood adaptation.



Motley crew: 'The Boys' is laced with sex, swearing and gore (Spitfire Productions Ltd and Darick Robertson)

 
The Boys
A take on the superhero myth from a Northern Irish writer, garlanded with the kind of swearing, sex and gore that would make Tarantino blench. The Boys chronicles the efforts of a band of trenchcoated enforcers, led by a musclebound ex-SAS titan and a wimpy Scot called Hughie, to control with extreme prejudice the Spandex super-puppets of an American military-industrial complex. Both funnier and more offensive than Mark Millar's later Kick-Ass, this has a bilious charm all its own.
                                             +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That's it. Now if you try to think of British super heroes and you do not come up with a single Black Tower character....you need to become a journalist!!

Oh. And suck on this from 2011...
http://downthetubes.net/?p=1597 

 PART II

Where are all the British superheroes? Here Is My Angry, Naked (its a theme -roll with it) Response

Above: Me "back in the day"  as The Red Dragon.  Honest.


I mentioned in yesterdays Where are all the British superheroes? asked The Journalist. "They All Live Here With Me" Was My Reply! that journalists who write these items have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  Well, I hinted at that.  No so much a hint as a bottle of tabasco sauce in the eye -which the postman assures me: "Hurts mightily!" And I responded: "Well, Crispian, do not sneak up behind me and prod me when I am nude gardening then!" No come-back to that.

Uh. Wait a minute....sorry. Nude typing.
Anyway, the journalist responsible did what any journalist would do.  Research the subject for a few hours and turn in a worthy piece of light reading?  No -turn to Wikipedia.  Even admits it. sigh.
You know, he could have found my post on the subject just by googling for a while (it took me five minutes to find).  You do remember my "At Long Last! The Return Of The Improbability Of The British Super Hero" -last updated in August?  Sigh. Here:

http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/at-long-last-return-of-improbability-of.html
Anyway, the article writer referred to Zenith -it's more-or-less obligatory to despite what Grant Morrison might demand.  So fair enough even though it is obvious the journalist hasn't read any of the series.

But then, to smear a little garlic paste into the tabasco stained eye -I really am sorry, Crispian. Just let it go- he comes up with this and all typos are his:

"Knight
Britain’s first superpowered blueblood. Created in the Fifties with his sidekick Squire as a homegrown competitor to Batman, Knight was initially the alter ego of Percy Sheldrake, Earl of 'Wordenshire', and could be summoned by ringing the bell of his local church. By the time Grant Morrison briefly revived the character at the end of the Nineties, the new Knight was seen to have piddled away his inheritance and acquired a drug habit, and had to be rescued from the gutter to restart his crimefighting career from someone’s garage. Now there’s Broken Britain for you."

Right.  Percival Sheldrake debuted as the Knight in Batman #62 (December 1950), and was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. We are talking about a period when a lot of Americans, particularly kids, thought England still had knights in armour.  Yes, "armour" and not "armor".  Now, Cyril Sheldrake debuted as the Knight in JLA #26 (February 1999), and was created by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter. Or "rebooted" is probably the better term -change a first name blah blah blah.

Oh, he'd lost all his money and had a drug habit and had to be kicked out of it? Well, Morrison really is turning into Moore's rival for lack of originality.  In Zenith the Red Dragon character had to be dragged out of his alcohol addiction.  And....sigh.  I bet it really hurt Morrison not to be able to use the "C" word in JLA. Get feckin real.  I've met "landed gentry" whose families lost money and were working as aircraft and even rail engineers and even dirtier jobs.  One even threatened to kill me but, to be fair, I was skipping through his rose garden naked.

Have you noticed how I keep slipping into constructing sentences like a German?  Over 50 years ago I went to that school and it's still in my brain. As my mother once said while choking me: "You are ours, bitch!"  Funny woman.



Then we have...this:

"Captain Britain
Another super-aristo who failed to move with the times. Raised in a posh family fallen on hard times — Wikipedia amusingly describes him as “too proud to fraternise with lower classes” — Brian Braddock has the good fortune to be around when Merlin turns up brandishing a superpowered Amulet of Right. Subsequent exploits made for a wearisome parade of victories over Arthurian villains, Nazis and other gestures towards Britain’s storied past, while successive attempts to rename him as ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Brittanic’ took the franchise even farther towards swivel-eye territory."

Yes, some ass on Wikipedia did write that.  Braddock went to university and had friends and worked with colleagues who were not "landed gentry" and in the Jasper World saga CB even pops into a "commoners" house for a cup of tea and a chat.  Maybe I missed all the snobbery...or maybe it was not there?

Captain Britain, as you all ought to know by now, was created by Chris ("Primadonna") Claremont and the wondrous Herb Trimpe and first appeared in Captain Britain Weekly, #1 (October 13, 1976). The character has been used in stories -some quite bad ones- by various creative teams over the years and I last read 'his' adventures in Captain Britain And MI13.  Now, despite what they tell you, MI 13 is only a fictional version in this series.  In fact, as I know, there really WAS an MI 13(Eastern Europe) "folded into" Military Intelligence.

 INEVERSAWTHEUFOINEVERSAWTHEUFOINEVERSAWTHEUFOINEVERSAWTHEUFO

The "silly flag-wearing" well, let Alan Davis describe how he came up with the design:

"I decided to base his costume on military uniforms. If you've ever seen the mounted guards outside Buckingham Place, you'll recognize the components. The white leggings and the tall boots with the flaps over the knees were easy. The headgear took a bit more time because I wanted it to look like a helmet rather than a mask. The stripes across his chest started as two crossed sashes and underwent numerous changes."

As for taking the character into more "swivel-eye territory"...what is the ass writing about?  Super heroes fighting aliens, other dimensional beings, monsters, vampires...that's "regular"...but that is also what Captain Britain does..more swivel eyed journalism.




"Miracleman
The best homegrown superhero writing draws more on British satirical tradition than it does on Blitz-spirit cliché and poshos with funny names. Years before Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the Northampton magus Alan Moore began sniping at superhero tropes with Miracleman, imagining a knackered freelance journalist able to swap bodies with a glittering blond super-being at the whisper of a magic word. Under Neil Gaiman’s subsequent stewardship, the series became a queasy meditation on the moral demands of supreme power in a super-utopia. Last year’s resolution of a long-running rights dispute holds out hope for a reprint, too."




  Now that is really showing total ignorance of the character that was created when Fawcett/National stopped the Captain Marvel reprints and so Mick Anglo created Marvel Man -over a decade before Timely changed its name to "Marvel".  A character to star in a childrens weekly comic. "Blitz-spirit cliché and poshos with funny names" -what an utter feckin arse -an arse that probably never grew up at a time of no internet, nothing but three TV channels, rationing (that didn't stop totally until 1959 on most things) and when kids had to entertain themselves -usually in parks or on bomb sites!

The more I think about it the more I really hate journalists who write this crap.

Anyway, Di$ney own the character now so he's dead as far as being British goes.

 

"Union Jack
Originally Lord Falsworth, military man and scourge of His Majesty’s enemies during the Second World War. Loses his legs in combat with the evil Baron Blood, so his son takes up the mantle, subsequently becoming one of the very few gay superheroes. He bites the dust in turn, however, and it falls to a working-class Mancunian to take up the cudgels in Jack’s most recent incarnation. It’s an interesting trajectory for a British character, if you overlook the temporary possession by Sir Lancelot’s ghost, but perhaps of more use as a sociological document than a Hollywood adaptation."

I really do think that there are a great many uneducated morons out there.  Some go to college to just booze, get addle-brained and study journalism.  Study "journalism"???

nakedintherosesnakedintherosesnakedintheroses.....

Erm.  Firstly, if you are going to have a secret identity of any kind then you need a good secure base that people cannot just walk in and out of. Secondly, you need cash.  Thirdly, you need to be able to have the time to dash off and do your work.  Fourthly, you need to have friends in high places who will help you cover up any potential scandal or rumours.  Police Commissioners, Home Secretary, owners of newspapers -all well off and many landed gentry or lords "back in the day".  "What we do is of no concern to the great unwashed"

I quote the great Lady Bracknell from a book entitled The Importance Of Being Earnest, by some newbie called Oscar Wilde:

Lady Bracknell:     “I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”

Why was it theorised that Jack the Ripper and Spring-heeled Jack (not to mention various others) were aristocrats?  For reasons 1-4, above, and the attitude as voiced by Lady Bracknell.  Only the rich can afford the time and money and exert the influence to go about this business.  Anyone recall some bloke who was named "The Scarlet Pimpernel"?  You don't know your social history or literature then do not write short sentenced crap.

nakedintherosesnakedintherosesnakedintheroseswithcrispiannakedintheroses....

 

The Boys.  Read it. Left me completely cold. Hate it.

Now, in 2013, a journalist cannot rummage through his sources (Wikipedia and the internet in the main) and come up with Captain Hornet, The Leopard From Lime Street, Billy and Katy the Cat, Danger Man, Thunderbolt Jaxon, Black Archer, Captain Miracle, The Cat Girl, Garth, Iron Master, Johnny Future, Tim (Kelly's Eye) Kelly, Leaping Phantom, Spring Heeled Jack (various), Fishboy, The Phantom Viking, Purple Hood, The Spider, Q Bikes, Smoke Man, Robot Archie, Naked In The Roses, The Steel Claw, Tri-Man, Thunderbolt the Avenger, The Avenger (from The Eagle)....I could go on for ages here but you are getting my point?

"Comics =movies" seems to be the writers main reference.  None of the above British characters have been in Hollywood movies therefore do not exist.  "What I found on Wikipedia and chopped up into a mess for a space filler =my facts" appears to be the case here.


Where is the mention of British creator Paul Grists marvellous Jack Staff?  Published by Grists own Dancing Elephant Press until Image grabbed it -but British created, written, drawn and BASED super hero. Then we have Grists other similar UK based character Mud Man -again published by Image but far more British in pedigree than some our journalistic friend cites as "British super heroes"!

Please do not get me wrong -I am not trying to write that the Telegraph item was a bunch of space filling, ill researched arse water. I am writing that.

How to annoy me in a short internet item.

Now, sun is out and it's a bit nippy so I'm off for some naked gardening (google it).

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