The Revolutionary War mini-series from Marvel celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Marvel UK boom, where a London-based creative Marvel office were given the autonomy to launch their own books and to have these British characters play in the larger Marvel universe. A lot of the big name creators of today got their start there, including the likes of Bryan Hitch, Pasqual Ferry, Jim Cheung. So it was fun to be asked to be involved with this new mini-series, bringing back the Marvel UK books in a series of one-offs that tie together into one large story arc.
I’ve got a soft spot for Marvel’s British characters, which goes back to reading Hulk Weekly as a child and the David Roach-drawn Captain Britain stories featuring King Arthur and the Black Knight. (David Roach did draw them, right? I’m not mis-remembering). I’ve had the chance to write Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom and Union Jack before in my work for Marvel and always really enjoyed it. Ben Oliver did this killer Cap splash page in our The Iron Age story:
In fact, when I first pitched The Iron Age, Cap was the lead, but it was felt that he’d have trouble commercially carrying the book, so the story’s protagonist switched to Iron Man instead. But, I’m digressing.
But since I’m digressing, here’s a page from the Deadpool Team-Up featuring Cap and Pete Wisdom that I did with Matteo Scalera (now of Black Science fame):
Amazing what you find still lurking on your external hard-drive.
So, Knights of Pendragon had Wisdom and Union Jack as the tether to characters I’d written before and enjoyed, but I’ll admit to not having read the Knights in their original run. Bought the trade, did some reading up, and it was a fun book which pushed some boundaries at the time. Very much a strong eco-warrior theme, and not a lot of costumes either. Kind of Vertigo-y in tone. The book’s second incarnation switched the team into some not great spandex outfits and was far more a traditional superhero book, but there were some interesting things to play with from its original incarnation. And I got to write Dai Thomas, who’d hated superheroes with the passion of a grumpy Welsh poet in the classic Captain Britain runs by Moore, Davis and Delano. Writing a grumpy Welshman wouldn’t be a chore.
I’d recently re-watched the brilliant 1985 BBC eco-drama Edge of Darkness too. That was a neat bit of timing. I may have shoe-horned in one of Edge of Darkness’ settings into the story. Possibly.
When the writers for the Revolutionary War series all got together in a London pub to talk through the over-reaching arc of the series, something that came up was a few of us wanting to use the stories to reflect on where Britain was during the Marvel UK years of the 90s and the difference in Britain today. That provided the theme of the story, and would do the same for my Revolutionary War: Super Soldiers book that’s coming in a couple of weeks. The image of what foreigners see as Britain and what Britain is in 2014 for those who live here. And there’s a conflict to that.
Hence Zombie King Arthur and his Zombie Knights of the Zombie Round Table.
But how can you have a Zombie Round Table? Answers on a postcard…
The art team of Will Sliney and Veronica Gandini (colours) have made the final book look really good. And it’s fun. Made me laugh writing it, at least. That may sound solipsistic (and probably is) but it’s usually a good sign, I think.
A Revolutionary War: Super Soldiers art preview was put up on CBR yesterday. Cover by Mark Brooks, art by Brent Anderson (X-Men: God Love, Man Kills), Tom Palmer and Ruth Redmond
It’s in shops February 26th.
We have a Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, in case you didn’t know) alternate cover for Super Soldiers. Not sure I’m allowed to show that off yet.
In other news, JUDGE DREDD: TITAN is continuing in 2000AD. Three weeks to go. I’ve written a follow-up one-off to that, called ‘Fit’, and am writing another Dredd this week. So more grumpy Joe on the way.
And THE ROYALS #1 is in shops February 12th. I’ll be talking about that soon. But pre-order that at your comic shop, eh?