The origins of Captain Britain

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Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), the first character created specifically for the British market by Marvel, was launched in his own weekly title on October 13th 1976. The title featured full colour, originated Captain Britain strips originally created (in the US) by writer Chris Claremont and artist Herb Trimpe, plus reprints of the Fantastic Four (in black & white) and Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD (in colour). In later issues, Marvel Two-in-One stories would also appear. The series (which was written for the majority of its run by Gary Friedrich) was cancelled after 39 issues on 6th July 1977, and merged with Super Spider-Man and the Titans (which became Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain from issue #231 to issue #252, though the last four issues simply reprinted American material, the Captain's American debut in the pages of Marvel Team-Up #65-66). Captain Britain Summer Specials (all reprint) were published in 1980 and 1981, and a Captain Britain Annual (reprinting the first few issues of the weekly) in 1978.

The return of Captain Britain

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The Captain had successful stints co-starring with the Black Knight in Hulk Comic (#1-63) and then in his own solo series — first in Marvel Super-Heroes Monthly (#377-389) and The Daredevils (#1-11), and then in the second volume of Mighty World of Marvel (#7-16). Following this he was awarded his own title once more in January 1985. Captain Britain Monthly lasted fourteen issues to February 1986, and featured new backup strips including The Freefall Warriors (in issues #1-4), Space Thieves (#5-10) and The Cherubim (#11-14). These sat alongside reprints of Night Raven; Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer and the classic Black Knight strip from Hulk Comic (though only three episodes of this were reprinted before the title was cancelled). There were also text stories including Night Raven (again), Paragon of Painthorpe Street, City and Captain Granbretan. A one-off Captain Britain Autumn Special featuring colourised reprints from Mighty World of Marvel Vol II was published in 1992. Captain Britain also appeared in the first volume of the US format (but UK published) series Knights of Pendragon in 1988.

Following the sale of Marvel UK to Panini in 1995, the character turned up in several new stories in both Marvel Heroes and Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 1, which are not regarded as a part of official Marve continuity. One of these was, however, later reprinted in the US as Marvel Milestones: Captain Britain Vol 1 1.

Captain Britain in American comics

After being featured in Marvel Team-Up in 1978, the Captain made intermittent cameo appearances in various American Marvel titles over the years, and even played a slightly larger role in the 1982 limited series Marvel Super-Heroes Contest of Champions, which unfortunately seems almost impossible to reconcile with his ongoing Marvel UK continuity at the time. An edited reprint of his origin story also appeared as a back-up strip in the reprint title Marvel Tales #131-133, but he did not become fully integrated into the American Marvel Universe again until, following the cancellation of his second series at Marvel UK, Chris Claremont integrated him into the X-Men family of titles in 1986 (inducting Betsy Braddock into the X-Men as Psylocke at the same time). The Captain and his girlfriend Meggan became part of the line-up of new British based X-team book Excalibur for the next several years, and have since turned up in numerous other titles including Captain Britain and MI-13 and the Avengers.

Reprint collections

There have also been a number of Captain Britain trade paperbacks published in both the UK and the US, reprinting his adventures in collected form. The first, published in 1988, reprinted the Alan Davis- and Jamie Delano-created stories from Mighty World of Marvel and Captain Britain Vol II. The second, a few years later, reprinted the Dave Thorpe- and Alan Moore-scripted stories from Marvel Super-Heroes, The Daredevils and Mighty World of Marvel. All of the strips were colourised.

Captain Britain Vol 1 1

Captain Britain Vol 1 1

Siege of Camelot
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In 2006, Panini UK (who had already reprinted some of the Captain's adventures in their revived version of Mighty World of Marvel) began a series of collected editions reprinting all of the Captain's UK-published adventures in sequence for the first time, five volumes in all: Captain Britain: Birth of a Legend (2006), Captain Britain: A Hero Reborn (2007), Captain Britain: The Lion & the Spider (2009), Captain Britain: The Siege of Camelot (2010) and Captain Britain: Endgame (2011). Two oversized hardcover collections for the American market followed, using the titles of the first and fourth collected editions. The 21st issue of The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection magazine was also devoted to Captain Britain, and included a metal figurine of him in his Alan Davis-created second costume. A Captain Britain Omnibus published in 2009 reprinted every Captain Britain story from 1981-1986 plus a variety of extra material in a huge hardcover volume, and in October 2016, Captain Britain: Legacy of a Legend reprinted selected strips from 1976-1986 as a celebration of forty years of the Captain.

Captain Britain chronology

The following is a list of all significant appearances of Captain Britain during the period in which he was published by Marvel UK, roughly in order of publication.

The US Marvel title Excalibur, which ran for 125 issues and featured Captain Britain in most of the early issues, began shortly before the Knights of Pendragon series but is not included on the list as it outlasted Marvel UK by some years and in its later years was more an X-Men title than a Captain Britain one. The Captain has, of course, continued to appear in American-produced titles since the 1980s, including Captain Britain and MI-13. Britons Paul Cornell and Mike Collins have both worked on this title. He has also been one of the Avengers.