No question, but I wanted to tell you about my son, age 7, a fledgling comic book fan. He’s always been attracted to the hardcover and trade paperback collections on my bookshelf (which are out in the open, as opposed to the longboxes of comics in the closet). About two years ago, he seemed ready to move beyond children’s picture books for more complex narratives, so I began pulling some collected editions at bedtime. I decided to start him off on Russ Manning’s “Magnus: Robot Fighter,” which he really enjoyed. We read through all three volumes published by Dark Horse. Then, since he was into mythological figures around that time, I tried Walt Simonson’s classic run on “Thor.” He lost interest after a while. Same with “Avengers” Masterworks vols. 1-2. He liked looking at “Essential Godzilla” but wasn’t especially keen on the black & white books. Finally, I noticed the books he would pull off the shelf again and again. “Captain Britain” (the yellow one Marvel marketed as an “Excalibur” prequel), “ClanDestine vs. the X-Men,” and “JLA: The Nail.” Well, I read him the first two. I figure he can read “The Nail” when he’s old enough to do it on his own.
He loved “ClanDestine.” I figured he would identify with Rory or get excited about Walter’s big blue form. Actually, he asked me to draw him a picture of Cuckoo, which he then cut out to use as a paper doll. He might be the only kid with a Cuckoo paper doll. We would talk about the story, and he was really into it. He seemed a bit impatient when the X-Men showed up. He doesn’t care about the X-Men.
“Captain Britain” was a huge hit. I think he fell in love with Meggan. This led to us reading your entire run of “Excalibur,” which we just finished last week. I skipped a lot of the issues you didn’t do, although it was funny to hear my son complain about Chris Wozniak. But seeing that, and Rick Leonardi, and Ron Wagner, he developed a real conscious appreciation for the art of Alan Davis. He is now an Alan Davis fan.
He demanded that we start reading “Captain Britain” from the beginning, now that I have the “Birth of a Legend” and “Siege of Camelot” hardcovers, so that’s what we’re doing now. Eventually, we’ll finish up with the Jaspers Warp storyline, which I have in the “X-Men Archives” reprints. That will bring us full-circle. Not sure what will come after that. Maybe we’ll just read your later run again! Captain Britain is his favorite super-hero. And how many kids today are fans of Gatecrasher’s Technet? He loves ‘em.
I draw comics as a hobby. My son tells me, “Papa, you’re the best comic book artist in the world. Even better than Alan Davis.” I only wish that were so.
Thanks for all the great stories, Alan!