Comics Creators

Millarworld book club: Planetary issue 26 - The end!


Always Forgot Byrne in the mix.


Both Claremont and Byrne were born in the UK but moved to North America aged 3 and 8 respectively. So personally I don’t think they should be included. Culturally you are a product of where you are raised rather than by birth.

Claremont jokes in interviews that he and Herb Trimpe were selected for Captain Britain because they were the guys at Marvel that had some rather tenuous links to be being British (he says Trimpe was living for a time in Bristol but I’ve never seen repeated anywhere else).


However, ironically, it was Claremont Byrne’s XMen that opened the door for Morrison and Moore. Would there have been a Kid Marvelman if not for Dark Phoenix?

At heart, the only things that took root from U.K. Comics were what US comics brought to the U.K. Writers and artists.

The seriously British comic lines all died out. Even Sandman. But U.K. Interpretations of US comics stuck.


I think that’s incorrect. They were not the only things.

There was a US invasion because from the late 60s onwards there were many reprints that were popular (mainly or Marvel work) but there were plenty of home grown comics too. The US authored Captain Britain was a bit of a flop and got canceled, it was revived a few years later by Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis. Garth Ennis in particular always says that’s all he read, he never liked the superhero books. Gaiman and Delano didn’t read comics at all, they were both persuaded to try them by Moore. Those influenced an alternative take.

I think also the British Invasion only ever really referred to where the creators came from and how Karen Berger in particular was picking them up from British comics. The material was always mixed, Shade the Changing Man was a road trip across the USA, about as American-themed as you can get.

(Oh Moore didn’t read Claremont’s X-Men at the time, he makes note of that in his fanzine reviews in the early 80s, he did read Miller’s Daredevil and wrote a parody of it for Marvel UK).


Might be true.

But, personally in my history as a reader-, i always read them like some sort of “Corpus” with much more in common than the birthplace of the authors.

As I said. The Mood. The lyricism. The themes and the way they were treated…

But, like i said. It might just be me.


Morrison certainly read Claremont and Moore certainly read SuperFolks which absolutely was by an American author. However, Wizard and even 2000 AD is hardly known in the US. What truly U.K. Originated IP has really prospered in US comics? Constantine is the closest but he’s Keanu Reeves over here.

At heart, it is like the British Invasion. Instead of Black Blues musicians though, it was Claremont and a few Jewish New York cartoonists and writers who influenced a generation of kids in England, Ireland and Scotland.

For me though, the question is if the U.K. Invasion really influenced US writers in the same way. Certainly Alan Moore and Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman had an impact on U.K. Writers later on, but I can’t see the same influence on US writers.


[quote=“BeingHenning, post:248, topic:9506, full:true”]What truly U.K. Originated IP has really prospered in US comics? Constantine is the closest but he’s Keanu Reeves over here.
I wonder if this misses the point slightly. The ‘British Invasion’ (as its name suggests) wasn’t about UK-oriented IPs being exported to the US so much as it was about UK creators reinventing the existing American comics themselves, by bringing a different approach to them.


That’s sorta what I’m getting to. You can’t listen to rock today without hearing som UK band influences from Beatles to Sex Pistols, but is that true in American comics?


I think that’s exaggerating the influence they had. It was definitely there in at least some of them but they had other comics influences. Whether you read them or not is not really important. They cite Dan Dare or Charley’s War and other works.

You have points but I think it’s over-simplifying it. Just as black blues musicians were very influential you can’t really say "Penny Lane’ owes that much to them because there were mixed influences and the mix is important. Just as those Jewish New York cartoonists didn’t create in a vacuum, they were taking from Eruopean legends and the like.


Maybe not to the same extent. But in a world where Geoff Johns spins a multi-year Green Lantern epic out of a story idea tossed-off by Moore in a handful-of-pages short story decades ago, I think it’s probably fair to say that the UK writers still cast a shadow to some extent. :slight_smile:

I don’t think anyone is saying UK writers are the be-all and end-all of US comics though. There might have been a period of disproportionate influence, but they didn’t invent the medium (or the superhero/fantasy genre) even if they did bring fresh approaches to bear on it.



That´s (more or less) what i wanted to say.


Back to the comic, this is actually one of my least favourite issues. With Planetary I am always slightly torn as I am not a fan of the references and analogues seen in so many comics of the time, this one is laid on the most thickly. I prefer it when there is a more general homage to the episodes.

I have a lot of very much more positive things to say about Planetary but they owe more to the structure and would be spoilerish so will hold off for later.


However, in terms of the Planetary story it sums up why the U.K. Invasion stalled. Its central motif is a funeral and the killer was the reaction to the much darker elements that US readers wouldn’t accept for our superheroes.


Have you been reading any US superhero comics for the last 30 years? :smile:


That’s American Frank Miller grittiness. Not the icky subtle stuff from the foggy islands.


I barely noticed the violence in this one.


Yeah, i was thinking in something like that.


I just reread issue #7 and it didn’t hold up as strongly as I remembered. It’s a little on-the-nose, both with its message and with the way it’s put forward. I think I found it cleverer and more incisive in the past than I do now.

(It reminds me slightly of Spawn #10, the issue about creators’ rights by Dave Sim and Todd McFarlane. It’s maybe not quite as beat-you-about -the-head with the concept, but topping Sim and McFarlane in that respect is probably asking a lot!)

I do admire the message of this issue, and think it’s still relevant in today’s comics landscape. I also like the way it doesn’t seek to denigrate those British Invasion creators (except perhaps to suggest that their ‘deconstructions’ of the traditional superhero maybe weren’t as clever or as necessary as they might have seemed). Instead, it seems to suggest that we recognise them but aren’t beholden to them, and we don’t let their influence become stifling or suffocating to the point that new generations can’t move on to create their own new waves of ideas.

Most of all though, it doesn’t really feel like a strong Planetary story - or at least, not at this point in the series. It feels like a return to the template of the earlier issues, with the Planetary team more as observers than active participants in the story, giving Ellis the chance to play with the concept at hand without worrying too much about the series’ overall shape. After issue #6, a story like this feels like a bit of a backwards step. Although there are still some nice moments (that make a bit more sense in retrospect), like Jakita’s sadness at Snow’s comment about how she’s constantly surprising him.

There’s good stuff in here - hearing Ellis moan about Thatcher is always good value, and it was maybe the case (especially at the point when this comic was published) that a new generation of creators needed to move out from under the shadow of Moore, Gaiman, Morrison and Milligan. But like @Tom_Punk says, it’s perhaps just too self-referential a comic to really pull it all off without seeming a bit navel-gazing.


I had exactly the same thoughts with the Spawn #10 image Dave.


Agreed 100%, Dave.