Friday, 12 April 2013

That time that Chris Claremont turned Margaret Thatcher into Captain Britain.

A while back I posted up a cover from Captain Britain which featured former Labour Prime Minister  James Callaghan held captive by the Red Skull. It's no secret that I have a strange fascination with real world figures turning up in Marvel comics, especially politicians. It's not entirely uncommon for the President of the United States to occasionally appear in a Marvel book. But the Prime Minister of Great Britain is much rarer. Jim Callaghan cropped up the 70s, and Gordon Brown appeared in the 2000s via Captain Britain & MI13, and those tend to be the ones people remember.

There is however, a slightly more bizarre Prime Ministerial appearance from Chris Claremont's Excalibur, which I have to admit even I had forgotten about until I was thumbing through back issues last month, in search of a specific image for elsewhere. Excalibur was, admittedly  a bit of an odd book in many ways. Started by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis in 1988 many people remember that creative run lasting forever. In truth, of course Davis actually left the book with #24 - The final proper issue of The Cross-Time Caper, which had featured most of Excalibur hopping from Universe to Universe meeting alternate versions of themselves and of other Marvel characters and groups. Chris Claremont stayed on for a few more issues, with fill in artists, after which the book went through a slightly inconsistent period of guest creators, before Alan Davis finally returned with #42 (as writer and artist) to steer the book back in a more consistent direction.

Excalibur #32 was the beginning of Chris Claremont's last arc on the series. The issue began with what appeared to be an attempted Nazi invasion of London. So far (worryingly) not so unusual for Excalibur...

But when Excalibur turned up to fight them, well, it became pretty clear this was not the Excalibur we knew. Why? Because the Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers and Meggan who turned up... were all guys. :)

Nightcrawler remained a guy, but as you can see the Captain Britain of this version of Excalibur is very clearly a woman. But who? Another other universe analogue of Brian Braddock? Not quite.

In this version of Excalibur all the members are very much young teenage boys, who apparently need to be read bedtime stories by the matriarchal Captain, who serves them hot cocoa, and must wait until they're all asleep before managing to have some time alone.

At which point she takes off her mask, and...

It is revealed that the whole thing appears to have been a dream, experienced by a woman while she was sitting in her therapist's chair.

But it just so happens that the woman in question turns out to be none other than British Prime Minister of the day, Margaret Thatcher.

I kid you not. The actual Prime Minister of the day. The art (which was by Ron Wagner in this issue) does not lie.

Baroness Thatcher, as she was by the end of her life, passed away earlier this week. I'd scanned these pages weeks ago, but hadn't gotten around to posting them. It's a really quite bizarre appearance, this one. While this scene doesn't really have any direct bearing on the story itself,  Thatcher as Captain Britain even appeared on the front cover of this issue.

The twist in the tale here, though, is that Mrs Thatcher's therapist reveals himself to be none other than Mesmero - the somewhat evil mutant master of hypnotism. Which has a rather worrying implication, of course. It seems that in the Marvel universe Margaret Thatcher may have a puppet of Mesmero...

There's something to think about, maybe. :)

Are there any other Prime Minister Marvel appearances you can think of? John Major revealed to be an android, constructed from the blueprints of The Vision? Tony Blair revealed to be a mutant with the ability of an eye-blinding smile?

If you know of any, drop us a line... ;)

1 comment:

  1. That's pretty crazy! I've never seen this before, so thanks for sharing. :-)