I attempted to do a few other countries, saving this one for another letter. I knew I couldn’t get away with a series on comic book creators without England. It was going to be under Great Britain. Due to the political nature and sensitivity of another country I attempted, but learned a great deal about, I decided the U.K. could be separated into the actual countries, if that be the right term to use.
What I will attempt here, is to keep the creators mentioned to those born in what would be called England proper, my term.
One thing to keep in mind about comics from England is they were not a focus nor had as much an impact as they did in the United States during the early years of development. Why? Something called WWII and a focus on staying alive, holding onto a country, and putting paper and ink to better uses.
I’ll begin in an odd place today, with:
Reverend John Marcus Harston Morris OBE3 was a Publisher born in 1915 in Preston, Lancashire. His venture into comics began as a result of his belief the church was not doing enough in the way of putting out anything to combat the influences of the more violent American comics. He thought British youth needed something more wholesome and I suppose role model like.
He began a publishing career with The Anvil, including articles by C.S. Lewis4 and went on to titles such as the Eagle, Girls, Robin, and Swift. Each for a target age group.
The Eagle5 featured Dan Dare6 created by artist and writer Frank Hampson. One thing would come back to haunt specifically Hampson in later years that Morris did in order to get Eagle published. Watch the video below about Frank Hampson to find out.
Frank Hampson7 was born in Audenshaw, Lancashire in 1918. He was hired by Morris as illustrator on The Anvil and went onto fame with Dan Dare which he created. Over time Hampson eventually met with legal troubles over breach of contract with his working on strip ideas while under contract with Longacre Press8. This resulted in his basically leaving the comics industry. During his days on Dan Dare, Hampson used models and research to have everything just right for his space missions. The photos here side by side show who Dan Dare was based on. Yes, that’s a younger Hampson on the right. He even had as a consultant a young science fiction writer named Arthur C. Clarke9.
Alan Moore10 is a writer born in Northampton, England in 1953. Genius. I could stop there but I am certain you want more. His big start into the world of comic books came after being rejected for 2000AD11, famously known for the character of Judge Dredd12. Instead he wrote short stories for other publications at the encouragement of their editor. If you are lucky you also have copies of Moore’s work in Doctor Who Weekly13 from this time, which would be the early to mid 1980s.
He did eventually find his footing in 2000AD and he refers to his best work as The Ballad of Halo Jones14. The story of which ended sooner than expected due to intellectual property rights. But Moore had other outlets.
Marvel UK15 came calling with Doctor Who Weekly and primarily Captain Britain16. I admit Captain Britain is one of my favorite characters in the mainstream comic book atmosphere, from as far back as his appearance in Marvel Team-Up #65 with Spider-Man, which I have #6617, the second part.
Moore then entered into a venture that would bring him into more of the writer we know today. Warrior18 came calling. An anthology book that gave creators more freedom. With Marvelman19 and V for Vendetta20, Moore had made it, but then-America came calling.
DC21 and Swamp Thing22, John Constantine23 of the Hellblazer24 comic. Batman: The Killing Joke25, and I will leave you with two others or we will be here all day. Watchmen26, see as the mini series of all time and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen27.
I strongly urge you to go to Wikipedia and read all you can and follow the links to his various work. He is an inspiration in many ways. Not only in his writing and creativity but in his commitment to the rights of the creator of characters.
The video has some spoilers if you haven’t read Watchmen and might be interested in doings so. I suggest you do. I have them and I can tell you they are not like any other comics you’ve read. Moore puts the superhero in a whole different light and reality. He makes them more real than when Marvel made buildings have plumbing when they were lifted up, while DC had Superman picking them up and putting them down with no problem. This is bigger than that. You do get to hear Moore read from Rorschach’s journal. I found it cool to hear how the writer thought it sounded in his head.
Peter Milligan28, born of England, currently London, best I can tell, links to Alan Moore in that he wrote Hellblazer. But his beginning was with a familiar book called 2000AD where he had his own ongoing strip called Bad Company29. Milligan found his way into American and DC and as the ongoing writer for Batman30 in Detective Comics31.
Milligan is responsible for the character of Azrael32, who became Batman for a time after Bruce Wayne’s33back, who was in fighting as Batman, was broken by Bane34. He also did work for Marvel35 by launching Elektra36. Wrote on X-Force37, which was cancelled and replaced with X-Statix38 also cancelled. Basically the same and with Milligan writing.
There are many more creators that could be mentioned. But if I did, as with Alan Moore, we would be here all day. Some have been mentioned previously, and some will be mentioned in future countries as partners of other creators. But for now, that’s it from England.
Click the D for Denmark or click the following title which is a link as well.
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1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beano Return to Text
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dandy Return to Text
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Morris_%28publisher%29 Return to Text
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._S._Lewis Return to Text
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_%28British_comics%29 Return to Text
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Dare Return to Text
7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Hampson Return to Text
8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longacre_Press Return to Text
9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke Return to Text
10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Moore Return to Text
11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_AD_%28comics%29 Return to Text
12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Dredd Return to Text
14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_Magazine Return to Text
15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_Halo_Jones Return to Text
16 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_UK Return to Text
17 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Britain Return to Text
18 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrior_%28comics%29 Return to Text
19 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvelman Return to Text
20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta Return to Text
21 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detective_Comics Return to Text
22 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swamp_Thing_%28comic_book%29 Return to Text
23 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Constantine Return to Text
24 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellblazer Return to Text
25 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman:_The_Killing_Joke Return to Text
26 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen Return to Text
27 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_League_of_Extraordinary_Gentlemen Return to Text
28 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Milligan Return to Text
30 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman Return to Text
31 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detective_Comics Return to Text
32 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azrael_%28comics%29 Return to Text
33 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman Return to Text
34 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bane_%28comics%29 Return to Text
35 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elektra_%28comics%29 Return to Text
36 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Comics Return to Text
37 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Force Return to Text
38 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Statix Return to Text