Less concerned with who’s first up against the wall than with how to decorate it

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Iain Coleman
    May 15, 2014 @ 12:25 am

    noting in two separate interviews that Davis lived in an area with a significant number of Northern Ireland supporters.

    What's a "Northern Ireland supporter?"


  2. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 15, 2014 @ 12:32 am

    Sloppy phrasing on my part. Dead tired and posting this from bed, but will fix it when I get up. My sincere apologies – the phrasing is outright shit.


  3. Jordan Murphy
    May 15, 2014 @ 4:43 am

    Reading these things in later reprints, I guess I never realized MM predated Moore's Captain Britain work. In fact I had always assumed the latter was a kind of testing ground to try things out before commencing with the real heavy weirdness.

    The lion stamped on the side of an egg is the basis for a throwaway line in the first episode of the Young Ones. At the time I first saw it (in the pre-internet days), it made little sense to me, though I was able to guess at it's meaning through context.


  4. Anton B
    May 15, 2014 @ 5:48 am

    Anton B May 4, 2014 at 1:50 AM
    I'm afraid that as far as Captain Britain is concerned I can never get beyond the fact that wrapping yourself in the union flag has imperialist and far right connotations in the UK that perhaps it doesn't in the US. For historical reasons on this side of the pond we tend to view outward demonstrations of British and English (not Scots, Irish or Welsh though) patriotism rather suspiciously. Could this fundamental attitude difference in our separate cultures be the reason why Marvel style nationalistic based super heroes never quite translate to British comics…Could anyone confirm, I wonder, if this has ever been addressed within the Captain Britain comics themselves?

    Thursday, May 15, 2014
    A Country That Instinctively Hates The Foreign (The Last War in Albion Part 44: Dave Thorpe's Captain Britain)
    Thorpe was adamant in writing the comic that “nationalism had to be avoided,” and viewed Captain Britain as “a muscle-bound upper class twit with a brain the size of a pea draped in a Union Jack,” both views that are clearly anticipated in his view four years earlier that the idea of a Captain Britain was fundamentally flawed. In a particularly damning claim, he noted that Captain Britain had to be starkly different from Captain America, claiming that “Americans are generally prepared to be much more nationalistic than us and use their flag patriotically. over here only fascists do that with the Union Jack

    That answers that then. I guess I should try to track some of these issues down. I was following Warrior avidly at the time but had no idea this stuff was going on elsewhere.

    Also I miss the little lions on my eggs. Marmite soldiers just don't taste the same dipped in eggs without them.


  5. BerserkRL
    May 15, 2014 @ 7:20 am

    Northern Ireland rides on the back of a giant space whale. Which, y'know, supports it.

    Glad I could help.


  6. Heath
    May 15, 2014 @ 7:24 am

    As a long-time Cap Britain fan, I am eminently intrigued by this history lesson. I new Moore was key to redesigning the characters motivations and early treatment, but I had no idea the role that Dave Thorpe had in really creating Cap's trademark 'otherworlds' connections, Mad Jim Jaspers, and even Saturnyne!

    And thank you for including that early Alan Davis art. I'm amazed that a lot of his signature style is so apparent even in these earliest publications.


  7. BerserkRL
    May 15, 2014 @ 7:30 am

    wrapping yourself in the union flag has imperialist and far right connotations in the UK that perhaps it doesn't in the US

    Here too, I think. The only major superheroes I can think of offhand whose costumes are based on the American flag are Captain America, Wonder Woman, and the Star-Spangled Kid, all of whom have their origins in the World War II period. But more recently, characters with costumes based on the American flag tend to be villains: Iron Patriot in "Dark Reign," Patriot in "Rising Stars," etc.


  8. Daibhid C
    May 15, 2014 @ 8:03 am

    Yeah, it's interesting that someone who wanted to avert "Britain, gosh yeah!" sensibilities ended up writing a story where the fact Britain is horrible is evidence an entire universe is broken. Which is a) a bit "Britian is the centre of reality" and b) implies that UK-616 in the late seventies is pretty cool, really.

    Paul Cornell is the only writer who ever really made "This guy is unironically wrapped in Union flags, and isn't a BNP sympathiser" work for me, but we won't be getting to that for a long time yet.


  9. Abigail Brady
    May 15, 2014 @ 9:03 am

    The Green and White Army, obv.


  10. Dan Abel
    May 16, 2014 @ 1:42 am

    If you want to enjoy these issues fairly cheaply, take a look for old issues of X-men archives in the states, or look for the Panini collections in the UK


  11. Aylwin
    May 16, 2014 @ 4:45 am

    Non-devotees of staggeringly pointless pedantry please look away now.

    The lion on the egg isn't rampant, it's passant guardant.


  12. Aylwin
    May 16, 2014 @ 8:39 am

    Which thinking about it is an ever (ever) so slightly interesting point. The CB lion is in the Scottish posture with the English colour scheme, which makes a kind of sense. I'm not a comic fan, so I have no way of knowing how hackneyed that observation is.

    Mind you, having looked at some pictures, it looks like a pretty iffy sort of creature. Like one of those medieval statues by sculptors who had obviously never seen a real lion.


  13. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 16, 2014 @ 8:48 am


    I got "rampant" from Davis's introduction to Marvel's Captain Britain Omnibus, where I pulled the quote earlier in the paragraph from. Indeed, the second use of "lion rampant" in the paragraph is straight out of a Davis quote. But when I was putting the image in, I remember thinking "is rampant the right heraldic term there? I don't think it is…" before just going with what Davis said.

    I may well pedantically correct Davis for the book version. 🙂


  14. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 16, 2014 @ 9:02 am

    Ah, as I research it more the error is actually in Davis connecting the lion to the egg campaign, as one is rampant and the other is passant.

    Wait, no, further research reveals that rampant only has one paw on the ground, and the Captain Britain costume is in fact a lion salient, specifically "gules a lion salient or," while the egg logo is either "argent a lion passant guardant sable" or "tawny a lion passant guardant sable," depending on whether you buy white or brown eggs.

    Yeah, that correction is going in the book.


  15. Anton B
    May 16, 2014 @ 10:34 am

    All I know is that, as a kid, I thought it was pretty darn cool to be able to stamp every egg with a lion without breaking any.


  16. Alex
    May 18, 2014 @ 9:25 am

    "Like many British comics creators of the time, Davis was a part-timer who came to comics as a second job, in Davis’s case alongside driving forklifts for a warehouse. "

    As I said a few threads ago, for all that a modern audience might decry the 'straight' 'white' nature of the main protagonists in the war, it shouldn't be forgotten that, for the most part, they were from the working class. Particularly relevant, I feel, given the dwindling representation of working class people both in the media and also as creatiors of said media, over the last couple of decades.

    (To the point where an actor like Benedict Cumberpatch can complain that he's been victimised for being posh and privileged. Imagine!)


  17. Daibhid Ceannaideach
    September 18, 2016 @ 10:43 pm

    “a muscle-bound upper class twit with a brain the size of a pea draped in a Union Jack,”

    I just heard a truly epic extension of this point by Al Kennedy on the most recent House to Astonish podcast, portraying “good old Brian” as a well-meaning rugger bugger, who’s holding a stag night in your pub (he’s not drinking himself, though, because he drives the coach and everyone depends on him). And somehow he drags you to an Indian restaurant even though you weren’t even on the stag do, and cheerfully pressurises you into having the hottest thing on the menu, and then sticks a tenner in your pocket and says “Get yourself a cab” without bothering to find out where you live.

    (Al’s co-host Paul O’Brien merely noted that Brian’s university days probably involved thinking he was a Man of the People because two of the students in his drama group came from comprehensives.)


  18. Daibhid Ceannaideach
    October 28, 2020 @ 1:48 pm

    This is really nitpicky of me, but it’s just occurred to me that the lion stamped on eggs is actually passant, like the three lions that represent England, while Brian’s lion was indeed rampant, like the one lion that represents Scotland (but was yellow on red like the English lions, rather than the reverse). I don’t expect anyone to care abot this, but I felt obliged to mention it.


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