Ace artist Alan Davis appears to have tipped a hat to Trafalgar Square’s famous, empty Fourth Plinth with Big Ben for his smashing new cover for the upcoming X-Men Gold Annual #1, which sees the return of Britain-based superhero team Excalibur after a 20 year absence.
Series editor Chris Robinson describes the upcoming story by writers Marc Guggenheim (X-Men Gold) and Leah Williams (Secret Empire: Brave New World), drawn by Alitha E. Martinez (Black Panther: World of Wakanda) as a “love letter” to the super team, which is celebrating 30 years since its creation.
Conceived by writer Chris Claremont and artist/co-writer Alan Davis, the original Excalibur first appeared in Excalibur Special Edition back in 1987, also known as Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn, before landing their own ongoing series in 1988.
Rachel Summers, the original Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), Meggan, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler and possibly even Widget will reunite in the pages of X-Men Gold Annual #1, along with a new member of the team.
“Since the launch of ResurrXtion [reviving Jean Grey aka Phoenix], fans have been wondering when the classic Excalibur team would come together again,” says editor Chris Robinson. “With this Annual, Marc, Leah, and Alitha have painstakingly put together a love letter to them and the classic series we’re all still talking about!”
Alan’s cover homages the first issue of the team’s original series, which also seem to me to have a Fourth Plinth allusion, both covers conflating a mix of iconic London backgrounds including, of course Big Ben, but also Canada House in Trafalgar Square and the spire of St. Martins in the Fields Church.
Located in Trafalgar Square, the Fourth Plinth was built in 1841 and was meant to hold a statue of William IV but, due to insufficient funds, remained empty.
Over 150 years later, the Fourth Plinth now hosts a series of commissioned artworks by world class artists and is the most talked about contemporary art prize in the UK.
On the plinth this year is David Shrigley’s ‘Really Good’. A giant hand in a thumbs-up gesture, and with a really long thumb at that, must mean that something, somewhere, is really good.
But what is that something and where is it? Is it Trafalgar Square? Or all of London? Or maybe the artwork itself? And if it’s so good, why is that? Who says so? And will we agree?
• X-Men Gold Annual #1 written by Marc Guggenheim & Leah Williams, with art by Alitha E. Martinez and a cover by Alan Davis, arrives in comic shops in January, 2018 and is available to order through them
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.