There’s a rare chance to lay your hands on a page of Captain Britain written and drawn by Alan Davis, inked by Mark Farmer, right now, a page from “Should Auld Acquaintance”, published back in 1986.
Published in Captain Britain Volume Two Issue 14, the page is from a fun story sees Brian Braddock, aka Captain Britain, and partner of the time, Meggan, go undercover and head to Glasgow as an enforcer, to help the police find a killer… and as an added bonus, there’s a cameo from two Scottish comic retailers as shifty night club runners!
Although he isn’t in costume, which may explain the low bidding so far, Captain Britain features in disguise, smashing up a bar.
Pages of Marvel UK’s Captain Britain (before Excalibur) simply don’t turn up very often, so now the word is out, bidding may intensify. The auction closes on Sunday 13th June, with bids currently at £340.
“Conditions of sale are very simple,” says the seller from Scotland, “you bid, you win, you pay, I ship, you enjoy!”
Longtime British comic fans may know “McShane’s” night club in the story is an affectionate tip of the hat to John McShane, who cameos as the club owner in the story, back then one of Scotland’s best-known comic retailers.
Back then, John ran AKA Comics in Glasgow, and is today a leading authority on comics early history. He’s widely known among comic creators, on both sides of the Atlantic, and in recent years has been instrumental in helping out on specialist comic projects such as the Lakes International Comic Art Festival’s The Spirit tribute newspaper, working with artist Sean Phillips, and, more recently, writing articles for Comic Scene’s History of Comics part work.
Also in cameo on the page is fellow AKA-ite, the late Bob Napier, who previously owned the art now for sale.
“Alan Davis and a bunch of other creators had been our guests at one of our many events,” John tells downthetubes, revealing the origins of the cameo. “My partner in The Bogie Man comic, George Jackson, was on tour with his band Ossian and so there was a completely empty flat available above mine in Ingram Street, Glasgow (an area now known as The Merchant City).
“Rather than take all of the guys to a restaurant, we had decided to feed them in the flat. The food was provided by my mate Seumas from Cafe Gandolfi, a restaurant a few yards from the flat. Seemed like a good idea except …
“Alan Davis took one look at the gorgeous spread and said he was allergic to most of it! So, while the rest of us got tucked in, Bob Napier took Alan to a local chippy for a first-class meal.
“Where George and I lived was one of the first of the refurbs in what had been Glasgow’s garment district,” John says of the look of “McShanes” night club in the strip. “Really, only the facade was kept and it had this attractive entrance. Alan had clocked this.
“When he took over the scripting of Captain Britain from Alan Moore, he decided to include the flat in the story for issue #14. I had a wee beard at the time.”
Of course, John was delighted with his cameo, but narrowly missed out on getting the art himself.
“I started reading this issue about 10.00am, [on the day it arrived at AKA], and got on the phone right away,” John sighs, “But Bob had read this about an hour earlier, and Alan informed me that he’d already promised the artwork to Bob. Darn!
“When Bob died in June 2019, his daughter Amanda told me she still had the artwork. I’ve no idea why she has decided to sell it, but I reckon its final price will be out of my range. Darn!”
John tells us has been busy over the past year, writing articles for Comic Scene’s History of Comics, expanding his book about the Tales of Ossian, which features a new cover by Alex Ronald, sending a submission to an American company, and working with VIZ on a new project… the man’s unstoppable!
14th June 2021 update: the art sold for £826
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.