Talk at Ignite Bristol 9 - 27th November 2013
1. Hi, my name is Matt and I am a super hero-holic. I picked up my first DC comic at age 10 and that led to a life long addiction that has done more to empty my bank balance than perhaps anything except home ownership and my fondness for a beer.
2. The thing is it isn’t always easy been a Brit in this super-world. While we’ve been reading the adventures since the 40s - we have always found the concept a bit too showy for our own heroes. That isn’t to say we haven’t tried though..
3. I’m guessing you recognise Spidey but probably not the ‘Leopard from Lime Street’ - scratched by a radioactve leopard at the zoo, worked as a photographer, had a frail old aunt and was unpopular with the press...no idea where they got the idea from.
4. Captain Britain is...well...no Captain America. Despite some of the top talent in comics taking a stab at the character this guy has never really been more than a bit player in the Marvel universe...he is also about as good as it gets!
5. The 90s were a bad time in the history of comic books and ‘Killpower’ is basically an example of everything that went wrong in a neat package. Marvel UK were wanted a new ‘powerhouse’ hero - instead they created a laughing stock.
6. ...ah Knight & Squire. The British Batman & Robin. Well they would be if Batman and Robin were boiled down to their very lamest elements, sprinkled with some British class envy and a rogues gallery so pathetic that your local Tesco security guard would likely have the upper hand..
7. ..christ even I don’t really remember the point of these guys. An attempt at a kind of British Avengers was the idea I think with a bit of King Arthur in the mix. It was not a successful combination.
8. ..this one doesn’t quite fit but it pisses me off. John Constantine, blonde, scouse magician and trickster. John Constantine channeling Ted "Theodore" Logan having a crafty fag.
9. Superheroes are more than comics these days - witness Smallville where a seemingly middleaged man played teenaged Clark Kent for what seemed like decades versus Misfits where a bunch of young offenders managed to make the idea of super powers just a little bit...icky.
10. When we get it right though there is no competition. Witness the greatness of Bananaman - still king of the stag-do costume to this day!
11. Probably the two most important creators in comic book history - one a living legend who seems to want to be Hugh Hefner the other a bearded, grumpy bastard from Northampton who hates super heroes. Never have two men in the same industry been less alike.
12. When you need a 'real' superhero even our American cousins know you have to go British - Batman is a Welsh guy with anger management issues and took the franchise to heights only previously reached by the acting genious that was Adam West..
13. The current superman is a posh boy from Jersey - the Channel Islands version not the one with the Sopranos. His mission to restore Christopher Reeves legacy (as if the Quest for Peace didn't do enough damage)
14. even Spidey is now (sorta) English - he might have been born in the States but he was raised in the UK. Garfield was brought in to save the day after the Saturday Night Fever moment in Spiderman 3 forever destroyed any credibility Tobey Maguire had
15. I think we do have a truly iconic superhero though and it is one that shares some similarities to Americas favourite son. Both aliens who make the Earth their home. Both with a bit of a thing for phone boxes.
16. For America it is the classic jock type - tall, handsome and believing in ‘truth, justice and the american way’. superman sums up how america thought about itself for decades. a strongman who uses force and moral superiority to save day..
17. ..our British superhero is something quite different. Eccentric, intelligent and more than a little bit crafty the Doctor saves the day with a combination of smarts and sneakiness. He looks down on those who resort to force seeing it all as a little bit beneath him..
18. For those keeping score it is a surprise win for the Brits! Maybe we aren’t so bad at this superhero lark after all - or perhaps like our twin hearted hero I cheated just enough to make things come out the way I wanted
19. Well that is all from me - I am now going to take some time to indulge in my own person Kryponite and question my decision making process that allows me to keep volunteering to do these things!
20. Thanks for listening, enjoy the rest of the evening and as Stan 'the Man' Lee was wont to say 'Nuff Said.