“Things are Complicated”: Paul Cornell at Marvel and DC

  • Martin Flanagan School of Arts and Media, University of Salford


Paul Cornell’s work for the ‘Big Two’ U.S. comic publishers transfers a distinctly British (mostly English) sensibility into a field where cues normally revolve around American cultural iconography and values. The key to his authorship is Cornell’s homespun method which, unlike 1970s and 1980s efforts of Marvel’s UK wing that transplanted American characters into a postcard-like Britain, explores a British dimension of the Marvel Universe that offers a challenge to the codes of that realm. Whether working with established heroes such as Captain Britain, twists on archetypes like Knight and Squire (English analogues of Batman and Robin), or superheroic ‘big guns’ like Wolverine, Cornell writes against tired, automatic canonicity. This paper mainly focuses on the directly British representations in the Cornell titles Captain Britain and MI-13 (2008-9) and Knight and Squire (2010).

Author Biography

Martin Flanagan, School of Arts and Media, University of Salford

Martin Flanagan is Lecturer and Programme Leader in Film Studies at the University of Salford, UK. His doctoral thesis (Sheffield) was concerned with the cinematic relevance of Bakhtinian theories, and was published as Bakhtin and the Movies: New Ways of Understanding Hollywood Film in 2009 with Palgrave Macmillan. Most recently, he co-authored the first full-length scholarly study of Marvel Studios, The Marvel Studios Phenomenon: Inside a Transmedia Universe, with Mike McKenny and Andy Livingstone. This was published in Summer 2016 by Bloomsbury. He is currently preparing new work on Marvel Comics and the history of the brand. Flanagan developed the notion of the ‘blockbuster auteur’ in an essay concerning Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003), published in the New Review of Film and Television Studies (2004), and has published on other aspects of comic book cinema in collections such as Film and Comic Books (2007). Other journals carrying Flanagan's work include IXQUIC andReconstruction. He is a contributor to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory (2014).

How to Cite
Flanagan, M. (2017). “Things are Complicated”: Paul Cornell at Marvel and DC. Authorship, 6(2). https://doi.org/10.21825/aj.v6i2.7701
Special Topic: Comics and Authorship