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