Wait a minute...that's not me and the Queen. That's me and Freddie Mercury out of Queen. I've made another one of my silly mistakes. And I hope H.R.H. (Her Royal Hunky-Doryness) doesn't mind that, because I'm here to wave my little Union Flag and toot on a little
As we all know and which has been proven by science!, the indicator of proper fame is when you have your picture on a bubble gum card. How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards? So, here you go!
Well, that's not right...well, anyway, I present you with a fairly exhaustive (i know I'm pretty tired!) history of Queen Elizabeth II in comic books!
Now, even though heroes like Wolverine, Deadpool, and Squirrel Girl have all had multiple comic titles being published at any one time, Queen Elizabeth has never had her own comic book, although she occasionally pops up on the cover to tease us with the promise of a team-up with that book's hero:
Cover of Look and Learn #4 (February 10, 1962), art by Audrey Wynne Hatfield
...but hey, Spider-Man has done that fake holographic sticker thing on the cover of his comic dozens of times. No, it's not until we get into her guest appearances that QE2 starts making a name for herself, not only in adventure but for her eventual entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe:
Cover of Captain Britain #39 (July 6, 1977), pencils and inks by Pablo Marcos
They've got the general color of your usual English sky right on that cover, haven't they?
Much as I wish this was the issue where the Queen and Captain Britain teamed up to punch Margaret Thatcher in the face, it's actually all about two supervillains named the Manipulator (he manipulates things) and the Highwayman (he builds roads) plotting against Cap Britain and the government! Why, check it out yourself in gorgeous black-and-white...a story that celebrates Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee!
Panel from Captain Britain #37 (June 22, 1977), script by Larry Lieber, Bob Budiansky, and Len Wein; pencils by Ron Wilson; inks by Pablo Marcos, letters by Irving Watanabe
Oooh, three on a script? That's not a good sign. And hey, how come Peter Parker isn't there? Isn't he required by law to appear in every scene where photography is taking place?
Well, Captain Britain will protect Her Majesty from any threat, isn't that right?
Panel from Captain Britain #38 (June 29, 1977), script by Bob Budiansky and Jim Lawrence; pencils by Ron Wilson; inks by Pablo Marcos, letters by Irving Watanabe and Mark Esposito
D'oh! Meanwhile back at Braddock Castle, Betsy Braddock is face-palming herself and trying to remember what colour hair she's supposed to have this week. Cap's been hyp-mo-tized by the Manipulator into attacking Her Majesty, and you can see how larger than life characters are in comic books here: Prince Philip is actually being heroic instead of spouting a racist slur! Also, a police constable takes a breather from his role in The Pirates of Penzance to stone some crows or something.
Splash page from Captain Britain #39 (July 6, 1977), credits as shown
Good thing Wolverine stopped by and killed Captain Britain before he could attack the Queen. That'll show him! (Note: this may not have actually happened.) But what's worse than Captain Britain brainwashed into trying to kill the Queen? The Queen, a largely ceremonial ruler with no real political power at all, ordering Britain's armed forces to attack one of Marvel's highly-fictional African countries! How fictional is it? It's so fictional it doesn't even appear in 2008's Marvel Atlas, which devotes several pages to Wakanda! So, she must have succeeded, huh? Well, we'll find out next issue...
Except that with ish #39, Marvel UK's Captain Britain mag was cancelled. I guess we'll never find out...
...until the storyline continues the next week in Super Spider-Man#231! yes, you read that right, Super Spider-Man! In this universe, the young baby Peter Park-Er was rocketed from his planet of Arachnos by his beloved guardians B'en and M'ay, and when he landed on earth he discovered that he had the proportionate strength of a spider! Meanwhile, back on Arachnos, a space-burglar shot B'en. These What If™s always end up pretty much the same, don't they?
Panel from Super Spider-Man #231 (July 13, 1977), credits as shown
Just like every female supporting character in a Marvel comic book, Queen Elizabeth has her own creepy stalker, in this case the Highwayman, who is described in the caption as "swaggering." Hey, that would make a great adjective if he ever reformed and got his own book, wouldn't it? The Swaggering Highwayman! I can see it now. And Chris Claremont has probably got it plotted all out for 157 issues.
All's well that ends well as special guest-star Suepr Spider-Man helps out and they both stop the villains in some way that I'm not quite sure myself, but it seemed to involve a cup of hot tea and some lovely fresh scones. In any case, Brian Braddock is triumphant again, at least until next issue when apparently he meets Man-Thing.
Thus began the long friendship between Britain's reigning monarch and the big galoot in the Union Jack costume (n.b.: not Union Jack). They became so close he was invited to crash there at any time!
Panels from Secret Avengers #22 (April 2012), script by Rick Remender, pencils and inks by Gabriel Hardman, colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser, letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Of course, anything that Captain Britain can do, Batman can do better. (The phrase "Anything [fill in hero's name here] can do, Batman can do better"™ is trademarked 2012 by Chris Sims.) Bats not only saves the gracious Queen from a bomb attack, but he does it by kicking the bomb...
Panel from Detective Comics #572 (March 1987), script by Mike W. Barr, pencils by Alan Davis, inks by Paul Neary, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by John Workman
...and then he explains how he figured it out to the Queen, who he knows is an avid Agatha Christie buff and quite an amateur sleuth herself (see the Elongated Man/Queen Elizabeth Mysteries miniseries of 1982).
How much more awesome can this story be? What if I told you it guest-starred Sherlock Holmes? yeah, you'd better pick that story up post-haste, buddy! Luckily, DC's got your back and it's reprinted in this:
How much does DC love you, baby? (Please do not seriously answer that question.)
That's not the Queen's first appearance in the DC Universe, either! She was heavily featured in this Nemesis back-up:
Panel from "Endgame" in The Brave and the Bold #181 (July 1981), script by Cary Burkett, pencils and inks by Dan Spiegle, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by John Costanza
Y'know the phrase "off with his head!"? Well, in this story it's not the Queen who is shouting it!
Suddenly: KICKASS QUEEN! We are not amused, and we are going hi-keeba!
Oh, wait, it's just another Mission: Impossible-style undetectable rubber mask. Darn the invention of those things! They fool everybody!
Let's turn to DC's espionage thriller Checkmate for yet another assassination attempt on the Queen! I'm pretty sure this is still the Queen Elizabeth of Earth-1. I don't think her origin changed after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, except for that one story with the Krypto-Corgis no longer being in canon/
Panels from Checkmate v.1 #11 (Holiday 1988), script by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Steve Erwin, inks by Al Vey, colors by Julianna Ferriter, letters by Agustin Mas
I'm assuming she survived, but as finding out would have meant reading an issue of Checkmate, I guess I'll never know. Besides, she was still alive and well in the universe where everybody drank and swore a lot and Grant Morrison lived inside our comics: The Vertigo Universe! Where she mostly existed for John Constantine to swear at. Reader discretion advised! I do believe this is DC's first canonical mention of the death of Elvis while in the bathroom.
Panel from Hellblazer #245 (August 2008), script by Jason Aaron, pencils and inks by Sean Murphy, colors by Lee Loughridge, letters by Jared K. Fletcher
Constantine isn't a big fan of the Christmas Day counter-programming to The Great Escape, either:
Panel from "The Curse of Christmas" in Hellblazer #250 (February 2009), script by Peter Milligan, pencils and inks by Eddie Campbell, colors by Dominic Regan, letters by Jared K. Fletcher
But by far one of the goofiest portrayals of Queen Elizabeth is in the rather silly "what if Kal-El landed in England" Elseworlds tale True Brit (aka "the one that pretty much killed off Superman Elseworlds comics):
Panel from Superman: True Brit graphic novel (October 2004), script by Kim "Howard" Johnson and John Cleese (yes, that John Cleese), pencils by John Byrne, inks by Mark Farmer, colors by Alex Bleyaert, letters by Bill Oakley and Jack Morelli
But to sum up once again: Batman saved the Queen. More than once!
Panel from Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 (March 2009), script by Matt Wayne, pencils by Andy Suriano, inks by Dan Davis, colors by Heroic Age, letters by Randy Gentile
...but it was the kid sidekicks who saved her first!
Panel from Teen Titans #17 (September-October 1968), script by Bob Haney, pencils and inks by Nick Cardy, letters by Joe Letterese
Now, just because this post is wrapping up doesn't mean that I've yet shown you all the exciting Queen-filled action from comic books...not at all! Tune in tomorrow night (and yes I do know what happens when I promise to bring you something "tomorrow night") to see the Queen's adventures in the rest of the Marvel Universe plus plenty of other comic book world! I'll be featuring the one hero who is Liz's true love...some beautiful Wally Wood art...and Jeremy Clarkson drives a car into the BBC! And on that bombshell, that's all we've got time for. See you tomorrow night!
Play us off, Queen's Guards performing the Batman movie theme!