I write reviews of comic books here every week. I do it for fun. But do you know what I don’t find fun? Writing bad reviews. I don’t write many of them because I’m picky about what I buy and often when I read something that I don’t like I want to forget about it. I have no interest in spending time thinking and writing about something that I didn’t like. Most of my bad reviews would go like this anyway, “I read a little bit of so-and-so and thought is wasn’t any good so I stopped reading and will never, ever, finish reading it”. That’s about the worst review possible for me but it isn’t very entertaining to read over and over.

Mediocre comics are also hard to write about. I just finished reading “Captain Britain – Hell Comes to Birmingham” and I decided not to review it. It’s not bad, some of the art is good (especially the splash page in issue 6) but overall I found the comic confusing and the writing stilted at times. I really don’t have many thoughts about it. To me it just sat there and didn’t come to life.

As I was reading the book I was reminded of a phrase I used to hear back when I worked in the offices of Marvel Comics. Someone would say “Remember, every comic is someone’s favorite comic”. I can’t even remember who used to say it or in what exact context but I remember it being said. I always thought it was a sweeping statement without much truth to it. I bet there are plenty of comics out there that are no one’s favorite.

But that remembered phrase got me thinking about this volume of Captain Britain and if it could be someone’s favorite. And who they would be? Like I said, it’s not a bad comic, I found it mediocre and it held no interest for me. But it might for someone else. But who? I’m sure there are people who like it but being a favorite is a different story.

Most of the world is filled with mediocrity. The law of averages says so. I prefer reading stuff that I think is really good but not everyone does. And still I have some mediocre comics that are favorites but they mainly com from my youth. Most people have a soft spot for things from their younger days when everything was fresh and new. It matters what age you see or read things at if they are to become favorites. If you start watching the TV show “Family Matters” at age ten it will be a favorite. If you were 23 when it debuted then it won’t be. Mediocrity can become really good if you’re too young to have ever seen something that’s actually really good.

It’s that way with comic books too. I was ten years old in 1976 so I grew up on mid to late 1970’s Marvel comics. A lot of people consider that a mediocre era of comics but most of the people I’ve heard or read state that opinion were around 20 in 1976. They had aged out of most mainstream comics then. There were probably a lot of mediocre comics in 1976, just like there are a lot of mediocre comics today and at any other time, but if you are ten and it’s all new to you they’re not mediocre. Hence, every comic fan I know has favorite comics from their childhood that are not very good but still a favorite of theirs.

But what about this Captain Britain volume? Y’see, comics back in the 1970’s were written with ten year olds in mind. And more ten year olds bought them then they do today. There were plenty of adults reading them back then but, I think, not in as large a proportion as today. There are even ratings on Marvel comics these days and this Captain Britain book is rated T+. That means it’s for teens and older. Ten year olds aren’t supposed to be buying this book. I doubt many of them read it.

A quick check of the internet lets me know that this series was cancelled back in 2009. That means it didn’t sell enough copies. I also see that there are passionate fans of it on the message boards lamenting its loss. But what about ten years from now? Will any of those fans remember it as a favorite or just a pretty good comic that they liked for a while? That’s the question that came to mind while reading.

If my notion that it takes a young person who has not read a lot of comics before to grow up and fondly remember a particular mediocre comic book as a favorite is true them there are a lot of comics that will be no one’s favorite comic book. Literally. But I could be wrong and in that case I wonder who’s favorite comic is this volume of Captain Britain? I have no idea.