Authors: Alan Moore, Leah Moore and John Reppion
Artists: Shane Oakley and George Freeman
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99, US $19.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6351 0
ISBN-10: 1 84576 351 3
Available 26 January 2007

For 25 years The Spider, Grimly Feendish, The Steel Claw, Robot Archie, and scores of other bizarre creations from the hallowed IPC vaults have been missing. Where have they been? And why, after all this time, have they suddenly reappeared? The answers await you within these pages...

Britain was always a bit different when it came to superheroes; they weren't like the American, spandex-clad, square-jawed heroes. As John Constantine once observed, he likes Britain because no-one would wear spandex and a cape in public even if they could hurdle tall buildings in a single bound. No, we had something stranger, odder, more eccentric. Hairy comics god Alan Moore and his daughter Leah Moore, John Reppion, Shane Oakley and George Freeman take us on a strange journey of rediscovery as we return to the world of The Spider, The Steel Claw and Robot Archie. A modern day tale of yesterday and how those heroes came to be forgotten.

For decades, children all across the British Isles thrilled to the comic-strip exploits of The Spider, The Steel Claw, Captain Hurricane and more. But the comics, and their heroes, disappeared. Now Danny, a young student, and Penny, who claims to be the daughter of a forgotten hero, are investigating the disappearances. Meanwhile, in an isolated castle, a group of jailers watch over "criminals" with peculiar pasts and bizarre names and abilities. Is it all real? Are Danny and Penny delusional? Who has all the answers?

Albion is a bit of a strange beast. To be perfectly honest those not old enough to remember the IPC characters reproduced here may be left scratching their heads. But, if you do fondly remember The Spider, Grimly Feendish, Kelly's Eye, The Steel Claw, or any of the other characters mentioned within these pages, then you'll embrace this tale with all the boyhood wonderment that you originally embraced the original tales with.

And, if like me, you hardly recognise any of the characters, then there are a few reprinted tales at the back of this collection to throw more light on their origins.

I was pleased to see a brief appearance by Faceache (whom I remember from Buster) and to be perfectly honest, I think if Albion had been set more in my era (I'm in my mid-30s) I'd probably have got a much bigger kick out of it.

As it stands, however, Albion is an interesting idea - which unfortunately won't appeal to everybody.

Nick Smithson

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