For those that are just tuning in, as far as comics are concerned, it just doesn’t get much better than Alan Davis — who is second only to Jack “The King” Kirby as far as my favorite comics creators go. I’ve been happily tracking down his work for years so as to create a comprehensive collection by this “modern master,” so you can imagine my enthusiasm several months back when Marvel announced that Davis was working on a new mini-series, and that it would be a follow up on his original 90’s creation, The ClanDesine! I loved that book and if anyone could add some fun to the dank, depressing, Marvel Universe of today it’s Davis and the Clan Destine! Anyhow, long wait over, the series is now 3-issues underway and it’s has been everything I could have asked for so far.
That being the case, I wanted to devote some time to Davis’ creation this week and thought it would be appropriate to start at the beginning. So, to that end, I thought I’d reproduce a few text pieces on the Clan for your enjoyment. If you’re an old fan then sit back and enjoy the trip down memory lane, and if this is your first exposure to the Clan, then I envy you! You’re in for a real treat:
First, a concise introduction to the team from Marvel Visionaries #8:
“They are an 800-year old super-powered family, living secretly among mankind yet separately from one another. One’s hyper-senses relegate him to a sensory deprivation chamber. Another spends most of his time as a bestial blue behemoth unable to control his transformations. And yet another is an electronics genius who bears an uncanny resemblance to Woody Allen. They are ClanDestine and like every loving family, they get along best when away from each other. For centuries they have done nothing buy indulge their individual whims. Their powers are merely a means to gaining power, wealth, or whatever selfish desire they have. Ironically, the unselfish wishes of the Clan’s two youngest members — aspirations of becoming super-heroes — are what finally reunites the family after eight centuries. Unfortunately, that time has done nothing to end the familial squabbling. If anything, it has only served to heighten the problem.”
And that’s where the story starts. But before delving a little further into the first issues of the original series, I thought it’d be fun to provide a few tongue-in-cheek excerpts from Alan Davis, Paul Neary and Mark Farmer on the birth of the concept from The ClanDestine Preview Issue. Ah, the creative process:
Davis: ‘So, what is your new series about?’ He [Neary] asked. My mind raced, my stomach churned, my heart pounded…and amid the cacophony of bodily functions I spoke, never knowing from where the words came. ‘It’s a cross between a traditional super-hero group and the Addams Family.’ Paul gasped, swerving his car into oncoming traffic. This was not a good sign.
Neary: The Addams Family? Davis was taking the notion of writing from personal experience a little too far.
Davis: The more I thought about my brilliant concept,the more I liked it. Neary was obviously jealous of my genius.
Mark Farmer:As for his brilliant concept! How ironic that Davis should choose to write about a weird family when his every waking moment is tormented by the monstrous brood he himself sired. Let’s see Neary get this turkey off the ground.”
Davis: I was determined to make my idea work. No matter how crazy it sounded. No matter how many scoffed. I’d show them. I’d show them all! I bought a thesaurus and began to research character names.
Davis’ Brother, Noel: I felt sorry for Alan. He was unshaven, scruffy, ranting as he threw scrabble tiles onto the floor hoping they would form interesting names. Being something of a creative genius, I prepared a list of possibilities. Including the name, ‘The CLANDESTINE’. Alan claimed them as his own. He didn’t pay me or anything. I was devastated.
Farmer: ‘CLANDESTINE’ uh? Too clever for Davis. I suspect an outside intelligence. Besides, it’s obvioiusly an anagram of ‘ENDS IT CLEAN’ – I should be so lucky!”
And to conclude this first entry, Davis’ bio from the same preview issue (which I highly recommend to everyone) :
Born: 18/6/56 in Northamptonshire, England
Hobbies: Scouting, Swimming and D.I.Y. (domestic reparis). I’d like to do more. Particularly, carpentry, wood carving and clay sculpting but as a full time comic artist, aspiring comic writer, husband and father, I don’t have a lot of free time.
Influences: (1960/70’s) Steve Zodiac, The Cybermen, Grimly Feendish, Pow, Smash, Fantastic and Terrific (UK comics containing reprints of Marvel US titles) Captain Kirk, Dolmann, Louis Crandell, John Carter of Mars, Garth, My Parents, X-Men 56-65, Lance McCLane, James Bond. To name but a few.
Loves: Wife, children and family, obviously my work. Honesty. Autumn mornings. Good food. Movies.
Hates: In general, all of the tings any sane person recognizes as causes of Global inequality and misery. In particular, dishonesty, laziness, greed, hype. Noise. Pollen. People who have no sense of humor. Sleeping, what a waste of time.