In Haunt

- By Jamie Ryder

Gothic and comic culture have traditionally existed on the fringes of society. In recent years, both genres have become widely accepted. Supernatural Superheroes is a series on HAUNT which celebrates the lasting appeal of Gothic and comic themes. Spitfire is a character who could be seen as representing the UK’s place in mainstream comics.

Born in the days before World War II, Jackie Falsworth became one of the most prominent heroes of the war – Spitfire; developing superpowers but also bitten by a vampire. Jackie’s courage in the face of overwhelming odds is an example of British fortitude. It’s the kind of strength people from Manchester needed to fight in the war. Read on to find out why I think Spitfire shares a connection with Manchester.

A born fighter

The daughter of the original Union Jack, Spitfire grew up in the superhero life. As a teenager she met the superhuman team called the Invaders. During WW2, she was attacked and bitten by the vampire Baron Blood. Jackie survived by receiving a transfusion of artificial blood from the Human Torch. This gave her superhuman speed, which inspired her to join the Invaders and fight for her country.

Jackie operated as a special agent for the UK’s Home Guard. She parachuted into Nazi Germany and also helped prevent the assassination of Winston Churchill. Spitfire took part in various missions and chose to go into semi-retirement after the war.

Spitfire married a British nobleman and they had a son together called Kenneth Crichton. Jackie’s peaceful life was interrupted by the return of Baron Blood. The villain’s involvement led to a rift developing between Jackie and her son. Ultimately, Kenneth became a vampire himself, taking on the role of the new Baron Blood.

Vampirism and heroism

Spitfire’s status as a vampire allowed her to survive into the modern day. She joined the New Invaders and MI-13, helping the latter stop an invasion from Dracula. Unlike other vampires, Spitfire isn’t controlled by blood lust. She’s shown little desire to drink blood and has used her powers to try and make the world a safer place. Her superhuman speed makes her a force to be reckoned with. Spitfire is capable of creating cyclones, running across water and healing quickly. 

Jackie’s decision to fight in World War II can be compared to the bravery of the people from Manchester who chose to take up arms. My grandad was born in Salford. He was conscripted and had to fight in Anzio, but he served his country. During the war, the Manchester Blitz destroyed a lot of the city, something that hasn’t been forgotten. The Imperial War Museum North remembers the men and women who fought to defend their home.

As a British vampire, Spitfire is a character that can be tied to Halloween. Manchester is known for hosting Halloween In The City, which features a range of spooky events. The 2018 celebration sees events like Campfire Stories of Spooks and Monsters and the Trick or Treat Trail. Halloween In The City is running from Saturday 28th October until Sunday 29th October, with pop-up events throughout October too, so be sure to look out for paranormal sights.

Spitfire’s tenacity makes her an awesome superhero. She’s a reminder of what people in the UK are capable of achieving.

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