The capped crusader

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Captain Euro to rescue Europe's ailing identity! That's the hope anyway. Captain Euro, a euro-currency cartoon hero, and his attractive female partner Europa were launched by Twelve Stars Communications on the internet last month (www.captain-euro.com).

The project, fully supported by the European Parliament, aims to educate children on the need for a single currency.

Captain Euro's press launch and website presentation in the European Parliament's office at Queen Anne's Gate, London, was slick and expensive.

But when question time arrived some sceptics clearly hadn't been converted. One contested the European Parliament's endorsement of a partisan project, and claimed it was a waste of taxpayers' money.

President of Twelve Stars, Nicolas de Santis, insisted that all money used to finance the site was from corporate advertisers. Another noticed that many of the heroes looked Aryan and the villains looked Arab. De Santis claimed: "you're the first person that has ever said that."

Captain Euro does not have a clear field. A rival propaganda group, The Europe of Nations Liberation Army (ENLA) is clearly not swayed by Captain Euro's dashing good looks or his courageous battle against Dr D Vider.

ENLA's comic-strip reply declares "Captain Bureau's campaign to abduct and bend the minds of children is over" - and claims to have executed the "brainwashers" and dumped the bodies at Queen Anne's Gate. Mark Glendinning, campaign director of ENLA, found the Captain Euro project "sinister". Sceptic Spice, sporting the famous Union Jack frock, is the heroine of the comic caper when she captures the Captain Bureau crew and brings them to justice before Dr D Versité.

The Captain Euro comic - like Euro-politicians - doesn't go into too many details on the currency. In the first issue, Captain Euro and Europa were too busy defusing bombs, stopping a Van Gogh heist and triumphing in sport in the name of Europe to contemplate the effect of a single currency on interest rates, or anything so trivial. Alex Mathias