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Thoughts on the Return of Miracleman!

I can’t help but imagine that the Top 100 Storylines list (that you can vote on right here) and last year’s Top 100 Comic Book Runs list wouldn’t be noticeably different had people had easy access to Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman’s Miracleman stories that have been stuck out of print for two decades. So Marvel finally being able to reprint the Miracleman work of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman is major news and when you toss in Neil Gaiman finishing his aborted run on the book? One of the biggest and coolest announcements from New York Comic Con so far.

Question, though, do you think Marvel will end all of this with the addition of Miracleman to the Marvel Universe, a la Angela joining the Marvel Universe (through one of those pesky temporal rifts from the Age of Ultron)? Or do you think that they’ll keep the Miracleman line separate?

EDITED TO ADD: My pal Third Man suggests it is only Neil Gaiman’s work that is being reprinted, so I edited the piece accordingly.

EDITED AGAIN TO ADD: Tom Brevoort has confirmed that they are reprinting the ENTIRE run, Moore included! Awesomeness!

60 Comments

Can’t wait for Miracleman to be used on Agents of SHIELD to boost sagging ratings.

Really sad state of affairs at Marvel/ABC/Disney right now. It’s all a product to these people now.

In all of the stories I’ve read covering this, there has been no mention of the Alan Moore work at all. From what I’ve gathered, that still hasn’t been cleared for reprints. The Comics Alliance story says the reprints will begin with MM #17, and the eight existing Gaiman issues will be reprinted before the new stuff starts (allegedly Gaiman and Buckingham had planned an 18 issues run, with three 6-issue arcs, so there will theoretically be ten new issues coming after the 8 reprints).

I hope they keep it separate from the main Marvel U.

Will NO ONE ask the question “why MIRACLEMAN and not MARVEL-MAN? Since 2009, Marvel has said it will be called Marvelman and even published material with that name. What has changed?

The Marvel press release specifically refers to the original creators and the Warrior stories, so it is the Moore stuff. Moore had said he didn’t want his name associated with it, so apparently they are abiding by that, but it would be weird to taunt people with the original Warrior stories if they only meant Gaiman.

If you look at this news article at Marvel’s website and read between the lines, you’ll see that they’re going to reprint Moore’s run, even if they’re not using his name to promote it:

http://marvel.com/news/story/21334/nycc_2013_miracleman

If they were only reprinting Gaiman’s run, which was entirely drawn by Mark Buckingham, David Gabriel wouldn’t use the word “artists” in plural.

There’s an exchange between Ed Brubaker and Tom Brevoort on Twitter that confirms they will reprint the Moore stuff.

@AdamG Wonderful, thanks for pointing that out. Brevoort is probably an authority on the matter. Though it does suck that by starting the reprints at the beginning and serializing them as a monthly comic, that means this is a 3-year project. (The addition of ten new Gaiman/Buckingham issues means 33 issues total.) I was hoping it would all happen a little faster whenever it did finally start happening.

But, obviously, this is wonderful news all around.

Given the large lead-time before the new issues would come out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel scheduled it as a bimonthly. Quite possibly at $4.99 a pop, too.

I’m fine with them taking a monthly schedule for these reprints. If they’re re-scanning and recoloring everything that itself will take time. Of course Marvel could still pump these out 16 issues a year or whatever double shipping strategy they’ve got. Either way it should give Gaiman/Buckingham additional lead time to get the new issues ready. I would hate to get the original comics once a month and then be hit with (additional) big waits later for the new stuff. I think the best realistic scenario is getting through this in 33 months.

Oh wait, what about Miracleman: Apocrypha? Or the Gaiman/Buckingham short story in Total Eclipse #4?

Brevoort confirmed on Twitter last night that they are reprinting it all. I think they are just not allowed to promote the run as being by Moore

I think they should go for a two year printing schedule, so they can advertise that the complete 15-issue Moore run (or Leach/Davis/Veitch/Totleben run, if they can’t use Moore’s name) will come out in 2014, and the complete Gaiman/Buckingham 18-issue run will come out in 2015. That wouldn’t require any more double shipping than Marvel usually uses.

I hope the two year delay until the new stories gives Mark Buckinghman enough time to get a few issues out of the way. I’d hate to see him off Fables for nearly a year.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 13, 2013 at 7:51 am

Stoked!
SToked!!
STOked!!!
STOKed!!!!
STOKEd!!!!!
STOKED!!!!!!

Did I say, that I’m really, really, really stoked? :-)

Wonder what McFarlane thinks of all this?

I think Todd’s come to grips with “losing” Miracleman by now. (Quotes because you can’t lose something you never had in the first place.)

I’m curious about the name change as well considering the whole reason for the name change of Marveman to Miracleman in the first place was because of the name “Marvel”. I’m sure we will get the answer sooner or later. Looking forward to this. Never read the series but read the Kimota! Book years ago and was bummed to find how hard and expensive the original issues were to get.

What is the big deal about Miracleman? I’m not being snarky, I just honestly don’t know. I know more about the legal battles than the actual character. What is interesting about him, and why should I be excited about this? Where can I find more information on this character?

“Where can I find more information on this character?”

On the internet, maybe?

https://www.google.com/search?q=Miracleman

@catsmeow

Here’s the gist: In the early 1980′s, a British comic anthology called Warrior Magazine got the rights to a defunct 50′s character called Marvelman, who was an analogue for Captain Marvel (Shazam). Alan Moore wrote the character for a bit before Warrior Magazine went under, and then Moore became a superstar writer in America. Then during Moore’s fame in the mid-80′s, Eclipse comics got the rights to the character, renamed him Miracleman to avoid any legal issues with Marvel, and Moore continued the story he had started with the character in Warrior Magazine. When Moore’s saga of the character finally wrapped up in 1989 (after endless delays), many regarded it as one of his very best works; Maybe not quite the equal of Watchmen, but definitely on par with Swamp Thing, V For Vendetta, and his other classics. However, the issues had very small print runs, especially the last several due to the delays (it took two years for the last 3 issues of Moore’s run to come out). Then Moore gave his ownership of the character to Neil Gaiman, who wrote 8 classic issues before Eclipse comics went out of business, and his story was never finished.

So what happened was basically two of the greatest comic writers of all-time did some of their very best work on a title that almost no one read, and those stories have been out of print for over 20 years due to Eclipse going belly-up and the legal rights to the character falling into a very tricky limbo with several factions thinking they “owned” the character–Todd McFarlane, who bought Eclipse comics; Neil Gaiman, who believed Moore had given him control of the character and Eclipse never had any to begin with; the original companies who printed the 1950′s stories of the character and the estate of the creator Mick Anglo, who wrote and drew those stories, etc. But overtime, and with the help of the internet, the legend of those stories have grown, and two plus decades of comic fans have had no ability to read them. The individual issues and trades go for a fortune on eBay, and the stories constantly appear on internet “Greatest Ever” lists. And now, a mass audience will finally have the chance to discover them for the first time.

The best analogy I can come up with is if a movie like Rear Window, Mean Streets, or A Clockwork Orange hadn’t been shown in 20 years and had never been issued on DVD/Blu-Ray. Something that maybe isn’t the VERY best work by a great director, but definitely in the canon, and any cinephile under 35 had never had the ability to see those films. How excited would people be if a deluxe Blu-Ray was suddenly announced?

I’m tentatively excited for this. I’ve always wanted to read the original Moore stories, but could never afford them. Maybe now I’ll finally be able to own these classics.

On the other hand, after the total wet fart of the Zenith announcement by Rebellion, I’m a bit leery. Will Marvel be reprinting the stories in an equally unaffordable super deluxe Absolute (pain in my ass) hardcover edition? Will the announcement genuinely be followed up on, or is it one of Marvel’s classic “winning the con news cycle” moves, which will be proceeded by more teases through to 2016, without a single issue released? We’ll see.

When it comes to any announcement on the Moore or Gaimen Miracleman/Marvelman issues being reprinted, I’ll believe it when I actually have the books in my hands.

I read the Alan Moore issues about 15 years ago, and they really stay with you. I can’t read any stories about Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Dr. Sivana without remembering the haunting sequences in Miracleman.

miracleman was fine and dandy. not THAT great but the Gaiman issues…oh my.. those were really really crappy.
so yeah have fun reading that, kids…i didnt .. ;)

What is the big deal about Miracleman? I’m not being snarky, I just honestly don’t know. I know more about the legal battles than the actual character. What is interesting about him, and why should I be excited about this? Where can I find more information on this character?

In a nutshell, there was a Captain Marvel (the Shazam! version) pastiche published in the UK during the post-WW2 period named Marvelman. The creator was named Mick Angelo. Alan Moore wrote his first deconstruction of the superhero genre using those characters without the publisher securing the rights. Moore co-created a classic run with some top shelf artists, like Alan Davis and John Totleben. Moore then gave whatever rights he had to Neil Gaiman, who picked up the story with Mark Buckingham. Then, the U.S. publisher collapsed and their rights were purchased out bankruptcy by Todd McFarlane.

Basically, it is seminal early work of major creators that hasn’t seen print in decades. It also was not published by a major publisher, so comparatively few people actually read it.

On an especially lucky day, I found the first 8 Eclipse Miracle Mans in the discount bin at my local shop. When I went to pay, the counter dude almost had a heart attack, “These were in the discount bin?!!” Anyhow, if memory serves, they were about a buck apiece, maybe even less. Great stuff.

What also may be affecting their rarity was the terrible flood that wiped out most of Eclipse’s back stock.

yes mircle man will proably be used in the mu thats why they bought him and the legal mess of the material. though proably after they reprint the material and release the legendary issue 25 at last.

Hmm, maybe they’re keeping the Miracleman name for the old issues that everybody actually wants (the Moore/Gaiman stuff), and they’ll introduce Marvelman into the MU.

Man, Brian, you did a lotta thinkin’ today, which means you didn’t do ENOUGH drinkin’ with Trumbull and Walko!

Also, why are they publishing this in single issues? Or will they milk the inevitable trades for multiple versions: an Omnibus, several small trades, HCs, etc, etc, etc?

I love everyone who says “Why should I care about some 20+ year old comic series?”

Would you ever say that about an old record or book or film?

It’s like saying “Why should I care about this stupid Citizen Kane/Dr. Strangelove/Goodfellas/Sgt. Pepper/Nevermind/Hamlet/Julius Caesar?”

Well, the one person here who said “why should I care” added on that they honestly didn’t know about the series and why it’s important, so it’s not someone saying “pfft, screw that, it’s OLD”, it’s someone saying, “hey, what are you all talking about that’s so important, cuz I want in”.

And we should embrace that.

Also, why are they publishing this in single issues? Or will they milk the inevitable trades for multiple versions: an Omnibus, several small trades, HCs, etc, etc, etc?

I imagine that’s exactly what their plan is. Individual issues then hardcovers then trades then omnibus. Certainly makes sense.

Why doesn’t Marvel just call him Marvelman now? Has that been addressed?

I’m sure that they CAN. but he’s likely become more famous as Miracleman now.

Wonder what McFarlane thinks of all this?

I’m sure he finds it… disadvantageous.

@Travis, absolutely I agree, and not saying that I was calling attention to posts here, but rather ones that I’ve seen over the weekend here and on other comics sites, CBR’s Facebook page, Twitter, etc. Some of those have had the flavor of “What’s this old crap, who cares?!” more often than not.

I for one can’t wait to read this series in a quality format that isn’t the Eclipse issues or their trades that were not built to stand the test of time…or as a torrent of scans. A proper book will be nice to have.

Be on the lookout for classic Miracleman #15 which was classified as the most violent story ever published.

See reference link:
http://majorspoilers.com/2010/10/10/retro-review-miracleman-15-november-1988/

and

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?id=5&page=topxx&pg=4 (which stated Miracleman” #15, one of the goriest superhero fights ever takes place)

Maybe they can have MiracleCow, for all the milking they’ll be doing! And then he can be in MiracleNOW!

Another thought, besides my thought that “Marvelman” will be the version that gets introduced into the Marvel U, is that they’re calling this version Miracleman both to save on re-lettering ;) and also because it’s more “adult”, while the “Marvelman” stuff they reprinted already was the kiddie stuff from the ’50s. So Marvelman can be in the big Disney/Marvel/Star Wars crossover (it’s inevitable!), and Miracleman can have the Kid Miracleman parts in all their glory.

As someone who read the Eclipse reprints, I thought they were more of historical interest than actual interest. Moore hits the themes (superheroes are Nietzschean!) with zero subtlety and as someone with no previous exposure to Marvelman, they had no emotional resonance (like if Dark Knight were my first Bat-book). But definitely they do foreshadow elements of his later work.

and in the course of portraying ‘realistic’ superheroes you add a ton of gore and of course never forget the rape scene….

Moore’s ‘Captain Marvel” deconstruction stuff is still a power fantasy, if not an adolescent one.

and in the course of portraying ‘realistic’ superheroes you add a ton of gore and of course never forget the rape scene….

Moore’s ‘Captain Marvel” deconstruction stuff is still a power fantasy, if not an adolescent one.

Good news that’s somewhat annoying, as I’ve been tracking down the singles on eBay. I’m only missing 5 from Moore’s run (including 15) and I believe I’ve got all of Gaiman’s from the main title. Haven’t read any of them yet though as I was waiting till I had them all.

With any luck Marvel will do a good job with the reprints. I’ll probably wait for the trades. What sort of imprint will they use, Max? It’s a bit too dark and graphic for mainstream Marvel, non?

Once the title was published as a standalone, it was always published as “Miracleman”. This means that the majority of Moore’s work on the title, and all of Gaiman’s, was done with the understanding that the character would be called Miracleman. I’m not that familiar with the work, so I can’t point to specific examples, but my understanding is that there is dialogue (as well as possibly actual storypoints) relating to “Miracles” that he performs, so it seems as if it makes sense to leave these issues as “Miracleman”.

Are they going to actually reprint #8? (This was a pure fill-in with a couple of Anglo stories. Completely unnecessary, and yet it would be a shame to disrupt the original numbering for reference purposes…)

@Jeff R.

There’s no way they’d reprint #8. And I don’t think it would hurt the original numbering too much, because they’ll probably start Gaiman’s run with a new #1 once they finish Moore’s run. That’s just speculation, but Marvel usually likes to get as many first issues out of things as possible.

It also wouldn’t surprise me, if they also want to retain the original numbering of the latter Moore issues, that they might commission a new story from Gaiman or one of their “architects” for an all new issue #8, or even do one of those 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 bullshit moves if they wanna throw a new 3-part story by Bendis into the middle there.

But I can absolutely guarantee that they have no reason to reprint the Eclipse #8 as it was.

If they have the rights to the Warpsmith stories #8 would be a good place to put them. And “The Tomorrow Gambit” as well…

Yeah, very good point. There’re a lot of things they could do with a blank canvas for #8 if they choose to retain the original numbering. And I’ve never read those original Warpsmith stories… They’ve never appeared anywhere besides Warrior, right?

Thanks for the info, everyone. So basically he’s a Shazam-type of character that Moore deconstructed? I like Gaiman better as a writer than Moore, so I’m more excited to be able to read his issues. And if I understand correctly, he’s going to write new issues to wrap up his original story?

Yeah, Gaiman and Buckingham originally planned an 18-issue saga consisting of three different 6-issue arcs: The Golden Age, The Silver Age, and The Modern Age. But only the Golden Age and the first two issues of The SIlver Age were ever published, with the third part being completed and as-yet unseen. But it appears Gaiman and Buckingham are committed to finishing their entire saga. A warning though, you should probably read the Moore issues for the Gaiman issues to make sense, even if you don’t expect to love the Moore stuff. When the first Gaiman issue came out back in the day, it wasn’t exactly a “new reader jump-on point.”

Actually, I’ve seen Warpsmith stories reprinted in A1.

Anyone who read MM #24 knows that the multiple cliffhanger has been burning in their minds.

The return of Johnny Bates.

The kiss.

YM goes into space.

The impending conversation between MM and MW.

The Warrior warpsmith stories ran, colored, as a backup in Axel Pressbutton as well. I don’t think there was ever a color version of the one that was in A1 (v1), though.

I liked #8 and hope they retain it. It showed us what, exactly, was being deconstructed. It gave a needed context to the series. Plus, it connected Miracle Man with the real world (i.e. the flood).

Eh, the 3D special does all of that and has a framing sequence by Moore and one of the artists at the time as well. Absolutely no need for both, and it’s by far the better pick.

So if Marvel publishes each issue monthly, that give Neil and Mark a good two years of lead time before their new issues come out. No excuses for delays, you two!

I’d wager that “Miracleman” will be the stand alone Moore/Gaiman stories and “Marvelman” will join the Marvel U proper having the Mick Angelo stories as his backstory, but not necessarily the harder, grittier Moore/Gaiman stuff.

I can’t imagine any scenario in which Marvel doesn’t incorporate Miracleman/Marvelman into the Marvel Universe. I can see them putting him in his own alternate world, like the Ultimates or the New Universe or any of the zillion alternate realities they jump back and forth to, but they’re certainly going to start doing crossovers sooner or later.

Alexandre Julião

October 15, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Interestingly enough, Alan Moore created a Miracleman for Marvel in the early 80′s.

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/miracl.htm

Yes – a bit sneaky. At the time the character was called Marvelman and the comic was black and white so Marvel had a bit of an easier claim on that not really being Marvelman.

Since then, Marvelman got renamed to Miracleman and they coloured the comic using the same colours. It’s quite nice that it’s Marvel that wound up owning the character so this can all be official.

[...] Update (10/16/2013): According to Tom Brevoort, not only will Marvel reprint the entire series, Neil Gaiman and Mark Buck… [...]

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