NYCC: Marvel to Reprint Alan Moore & Neil Gaiman’s ‘Miracleman’; Gaiman to Finish Decades-Old Story

Published 1 year ago by , Updated March 19th, 2014 at 1:22 pm,

Alan Moore Neil Gaiman Marvelman NYCC 2013 NYCC: Marvel to Reprint Alan Moore & Neil Gaimans Miracleman; Gaiman to Finish Decades Old Story

Alan Moore’s infamous take on Marvelman (later dubbed Miracleman after Marvel objected) ran in the 1980s and is largely considered to be his most seminal work next to Watchmen. In fact, the book explored many of the themes and ideas that later made Watchmen so important and influential; the (potentially) terrifying nature of superheroes, superheroes in the real world, superheroes as gods, superheroism as totalitarianism, the sympathetic supervillain, etc. Miracleman was then continued in the 1990s by Neil Gaiman, who planned three books of six issues each – The Golden Age, The Silver Age, and The Dark Age – but only Golden and part of Silver ever saw the light of day.

After the company that published the books went out of business, the series fell out of print and the rights to the property were up in the air, to say the least (Todd McFarlane and Gaiman are, to this day, mortal enemies as a result). Then, in 2009, Marvel Comics announced at SDCC that they had purchased the rights to the character from Mick Anglo, the original writer/artist. Which was nice and all, but the question still remained – would we ever see Alan Moore’s run back in print? Would we ever see Neil Gaiman’s run back in print? As charming as the original stories by Anglo were, the real reason to own the rights to the titular character was Moore and Gaiman’s work.

Well, good news everybody – Marvel has announced at the Cup o’ Joe New York Comic Con panel that it has finally sorted out the Miracleman rights and will be reprinting the aforementioned runs by Moore and Gaiman. Not only that, but Gaiman was on hand – by way of video – to announce that he would be finishing the work he started on the character almost twenty years ago.

Joe Quesada Marvelman NYCC: Marvel to Reprint Alan Moore & Neil Gaimans Miracleman; Gaiman to Finish Decades Old Story

Marvelman/Miracleman by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada

A brief rundown of Marvelman/Miracleman for those not familiar: He’s basically a blond Captain Marvel (DC Captain Marvel, not Marvel Captain Marvel) without a cape. And like Captain Marvel, Marvelman started out his comic book existence as a young boy who said a magic word that transformed him into a super strong superhero with flight powers. Marvelman was commissioned by Fawcett Comics in the 1950s after DC Comics sued them for their depiction of Captain Marvel – a Fawcett character at the time – as a Superman-esque strongman. So Fawcett needed a replacement that was virtually identical to Captain Marvel in concept but not in visuals, and thus Marvelman was born.

In the 1980s, Alan Moore became fascinated by the idea of a Marvelman – a.k.a. Mike Moran – that grew up but had forgotten all about his adventures. He suffered from migraines and had dreams of being able to fly. And there was a word that he couldn’t quite remember – but he knew it held incredible significance.

Of course, he eventually remembered the word and transformed into the superpowered Marvelman once again. This kickstarted a number of new developments in the world, not the least of which was the reappearance of his former sidekick, Kid Marvelman – a.k.a. Johnny Bates – who had become a powerful CEO. Unbeknownst to Marvelman, though, Bates hadn’t forgotten his word – in fact, he’d been living inside the body of Kid Marvelman ever since they parted ways. Kid Marvelman had been corrupted by his powers and was basically an unstoppable pychopathic monster at this point (Geoff Johns was almost certainly inspired by Bates when he created the psychopathic version of Superboy Prime).

Marvelman vs Kid Marvelman NYCC: Marvel to Reprint Alan Moore & Neil Gaimans Miracleman; Gaiman to Finish Decades Old Story

Marvelman and his former sidekick fought, but Kid Marvelman proved to be too powerful – he’d been inside his body for so long – and only lost the fight when he accidentally said his own magic word. Before Marvelman had the chance to end Bates’ life, he realized that he was just a little boy, one who had been trapped inside a superpowered monster’s body for decades.

Alan Moore’s run – which, again, eventually became known as Miracleman - has some truly gruesome moments, including a graphic birth scene and the most violently destructive superhero battle in comic book history (it makes Man of Steel look like Thomas the Tank Engine). But they’re earned. Each and every grotesque moment is emotionally powerful and painfully realistic. Hopefully, in the reprint, Marvel doesn’t alter any of it for ‘the sake of the children.’

It’ll be interesting to see where Gaiman goes with the continuing adventures of Miracleman. After all, it’s been twenty years since he worked on the character. The type of writer he was then is not precisely the type of writer he is today – never mind the fact that the story may have greatly changed inside his head. One wonders if the introduction of Angela (created and formerly owned by Gaiman) to the Marvel Universe has anything to do with the reprint/continuation finally becoming a reality. Will this all lead to Miracleman’s introduction to the Marvel Universe proper, not unlike Angela? Golly, let’s hope not.

I would say that I’m looking forward to the possibility of Moore’s run eventually being adapted as film now that the rights are sorted out, but frankly, I really doubt that any studio would pony up the necessary $$$ without taking out everything that makes it so special.

What say you, Screen Ranters? Are you looking forward to the return of Miracleman? Are you looking forward to seeing Gaiman’s continuation of the character? Drop us a line in the comments.

_____

The Miracleman reprint will start hitting shelves in June 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: Comic-Con 2014, miracleman, new york comic con

30 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. “Of course, he eventually remembered the word and transformed into the superpowered Marvelman once again.”

    …right after he finished suing DC comics for using the name “Marvel” in the title of a character…

    …even though Captain Marvel existed well before Marvel Comics…

    … and somehow Marvelman won that court battle and now Captain Marvel is simply “SHAZAM”

    • Marvelman wasn’t owned by Marvel at the time. The issue there was just the name “Marvel” and Marvel’s own Captain Marvel character.

      • Well DC sued Fawcett(I think) because Captain Marvel was too much like Superman (they claimed), and that’s how they won. So I have zero sympathy for them.

        I am wondering if they’ll call this title Marvelman since Marvel was the reason it is called Miricleman in the States.

        • You’re right, when DC won that case, it happened at a time when the courts were terrible about copyright law (and that’s saying something considering where they are today).

          They’re definitely calling this Miracleman, which is great, in my opinion. I think everyone assumed when they got the rights to “Marvelman” that they’d change the name back, but that’s not the case. I wonder if Gaiman had something to do with it. The name “Miracleman” just makes more sense given what Moore did with the character.

  2. This is GREAT news. I’ve been waiting for this for more than twenty years. A partially-forgotten superhero revisionist classic from Alan Moore that prefigures his work on Watchmen, continued in fine form by Neil Gaiman. It’s about time.

  3. So basically, we can look forward to Marvel bringing him into their universe in future, much like DC brought in a lot of Vertigo and Wildstorm characters for The New 52?

    • I think they’d have to entirely reboot the character after whatever Gaiman intends for the the conclusion of his unfinished run, or possibly have a new Miracleman created by the same alien technology. I don’t know if you ever read any of ’80s/’90s reworking, but Moore basically ended up with the premise of what if you had a character with the powers of Superman who actually chose to behave like a god, and forcibly transformed the planet according to his own personal vision. Gaiman continued this notion, and by the time his version ended prematurely, Earth’s societies and cultures were no longer something we’d necessarily recognise today. For better or for worse, and one of the interesting elements he was starting to explore was the average person’s reaction to all this.

      The Miracleman concept was already so far down the line at that point (and relied on there being no super-powered beings other than the Miracleman “family”) that a total shameless reboot would be the only realistic way I can see Marvel shoehorning him into their continuity.

      • You know, the old “parallel universe” or that kind of thing.

        • Yeah, that’s how they’d probably do it.

          Mr Majestic was originally a Superman type hero in red and white but The New 52 retconned him into their universe by changing him into a human recruited into Team 7 to exploit his latent meta-genes until he became Majestic (and Dinah Drake became Black Canary after gaining her powers the same way on the same team, cool book, just wish it explained who the Wild C.A.T.S. characters were since I never read any of those comic books).

          • Also, I love how Moore took unused or failing characters and gave them the kiss of life (boosting Daredevil’s failing sales by adding neo-noir undertones and bringing interest to Captain Atom with his own version when copyrights blocked him from using him and other characters to name just two things).

            Have him to thank for introducing John Constantine too.

            • I have to admit I haven’t read any of The New 52, so I didn’t realise DC had finally co-opted Mr Majestic. I never got into much else of the Wildstorm stuff so I’m afraid I can’t help you out with the WildCATS, but I gather they were pretty different before DC got hold of them.

              Are you sure you’re not thinking of Frank Miller with Daredevil? Moore did a one-off Miller parody called Daredevils, but he didn’t write the actual comic.

              There’s a story Moore recounts in A Disease Of Language, drawn by Eddie Campbell of From Hell fame, in which he claims to have really met John Constantine a couple of times: “Sat at a sandwich bar in Westminster, I meet the sharp South-London wideboy occultist that I’d created some years previously for a US comic book. He looks at me. He nods, and smiles, and walks away. Years later, in another place, he steps out from the dark and speaks to me. He whispers: ‘I’ll tell you the ultimate secret of magic. Any c**t could do it.’”

              Priceless.

              • Love that quote and yeah, completely got Miller and Moore mixed up there.

                • It’s strange that those two between them in the ’80s single-handedly (double-handedly?) transformed forever the way in which comic books were written and perceived. Realistic/borderline subversive takes on established characters, extensive use of internal dialogue instead of sporadic “thought balloons” etc. Both seemingly coming from a similar place, yet they end up now at entirely opposite ends of the political and creative spectrum.

                  Someone recently said that in the light of the DC-rejected Batman book Holy Terror, it’s slightly odd to reread The Dark Knight Returns now and imagine that there was very little parody, exploration or devil’s advocacy running through his mind in any of it. Whatever the case, I can’t see Alan Moore’s introduction for the original edition ever reappearing.

                  • The part about “Holy Terror” confused me…It was an excellent “Elseworlds” tale. How was it rejected if it DID come out? Is there another story that you are talking about that has the same title?

                    • You’re quite right about the Elseworlds Holy Terror. That was one I lent out at the time and never got back! I remember the story and Norm Breyfogle’s art being very good.

                      When it was still at DC, Miller’s book was going to be called Holy Terror, Batman!; it was the first thing published a couple of years ago by Legendary Comics (owned by Legendary Pictures), and had characters called The Fixer and Natalie Stack blatantly standing in – minus pointy ears – for Batman and Catwoman. It’s defintely “later period” Miller, with everything that implies about the artwork and style of writing.

                    • TBD…

                      Ah, that explains it. Thank you for the clarification. :-)

  4. Great character but disney sure as hell doesn’t have the stones to make a honest movie of him so just give me new stories and i’ll be cool !

  5. I’ve got issue one of Miracleman, and I can say I’m really excited to read this. I’ve heard stories about Moore’s run on the character, read the summaries on Wikipedia and other comic book source sites, but never had I imagined that there would finally be reprint editions of the stories. Definitely on my buy list!

    • I’m with you there.

      Only question is, what do I do? Wait for it to be reprinted and buy a copy of one of Moore’s Miracleman books or grab a Tank Girl collected edition?

      The perils of being a comic book reader wanting classic stories and takes on characters. That’s First World problems for ya.

      • Tank Girl now, MM in a few months once they get it together. I’ve just got a copy of Tank Girl: Carioca purely for the legendary Mike McMahon’s artwork: he never disappoints.

        • Lori Petty apparently recorded something for the Blu Ray release of the movie (DVD never gets any love) and the co-creator who posted that news mentioned that no one asked him or Jamie (forget his last name, the other co-creator) to do anything for it, despite being their characters.

          I find that pretty disgusting.

          • I loved the animated section of the Tank Girl movie and wished the whole film had been done like that. I remember there was talk at the time of Bjork playing Jet Girl. Post-Dancer In The Dark when people realised she could actually act, you could see they missed a real trick there. Even if the film had been an animated one and they’d just used her as a voice actor, can you imagine that Icelandic/cockney thing going on? We’ll never know now…

            That is absolutely disgraceful that Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett were never approached for the commentary, and probably speaks volumes about the fear of what they might have said.

            Here’s a weird one along vaguely similar lines: in the early ’90s I did a graphic design course at the same West Sussex uni that both those guys attended. I started a year after they left. Everyone’s work stations absolutely plastered with Tank Girl stuff from Deadline. I asked around, and whilst all the students had very fond recollections of them, not one tutor remembered them. NOT ONE. I couldn’t believe that. That probably says a great deal about the lack of regard and, indeed, outright contempt for comic-type art held by those who should have known better, but I suppose Hewlett in particular has long since had his revenge there.

            • Yep, must be great for him to wave a middle finger around at those who ignored him and his art all those years. I would, haha.

              I thnk I read somewhere that the animated sections were only done because they ran out of money to actually film them. Makes you wonder what the hell went on behind the scenes there but I’d buy it purely because Lori’s fantastic and Malcolm McDowall is great in pretty much anything.

              • There’s a lot of talent involved – I think the producers tried to force it to make too much sense! I haven’t watched it for a long time; I’d be interested to see what I’d make of it now.

  6. Two words I’ve not read anywhere above, regrettably…
    JOHN TOTLEBEN

    • I’ll second that. Some of his best work.

  7. I thought DC had published it, but I guess it was someone else.

  8. So will this lead to basically a Marvel MOS type super super destructive movie with a better plot and more emotional storyline (because it involves kids in adult bodies and vice versa)?

    Yum.

  9. Simply finishing the story seems a bit of a let down for something so anticipated.

    On the other hand, Marvel actively using Marvelman in the 616 Universe as a story plot/markveting device to sell readers on their long events could just be as maddening if not more so. Lesser of two evils.

  10. I’m very surprised to see this in the comic shop today, thanks for the recap. I wonder how it all got unfolded.

    I read and loved the series when it first came out in the U.S. One point though…you describe both WInter’s birth and the penultimate battle as “grotesque.” While both were groundbreaking and controversial at the time, isn’t it a little weird to use the same negative adjective to describe childbirth and mass slaughter?