Marvelman Special #1 (Quality, 1984) and Warrior #4 (Quality, 1982).

§ January 26th, 2010 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives, miraclemarvelman § 1 Comment

This black and white British magazine fits early into Alan Moore’s Marvelman/Miracleman continuity, after the events in “Zarathustra” (from Warrior #11, reprinted in Miracleman #3). A four page wraparound story, by Moore and Alan Davis, shows a two-man clean-up crew moving in to tidy up a secret government installation devastated by some Marvelman-created mayhem, and discovering a library of videotapes:

We then get a handful of original 1950s Marvelman stories from Mick Anglo’s studio, including “Invaders from the Future,” a rescripted version of which was used in Eclipse Comics’ Miracleman #1 (providing an innocent contrast to the grim ‘n’ gritty revamp that followed, as well as simply introducing the character to an audience that may not have been familiar with it). In the context of the Moore’s modernization of the character, these are some of the falsified adventures used as “programming” for Marvelman and his superpowered compatriots.

Rounding out the mag is a story starring the more-lighthearted Big Ben character, which is also presented as a video being watched by the cleaning crew.

Eclipse Comics did reprint this special (sans the Big Ben story) as the Miracleman 3-D Special in 1985.

I acquired this particular magazine shortly after the launch of Eclipse’s Miracleman comic, as it had been sitting on the shelf at the comic store for several months and, being quite taken with the comic and character, finally decided I needed to have it. It’s been 25 years, so I don’t remember the exact timing, but I think I may have bought and read the magazine before the Eclipse reprints reached that point in continuity. It must have been a tantalizing glimpse of events yet to come, if in fact that was when I bought it. I do remember that owning this magazine is the reason I never bought the Miracleman 3-D Special, since, hey, I already had it, and didn’t need to wear the special glasses to read it.

Speaking of glimpses of things yet to come:

Warrior #4 contains the story “The Yesterday Gambit,” which is unique in that it’s the only Alan Moore Marvelman story not (yet?) reprinted in the U.S. Also, it takes place much later in Marvelman continuity, hinting at events that wouldn’t arrive in the Marvelman storyline for a few years to come. In fact, the original Marvelman run in Warrior would never reach that point…it wouldn’t until Eclipse Comics finished reprinting UK-published material and started running first run work created by Moore and his collaborators. Specifically, “The Yesterday Gambit” takes place during the events of issue #15, published in 1988. However, instead of reprinting the original story, Moore and artist John Totleben take a handful of panels to essentially retell that adventure’s events.

The story itself is about Marvelman and a Warpsmith (a teleporting alien) traveling through time and trying to find sufficient energy and power for their final battle against a reawakened and totally evil Kid Marvelman. This is where the “tantalizing glimpse” aspect of the story comes in, because if I’ve figured the timing right, this story basically interrupted the adventure in progress from previous issues of Warrior…which just happened to be Marvelman’s first clash with the corrupt Kid Marvelman.

In essence, Marvelman clashes with past versions of himself, which allows the Warpsmith to gather the energy from those battles to bring back with them to the Kid Marvelman battle in the future. You know, writing it all out like this sounds completely convoluted and just a little nuts, but it all works in context, I swear. Anyhoo, one battle is drawn by Paul Neary, the other by Alan Davis (his initial work on the character), and the framing sequence for the whole thing is by Steve Dillon. Here’s a panel from the end of the story by Dillon, where Marvelman and the Warpsmith have returned to their own time to resume the Kid Marvelman battle:

And the story ends right after that, leaving the fans hanging for six years. And you folks who read Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk thought you had it bad. Well, you did, but not for reasons of delay. Er, anyway.

I didn’t buy Warrior #4 in the shop…I wasn’t even aware* that there was an unreprinted Moore Marvelman story until relatively recently, so I had to depend on the eBay to bring it to me. And I’m not bothering with the usual Amazon links on this, since I didn’t find Warrior after spending, oh, a whole 30 seconds looking for it, and the Special is under a handful of different names at prices ranging from $35 to (egads) $90. I paid $2 for mine, which is probably about right. And if you have to have the story, the U.S. 3D version should be relatively inexpensive. Oh, and I paid around $9, including shipping, for the Warrior mag, in case you’re wondering. And I know you are!

* Or perhaps forgotten, because now that I think about it, it may have come up in the letters page at some point, and I’d just forgotten about it as the years passed and Miracleman remained a defunct title out of sight, out of mind.

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