They could always try “Magnificentman.”

§ October 16th, 2013 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 12 Comments

As I briefly mentioned the other day, and I’m sure you’ve already had your fill of news about, Miracleman is finally returning to print next year, eventually culminating in unpublished and new work by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham, who are going to continue from where they left off. The initial reports were a bit vague on what exactly was going to be reprinted, resulting in some necessary clarification: they are going to start the reprints with Alan Moore and Garry Leach’s initial revival of the character from the early issues of Warrior, as reprinted by Eclipse in the 1980s.

That of course means those of us who’ve been waiting…hold on, let me look it up…oh Good Lord, since mid-1993 for a follow-up to that bit of a cliffhanger Neil ‘n’ Mark left us on in #24 are going to have to wait a little while longer to see how that all plays out.

Despite my wishful thinking on the Twitterers:

…it looks like we’re getting these Miracleman comics doled out to us on a periodical basis, each issue containing some kind of new content so sad old MM completists like me will probably buy them all despite already having the originals because we’re suckers. And hopefully it’ll sell well enough from the get-go to eventually make it to the promised new material, as I suspect there may be some cases of newcomers to the work going “pfffft THIS is what all the excitement’s about?” because they’ve been reading ripoffs and retreads of these stories for the last twenty years and now it’s all old hat to them.

On the other hand, maybe it won’t take that long to get through all the old stuff to reach the new stuff since, as I noted at the end of this post, Marvel ain’t shy about turning the faucets open all the way and flooding the shelves as quickly as they’re able with successive issues of any given series. So, 24 reprint issues before getting new Miracleman? Eh, ten, eleven months, tops.

Okay, technically 23 issues, since Eclipse’s #8 was a reprint issue, though with some new pin-ups and a brief framing sequence drawn by Chuck Austen (AKA Chuck Beckum). But then again, they could speed up the process by printing more stories per issue…the first seven issues of the Miracleman series featured stories told in 6 to 8 page chapters, mostly reprinted from the UK magazine Warrior (though some of the later chapters were drawn new from scripts that never made it into that magazine). And some of the follow-up “full-length” installments were only 16 pages long. I don’t know how economically feasible it is to put out a regular series of 48-pagers in order to squeeze in more material, nor do I think readers are going to want to pay the inevitable $4.99 to $6.99 per issue in order to subsidize the printing costs simply because I, your pal Mike, wants to get his filthy, filthy mitts on new Miracleman comics right this very second. I’ve seen it mentioned that the first issue includes material from Alan Davis, who didn’t start on the feature ’til its sixth chapter (which was reprinted in Eclipse MM #2) so maybe we are getting more miraclebang per buck in each issue. We’ll see.

Most likely Marvel will stretch things out best as they’re able, and there are a handful of shorter Miracleman-related stories to round out any 32-page format comics containing just one 16-page main story. Maybe we’ll even get that bit of business from Warrior #4 that never made it to the States. And of course there’s that “new material” and interviews and such that Marvel noted in their press releases that will probably fill up any shortfall in any given issue. They also mention “the stories are being completely relettered to meet today’s standards,” which gives me the twitchy eyeball, as I recall certain other publishers relettering some high-profile reprint projects and introducing a whole new world of lovely typos and spelling errors into some classic material. Here’s hoping there’s no editing-by-spellcheck goin’ on this time.

I do like the idea that they’re keeping the “Miracleman” name for this particular story started by Moore and (presumably) to be ended by Gaiman. I had assumed that the name change (originally necessitated by a U.S. publisher that wasn’t Marvel Comics reprinting the material) would be reversed now that Marvel does have the work under its banner, but it looks like they’re keeping the Miracleman name for this project, and “Marvelman” for when he’s in the actual Marvel Universe and joins the Thunderbolts or whatever. And I think that’s fine. It was pretty well known at the time that Eclipse had to change the character’s name to keep Marvel happy, but I came to know the feature as Miracleman, and it would feel strange to pick up the story again with his name changed back. Just one of those funny fanboy quirks, I know. Hey, I’m allowed one or two of those.

Of course, the Miracleman name could be a problem, too, if the publisher of this comic ever turns up with some ceasing-and-desisting.

image from Warrior #9 (January 1983) by Alan Moore and Alan Davis

12 Responses to “They could always try “Magnificentman.””

  • Tim O'Neil says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority here – but even though THE GOLDEN AGE was good, THE SILVER AGE got off to a rocky start in my opinion. So even though I’m OBVIOUSLY on board, I’m still crossing my fingers as to whether or not the conclusion has been worth the wait. And, of course, we’ve all known the plot for THE DARK AGE for twenty years, so let’s see if it lives up to the hype of the perfect version we’ve all constructed in our brains for all these years, or whether Gaiman’s swan-song on the character turns into THE PHANTOM MENACE* for a new generation.

    * I, as is commonly known, love THE PHANTOM MENACE, so I am more referencing the widespread backlash and vituperative hate directed at the creator for being unable to match the fans’ perfect version of the prequel trilogy in their minds, more than the supposed quality of the story itself.

  • How likely is it that a reprint book will run for 24 issues without its sales falling to cancellation levels? I would have thought it was a better bet to combine reprints and new stuff into some colossal prestige hardback.

  • G23 says:

    I, too, am glad they’re keeping the “MiracleMan” business. Keeps with that whole “Age of Miracles” bit of the Gaiman/late Moore period.

    And, BTW, the holy grail is the trade paperback for MM… it’s been out of print so long… going to be a nice healthy demand for that…

  • Jonathan L. Miller says:

    I lost all of my MM books (except Apocrypha) in a cross-country move many years ago, so I’m pretty excited about this whole thing. Although I kind of wish they were reprinting the Moore series as full books, rather than periodicals. Still, gotta milk it for every dollar you can, I guess.

  • Interstate Shogun says:

    Lame. Why not reprint them Masterworks style and get it done in 2 volumes or 3 tops? It’d still take a year to get to the new material, but it’d be better than rereleasing them as floppies, just for the sake of format continuity.
    I say this as someone whose tracked down the originals about a year ago. The story is good, but I suspect a lot of new readers will shrug and wonder why it’s considered such a classic. But if I could have afforded the trades, I would have much rather read them that way. Of course, Marvel will re-re-release them as hardcovers and trades too, but that would be an even longer wait.
    Still glad this is finally coming out and annoyed at my own impatience.

  • Jeff R. says:

    There’s also the 3D special, the framing sequence of which was Moore-scripted and is vaguely relevant. So back up to 24. And I’d really like to see the numbering preserved, so that future generations won’t be confused as heck by references to #9, #15, and #25.

    Does anybody know if they’ve also got the rights to reprint the Warpsmith stories from Warrior and A1?

  • Suckmaster Burstingfoam says:

    You forgot to mention Arcane is in Animal Man #0.

  • Remco says:

    The “Miracle Man” comics you link to at the bottom are the German editions of Mick Anglo’s own knock-off for the Spanish market. I had some Dutch editions as a kid, and had been wondering for YEARS what their pedigree was…

  • caleb says:

    What about “Miracle Thing”…?

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    “Today’s standards” for the lettering?

    I know I’m being broad here, but…all the hand-lettering done before computers came along was crap?

    I love what technology has done for comics (well, not everyone has used it well but overall more tools for creators is good) but it’s getting to be like colorizing b&w movies.

  • The Mutt says:

    They should just call him The Sentry.

  • Odkin says:

    The Moore stuff was brilliant – both the original Warrior run and the continued Eclipse stories. I will never understand the love for Gaiman though. His subsequent efforts were utterly confusing and indecipherable.