Possibly the only place you’ll see Miracleman being compared to a Roger Waters album.

§ January 17th, 2014 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 15 Comments

So basically I just went ahead and did Marvel’s job for them, trying to at least try to get new readers to give this Miracleman release a shot, by offering the ridiculously-priced $5.99 debut issue at a significant discount at our shop. We’re not going to sell future issues if we can’t get people to at least pick up this first one, so it’s in our interest to get customers looking at this book any way we can. I’ve written before about how a six-freaking-dollar first issue is a hurdle too high for casual readers who might have a slight interest in this 25-year-old comic book story they’d heard about, starring a character they don’t know. As it was, even with the discounting, it’s been a bit of an uphill battle to move copies.

It’s only been a day or so since it’s come out, so I suppose it’s really too soon to judge for sure, but sales out of the gate have been…okay, not great, with some purchases of the book only coming after extended discussions attempting to explain the history and significance of the comics. And emphasizing the discounted price!

And, of course, mentioning the writers. “The Original Writer” sobriquet that replaces Alan Moore’s credit in the advertising and the solicitation information does appear in the book, on the inside front cover, despite my initial impression it wasn’t there at all, that Marvel just eschewed creator credits altogether. But nope, there it is, white on black, right there next to “ARTIST: GARRY LEACH.” Yeah, it looks dumb, but what can you do. I suppose “WRITER: A.M.” or “MR. M.” or “JILL DE RAY” were out of the question.

Anyway, I had to handsell the books using Alan Moore’s name on my own, since Marvel wasn’t permitted to identify him properly, though most folks at the shop already seemed to realize that Moore was involved with this particular project. Not so well known, apparently, was the fact that Neil Gaiman stories would eventually appear in the series, culminating in never-before-published new installments by Gaiman and artist Mark Buckingham. That particular tidbit appeared to tip over a number of people to the side of forking over a few dollars to try out this oddball comic.

I’ve also been hearing here and there that some digital editions of this comic feature some mild editing: a fairly innocuous bare bottom is covered up, Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking-style. All I can tell you is that when the “birth” story comes around, those digital funnybook sellers are going to have to blank out whole panels on several pages. Good luck with that! (The print comic, at least this first issue, is not similarly censored. The butts run free!)

As to the comic itself: the remastering of the original pages was done quite nicely, I have to admit. The coloring is very bright and clear, certainly better than the somewhat murky reproduction in the Eclipse Comics editions. (The glossy white pages help!) The new lettering is well done, too, and I haven’t noticed any egregious typos just yet, which frequently has been a problem in other reprint projects requiring relettering. I hope the quality in that particular area stays high, because nothing really takes me out of the reading experience like a misused “it’s.”

There’s an enormous amount of padding, filling out the book from what should have been a more reasonable $3.99 32-page experience to a $5.99 64-pager containing material that you may or may not have any interest in, and could have easily been spaced out as back-ups in subsequent issues. All the first issue really needed was that history of Marvelman textpiece, and, okay, maybe the pullquotes from that interview with MM creator Mick Anglo, only squeezed down to a couple of pages.

The black and white reprints of three “classic” MM stories from the 1950s are excessive, given that we already have the redialogued “Invaders from the Future” story from about the same time period serving as the contrasting prologue for Moore ‘n’ Leach’s Miracleman story. The original MM stories presented here are…well, rough going for modern readers, to put it kindly, and eating up pages with these adventures isn’t exactly adding to the book’s perceived value. There are some good — well, at least good-ish — classic MM stories, but boy, these three aren’t it.

Future issues appear to contain more Miracleman content and less other stuff, and at the slightly cheaper but still not-great price of $4.99, so hopefully the price/content ratio will be more favorable to sales. Assuming, of course, enough people give the first issue a try.

Again, to repeat a point I’ve made on this site, I want this project to be a success. Not just out of the selfish desire to finally read the conclusion to this story I’ve been anticipating for decades — well, okay, mostly that — but because it is a great comic and one of the recent seemingly-lost treasures of the industry. It’s a comic series that deserves to be available and in print, even if the eventual collected editions are in the hands of the ever-mercurial Marvel graphic novel department. At the very least we’ll get a new run of trades reprinting Miracleman that, once they fall out of print, may go for slightly less on eBay versus the sometimes-crazypants prices the Eclipse volumes command. But perhaps I’m being cynical.

• • •

Slightly related: Employee Aaron brought in a V for Vendetta action figure, still in the package, that he said he purchased at our shop years ago. I absolutely cannot, for the life of me, remember selling these figures. I may learn a lesson from that, should I mistakenly think about it too closely.

15 Responses to “Possibly the only place you’ll see Miracleman being compared to a Roger Waters album.”

  • Myron M. says:

    Remember, remember, the 5th of November?
    This cool action figure I bought?

  • King of the Moon says:

    I skipped buying it and I love the story. 5.99 is ridiculous

    Those of us who’ve wanted to read this book and wanted to buy it for years hunted down other means of reading it long ago. .

  • Jer says:

    Anyway, I had to handsell the books using Alan Moore’s name on my own…

    …which means that you’re now on Alan Moore’s “enemies” list forever.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “5.99 is ridiculous”

    damn right!! it’s a REPRINT, they should have just done it as a TPB anyway!

  • good stuff! I thought that “original writer” part was hilarious… and stupid.
    I had never even heard of this British Shazaam before, and I was pleasantly surprised when I read the story. I really enjoyed the book making fun of itself in how rediculous those Golden Age comics were.
    I will follow the story, but not for 5.99 an issue. that wasn’t worth it and you’re right, the extra black and white original stories didn’t add much of anything–I scimmed through them, didn’t read them.

  • Adam Farrar says:

    It’s particularly odd that Issue 1 is overpriced at $5.99 when the next issues will be $4.99. People will be paying less to get more content (that they want).

    I was surprised to see in the just released solicitations that in April, Marvel will release a collection of issues 1-4 but not issue 5. I don’t know why they can’t do both. They’re all reprints.

    And issues 1-4 cost $20.96 in single issues while the collection will be $29.99. Who would have thought the smart money would be in the overpriced single issues?

  • Mike Nielsen says:

    I’m definitely one of the people that is waiting for the trade on this. I had some of the Eclipse issues long ago when they came out but never had a full set so I’m interested in reading it but not in tracking down each issue when the trade will be here someday.

  • Brad says:

    Isn’t it legal to call it Marvelman again? Otherwise you lose a lot of the effect of having it owned by Marvel…

  • Mikester says:

    Brad – Marvel’s almost certainly keeping the Miracleman title to separate this particular finite storyline from whatever eventual exploitation of Marvelman they have in the works.

  • ADD says:

    Coby — Alan Moore not wanting his name on the book is neither hilarious nor stupid. He has good reasons for separating himself from corporate comics publishers, including Marvel, who have a long history of ethical misdeeds and outright wrongdoing. You might want to research the issue if you care about it, or not comment so flippantly about it if you don’t. Try to remember real human beings make all these funnybooks, and their rights and well-being matter more than those of the characters, or the entitlements and petty sleights of “the fans.”

  • Jack says:

    Having researched the issue-sorry, Moore needs to lighten the fuck up. Especially since he’s spent the past 10 years mining and re-purposing other people’s characters ad absurdum in League stories. There are cases for creator rights to be made, but Moore just keeps straying closer and closer to cranky old uncle and further and further away from well spoken crusader for creators rights.

    He’s not helped by his recent “interview” which basically boiled down to “twenty paragraphs of why writing about rape is okay, followed by twenty paragraphs of why it’s horrible that Grant Morrison accused me of writing about rape.” Alan Moore is my favorite writer ever in comics, but the dude is increasingly going around the bend in how he presents himself.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Alan Moore not wanting his name on the book is neither hilarious nor stupid”

    It’s not either, it’s BOTH. HE WROTE THE STORIES. Why the hell NOT get credit for it? He has every right to not work for marvel, but these are DECADES old stories. WE ALL KNOW WROTE IT. Why go through the SILLY PRETENSE of this “written by the original writer” nonsense?

  • ADD says:

    Because Moore gets to decide and you don’t, Fanboy.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Fanboy? eat shit FATboy!

  • Mikester says:

    That’s enough of that.