You are currently browsing the miraclemarvelman category

Old Timer Mike here with some important blogging for you.

§ May 8th, 2024 § Filed under free comic book day, miraclemarvelman, superman § 13 Comments

Yes, it’s another Post of Miscellany for you to enjoy, for varying values of “enjoy.”

PART THE FIRST: Just to follow up on my 2024 Free Comic Book Day post-mortem, there was some concern that no children were spotted in my photos of the store in the midst of Free Comics action.

Well, let me assure you that there were plenty of children passing through the shop to get their free comics, and many, with the assistance of the parents and/or guardians, took advantage of the storewide sales. Some kids showed up in costume (one as the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man, anoother as the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel). A girls softball team showed up, in uniform. Plenty of children thanking me for their comics, A whole bunch of smiling faces.

As was pointed out in my comments, probably not a cool thing to take pics of kids and post ’em to my site without permission. So you’ll just have to take my word that they were there. I promise.

PART THE SECOND: Miracleman talk is back in the news, what with the release of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s The Silver Age in trade paperback form this week. This article on The Beat is about the lack of excitement over the completion of this long-interrupted story. Surprisingly, it includes a link to my own writings on the very same topic from back in January. I’m so used to shouting into the void here, since Linking to Blogs is a thing that folks don’t do much of that anymore, but it is nice to be acknowledged.

Anyway, on Bluesky Mr. Gaiman his own self linked to a New York Times article ballyhooing the release of the book, saying

“It’s interesting seeing the comics press going ‘Why isn’t there more talk of Miracleman: The Silver Age?’ Meanwhile, we get the kind of review that those of us who made comics in the dawn times dreamed of as a kind of grail.”

Now, look, I’ve done my part, which y’all can see right here in this category link, but…I think I’m correct in reading this more as “isn’t it ironic that one world ignores the book, meanwhile this other world is paying attention,” instead of “the comics press are a bunch of dummies, of course people are talking about it.”

The New York Times article doesn’t really counter the idea that Miracleman is mostly ignored within the comics world, and that actual sales aren’t want you’d think they should be, if “you” is me, a guy who waited the decades for Miracleman to start up again. I don’t have to go into again, see what I said at my self-link above, but the passing decades, the delays, the botched presentation by Marvel, all got in the way of a new audience discovering a lost unfinished classic in the process of being completed. Which is a shame. It honestly is very good. Even the initial kinda clunky chapters by Alan Moore have a style and power few comics can match today.

I said this a couple times in response to various discussions on Bluesky, but I feel like maybe the Moore/Gaiman/Buckingham/etc. era of Miracleman won’t properly get its due until it’s all done and collected into trades. At that point it can be sold as a finished masterpiece…assuming Marvel can keep the books in print.

PART THE SECOND AND A HALF: Just for some perspective: In 1985 I was sixteen, still in high school, when I bought the first issue of Eclipse’s Miracleman #1 new off the stands. I am now 55, waiting to eventually place orders for my store for the final chapters of the story begun back then.

PART THE THIRD: So anyway, here’s a picture of Superman from the movie coming out next year:

I mean, it’s fine. The top part looks a little too much like he’s wearing a sweater. I suppose we’ll have to see it in action (either live or CGI) to give it a full judgement. But lookin’ at that picture…c’mon, Supes, buddy, speed it up a bit, there’s something you need to attend to going on outside your window there.

The debate is raging on as to whether this is a good costume or not, whether there’s too much texture on there or if they should’ve gone for a Christopher Reeve-style smooth ‘n’ skintight spandex. I think the latter look, more accurately reflecting appearances in the comics, may be out of favor with studios, but given how superhero movies have been doing lately, what have they got to lose. However, having Wolverine in his classic comic togs for the Deadpool/Wolverine flick, a film that has a very good chance of getting that billion-dollar box office that’s been eluding Marvel for a while, may change some costuming trends.

At the very least I would have liked a brighter, maybe more optimistic look, but again, it’s just one promo photo. All depends on what they do with it. And it’s James Gunn, who actually made people care about Guardians of the Galaxy, so I’m still giving him the benefit of a doubt. I mean, c’mon, Metamorpho, the Fab Freak of 1,000 and 1 Changes, is gonna be it, I’ve gotta see that.

Miracleman: The Marvel Age.

§ January 29th, 2024 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 16 Comments

Okay, the prediction posts are done, time to talk about something Current and New…which of course means the long-awaited revival of Miracleman.

Regular reader Thom H. noted in the comments here that he wasn’t sure if he was onboard with the final issue of the current volume of Miracleman, “The Silver Age.” At around the same time, I spotted a post on Bluesky from a user by the name of “ElNarez, Herald of Dorkness” (I approve) who had this to say on the topic:

“the comics industry is not beating the ‘wildly unable to deal with any work of substance’ the way Marvel has been fumbling Miracleman; you have an essential post-Watchmen text and it’s treated as this little curio for freaks”

I’ve been dwelling on this for a bit, more so than I usually dwell on Miracleman just as a matter of course. The assertion of the industry being “unable to deal with any work of substance” can be true, mileage varying per publisher, but regardless of commitment the various houses are constrained by resources and potential audiences. I’m sure everyone would love to have a full set of every Little Lulu comic in print in handsome color volumes, available at all times. But those books cost a lot to produce, would cost a lot to warehouse the entire catalog, and probably wouldn’t attract enough sales to justify the costs.

Or to use Marvel as an example, their Marvel Masterworks hardcovers are representing significant material from its publishing history…but they generally have limited print runs, and they cost a lot of money. The recent paperback editions collecting the same material are a good alternative, but several of those are already out of print.

And there are the omnibus editions from Marvel and DC (awkwardly heavy and expensive) and other reprint volumes from both companies (mostly focusing on more recent comics, with some older stories occasionally released), the “facsimile” editions of old comics released piecemeal, and so on. And that’s just The Big Two publishers…smaller publishers have even fewer resources to maintain a backlist of books.

This is just a general overview, and hardly covering every problem faced by publishers (nor does it address digital alternatives, which can have their own issues), but in short: I’m sure every publisher would love to devote the time and money to keeping top material in print in the best formats at affordable prices. The marketplace, however, can’t support it.

Now this wasn’t the complete gist of ElNarez’s comment, I realize, but I wanted at least to mention those topics. More to his point, it was Marvel’s marketing of the material that was botched. But I’d argue it’s not necessarily entirely their fault, but like I’ve said in the past, the publisher sure as hell didn’t help.

Not Marvel’s fault was its inability to promote the material using the name of Alan Moore, who is one of the most famous writers in comics. He asked that his name be removed, and Marvel dutifully removed it from the comics, calling him instead “The Original Writer” (which received some mild mockery).

Definitely Marvel’s fault was the formatting of the comics themselves, in which they reprinted all the previously released stories as a lead-up to the (eventual) new stories. I wrote about this problem way back in 2013 in two posts (pre and post-release), in which the small amount of the comics you’d actually want to read were backed up by editorial material and straight reprints of the original Marvelman comics of the ’50s and ’60s that nobody really asked for, at $5.99 a pop during a time when $5.99 wasn’t a regular price you’d find on Marvel comics.

That basically strangled the baby in the crib, as it were, and even discounting the first issue as I did, sales were not great. Another blow came with a significant printing error cropped up in a later issue, and a promised corrected edition was never issued. That further turned people off, as they realized if Marvel wasn’t going to stand behind this prestige project to any real degree, why should they buy and read it?

That is the kind of fumbling I believe ElNarez is speaking of, a lack of care in curating and presenting the material, which undermines any enthusiasm that may have existed for a comic that 1) features the writing of both Moore and Neil Gaiman, and 2) was a formative work for the deconstructive storytelling that dominated the more prestige superhero books of the period. That’s a long sentence, even for me…I apologize. Anyway, it’s all reprinted in various formats now, and they appear to be all currently available, which is unusual for Marvel.

But again, it may not be entirely Marvel’s fault. There’s the whole “you can lead a horse to water” thing. Sure, you can publish it, and maybe it’s the best comic in the world, but customers aren’t necessarily going to pick it up. To be clear, it’s great comics. I really enjoy Miracleman. I’m the target audience for this, the Guy Who Waited 30 Years for Someone to Pick It Up after Eclipse Comics Went Under. And that may be part of the problem.

In discussing this on Bluesky, esteemed fellow comics commentator Johanna Draper Carlson said (in a post I can’t locate now because Bluesky’s search function stinks…if I got this wrong, Johanna, let me know!) (EDIT: here it is…thanks, Johanna!) that Miracleman may not be getting the attention folks like me thinks it deserves because it’s, well, old. Time may have passed it by. Its innovations may have been copied, its influences bled too far into the art form, for it to really stand out. Who needed to see that John Carter movie when its source material had already been played out in Star Wars and its ilk? Why should we read this new version of an old thing when there are new new things to read?

Which leads me to think that the main audience for this comic is people like me…folks who were reading Miracleman in the early ’90s, who managed to wait this whole time for it to come back without 1) dying or 2) otherwise leaving comics. And even some of them may have dropped away after Marvel’s initial reprinting of Miracleman ended and the promised new stories by Gaiman and artist Mike Buckingham wouldn’t come out for another six years. (Again, not necessarily Marvel’s fault, in that Gaiman had a lot of what I presume to be much better paying work to attend to first, but maybe Marvel could’ve planned things out a bit better to avoid such a gap).

So yes, we’re getting new Miracleman stories at last. And the “Silver Age” chapter of the story concluded just this month, with the new chapter, “The Dark Age” coming eventually. (And to get back to Thom H. — yes, I think the ending of this section is fairly portentous, and can’t wait, but likely will, for the next part.)

And again, yes, this whole hoohar is written by Moore and Gaiman, absolute giants in the field. But it feels like Miracleman’s time in the sun is pretty much done. It was huge when that first Eclipse Comics issue was released in 1985, when Alan Moore had just become a red hot commodity in American comics. And it continued to sell very well as the series continued to push the boundaries of just what a superhero comic was, through Moore’s 16 issues and Gaiman’s following work.

But that 30 year gap. That ain’t nuthin’. I can’t say for sure why this isn’t grabbing the attention it once did. Moore may not be held in as high esteem by current comic fans as he once was. Gaiman’s appeal in comics may be heavily tied to Sandman and not much beyond. Miracleman may just be this thing old people like, a “curio for freaks.” I appreciate that it’s coming out again and that maybe we’ll see an actual conclusion to this story. However, I feel the comics-gnoscenti at large will only begin to really care once the promise of that Timeless one-shot is fulfilled and Miracleman (or more likely, Marvelman, to keep things distinct) enters the Marvel Universe.

The Final ’80s Countdown, Part Nineteen.

§ August 23rd, 2023 § Filed under final countdown, miraclemarvelman § 23 Comments

So next up on the ol’ Final ’80s Countdown, the following three-vote getter:

Miracleman (Eclipse Comics 1985-1993)

Hoo boy, where do I even start? Well, technically, I’ve started already, as I’ve got a whole category on this very site talking about Miracleman and its long history and hiatus and revival and hiatus again and revival again. Well, talking, and whatever this is.

Anyway, let me give you a very brief rundown. A British publisher, L. Miller and Son, had rights to publish Captain Marvel (the Shazam! one) stories in the UK, until Fawcett Comics stopped publishing them in the 1950s. However, L. Miller and presumably also the Son were having good sales on these comics, and had Mick Anglo rework the Shazam! Family of characters into the hopefully-lawsuit-avoiding-but-similar Marvelman Family. This revamped series ran though the early 1960s.

In 1982, the character was revived for the British comics anthology magazine Warrior in its first issue. The creative team, Alan Moore and Garry Leach, took an “adult” and “realistic” approach to Marvelman, addressing the clichés and tropes of the superhero genre in a form familiar to anyone who’s read Watchmen and pretty much anything else that was inspired by Marvelman.

Did I say brief? I’m trying, honest. So in 1985 Eclipse Comics got the rights to reprint the Marvelman stories in the U.S., with the minor problem of a little company named Marvel Comics possibly not being amused by another publishr using “Marvel” in a comics title. Hence, the change to “Miracleman,” the name by which the character has been known ’round the colonies ever since. (With a few exceptions, I’ll tell you in a moment.)

That run from Eclipse was 24 issues, which reprinted nearly all from Warrior magazine (save for one short story) by Leach and Alan Davis. That was followed with new material, illustrated by Chuck Austen, Rick Veitch, and John Totleben. Moore departs with #16, and the remainder of the run is by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham.

And then Eclipse went out of business and Miracleman went into limbo and there all sorts of questions of who owned what (with Todd McFarlane believing he owned the character at one point, and attempted to integrate the character into his Spawn comics as well as releasing some limited merchandise).

Eventually things get as straightened oout as they’ll ever be, and Marvel, ironically enough I suppose, now owns the rights to the character. They kicked off their reign with reprints of original Marvelman material from the ’50s, before launching into reprints of the Eclipse run. The promise was that after the reprints concluded, Gaiman and Buckingham would be back to continue the story. Well, technically they did, I suppose, though the reprints ended in 2016 and the new Miracleman stories would not appear until very late in 2022.

Now don’t shout at me if I missed anything…I’m sure I left a bit out of the character’s compliated publishing path. The Wikipedia entry gives a more complete overview (though it notes complaints about the “birth issue” were mainly in fanzines, without noting a particular distributor was certainly not pleased about it).

There was also a mini-series Eclipse released called Miracleman Family, reprinting ’50s material, as well as Miracleman: Apocrypha, a three-issue mini featuring new short stories by various creators. Eclipse also released the Miracleman 3D one-shot, reprinting the UK Marvelman Special, which was a new Moore/Davis framing sequence around more ’50s Marvelman reprints.

Marvel also had some extra material outside the main story, once it got its mitts on the property, with a couple of annuals, Apocrypha-style, with new stories by other creators.

And one should also probably note, once Gaiman and Buckingham were back doing new issues, Buckingham went back and redrew the previous two issues with parts one and two of “The Silver Age” before moving on to the never-before seen story in #3.

Granted, it’s been a little bit since the latest issue of the new Miracleman comics (last one released early May), but at least something has come out after such a long drought. I mean, how many comic book series have had a hiatus of nearly three decades and come back with the same creative team? Not a whole lot, I’m guessing.

Now, what’s the best way to read all this mess? With the Eclipse comics, I’d say…the original comics is the best way, if you can get your hands on them. Or the trade paperbacks released by Eclipse, which I believe reprint through issue #22. There is an Apocrypha trade as well. The problem with any of these options is that they can be a bit on the pricy side. Even Apocrypha is slowly getting up there, after years of being a cheapie (and not yet having been reprinted by Marvel, near as I can tell).

Best bet for an “affordable” version…Marvel had individual collections for the material, which in typical Marvel form are all out of print (save for a volume reprinting all of “The Golden Age” segment, Gaiman and Buckingham’s opening chapters, plus a back-up from Total Eclipse). There is a Miracleman Omnibus with all the material prior to that, including a “Warpsmith” story from the A1 anthology.

If you’re going to read the comic book versions of Marvel’s reprints, keep in mind that Miracleman #14 (2005) had a drastic printing error that Marvel never bothered to fix in the periodical format, but hopefully got right in its trades.

For sampling the earlier material released in England, try the Marvel Tales: Miracleman which includes stuff from Warrior, among other sources.

Okay, I talked a lot about where you can read it and how it came out, but is it all worth it? I would say…yes, yes indeed. It was going the superhero “deconstruction” thing back when it was still a fresh idea, and it’s filled with wonderful and bizarre concepts and new takes on an old genre. (It should be noted that it’s been said that the novel Superfolks has had a strong influence on this series, and other works of Moore’s.) It blew my mind as a young Mikester, and it definitely helped steer where things were going in the comics industry at the time.

I shouldn’t let pass the fact that Marvel, despite being, you know, in charge of the Marvel brand (well, okay, Disney actually is, but go with me here), still kept the name “Miracleman” on the revived series. I suspect very much it’s to keep the very not-Marvel-House-Style-y version of the character as its own separate thing, leaving the company free to introduce its own separate version of the character into the Marvel Universe proper with the less-burdened moniker of “Marvelman.” This feels like what’s going on with the DC Rebirth one-shot-esque revelation at the end of this State of the Marvel Universe special Timeless that M(something)man is going to pop up eventually.

Now I’ve joked that this particular revelation could point at the fact that, following “The Golden Age” and “The Silver Age” Miracleman chapters, we could get from Gaiman and Buckingham “The Marvel Age,” with MM fighting Galactus or Stilt-Man or whoever. If this were the case, I would find myself in the very peculiar state of being simultaneously extremely pissed off and supremely delighted.

But no, I’m guessing we’re getting a Marvelman event in the Marvel Universe entirely aside from the Miraclman thing. Which leaves us with the question of which name will they use for the eventual Marvel movie that will underperform?

I’m getting off-track here. Miracleman was a great comic that I think holds up even today. It’s very early Alan Moore, with some clunky writing at times, but still exciting and compelling. And Gaiman and Buckingham’s follow-up material, picking up from a very definitive conclusion by Moore and Totleben, remains wondrous and fascinating. If you were turned off from reading the series because of Marvel’s initial terrible handling of the material (with overpriced comics stuffed with unwanted material padding out the few pages of interest), give the collected books a go.

(And I didn’t mention it, but you guys probably will if I dont, but Moore had his name removed from Marvel’s reprints, and it was replaced with “The Original Writer.” And lo, there was much frivolity when this was revealed. Look, Moore’s not a big man of Marvel, he could have said “no” to having his stuff reprinted at all, so I’m just glad the material’s available in the first place.)

It’s a Christmas miracle, man!

§ December 28th, 2022 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 9 Comments

Out today at your better comic book stores, or even my own, it’s the long awaited continuation of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckinham’s Miracleman, with part 3 of “The Silver Age!” Picking up from where #24 of the original Miracleman series left off way back in 1993, we see where Dickie Dauntless (AKA Young Marvelman) takes off to after his rather explosive departure at the end of the previous installment. I’ve been waiting nearly 30 years for this, and I can tell you, it doesn’t disappoint.

No, it’s not a Huge Event Story, but we learn about some new folks who live in this seeming utopia, learn a little more about the world of this comic, and…well, something possibly threatening on the horizon? We’ll see how stuff plays out in ALL THE FOLLOWING NEW ISSUES THAT WILL COME OUT ON A REGULAR AND TIMELY BASIS, THEY’D BETTER.

Nice that at least the regular cover has the “Legacy Numbering” of “25” on there, in case you just wanted to jump back on now and start throwing the new installments into your Official Miracleman Comic Storage Box with your original Eclipse Comics run. Personally I picked up one of the variant covers, the rather striking Young Miracleman one pictured above by David Aja.

It was also an interesting choice that Buckingham redrew the first two parts of the Silver Age story so that when the new stuff picked up in #3, his current art style wouldn’t clash with his original 1990s art style in the earlier installments. I mean, that’s way erring on the side of caution as the art in the older issues holds up quite well in my opinion, but good on everyone involved for allowing Buckingham to “update” the books to his current standards. The back pages of this issue show his original 30-year-old drawings for this “new” story in tiny thumbnails, which makes me wish I could see them full-sized.

But there you go…Miracleman is finally coming out again, and here’s hoping Gaiman and Buckingham get to complete their story before Marvel starts doing whatever they’re planning on doing with the property (under the name “Marvelman,” presumably) in their own regular superhero universe and diluting things. Unless it’s the Neil ‘n’ Mark MM that’s going to turn up there…boy, that’d be weird. What if the planned progression of stories doesn’t just go from “The Silver Age” to “The Dark Age,” but concludes in “The Marvel Age?” Egads.

It’s a good thing I didn’t go after all those Miracleman variant covers like I was planning.

§ October 21st, 2022 § Filed under collecting, miraclemarvelman § 5 Comments

So I don’t have very many of those illustrated comic boxes for my personal use. I mean, I sell plenty of them at the shop (where I dubbed them “Fancy Boxes” on my signage for them, and the name seems to have stuck with my customers), but I haven’t much felt the need to grab too many for myself. I did make an exception for the Hellboy boxes, of which I bought three and immediately filled two, thinking the third would last me a whle. But, the joke’s on me as Dark Horse seems to have accelerated its Hellboy and Hellboy-adjacent funnybook output over the last year or three and now I’m wishing I’d picked up two or three more of those boxes.

Anyway, another design has come out that tempted me into owning, and as you may have guessed by the image leading this post, it’s that darn ol’ Miracleman what done the deed. It’s a nice pic they used, though I would have liked it they’d wrapped illos around the entire box and not just the two sides. Ah well. Despite that, I now have a fancy box of my own in which to stow my Miracleman goodies.

I haven’t yet gathered all my MM stuff together, as I’m currently in the midst of reorganizing my collection at home (“wait, didn’t I give up most of my stuff to the shop, how do I still have this much left”) and everything is still in the “total and utter disarray” part of the process. But I know I have the original 24 issues of the Eclipse run, plus the Apocrypha mini, the Miracleman Family mini and the 3-D special, plus all of the Marvel reprintings of same from a few years back. Not to mention that one-shot Marvel put out giving a history of the character, and all those black and white reprint comics (I passed on the hardcover archives).

And there’s the tangentially-related stuff, like the Total Eclipse mini. Plus, we’ve got new MM stuff on the way, starting with the refurbished Silver Age #1, leading into newly published Gaiman/Buckingham stories in a month or three. If that’s not all, there’s whatever Marvel is planning to do with the character (I predict the “Marvelman” version, versus the “Miracleman” version tied to that specific story) in the Marvel Universe itself, as hinted at by this one-shot from a few months back. Oh, and there’s the two new pages in, I think, Marvel #1000, right?

With new stuff on the way, I’m not sure how much more box space I’m going to need. Without having all the MM comics I own in front of me, I can only estimate that they would take up about…half a box, maybe? I don’t know how much more of the “Miracleman” story Gaiman and Buckingham have left to tell, and once Marvel starts doing separate Marvelman stories…who knows, maybe I’ll be wishing then I’d picked up more of the fancy boxes. God forbid I just put these in plain white boxes, what would the neighbors think?

Oh, you know, I forgot the oversized stuff I have, like that original UK Marvelman Special and Warrior #4 with the formerly-unreprinted MM story. And, ooh, wait, there’s the forthcoming Miracleman Omnibus, I’ll need room for that, too!

Almost forgot the Warpsmiths stories that popped up here and there, like in the A1 anthology! I’M GONNA NEED MORE BOXES

As a wise man once said, “it’s sort of an illness.”

“He is this lightning, he is this non-posable PVC figurine.”

§ August 3rd, 2022 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 1 Comment

So Multiverse Talk from last week is still on hold just a bit longer, as I forgot I had a very early morning doctor’s appointment Wednesday. As such, no longform late-night typing for me on Tuesday.

Instead, here are a couple of pictures of a recent acquisition, the 2003 San Diego Comic Con “Spawn + Miracleman Exclusive Two-Pack” from McFarlane Toys:

Why did I get one of these? Well, I’m all caught up in Miraclemanmania, as there seems to be a slight chance that I’ll finally see the next chapter in the story after waiting nearly 30 friggin’ years. Honestly, I’ll believe it when I see it, and maybe not even then.

ANYWAY, the toy. It dates from that very brief period when Todd McFarlane believed he had the rights to the character, slowly beginning the character’s intro in his Spawn comics. That whole hoohar is a mess and not going to be explained by me, The Blogger Trying to Go to Bed Early Tonight, so you can just Ask Jeeves or Alta Vista-it or whatever it is you kids do to look up mostly-true info on the internet.

Here’s the back of the package:

Note that Spawn is an “action figure” while Miracleman is a “PVC version” of the larger Miracleman statue produced by McFarlane around this time. No, I’m not on the lookout for the statue, too…we had one in the shop at the time, and, um, it was not to my taste. Also, I could be remembering incorrectly, but a vague memory just stirred up of some kind of issue standing the statue on its base? Maybe someone can help me with that.

As such, the figure is posed just as the statue was, and scaled down to this four-inch size, some of the aesthetic issues I had with the larger version are, naturally, reduced.

Okay, still looks a little odd, but it’ll do ’til a real Miracleman action figure comes along. Complete with “Final Battle with Kid Miracleman” playset, of course.

I wonder how many alternative names they went through before deciding on “Miracleman” (and how disappointed they were to find “Mighty Man” was taken).

§ July 15th, 2022 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 2 Comments

Just a couple o’quick responses to comments on Wednesday’s post:

Daniel T sez

“I really hope MM doesn’t actually interact with the Marvel Universe. He so, so, SO doesn’t fit in there.”

My assumption (and I haven’t read any of the recent news stories about the character’s apparent involvement with the Marvel Universe) is that the version we’ll get there will be different from the “Miracleman” that was in the Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman story. The latter is like “its own thing,” with a presumed narrative and planned ending. I suspect the Marvel Universe version will be named Marvelman and be more along the lines of the pre-Moore era.

Here’s a page which goes into detail on the character’s previous interaction with the Marvel Universe, mostly in that one Captain Britain story where we see MM’s grave. (The pic there says “Miracleman” but I’m pretty sure it said “Marvelman” in its original printing.)

That said, there’s a little aside in the original Moore issues, during the battle with Kid Miracleman, where various apocryphal events are described that may or may not have occurred in this event. I believe one of them involved MM traveling in time to encounter himself in the past? Something like that, don’t have the issues in front of me. Anyway, this version could make a side trip to the Marvel Universe as part of one of these weird happenings during that big conflict with KM. Kid Miracleman somehow gets loose on Earth-616, Miracleman chases after him, the rest of this Earth’s superheroes get involved, it’s a Whole Big Thing ’til they’re both returned back to Eclipse’s issue #15.

I mean, I have no idea. We’ll all find out eventually. It still smacks of DC surprising us with that Watchmen tie-in at the end of the DC Rebirth special way back when.

• • •

Thom H also sez

“It really is weird to see MM interacting with Marvel characters.”

Whenever Marvel has, like, a Superman-level character in the books (like maybe Sentry, or Gladiator, or, you know, even Superman his own self) it feels like it’s almost…milieu-breaking. Like, a Character Like This shouldn’t exist in the Marvel Universe, which is basically New York and other outlying environs, just with superheroes with more limited powersets. It’s like if, I don’t know, Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie showed up on Babylon 5. Does that fanfic exist? If not, © © © ™ ™ ™ me.

That’s probably not exactly what you meant…I guess you mean more it’s a mismatch in general tone, a character used to examine and break superhero tropes suddenly hanging out with characters who traffic in said tropes. Yes, it’s weird, but I am looking forward to see how the Miracleman Universe mixed with the Marvel Universe works out. Could be fun, could be a car crash, I look foward to it either way.

• • •

And one last bit of business…Joseph has a lot to add about Watchmen Heroclix, so I’m just gonna point you to what he wrote. I will say the folks who sent me the Watchmen ‘clix set for review also promised to send along one of those Giant Dr. Manhattan Heroclix statue thingies, but alas, none ever arrived. I’M STILL OWED A GIANT HEROCLIX THINGIE.

No jokes about “GIANT THINGIE” and Dr. Manhattan, please.

If the property holders would allow it, Marvel could give us a Star Wars/Miracleman/Aliens/Predator/Planet of the Apes comic.

§ July 13th, 2022 § Filed under miraclemarvelman, variant covers § 8 Comments

So as I may have mentioned once or twice in the past on this here weblog thingie that I enjoy Watchmen ephemera and other inappropriate tie-ins. Not that I think they’re important additions to the Watchmen story, but rather I enjoy observing how people who aren’t Alan Moore or Dave Gibbons and their Watchmen creative pals handle characters and situations that were never really intended for usage outside their original context. Sometimes it’s an ill-advised crossover comic, sometimes it’s a big ol’ box of Heroclix game figurines, sometimes it’s a poster featuring even more merchandise. But whatever it is, I’m invariably interested in it.

Similarly, I have an interest in Marvelman/Miracleman and whatever weird tie-ins exist beyond the original comics themselves. There’s not nearly as much as there is for Watchmen (I mean, there’s the button, and this wacky series) which makes things a little easier on me trying to track down all this nonsense.

One that nearly got past me was Marvel’s one-shot Timeless, which hints at a coming meeting between the Marvel Universe and Miracle/Marvelman. By the time I found out about it, all my copies were sold out, which actually worked out since they eventually released a reprint with a nice Miracleman cover by its current-if-decades-interrupted artist Mark Buckingham.

Which leads me to why I called you all here today. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the initial Moore/Garry Leach revival of the character, pairing ol’ MM with a variety of superheroes on variant covers of their titles. I know, I know, I’ve said in the past that I hate these misleading cover images featuring (sometimes) the stars of the book with other folks who don’t appear inside. But I am weak, and have decided that I need one of each of these. “But Mike,” you ask, “why not just download the images from Marvel or wherever instead of taking home even more comics,” and my reasoned response to you is “SHUT UP, JUST SHUT UP.”

Anyway, here are a few of those images…I’m quite taken the X-Force one:

And this Captain America one is nice and cheery:

This one is quite busy:

And…I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine:

These are just a few of the many MM variants that are heading our way, and at least a couple make me wish we’re getting actual team-up stories inside (“Miracleman and Sam Wilson go out for a nice flight around the city.” “Wolverine finds himself with a tiny Miracleman lodged in the side of his head.”) but I guess that’ll have to wait ’til we get whatever was teased with that Timeless comic.

While finding these images, I did spot an old solicitation for the Miracleman: The Silver Age #3 from early 2016, which was going to feature at long last the new Neil Gaiman/Buckingham chapters of the story they’d started way back when at Eclipse Comics. Well, apparently at the end of the year we’re finally getting those long-promised stories, no, honest, we mean it this time. Back in 2016, one of the covers promised for that #3 was a “Hip Hop variant,” which alas had no art available with the solicit, but there was this Skottie Young cover that I hope gets offered again:

Once Gaiman/Buckingam finish their run, give Young the book. Or if the Miracleman story has come to its conclusion, have Young redraw the entire series. I’d read it, though the redone childbirth issue would be something else.

Garry Leach (1954 – 2022).

§ March 30th, 2022 § Filed under miraclemarvelman, obituary § 5 Comments

Admittedly, I bought that Miracleman #1 Eclipse put out in 1985 because I was totally in the bag for Alan Moore comics. Knowing he had a whole big thing going on in England long before he wowed me my beloved Swamp Thing comic made me want to get my mitts on anything that eventually made it over the ocean and into my local shop.

That first issue of Miracleman did not disappoint, seeing Moore take a Captain Marvel (“Shazam,” to you young folks) clone and work what was to me mostly (cough) unprecedented twists on classic genre formulas.

But what stuck with me the most from that first issue, what seared into my brain and made me anticipate the following issue more than just about any other comic I’ve ever read, was this pic right here:

Miracleman’s former young partner, Kid Miracleman, having never said his “magic” word to change back to his normal human identity of Johnny Bates, is now grown up, his superpowered body having evolved into something terrifying as it aged. There he is, just hanging in the air, charged with energy, leering at his intended victims, made all the more terrifying because he’s just wearing regular people clothes, not a skintight emblem-adorned costume with a flowing cape.

Who drew that image? Who was responsible for putting that weirdly offputting yet compelling scenario into my eyeballs, making me ponder it for a month as I awaited the next chapter, making me remember it even now, nearly forty years later?

That Garry Leach fella, that’s who.

He was only on the Miracleman (or as it known originally, and I’m sure you already know, “Marvelman”) stories for a few installments, before Alan Davis took over. However, he established the look, the dark, mundane, and near-depressing world of the strip, where the garishly-clothed Miracleman should stand out in stark contrast, but still feels…reduced, in a way, pulled into the real world and away from the kid’s comics in which he was born. A brilliant trick, one that definitely sold the kind of story Moore was trying to tell.

Of course Leach did far more than these Marvel/Miracleman strips, but it was this comic that had the greatest impact on me. Someone on Twitter had posted the two pages that lead up to that pic above, in the original black and white printing as it appeared in Warrior in the UK, and those 40 years between seeing Eclipse’s color reprint and today just washed away. It was like seeing it again for the first time…just as powerful as it ever was.

Thanks, Garry, and so long.

A dream of variants.

§ February 7th, 2022 § Filed under miraclemarvelman, variant covers § 6 Comments

Okay, I had planned to jump back into Variant Cover-age Mondays here on the site again, but as I was working on the planned subjects for said post, I realized I didn’t have the info I needed to properly put them in their retailing/collecting context. So, let’s have that one sit in the oven a little longer.

Instead, I’m going to go on a variant tangent, as well as touching another popular topic on this here website, and take notice of this forthcoming variant for the Marvel Comics one-shot Timeless:

Due out in a couple of months, it plays up the fact that (spoiler, I guess) a character has visions of the Miracleman (or is it?) logo, revealed at the end of the story. I found out about that particular twist just in time for me to have sold out of my last copy…I did get a restock of some of the variants, but none of those did anything for me. And the forthcoming 2nd printing features that awful Punisher redesign, so a hard pass on that.

But that third printing? With ol’ MM front and center? Drawn by Mark Buckingham, the fella who illustrated Neil Gaiman’s truncated run on the character? Yes sir, that’s for me.

Now Miracleman at Marvel has not had an easy time of it. First, Alan Moore asked that his writing credit be removed (replaced by “The Original Writer”). Then the comics themselves were bloated, expensive messes, featuring the comics people actually wanted to read, backed up with extra editorial pages and reprints of “pre-return” Marvelman stories that nobody really wanted. And then of course there were the printing screw-ups, which, by the way, Marvel never did reissue corrected copies of that comic. Plus there’s the fact that the promise of new stories picking up from where the original series left off (with Eclipse Comics going out of business) was never fulfilled.

Well, Marvel put a lot of cash and time into straightening out all the rights issues and getting the character under their umbrella, so I guess they need to get their money’s worth. Now whether this is a new version of Marvelman (separate from the Miracleman comics by Moore and Gaiman), still called Miracleman but again separate from Moore/Gaiman, or (the most hilarious option) the next chapter of that Moore/Gaiman story, with MM dipping into the Marvel U. between installments of his own book.

I have no idea what will be the case, of course, and one wonders what kind of a fit MM would have in the Marvel Universe, even if only temporarily (see also: DC Universe and Watchmen). But we’re either getting an ongoing series with the character out of this, or (crossing fingers) those new stories from Gaiman and Buckingham picking up from where they left off decades ago will finally see the light of day.

Anyway, writing about this reminded me of the limited-run non-3D editions of Miracleman 3-D Eclipse offered way back in Ye Olden Tymes. This article seems to have that pretty well covered.

« Older Entries