Miracleman, the character with the weirdest and most confusing publication history in comics, is considered to be the greatest comic book series you could never buy. Well, after 20 years of legal battles over copyrights, Marvel Comics has announced it will be publishing new Miracleman stories. The series will be written by Neil Gaiman, starting with a Miracleman story written by Gaiman nearly 30 years ago.
Geek girls and geeks boys will be able to pick up Miracleman Annual #1 at their local comic retailer on New Year’s Eve. The book will feature Morrison’s previously unreleased story, with Joe Quesada, Marvel’s chief creative officer, on art. In addition to the Morrison’s story, writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred will give readers a new Miracleman tale. Covers will be drawn by Gabriele Dell’Otto and Jeff Smith.
So, I’m just going to be honest. I know very little about Miracleman and his history. I’ve certainly heard the character’s name mentioned by comic aficionados before, but nothing past that. The series is apparently regarded as one of the most beloved comics of the last century. Having researched the drama and complicated publication history of the comic, I now understand why I knew so little.
Originally created in the 1950s by writer Mick Anglo under the name Marvelman, the comic was viewed as Superman rip-off that followed the adventures of a blonde haired hero and his two sidekicks. Cancelled in 1963, the book was revived by writer, wizard, and caveman impersonator Alan Moore in 1982. The comic was re-envisioned as a dark, superhero deconstructionist story, and followed a now married Miracleman crippled by painful migraines and self-doubt. In typical Moore fashion, his book looked at superheroes as being sources of hatred and fear in society, and the supervillains as tragic fallen characters.
Art by Joe Quesada
After 16 issues, Moore left the series and Gaiman took on writing duties starting with Issue #17. Originally planning to release three Miracleman books titled “The Golden Age,” The Silver Age” and “The Dark Age,” Gaiman’s run never finished due to Eclipse, the publisher of Miracleman at the time, going bankrupt. The rights were eventually bought by artist and Image founder Todd McFarlane who wanted to incorporate the character into Spawn. For decades, McFarlane held onto to right of the comic and its characters, and forbade the publication of past issues. It was later found that McFarlane’s purchase of Miracleman was illegitimate, and therefore he had no right to the superhero or the characters originally created by Gaiman during his run.
It’s a pretty exciting time for both fans of Miracleman, and the people who are unfamiliar with the character. Getting the chance to see a continuation of a beloved character and his stories that were thought lost is a pretty rare thing to see. Even though I don’t consider myself a big fan of Gaiman and his work, I’ll be more than willing to read the first issue of Miracleman. If the wait for the first glimpse of Miracleman Annual #1 is too painful, then you’ll be happy to know that Marvel will be putting out graphic novels of Moore and Gaiman’s original stories.
What about you, reader? Excited for the rebirth of Miracleman? How do you think this character will fit in the updated culture surrounding superheroes and comic books of today? Let us know in the comments below!