Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham‘s take on Miracleman will finally see completion thanks to Marvel, starting next month. Their tale of Mick Anglo’s British superhero, originally known as Marvelman, began 25 years ago but was cut short, victim to company failures and copyright battles the like of which, we believe, no other costumed superhero has ever had to face before or since.
Here’s the very potted history of Miracleman, for those who came in late (there are those who’ve charted the character’s tortured history with much more determination than I have, such as Pádraig Ó Méalóid).
Marvelman first appeared in British comics in the 1950s, drawn (and apparently owned) by Mick Anglo. (That bit’s fuzzy, but some strips include a copyright acknowledgment). The character was created to replace reprints of Captain Marvel, who publisher L. Miller & Sons had lost the right to publish.
(The original Marvelman was very similar to Captain Marvel: a young reporter named Micky Moran encounters an astrophysicist, instead of a wizard, who gives him superpowers based on atomic energy instead of magic. To transform into Marvelman, he speaks the word “Kimota”, which is phonetically “atomic” backwards, rather than “Shazam”).
In 1982, Marvelman was revived as a much darker, tortured soul for Britain’s Warrior comic magazine, written by Alan Moore and drawn initially by Garry Leach, followed by Alan Davis. Those strips were reprinted by US publisher Eclipse, who also continued the character’s adventures, but as Miracleman after objections on copyright infringement grounds from Marvel. Moore wrote the first sixteen issues, with Gaiman’s story beginning in Issue 17.
Neil planned three books, consisting of six issues each, titled “The Golden Age” (published in full), “The Silver Age” (part published) and “The Dark Age” (featuring the return of the villain, Kid Marvelman); but the saga was cut short when Eclipse went bankrupt in 1984, the book ending on #24.
A long period of legal proceedings then followed after Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn, bought Eclipse’s assets, but not, it was argued by Gaiman, rights to Miracleman. Then, at New York Comic Con 2013, circumventing all past legal dramas, Marvel announced that they had solidified their rights to Miracleman, buying them from the original creator, Mick Anglo, and that Neil Gaiman would finish the story he had started 25 years earlier.
(This, as I mentioned above, is the potted version of a complex history to the character).
On 2nd September and at long last, Neil and Mark’s Miracleman story will begin anew and will finally be completed. Re-presenting the Golden Age storyline, this new volume of Miracleman will continue into the famously unfinished The Silver Age and The Dark Age story arcs, Gaiman and Buckingham’s lost Miracleman story will finally see the light of day.
“Years out of print and left unfinished, Marvel comics is pleased to bring these trailblazing and genre defining stories to an entire new generation of fans,” said a company spokesperson. “Now is the chance to jump on board one of the most groundbreaking stories in comic history before these two industry legends bring you it’s cataclysmic conclusion a quarter century in the making.”
Reuniting with series colourist D’Israeli and award-winning letterer Todd Klein, each issue of Gaiman & Buckingham’s run has been remastered directly from the original artwork. Each issue also features extensive additional content including scripts, original art, sketches, rare promotional pieces – and more.
• Get caught up before the September launch with Miracleman Book One: A Dream of Flying, Miracleman Book Two: The Red King Syndrome and Miracleman Book Three: Olympus – available digitally and wherever books are sold
MIRACLEMAN BY GAIMAN & BUCKINGHAM #1 (JUL150801)
Written by NEIL GAIMAN
Art & Cover by MARK BUCKINGHAM
Variant Covers by JOE QUESADA (JUL150802) and SIMONE BIANCHI (JUL150803)
Jam Variant by GARRY LEACH, ALAN DAVIS, JOHN TOTLEBEN & RICK VEITCH (JUL150804)
FOC – 08/10/15, On-Sale – 09/02/15