Before ‘Watchmen’. Like, really before ‘Watchmen’!
One of the fabled, unfinished stories in comics – ‘Miracleman’, also known as ‘Marvelman’ – has been announced to be remastered, repackaged and reprinted from January 2014.
‘Miracleman’ was the first book to properly deconstruct the superhero mythology, originally published in 1954 in the UK as a straight-forward homegrown Marvel substitute by L. Miller & Son, drawn by Mick Anglo and then continued in 1982 by a, young, precocious writer named Alan Moore for Warrior Magazine. Moore used the characters in the book to utterly break down the barriers of what it meant to be a superhero, years before he did so in ‘Watchmen’. The Warrior run dovetailed into contributions by Neil Gaiman who took the story to its breathtaking conclusion with a unique, epic tone.
Except the story never ended – issue #25 by Gaiman is one of those classic unseen masterworks. The book is made more enigmatic by its troubled printing history, the years of multiple lawsuits regarding rights ownership and the books subsequent vanishing off the face of the earth. Copies of the title have demanded astronomical prices on inter net auction suites.
This is also not the first time that a reprint of ‘Miracleman’ has been announced. Now, however, it appears that every effort has been made to let the dust settle – Marvel announced at NYCC this weekend that they have solidified all the legal wranglings and will be reprinting the Moore / Gaiman run as of January 2014.
Gaiman, appearing via video message, seemed ecstatic and relieved that he would finally be able to complete what he started, almost twenty years later.
“The tragedy of Miracleman was that we published two issues, wrote three and a half – and then it all stopped,” Gaiman said, in an interview with Marvel.com. “And Miracleman #25 has been sitting in the darkness – nobody has seen it. It was drawn, it was written, it was lettered over 20 years ago. I love the idea that I will get to finish this story.” (marvel.com)
EDIT (14th October 2013): One notable name missing in the official Marvel announcement what that of Alan Moore, somebody who famously will take anybody to task for using his work without his blessing, something that happens not at all. Perhaps there has been still some legal wrangling in terms of using his name in promoting the reprints, perhaps Moore is, rather typically, distancing himself from the whole affair. However, it has been confirmed that the Miracleman run planned for reprint will begin with the Moore stories that began in Warrior and continued through the Eclipse Comics title. (Comics Alliance)